THE SOCIAL NETWORK OF JOSE RIZAL
José Rizal was a Filipino nationalist and reformist. He was born on June 19, 1861 and was executed December 30, 1896 by the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines. He is considered to be the national hero of the Philippines. Schooled in Europe, he was the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He was wrongly implicated as the leader of a violent revolution, and that led to his execution. December 30, now celebrated as Rizal Day, is a national holiday in the Philippines. Data from WolframAlpha, a popular computational knowledge engine, show that interests in Rizal somewhat peak every June and December (coinciding with his birth month and death month, respectively) of each year, as revealed in the English-language Wikipedia average daily “Jose Rizal” page hits. In fact, such page hits almost reached 20,000 during his 150th birth anniversary in 2011. The daily “Jose Rizal” page hits in the Spanish-, German-, French-, as well as in the Tagalog-language Wikipedias display similar pattern. The timeline of Rizal’s life also shows that he lived a relatively short life: dying a martyr’s death at age 35. Rizal’s popularity as an activist pales in comparison with the Indian Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi and the Black American Martin Luther King Jr., as similarly revealed by comparative Englishlanguage Wikipedia page hits. While searches for “Jose Rizal” in the English-language Wikipedia reach tens of thousands, the daily searches for the two other activists reach hundreds of thousands during 1
peak periods. Again, the daily page hits for the three said activists, display similar patterns in the Spanishlanguage, German-language, and the French-language Wikipedias. However, the Tagalog-language Wikipedia has much more page hits for Jose Rizal than either of the two other activists, perhaps because it has just been set up relatively recently, and the “Jose Rizal” page has been created several years earlier. More importantly, the number of Filipinos who prefer using the Tagalog-language Wikipedia over the English-language Wikipedia has started to rapidly increase in recent years, perhaps out of nationalism. It may be interesting to know the structural equivalence of the networks of the three said activists, which to the author’s knowledge and belief, up till now has not yet been constructed and published. Thus, this paper starts by first attempting to construct the social network of Rizal, from the numerous data published by the National Historical Institute (of the Philippines) and the relatively recent news and activities related to him. The author is aware of two undergraduate student proposals to work on Gandhi’s social network and one on Martin Luther King’s, but none yet on the Philippine national hero. Rizal’s network data should not only include information that he was born to a wealthy family in Calamba, Laguna and was the seventh of eleven children; it must also include his parents’ circumstances as well, and 2
even his paternal Chinese ancestry. He attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts diploma and studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Ron Burt’s notion of a structural hole (Burt, 1992), social capital (Lin 2001: 549) and a theory on small worlds (Watts, 1999) were explored in Rizal’s initial social network formed from the aforementioned. The facts that the Canellas meteorite, an 859-gramchondrite type meteorite, strikes the Earth near Barcelona, Spain; and that the “Great Comet of 1861” (later formally designated as Comet C/1861 J1 and 1861 II) was discovered in Australia, about a month before Rizal was born, may have an effect on the later founding of the Iglesia Watawat ng Lahi (“Church of the Banner of the Race”), once a few thousand-strong religious group venerating Rizal. Even Palma (1949) and much later Covar (1975) missed the importance of the latter astronomical...
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