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Vancouver Greets Co-author and "Terrorist" subject with Warm Reception

Press Release
Monday, September 20, 2004
For Immediate Release

Vancouver, B.C., -- The Russian Hall in East Vancouver's Strathcona Neighbhourhood was crammed this past weekend as activists (both young and old), academics, church-goers and families revered the accomplishments and principles of exiled Filipino revolutionary, Jose Maria Sison, a so-called "terrorist."

Released by American-based Open Hand Publishing, Jose Maria Sison: At Home in the World, Portrait of a Revolutionary, Conversations with Ninotchka Rosca was launched locally Saturday night by the BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP) with special guest, co-author Ninotchka Rosca who spoke about the political triumphs and intimate details of the life of Sison.

"To call Jose Maria Sison a terrorist is not only an insult to this man, but an insult to an entire movement, to a people and to an entire nation," said Rosca to an attentive crowd of almost 100.

"To call Jose Maria Sison is also an insult to Marxist-Lennists whose aim and principle is to the complete service of the people. This very principle runs absolutely against the violent aims of terrorism," said Rosca.

In 1968, Sison initiated the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines and became its founding chairman soon after. He was arrested in 1977 by the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the height of Ferdinand Marcos' 14-year Martial Law dictatorship. Sison was freed in 1987 after international pressure forced then-president Cory Aquino to release all political prisoners, but was forced to go into exile when his passport was suddenly cancelled while on an international university speaking tour.

On August 12, 2002, just days after Colin Powell's declaration of the Philippines as the second front on the US-lead war on terror, Sison was arbitrarily added as a "Specially Designated Terrorist" to the US Treasury Department's list along with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army. As a result, Sison lost all housing, health and food allowances, benefits granted to political refugees.

Ninotchka Rosca, an internationally-acclaimed journalist and award-winning novelist delivers a striking portrayal of Sison whose hurculean political victories are matched by his legacy of humility and compassion. Arranged in an interview format, At Home in the World is one part biography, one quarter Philippine history and one quarter time capsule on the Philippine national liberation movement, sprinkled with Sison's poetry. It is an essential guidebook for serious activists, history buffs and young Filipinos on the life of one of most important Marxists since the Communist Manifesto according to the London Dictionary of Marxism.

Sison remains in the Netherlands with his wife and son and serves as the General Consultant of the negotiating panel for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines which is undergoing peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

"We're very happy with the turnout," expressed book launch organizer, Beth Dollaga of BCCHRP.

"We hope this book will enable the public to be more critical about the US war on terror and how Sison has dedicated his entire life to liberating the Philippines from US imperialism," said Dollaga. -30-

Jose Maria Sison: At Home in the World, Portrait of a Revolutionary, Conversations with Ninotchka Rosca is available for purchase from BCCHRP.
For more information please contact 604-215-1103.

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