José P. Rizal

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Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda
Jose rizal 01.jpg
Philippine national hero
Alternate name: Jose Rizal
Place of birth: Calamba, Laguna, Philippines
Place of death: Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park or Luneta), Manila, Philippines
Major organizations: La Solidaridad

La Liga Filipina

José Rizal (full name: José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda) (June 19, 1861December 30, 1896), was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era and its eventual independence from Spain. He is considered a national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

The seventh of eleven children born to a middle class family in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain where he studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He earned a second doctorate at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages.<ref name = "Craig">Austin Craig, Lineage, Life and Labors of Rizal (Manila: Philippine Education Co., 1913). He was conversant in Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch and Japanese. Rizal also made translations from Arabic, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit. He translated the poetry of Schiller into his native Tagalog. In addition he had at least some knowledge of Malay, Chavacano, Cebuano, Ilocano, and Subanun.(Read etext at Project Gutenberg:[1]accessed 10 January 2007)</ref><ref name = "Laubach">Frank Laubach, Rizal: Man and Martyr (Manila: Community Publishers, 1936)</ref><ref>Rizal's annotations of Morga's Sucesos de las islas Filipinas (1609), which he copied word for word from the British Museum and had published, called attention to an antiquated book, a testimony to the well-advanced civilization in the Philippines during pre-Spanish era. In his essay "The Indolence of the Filipino" Rizal stated that three centuries of Spanish rule did not do much for the advancement of his countryman; in fact there was a 'retrogression', and the Spanish colonialists have transformed him into a 'half-way brute.' The absence of moral stimulus, the lack of material inducement, the demoralization--'the indio should not be separated from his carabao', the endless wars, the lack of a national sentiment, the Chinese piracy--all these factors, according to Rizal, helped the colonial rulers succeed in placing the indio 'on a level with the beast'. (read English translation by Charles Derbyshire at [2] accessed 10 January. 2007.</ref><ref>In his essay, "Reflections of a Filipino," (c.1888), he wrote: "Man is multiplied by the number of languages he possesses and speaks.'</ref> He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.<ref>His signature book Noli was one of the first novels in Asia written outside Japan and China and was one of the first novels of anti-colonial rebellion. [3]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries against 333 years of Spanish rule.

As a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan<ref>Bonifacio was a member of La Liga Filipina. After Rizal's arrest and exile, it was disbanded and the group splintered into two factions; the more radical group formed into the Katipunan, the militant arm of the insurrection.[4].Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> led by Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.

Family

Contents

Francisco Mercado
José Rizal's parents were Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonzo, prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. He was the seventh child of their eleven children (namely, Saturnina, Paciano, Narcisa, Olympia, Lucia, Maria, Jose, Concepcion, Josephina, Trinidad and Soledad.)

Rizal was a 5th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co (Template:Zh-cp), a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines from Jinjiang, Quanzhou in the mid-17th century.<ref>Rizal's rags-to-riches ancestor from South China. Retrieved 18 February 2007</ref> Lam-co married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley native of Luzon. To free his descendants from the anti-Chinese animosity of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the family surname to the Spanish surname "Mercado" (market) to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. Their original application was for the name "Ricial", apropos their main occupation of farming, which was arbitrarily denied. The name "Rizal" (originally Ricial, the green of young growth or green fields), was adopted by Jose to enable him to travel freely as the Mercados had gained notoriety by their son's intellectual prominence. From early childhood Rizal was already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities.<ref>At age 8 (in 1869) he wrote his first poem Sa aking mga Kabata and had for its theme the love of one's native language [5]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Rizal, 11 years old
Aside from indigenous Filipino and Chinese ancestry, recent genealogical research has found that José had traces of Spanish, and Japanese ancestry. His maternal great-great-grandfather (Teodora's great-grandfather) was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers, who married a Filipina named Benigna (surname unknown). These two gave birth to Regina Ursua who married a Sangley mestizo from Pangasinán named Atty. Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brígida de Quintos married a Spanish mestizo named Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo, the father of Teodora. Austin Craig mentions Lacandula, Rajah of Tondo at the time of the Spanish incursion, also as an ancestor.

