Why Rizal Did Not Deserve to Be the Philippines’s National Hero

Today, Dec. 30, is Rizal Day, the commemoration of the death anniversary of Jose Rizal, the national hero. As usual, Filipinos will be subjected to hagiographic stories about him. To be sure, Rizal was a great man. But, as Renato Constantino explains in his classic “Veneration Without Understanding,” he did not deserve to be the Philippines’s national hero.

“In the histories of many nations,” Constantino writes, “the national revolution represents a peak of achievement to which the minds of man return time and again in reverence and for a renewal of faith in freedom. For the national revolution is invariably the one period in a nation’s history when the people were most united, most involved, and most decisively active in the fight for freedom. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that almost always the leader of that revolution becomes the principal hero of his people. There is Washington for the United States, Lenin for the Soviet Union, Bolivar for Latin America, Sun Yat Sen, then Mao Tse-Tung for China and Ho Chi Minh for Vietnam. The unity between the venerated mass action and the honored single individual enhances the influence of both.

“In our case, our national hero was not the leader of our Revolution. In fact, he repudiated that Revolution.”(PinoyPress)

3 Responses to “Why Rizal Did Not Deserve to Be the Philippines’s National Hero”

  1. josé miguel Says:

    Presenting the true value of Rizal is as steep an uphill battle as presenting the true image of the Americans in the Philippines before us the Filipinos.

  2. josé miguel Says:

    Either it should be disseminated to the younger generation or program should start from a nationalistic government.

  3. pekpekshort:D Says:

    Rizal was a genius and may have been sincere in his love for Filipino compatriots, but still he lack perception of other vitally important issues and perhaps he even lack the right spirit. He may have been afraid of the risks when supporting a movement for CHANGE, he would rather speculate that Spain will grant the Filipinos better conditions in the future and would be willing to wait. Rizal, being a mestizo, was experiencing internal conflict for he love his own compatriots, but at the same time he also love Spain and also enjoy the benefits of being in elite class. Nevertheless, he made his own great contribution in his own way as a Filipino hero in the history.
    As with regards to his status among the other national heroes, I do not consider him above the others, all of them made their own contributions.
    Perhaps a few line of words would be worth sharing,
    Be Open with Ourselves and Accept the Responsibilities that had been Left to Us.
    We Need Spirit that Manifest in Action.

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