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June 16 Off the Press:  Jose Maria Sison:  At Home in the World  (Portrait of a Revolutionary), Conversations with Ninotchka Rosca.

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Jose Maria Sison: At Home In The World Portrait of a Revolutionary
New book on Jose Maria Sison to be launched in Montreal

(Vancouver, B.C.) - The latest book on Jose Maria Sison, the Philippines' foremost revolutionary leader and one of the world's leading anti-imperialist spokesperson, will be launched in Montreal on May 29 during an international conference examining his case.

Written by Ninotchka Rosca who has followed Sison's life since he left the Philippines in 1987 and lived in the Netherlands, the book is a rare glimpse into the thinking of this intriguing contemporary revolutionary leader who has survived many attempts by the U.S., European and other countries to "bury" him. Rosca says that instead of burying him, these countries only "succeed in having songs sung in his name".

Rosca assures readers the book is not just a simple recitation of Sison's bio-data or what he is like as an individual. Rather, she says, "A person's true measure comes from an amalgam of what he/she has done, what he/she is and the impact of his/her being and activities on the community, on humankind, as it were, plus how he is perceived by the community."

"By giving up a life of comfort, by electing to go underground , by involving himself not only in leading but also immersing himself in the revolutionary armed struggle, Prof. Sison hammered home the ideal of praxis: as you say life should be lived, so should your own life be lived. His life and work exemplified the unity of theory and practice. Armchair or cappuccino political theorists have not been held in any kind of respect in the Philippines ever since."

"By his life as well, Prof. Sison made vivid the truth that even as circumstances forged a person, so could a person forge circumstances."

Sison has been put in the U.S. blacklist as a "terrorist" following the events of Sept. 11 despite the fact that he has been serving as chief political consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for the past ten years in its on-going negotiations with the Philippine government to end the 30-year civil war in the country.

The European Union, The Netherlands, Australia as well as Canada have followed suit in labeling Sison, prompting a world-wide movement to defend his rights. Sison is currently challenging the listing before the European Council.

The conference Laws, Labels and Liberation: The Case of Jose Maria Sison, will look at Sison's listing as an example of the curtailment of human rights and how anti-terrorism laws impact on the right of oppressed peoples to struggle for national liberation.

Leading authorities on international human rights including Philippine Judge Romeo Capulong of the U.N. International Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia and Luis Jalandoni of the NDFP from the Netherlands will address the conference held at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal from May 28 -30, 2004.

Registration is still open for the conference and for further information visit the conference' website at
www.justiceforjoma.org or email justiceforjoma@riseup.net, contact number: 1-514-222-2621

Ninotchka Rosca is recipient of the 1993 American Book Award for excellence in literature. She has written five books, including the two highly accumulated novels, State of War and Twice Blessed. Based in New York, she was founding chair of Gabriela Network, a Philippine-U.S. women's organization fighting against trafficking of women.

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