Education

Rizal as a student at the University of Santo Tomas
Rizal first studied under the tutelage of Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Biñan, Laguna. He was sent to Manila and upon enrolling at the Ateneo Municipal, changed his name to "Rizal" to escape the opprobrium of the name "Mercado". His brother Paciano had been linked to the Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora who had been tried as subversives and sentenced to death by garrote. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1877 and graduated as one of the nine students declared sobresaliente or outstanding. He continued his education at the Ateneo Municipal to obtain a land surveyor and assessor's degree, and at the same time at the University of Santo Tomas where he studied Philosophy and Letters. Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to study medicine specializing in ophthalmology at the University of Santo Tomas but did not complete it because he felt that Filipinos were being discriminated against by the Dominicans who were operating the school.<ref>[6]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to Madrid in May 1882 and studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he earned the degree, Licentiate in Medicine. His education continued at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg where he earned a second doctorate. In Berlin, he was inducted as a member of the Berlin Ethnological Society and the Berlin Anthropological Society under the patronage of the famous pathologist Rudolf Virchow. Following custom, he delivered an address in German in April 1887 before the anthropological society on the orthography and structure of the Tagalog language. He left Heidelberg a poem, "A las flores del Heidelberg," which was both an evocation and a prayer for the welfare of his native land and the unification of common values between East and West.

Rizal's multifacetedness was described by his German friend, Dr. Adolf Meyer, as "stupendous."<ref>[7] Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref><ref>Adolf Bernard Meyer (1840-1911) was a German ornithologist and anthropologist, and author of the book Philippinen-typen (Dresden, 1888)</ref> Documented studies show him to be a polymath with the ability to master various skills and subjects.<ref name = "Craig"/><ref name = "Laubach"/><ref>[8]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> He was an ophthalmologist, sculptor, painter, educator, farmer, historian, inventor, playwright and journalist. Besides poetry and creative writing, he dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting. He was a Freemason.<ref>http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/the_builder_1916_august.htm. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Travels

Rizal's crayon sketch of Leonor Rivera
He who knows the surface of the earth and the topography of a country only through the examination of maps..is like a man who learns the opera of Meyerbeer or Rossini by reading only reviews in the newspapers. The brush of landscape artists Lorrain, Ruysdael, or Calame can reproduce on canvas the sun's ray, the coolness of the heavens, the green of the fields, the majesty of the mountains...but what can never be stolen from Nature is that vivid impression that she alone can and knows how to impart--the music of the birds, the movement of the trees, the aroma peculiar to the place--the inexplicable something the traveller feels that cannot be defined and which seems to awaken in him distant memories of happy days, sorrows and joys gone by, never to return.--Rizal, "Los Viajes" <ref>Jose Rizal, "Los Viajes", in La Solidaridad (c.1888)</ref>

Rizal's life is one of the most documented of the 19th century due to the vast and extensive records written by and about him.<ref name = "Rizalino"> Epistolario Rizalino: 4 volumes, 1400 letters to and from Rizal, edited by Teodoro Kalaw (Manila: Bureau of Printing,1930-38)</ref> Most everything in his short life is recorded somewhere, being himself a regular diarist and prolific letter writer, much of these materials having survived. His biographers, however, have faced the difficulty of translating his writings because of Rizal's habit of switching from one language to another. They drew largely from his travel diaries with their insights of a young Asian encountering the west for the first time. They included his later trips, home and back again to Europe through Japan and the United States, and, finally, through his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong. This period of his education and his frenetic pursuit of life included his recorded affections. Among them were Gertrude Becket of Chalcot Crescent (London), wealthy and high-minded Nelly Boustead of the English and Iberian merchant family, last descendant of a noble Japanese family Usui Seiko, his earlier friendship with Segunda Katigbak and eight-year romantic relationship with his cousin, Leonor Rivera.

His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodlings on pieces of paper. In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Perez, he left an impression that was to be remembered by his daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there and regaled them with his wit, social graces, and sleight-of-hand tricks. In London, during his research on Morga's writings, he became a regular guest in the home of Dr. Reinhold Rost of the British Museum who referred to him as "a gem of a man."<ref>Dr. Reinhold Rost was the head of the India Office at the British Museum and a renowned 19th-century philologist.</ref><ref name = "Rizalino"/> The family of Karl Ullmer, pastor of Wilhelmsfeld, and the Blumentritts saved even buttonholes and napkins with sketches and notes. They were ultimately bequeathed to the Rizal family to form a treasure-trove of memorabilia.

