“More than a hundred years ago, a hero was born. He was regarded as one of those who fought for freedom, not through the literally revolutionary way, but through his works and writings. He fought the bloodless way, for he believed that the pen is mightier than the sword.” – Quite familiar? It’s because this is actually the usual introduction we hear whenever we speak of Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda… the doctor, the writer, the economist, the philosopher, our national hero.
“Veneration Without Understanding” by Renato Constantino is not just a simple article (or essay) about Rizal. It is a much deeper analysis of the real story behind his being a national hero, the aspects that contributed to such recognition, his condemnation of the revolution, and other factors which are not reflected on history books… - factors which we fail to converse over the years. He also had a discussion of the concept of Filipino nationhood, the metamorphosis of the term “Filipino”, and how Rizal viewed the terms, “independence” and “liberty” as words whose meanings are apart from each other.
Admit it. We are all regarding Dr. Jose Rizal as one of our role models. We look up to him and “praise” him for that slight contribution he did for us to gain colonial independence. It was so surprising, however, that there are, still, a lot of things that we do not know about him and what really happened during his existence. Constantino was right when he made mention of how we are blinded by our adoration of how great Rizal was…of how martyr he was…of how he died for our country through unjust execution by the Spaniards.
The writer, as I can assess, is not an anti-Rizal one. Rather, he is just trying to inculcate how important is the necessity of looking into a much deeper sense, the attributes of a real and true hero…the factors that should be considered so as to call someone, a hero. Is it because he died for our country? Or is it because he had enough courage to...
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