RIZAL WITHOUT THE OVERCOAT
For Was Rizal an American-sponsored hero?
1. What are the bases for the idea that Rizal was an American-sponsored/created hero? The idea was that Rizal was against the revolution, and he became the national hero only because of the Americans who sponsored and encouraged his cult. Americans chose Rizal as the foremost national hero because he was non-violent and reformist, unlike Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. Americans also had overemphasized Rizal and regarded other heroes like Bonifacio and Mabini as second-class heroes.
2. What are the proofs that he isn’t?
Rizal was not an American-sponsored hero. Even before his death, many people of his time have looked up to him as a hero long before the Americans sponsored him. Consider Andres Bonifacio, he made Rizal the honorary president of the Katipunan and made “Rizal” the password of the KKK. Headquarters and meeting places of the Katipunan had a picture of Rizal as well. Bonifacio even attempted to rescue Rizal from exile in Dapitan so that the latter could lead or inspire the Filipinos to revolt. In a sense, the Americans simply built on the prevailing sentiment of the people. Rizal was considered “the living soul of the rebellion.” He might not have been the leader of the revolution, but he had inspired the revolution.
3. What could be the implications if he were? Explain the possible effects these implications would have on the Philippines in general and in our study of Philippine history in particular. If Jose Rizal was indeed an American-sponsored hero, that would imply that a national hero could be chosen only by the people in power, in this case, the Americans, and not by the Filipinos themselves. Filipinos would be deprived of their right to choose who they think is worthy of becoming the national hero. This would also create endless debates among the people. More so, Philippine history would be in chaos as records could be inconsistent and can be controlled and influenced by those in power. Heroes, according to historians, should not be legislated. Their appreciation should be better left to academics.
4. What was the political, economic and historical context of the time when people started to claim that Rizal was an American-sponsored/created hero? How could this context have influenced these people in thinking Rizal was an American-sponsored/created hero? The political context when people started to claim that Rizal was an American-sponsored hero was when the Americans created a Philippine Commission to honor Rizal as the Philippine national hero, over Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and Mabini. The rationale for the choice, as written later by Governor W. Cameron Forbes was: “Rizal never advocated independence, nor did he advocate armed resistance to the government.”
In economic context, the Filipino members of the Philippine Commission were conservative illustrados. The Americans regarded Rizal as belonging to this social class – the class that they were cultivating and building up for leadership. In historical context, the American administration has lent every assistance to Rizal’s recognition, setting aside the anniversary of his death to be a day of observance, placing his picture on the postage stamp most commonly used in the islands, and on the currency. And throughout the islands, the public schools teach the young Filipinos to revere his memory as the greatest of Filipino patriots. All of these contexts favor Rizal. Therefore, many were influenced into believing that Rizal was indeed an American-sponsored hero.
5. Why is it important to correct the idea that Rizal is an American-sponsored/created hero? The idea whether Rizal is an American-sponsored hero or not would polarize the mindset of the youth and would result in two contrasting positions. That is why it is important to correct this idea so as to come up with one conclusion. It is clear that whether Americans interfere or not, Rizal was destined to...
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