Writings

Main article: Noli me Tangere
Main article: El Filibusterismo
Rizal's sculpture The Triumph of Science over Death
José Rizal's most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These writings angered both the Spaniards and the hispanicized Filipinos due to their insulting symbolism. They are highly critical of Spanish friars and the atrocities committed in the name of the Church. Rizal's first critic was Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Sudetan-German professor and historian whose first reaction was of misgiving. Blumentritt was the grandson of the Imperial Treasurer at Vienna and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. This did not dissuade him however from writing the preface of El Filibusterismo after he had translated Noli me Tangere into German. Noli was published in Berlin (1887) and Fili in Ghent (1891) with funds borrowed largely from Rizal's friends. As Blumentritt had warned, these led to Rizal's prosecution as the inciter of revolution and eventually, to a military trial and execution. The intended consequence of teaching the natives where they stood brought about an adverse reaction, as the Philippine Revolution of 1896 took off virulently thereafter.


Main article: La Solidaridad
Main article: La Liga Filipina
As a leader of the reform movement of Filipino students in Spain, he contributed essays, allegories, poems, and editorials to the Spanish newspaper La Solidaridad in Barcelona. The core of his writings centers on liberal and progressive ideas of individual rights and freedom; specifically, rights for the Filipino people. He shared the same sentiments with members of the movement: that the Philippines is battling, in Rizal's own words, "a double-faced Goliath"--corrupt friars and bad government. His commentaries reiterate the following agenda:<ref>In his letter "Manifesto to Certain Filipinos" (Manila, 1896), he states: Reforms, if they are to bear fruit, must come from above; for reforms that come from below are upheavals both violent and transitory.(Epistolario Rizalino, op cit)</ref>
Leaders of the reform movement in Spain: L-R: Rizal, del Pilar, and Ponce
  • That the Philippines be a province of Spain
  • Representation in the Cortes
  • Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars--Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans--in parishes and remote sitios
  • Freedom of assembly and speech
  • Equal rights before the law (for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs)

The colonial authorities in the Philippines did not favor these reforms even if they were more openly endorsed by Spanish intellectuals like Morayta, Unamuno, Margall and others.

Upon his return to Manila in 1892, he formed a civic movement called La Liga Filipina. The league advocated these moderate social reforms through legal means, but was disbanded by the governor. At that time, he had already been declared an enemy of the state by the Spanish authorities because of the publication of his novels.

Persecutions

Teodora Alonzo

Wenceslao Retana, a political commentator in Spain, had slighted Rizal by a reference to his parents and promptly apologized after being challenged to a duel. Aware that Rizal was a better swordsman, he issued an apology, became an admirer, and wrote Rizal's first European biography.<ref> Wenceslao Retana Vida y Escritos del Jose Rizal (Madrid: Libreria General de Victoriano Suarez, 1907). According to Laubach it was Retana more than any other who 'saved Rizal for posterity' (Laubach, op.cit., p. 383)</ref> Memory as a ten-year old of his mother's treatment at the hands of the civil authorities, with the approval of the church authorities, hurt so much as to explain his reaction to Retana. The incident stemmed from an accusation that Rizal's mother, Teodora, tried to poison the wife of a cousin when she claimed she only intervened to help. Without a hearing she was ordered to prison in Santa Cruz in 1871, and made to walk the ten miles from Calamba. She was released after two and a half years of appeals to the highest court.<ref name = "Craig"/>

After writing Noli me Tangere, among the numerous other poems, plays and tracts he had already written, he gained further notoriety with the Spaniards. Against the advice of relatives and friends, he came back to the Philippines to aid his family which was in dispute with the Dominican landlords. In 1887, he wrote a petition on behalf of the tenants of Calamba and later that year led them to speak out against friar attempts to raise rent. They initiated a litigation which resulted in the Dominicans evicting them from their homes, including the Rizal family. Eventually, General Valeriano Weyler had the buildings on the farm torn down.

In 1896 while Rizal was in prison in Fort Santiago, his brother Paciano was tortured by Spaniards trying to extract evidence of Jose's complicity in the revolution. Two officers took turns applying pins under Paciano's fingernails; with his hands bound behind him and raised several feet, he was dropped repeatedly until he lost consciousness.<ref name = "Craig"/>

Exile in Dapitan

A photographic record of Rizal's execution

Rizal was implicated in the activities of the nascent rebellion and in July 1892, was deported to Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga. There he built a school, a hospital and a water supply system, and taught and engaged in farming and horticulture. Abaca, then the vital raw material for cordage and which Rizal and his students planted in the thousands, was a memorial.

