Jose Rizal and the Revolution:
Revisiting Renato Constantino’s “Veneration without Understanding” By Chris Antonette Piedad-Pugay
When we open the pages of history books in the Philippines, it is not surprising to see texts about the martyrdom of our most celebrated hero-- Dr. Jose Rizal. In fact, it seems that his name already occupied a permanent and prominent place in every publication that has something to say about the Philippines.
Truthfully, there is nothing wrong about immortalizing Rizal and his heroism in books and literatures read by several generations of Filipinos and non-Filipinos. Probably, most writers deemed that doing such is a fitting way of paying respect and gratitude to his contributions and sacrifices for the benefit of the Filipino people and of our nation. It’s just unfortunate that in trying to present him as an icon of heroism, he was placed in a pedestal that became too tough for Juan dela Cruz to reach.
The national revolution that we had in our country from 1896 to 1901 is one period when the Filipino people were most united, most involved and most spirited to fight for a common cause—freedom. While all aspects of Jose Rizal’s short but meaningful life were already explored and exhausted by history writers and biographers, his direct involvement in the Philippine Revolution that broke out in 1896 remains to be a sensitive and unfamiliar topic.
Historians cannot deny that Rizal played a major part in the country’s struggle for reforms and independence. His writings, particularly the Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were viewed as the guiding force for other patriots to rally for the country’s cause. While most of us believed that Rizal dedicated his life and labor for the cause of the revolution and venerated him to a certain extent, a brave historian rose up and went against the tide by making known to the public his stand that Rizal was NOT an actual leader of the Philippine Revolution....
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