Rizal

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ose Rizal is everywhere yet many think he is not relevant anymore. His monuments, built as reminders of his heroism, stand distant and unreachable on his pedestal, as if deliberately exaggerating our insignificance. It even comes to a point that one may say “I can’t be like him.” The western construct of a hero was named after the Greek war goddess Hera. It points to a strong-willed and supernatural character who consciously directs his abilities for the good of the people. More often than not reduced to titles and merits, a hero’s humanity may end being forgotten. The Filipino term bayani , on the other hand, depicts the same values but is attributed to someone more grounded. Coming from the Visayan term for warrior or bagani, one immediately finds a totally different perspective. This time, the persona serves others without expecting in return, despite being ordinary [1]. Historian Zeus Salazar classifies Rizal as a heróe, shaped by Western sensibilities and consciousness, as he was, in many ways, separate from the people. The mythic proportions of his character made it impossible for people to relate to him. He became a symbol, and more often than not, the only hero, of the revolution [2]. Nothing new about Rizal is going to be introduced in this paper. Instead of adding another academic treatise to the Rizal industry, I aim to give my take on his story by drawing simple life lessons to what many see as an extraordinary life. It is high time that we search our humanity in Rizal, and in turn, find Rizal in ourselves [3].
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