The boys' school, in which they learned English, considered a prescient if weird option then, was conceived by Rizal and antedated Gordonstoun with its aims of inculcating resourcefulness and self sufficiency in young men. They would later enjoy successful lives as farmers and honest government officials. One, a Muslim, became a datu, and another, Jose Aseniero, who was with Rizal throughout the life of the school, became Governor of Zamboanga.

In Dapitan, the Jesuits mounted a great effort to secure his return to the fold led by Father Sanchez, his former professor, who failed in his mission. The task was resumed by Father Pastells, a prominent member of the Order. In his letter to Pastells, Rizal sails close to the ecumenism familiar to us today.<ref>Raul J. Bonoan, S.J., The Rizal-Pastells Correspondence (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1996)</ref>

"We are entirely in accord in admitting the existence of God. How can I doubt his when I am convinced of mine. Whoso recognizes the effect recognizes the cause. To doubt God is to doubt one's own conscience, and in consequence, it would be to doubt everything; and then what is life for? Now then, my faith in God, if the result of a ratiocination may be called faith, is blind, blind in the sense of knowing nothing. I neither believe nor disbelieve the qualities which many attribute to him; before theologians' and philosophers' definitions and lucubrations of this ineffable and inscrutable being I find myself smiling. Faced with the conviction of seing myself confronting the supreme Problem, which confused voices seek to explain to me, I cannot but reply: 'It could be; but the God that I foreknow is far more grand, far more good: Plus Supra!...I believe in (revelation); but not in revelation or revelations which each religion or religions claim to possess. Examining them impartially, comparing them and scrutinizing them, one cannot avoid discerning the human 'fingernail' and the stamp of the time in which they were written... No, let us not make God in our image, poor inhabitants that we are of a distant planet lost in infinite space. However, brilliant and sublime our intelligence may be, it is scarcely more than a small spark which shines and in an instant is extinguished, and it alone can give us no idea of that blaze, that conflagration, that ocean of light. I believe in revelation, but in that living revelation which surrounds us on every side, in that voice, mighty, eternal, unceasing, incorruptible, clear, distinct, universal as is the being from whom it proceeds, in that revelation which speaks to us and penetrates us from the moment we are born until we die. What books can better reveal to us the goodness of God, his love, his providence, his eternity, his glory, his wisdom? 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork'."<ref name = "Rizalino"/>

Bust in clay, by Rizal

As a gift to his mother on her birth anniversary he wrote the other of his poems of maturity, "Mi Retiro," with a description of a calm night overlaid with a million stars. The poem, with its concept of a spontaneous creation and speaking of God as Plus Supra, is considered his accommodation of evolution.

...the breeze idly cools, the firmament glows,
the waves tell in sighs to the docile wind
timeless stories beneath the shroud of night.

Say that they tell of the world, the first dawn
of the sun, the first kiss that his bosom inflamed,
when thousands of beings surged out of nothing,
and peopled the depths, and to the heights mounted,
to wherever his fecund kiss was implanted. <ref>"Mi Retiro", stanzas 7 and 8 (Craig, op.cit., p. 207)</ref>
Rizal's pencil sketch of Blumentritt
His best friend, Blumentritt, kept him in touch with European friends and fellow-scientists who wrote a stream of letters which arrived in Dutch, French, German and English and which baffled the censors, delaying their transmittal. Those four years of his exile coincided with the development of the Philippine Revolution from inception and to its final breakout, which, from the viewpoint of the court which was to try him, suggested his complicity in it.<ref name = "Rizalino"/> He condemned the uprising, although all the members of the Katipunan made him honorary president and used his name as a war-cry.

Near the end of his exile he met and courted the step-daughter of a patient, an Irishwoman named Josephine Bracken. He was unable to obtain an ecclesiastical marriage because he would not return to the religion of his youth and was not known to be clearly against revolution. He nonetheless considered Josephine to be his wife and the only person mentioned in the poem, Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, my joy...<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 14. (See original Spanish text at Project Gutenberg.[9])</ref>

Last days

Main article: Philippine Revolution
Rizal Park, Wilhelmsfeld
By 1896, the rebellion fomented by the Katipunan, a militant secret society, had become a full blown revolution, proving to be a nationwide uprising and leading to the proclamation of the first democratic republic in Asia. To dissociate himself, Rizal volunteered and was given leave by the Spanish Governor General Ramon Blanco to serve in Cuba to minister to victims of yellow fever. Blanco later was to present his sash and sword to the Rizal family as an apology.

