Friday, December 30, 2005

A Tribute to Jose Rizal

dahil nasa tamang trip ako...

let's shy away from these sad sentiments and commemorate the death of our National Hero.


Mr. de Ocampo, in this article, claims that Dr. Jose Rizal Mercado y Alonzo (1861-1896) is unquestionably the greatest hero and martyr of our nation. He presented his arguments by answering thrice “Why is Rizal a hero, our foremost national hero?”

His first argument, Rizal, as a towering figure in the Propaganda Campaign, took an admirable part in the movement by producing his illustrious novel Noli Me Tangere which aroused the feelings of his countrymen. Second, no Filipino has yet been born who could equal or surpass Rizal as a “person of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering.” And lastly, Rizal is “a man honored after death by public worship, because of exceptional service to mankind.” Rizal having met all the implications of being hero, therefore, is the greatest Filipino hero.

These assertions are related in our present lessons not only it involves Jose Rizal but, the article as well exhaustively discussed that there is no doubt Rizal should be our national hero for a number of reasons. The article presented stands from different personalities that proved his outstanding patriotism and reasons why his countrymen and foreigners honor him so much.

I agree with Mr. de Ocampo’s assertions, though they are not enough to make Rizal the “greatest hero” of our nation. And here are my grounds.

First, Rizal may have took an admirable part in the Propaganda Campaign by producing his Noli Me Tangere which exposed colonizers’ cruelty and eventually strengthened Filipinos’ idea to fight for liberation. But this was in the PROPAGANDA MOVEMENT. And this movement is not for the country’s liberation from the colonizers, but for the Spain to consider Philippines as one of their provinces. I believe that liberation from foreigners is far much better than just reformation. Plus, Noli Me Tangere was written in a language not available to the greater number of Filipinos. It might have opened people’s minds, but only those who understand Español. So, for Noli’s meaning to reach the Filipino masses, translators are still needed. If the Noli is really for the Filipino, why didn’t he use his own nation’s language? Instead he used the foreigners’ tongue which eventually only earned his enemies’ eyes. The author also said that it was only Noli who contributed tremendously to the formation of Filipino nationality, and no other work could have done this. One cannot conclude such since the works he mentioned like Ninay of Paterno and La Soberanta of M.H. del Pilar may not have been available like Noli had during those times, the reason why they didn’t contribute tremendously. I admit, though, my last statement is only a speculation.

I’m not even sure about his second argument, that no Filipino has yet been born who could equal or surpass Rizal as “a person of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering.” Maybe we are just very absorbed by Rizal’s “greatness” that we cannot even admit that there are better heroes than him like Gabriela Silang. I think it is his execution that did the trick. His “calmness” before his “unjust execution” might have permanent psychological effects on us that all we ever know is there can be nothing greater than him anymore – no one will be as brave as him to face his own death.

On his last argument, no doubt he is a man honored after death by public worship because of exceptional service to mankind. But, isn’t it the public worship him because he was made our national hero? Alright, before he was made our national hero, many Filipino honored him after his execution – but as I’ve said earlier, maybe it is his “unjust execution” that earned the masses’ sympathy and not his EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE TO MANKIND. Exceptional service to mankind… for opening a modest clinic, ok, for forming the Filipino nationality through his novels, fine, and what else, for touring in Europe? I think it will be really “exceptional” if he supported the revolution, used his intellect for its success and just didn’t accept his death with such “calmness” instead he escaped and had gone away and started plotting a massive liberation movement that will 100% drive away the Spaniards.

Jose Rizal is a Filipino hero, I agree with that. But I’m not sure with what the most of us say that he is the greatest Filipino hero, especially now that I’m taking JPRIZAL course which have taught me a lot, things I was clueless before but I perceive very important and interesting to know.

Well, these ideas are just for me. Some of my arguments may be vague since there are still more things I have to know. I am certain that these are not yet my final stand.

This essay/article review was done for my JPRIZAL class (2nd Term, SY 2004-2005) and received high praises from my professor, Ms. Orillos. Ayon sa kanya, this was done very creatively and could compete with the other Rizal essays (I forgot the exact article she mentioned-- hanapin ko ulit yung original copy, tinago ko talaga yun for posterity!) She even encouraged me to submit this in our school paper, o diba ang taray?


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