Before he left Dapitan, he issued a manifesto disavowing the revolution and declaring that the education of Filipinos and their achievement of a national identity were prerequisites to freedom. Rizal was arrested en route, imprisoned in Barcelona, and sent back to Manila to stand trial. He was implicated in the revolution through his association with members of the Katipunan and was to be tried before a court-martial for rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy. During the entire passage, he was unchained, no Spaniard laid a hand on him, and had many opportunities to escape but refused to do so. Rizal was convicted on all three charges and sentenced to death. Governor General Blanco, who was sympathetic to Rizal, had been forced out of office, and the friars had intercalated Polavieja in his stead, sealing Rizal's fate.

Rizal Park, Seattle

His poem, undated and believed to be written on the day before his execution, was hidden in an alcohol stove and later handed to his family with his few remaining possessions, including the final letters and his last bequests. Within hearing of the Spanish guards he reminded his sisters in English, "There is something inside it," referring to the alcohol stove given by the Pardo de Taveras which was to be returned after his execution, thereby emphasizing the importance of the poem. This instruction was followed by another, "Look in my shoes," in which another item was secreted. Exhumation of his remains in August, 1898, under American rule, revealed he had been uncoffined, his burial not on sanctified ground granted the 'confessed' faithful, and whatever was in his shoes had disintegrated.<ref name = "Craig"/>

In his letter to his family he wrote: "Treat our aged parents as you would wish to be treated...Love them greatly in memory of me...30 December, 1896."<ref name = "Rizalino"/>

Rizal, just before his execution

In his final letter, to the Sudeten-German professor Ferdinand Blumentritt - Tomorrow at 7, I shall be shot; but I am innocent of the crime of rebellion...<ref name = "Rizalino"/> He had to reassure him that he had not turned revolutionary as he once considered being, and that he shared his ideals to the very end. He also bequeathed a book personally bound by him in Dapitan to his 'best and dearest friend.' When Blumentritt received it he broke down and wept.

Execution

Rizal's tomb in Paco Park (formerly Paco Cemetery).

Moments before his execution by a firing squad of Filipino native infantry, backed by an insurance force of Spanish troops, the Spanish surgeon general requested to take his pulse; it was normal. Aware of this, the Spanish sergeant in charge of the backup force hushed his men to silence when they began raising 'vivas!' with the partisan crowd. His last words were "consummatum est",--it is finished.<ref name = "Coates">Austin Coates, Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr (London: Oxford University Press, 1968)</ref><ref name = "Laubach"/><ref>Rizal's trial was regarded a travesty even by prominent Spaniards of his day. Soon after his execution, the philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in an impassioned utterance recognized Rizal as a "Spaniard", "...profoundly and intimately Spanish, far more Spanish than those wretched men--forgive them, Lord, for they knew not what they did--those wretched men, who over his still warm body hurled like an insult heavenward that blasphemous cry, 'Viva Espana!'"Miguel de Unamuno, epilogue to Wenceslao Retana's Vida y Escritos del Dr. Jose Rizal (Retana, op. cit.)</ref>

Rizal Park, Manila

He was secretly buried in Paco Cemetery in Manila with no identification on his grave. His sister Narcisa toured all possible gravesites and found freshly turned earth at Paco Cemetery with civil guards posted at the gate. Assuming this could be the most likely spot, there being no ground burials in that cemetery, she made a gift to the cemetery guardian to mark the site "RPJ."

A national monument

Main article: Rizal Park

A statue now stands at the place where he fell, designed by the Swiss Richard Kissling of the famed William Tell sculpture.<ref>Interestingly, Rizal himself translated Schiller's William Tell into Tagalog in 1886.[10] Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> The statue carries the inscription I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him.<ref name = "Rizalino"/>

Aftermath

'Retraction' controversy

photo engraving of the execution of convicted Filipino rebel leaders at Bagumbayan (now Luneta)

That his burial was not on holy ground led to issues raised on the veracity of accounts of his 'retraction,' which the Church ever since has been vigorously defending. Many continue to believe that Rizal neither married his sweetheart Josephine Bracken in Roman Catholic rites hours before his execution nor ever retracted those parts of his writings that were anti-Roman Catholic.<ref>Jesus Cavanna, Rizal's Unfading Glory: A Documentary History of the Conversion of Dr. Jose Rizal (Manila: 1956)</ref><ref name="Pascual">Ricardo Roque Pascual, Jose Rizal Beyond the Grave (Manila: P. Ayuda & Co., 1962)</ref>

Those who deny the retraction point out to a revealing clue tucked in 'Adios', I go where there are no slaves, no hangmen or oppressors, where faith does not kill...<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 13</ref> Whether this stanza was his final comment on the Catholic Church is a subject of dispute. In most of his writings Rizal maintained that the men of the cloth were the real rulers and the real government. Much of the Church's case rests on claims of a signed retraction, a copy of which could not be produced and shown to the Rizal family despite their repeated requests.


"Mi último adiós"

Main article: Mi Ultimo Adios

The poem is more aptly titled, "Adios, Patria Adorada" (literally "Farewell, Beloved Country"). By virtue of logic and literary tradition, the words come from the first line of the poem itself. It first appeared in print not in Manila but in Hong Kong in 1897, when a copy of the poem and an accompanying photograph came to J. P. Braga who decided to publish it in a monthly journal he edited. There was a delay when Braga, who greatly admired Rizal, wanted a good job of the photograph and sent it to be engraved in London, a process taking well over two months. It finally appeared under 'Mi último pensamiento,' a title he supplied and by which it was known for a few years. Thus, when the Jesuit Father Balaguer's anonymous account of the retraction and the marriage to Josephine was appearing in Barcelona, no word of the poem's existence reached him in time to revise what he had written. His account was too elaborate that Rizal would have had no time to write "Adiós."

Six years after his death, when the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 was being debated in the United States Congress, Representative Henry Cooper of Wisconsin, after a speech, rendered an English translation of Rizal's valedictory poem capped by the peroration, "Under what clime or what skies has tyranny claimed a nobler victim?"<ref>Esteban de Ocampo, "Why is Rizal the Greatest Filipino Hero?"[11] accessed 10 January 2007</ref>. The Americans, however, would not sign the bill into law until 1916 and did not grant full autonomy until 1946--fifty years after Rizal's death.

Josephine

Josephine Bracken

Josephine Bracken promptly joined the revolutionary forces in Cavite province, making her way through thicket and mud, and helped operate a reloading jig for Mauser cartridges at the arsenal at Imus. The short-lived arsenal under the Revolutionary General Pantaleon Garcia had been reloading spent cartridges again and again and the reloading jig was in continuous use, but Imus was under threat of recapture that the operation had to move, with Josephine, to Maragondon, the mountain redoubt in Cavite. She witnessed the Tejeros Convention prior to returning to Manila and was summoned by the Governor-General but owing to her stepfather's American citizenship, she could not be forcibly deported. She left voluntarily, returning to Hong Kong. She later married another Filipino, Vicente Abad, a mestizo acting as agent for the Philippine firm of Tabacalera. She died in Hong Kong in 1902, a pauper's death, buried in an unknown grave, and never knew how a line of verse had rendered her immortal.<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 14</ref>

Polavieja faced condemnation by his countrymen. Years after his return to Spain, while visiting Giron in Cataluña, circulars were distributed among the crowd bearing Rizal's last verses, his portrait, and the charge that to Polavieja was due the loss of the Philippines to Spain.

Criticism

Attempts to debunk legends surrounding Rizal, and the tug of war between free thinker and Catholic, have served to keep him a living issue. While some leaders, Gandhi for one, have been elevated to high pedestals and even deified, Rizal has remained a controversial figure. Some have succeeded in depicting his fallibility, such as the case of the numerous women in his life. In one recorded fall from grace, he had succumbed to temptation by a "lady of the camellias" in Austria, leading to a presumption that he had patronized "ladies of the night".<ref>These are obvious euphemisms. The writer, Maximo Viola, a friend of Rizal's, was alluding to Dumas's 1848 novel, La dame aux camelias, about a man who fell in love with a courtesan. While the affair was on record, there was no account in Viola's letter whether it was more than a one-night event and if it was more of a business transaction than an amorous affair</ref><ref>Ambeth Ocampo, Rizal without the Overcoat (Manila: Anvil Publishing Co., 1990). Rizal's third novel Makamisa was rescued from oblivion by Ocampo. See also [12] (Accessed 10 January 2007), and [13] (Accessed 10 January 2007).</ref>

Others present him as a man of contradictions. Miguel de Unamuno in "Rizal: the Tagalog Hamlet", said of him, "a soul that dreads the revolution although deep down desires it. He pivots between fear and hope, between faith and despair."<ref>Miguel de Unamuno, "The Tagalog Hamlet" in Rizal: Contrary Essays, edited by D. Feria and P. Daroy (Manila: National Book Store, 1968).</ref> His critics assert this character flaw is translated into his two novels where he opposes violence in Noli and appears to advocate it in Fili, contrasting Ibarra's idealism to Simoun's cynicism. His defenders insist this ambivalence is trounced when Simoun is struck down in the sequel's final chapters, reaffirming the author's resolute stance, Pure and spotless must the victim be if the sacrifice is to be acceptable.<ref name = "Fili">Jose Rizal, El Filibusterismo (Ghent: 1891) chap.39. (read online text at Project Gutenberg[14])</ref> In the same tenor, Rizal condemned the uprising when Bonifacio asked for his support. Bonifacio, in turn, openly denounced him as a coward for his refusal.<ref>Bonifacio denounced him, at the same time, he mobilized his men to attempt to liberate Rizal while in Ft. Santiago (Laubach, op.cit., chap. 15)</ref> Rizal believed that an armed struggle for independence was premature and ill-conceived. Here Rizal is speaking through Father Florentino: ...our liberty will (not) be secured at the sword's point...we must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when a people reaches that height God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.<ref name = "Fili"/>

Rizal never held a gun or sword in the battlefield to fight for freedom. This fact leads some to question his ranking as the nation's premier hero, with a few who believe in the beatification of Bonifacio in his stead. In his defense, the historian, Rafael Palma, contends that the revolution of Bonifacio is a consequence wrought by the writings of Rizal and that although the sword of Bonifacio produced an immediate outcome, the pen of Rizal generated a more lasting achievement.<ref>Rafael Palma, Pride of the Malay Race (New York: Prentice Hall, 1949) p. 367.</ref>

Legacy

Jose Rizal in the 2000 version of 1-peso coin.

Rizal's advocacy of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution makes him Asia's first modern non-violent proponent of political reforms. Forerunner of Gandhi and contemporary of Tagore and Sun Yat Sen, all four created a new climate of thought throughout Asia, leading to the attrition of colonialism and the emergence of new Asiatic nations by the end of World War II. Rizal's appearance on the scene came at a time when European colonial power had been growing and spreading, mostly motivated by trade, some for the purpose of bringing Western forms of government and education to peoples regarded as backward. Coinciding with the appearance of those other leaders, Rizal from an early age had been enunciating in poems, tracts and plays, ideas all his own of modern nationhood as a practical possibility in Asia. In the Noli he stated that if European civilization had nothing better to offer, colonialism in Asia was doomed.<ref>Also stated in his essay, "The Philippines: A Century Hence": The batteries are gradually becoming charged and if the prudence of the government does not provide an outlet for the currents that are accumulating, someday the sparks will be generated. (read etext at Project Gutenberg[15])</ref> Such was recognized by Gandhi who regarded him as a forerunner in the cause of freedom. Jawaharlal Nehru, in his prison letters to his daughter Indira, acknowledged Rizal's significant contributions in the Asian freedom movement. These leaders regarded these contributions as keystones and acknowledged Rizal's role in the movement as foundation layer.

Rizal appears on the obverse side of a 1970's Philippine peso coin

Rizal, through his reading of Morga and other western historians, knew of the genial image of Spain's early relations with his people<ref>Jose Rizal, "Indolence of the Filipino" (read online English translation at Project Gutenberg [16]) Accessed 10 January 2007</ref>. In his writings, he showed the disparity between the early colonialists and those of his day, with the latter's atrocities giving rise to Gomburza and the Philippine Revolution of 1896. His biographer, Austin Coates, and writer, Benedict Anderson, believe that Rizal gave the Philippine revolution a genuinely national character; and that Rizal's patriotism and his standing as one of Asia's first intellectuals have inspired others of the importance of a national identity to nation-building.<ref name = "Coates"/><ref>According to Anderson, Rizal is one of the best exemplars of nationalist thinking. Benedict Anderson, Under Three Flags: anarchism and the anti colonial imagination (London: Verso Publication, 2005). (See also [17])</ref>

Although his field of action lay in politics, Rizal's real interests lay in the arts and sciences, in literature and in his profession as an ophthalmologist. Shortly after his death, the Anthropological Society of Berlin met to honor him with a reading of a German translation of his farewell poem and Dr. Rudolf Virchow delivering the eulogy.<ref>Dr. Virchow's obituary on Rizal, 1897[18]</ref>.


The Taft Commission in June 1901 approved Act 137 renaming the District of Morong into the Province of Rizal, and Act 346 authorizing a government subscription for the erection of a national monument in Rizal's honor. Republic Act 1425 was passed in 1956 by the Philippine legislature that would include in all high school and college curricula a course in the study of his life, works and writings. The wide acceptance of Rizal is partly evidenced by the countless towns, streets, and numerous parks in the Philippines named in his honor, and monuments in such unlikely places as Madrid, Spain,<ref>http://www.artehistoria.com/tienda/banco/cuadros/20647.htm Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> Wilhelmsfeld, Germany,<ref>http://www.geocities.com/ufreytag/page5.html Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> Jinjiang, Fujian, China,<ref>http://www.inq7.net/globalnation/sec_new/2003/feb/01-05.htm</ref> Chicago,<ref>http://www.Knightsofrizal.org/content/ Accessed 10 January 2007</ref>, San Diego,<ref>http://byronik.com/ed010303.html Accessed 13 February 2007</ref>, and Seattle, U.S.A.;<ref>http://www.cityofseattle.net/Seattle/parks/parkspaces/joserizal.htm Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> and many poetic titles bestowed on him: "Pride of the Malay Race," "the First Filipino", "Greatest Man of the Brown Race," among others. The Order of the Knights of Rizal, a civic and patriotic organization, boasts of dozens of chapters all over the globe[19][20]. There are some remote-area religious sects who claim him as a sublimation of Christ.

Notes

<references/>

References

  • Anderson, Benedict (2005). Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imagination. London: Verso Pub. ISBN 1844670376
  • Cavanna, Jesus (1956). Rizal's Unfading Glory, A Documentary History of the Conversion of Dr. Jose Rizal.
  • Coates, Austin (1968). Rizal, Philippine Nationalist and Martyr. Oxford University Press.  ISBN 019581519X
  • Craig, Austin (1913). Lineage Life and Labors of Jose Rizal. Philippine Education Company. 
  • Joaquin, Nick (1977). A Question of Heroes: Essays and criticisms on ten key figures of Philippine History. Manila: Ayala Museum.
  • Laubach, Frank C. (1936), Rizal: Man and Martyr. Manila: Community Publishers
  • Medina, Elizabeth; Retana, W. (1998).Rizal according to Retana. Santiago, Chile: Virtual Multimedia. ISBN 9567483094
  • Ocampo, Ambeth (1990). Rizal without the Overcoat. Manila: Anvil Pub. Co ISBN 9712700437
  • Palma, Rafael (1949). Pride of the Malay Race. New York: Prentice-Hall. Inc.
  • Retana, Wenceslao (1907). Vida y Escritos del Dr. Jose Rizal. Madrid: Libreria General de Victoriano Suarez.
  • Rizal, Jose. Noli me Tangere translated by Soledad Locsin (1996). Manila: Ateneo de Manila. ISBN 9715691889
  • Rizal, Jose. El Filibusterismo translated by Andrea Tablan and Salud Enriquez (2001). Manila: Marian Publishing House. ISBN 9716861540
  • Rizal, Jose. (1889)."Sa mga Kababayang Dalaga ng Malolos" in Escritos Politicos y Historicos de Jose Rizal (1961). Manila: National Centennial Commission.
  • Runes, Ildefonso (1962). The Forgery of the Rizal 'Retraction'. Manila: Community Publishing Co.
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (2003) Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. Manila: National Bookstore. ISBN 9710805207
  • Epistolario Rizalino: 5 volumes, 1400 letters to and from Rizal (1930-38), edited by Teodoro Kalaw. Manila: Bureau of Printing.
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