By Jose David Lapuz, Knight Grand Cross of Rizal(KGCR),the highest, the greatest and the most distinguished rank within the gift of the Knights of Rizal, a Civic Association created by an Act of the Philippine Congress, whose Mission is to disseminate and propagandize the Principles, Teachings and the Patriotism of our National Hero.
Catedractico dela Vida, escritos y las Obras del Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal, Rizalista de Vanguardia, Knight Grand Cross of Rizal, International Relations Professor and Filipino Member from Asia of The Society of Catholic Social Scientists of America based in the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, USA and pursued post-graduate studies in the Methodology of International Relations, University of Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
The Horizon of the 19th Century as Backdrop to Rizal’s Internationalism:
The mid-century decades of national emancipation and unification which completely upset the arrangements established by the Congress of Vienna were followed by a new era of colonial expansion in which almost all of the non-European world was seized upon and partitioned by the Great Powers during a short span of thirty years. The Great States of the West, old and new alike, took to the path of empire once more and gained larger territories and more imposing dominions in a single generations than their ancestors had won during the three centuries following the circum-navigation of Africa and the discovery of America. The impact of European culture upon the older civilizations of the East and upon the primary peoples of the tropics resulted in almost every instance in the loss of political independence and in social and economic disorganization among the societies which were the victims of imperialism.
The course of empire-building and imperialism between 1881 and 1914 was marked by numerous minor wars between the European stares and native African and Asiatic communities and by one open conflict between Great
Powers: The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, in which Japan ousted Russia from South Manchuria and the Liaotung peninsula. The minor wars are almost too numerous to list.
I base my study of the international affairs and relations of the nineteenth century – the century of Rizal – upon the assumption or premise that it is useful and profitable to view international politics against its immediate background, namely, the states that were the imperialist powers of Western civilization and the congeries and complex of attitudes, behavior, patterns, institutions, procedures – in short, the psycho-milieu – which they have evolved and expanded in their dealings and relations with one another. Since international politics, such as I understand it, revolves around the competitive struggle for power and prestige between the units of the system, it is comprehensive and coherent only, I think, in terms of the general nature of the system and the specific habits and patterns of actions which have grown out of the interrelationships between its units.
The genius Dr. Jose Rizal, as he had shown in his essay, The Philippines Within a Century (1889-1890), perceived and recognized the habits and patterns of his century, the nineteenth, and dealt with them historically and realistically. Indeed, it is my considered judgment that the perspicacious and discerning Rizal adumbrated or foreshadowed, by a good number of years, the Realist Paradigm or Theory in International Politics.
Rizal was steeped in the history of his time, and he was also conversant with world politics which he termed “politica intercontinental.” His commentaries, were drawn by the lessons from history. Any fruitful and beneficial attempt to understand the nineteenth century must involve not only a knowledge of history, which Rizal possessed, but also a knowledge of how it has been interpreted by the most important scholars, intellectuals and leaders in the world – thanks to the many European savants whom Rizal befriended.
In his essay, The Philippines A Century Hence (“Filipinas dentro de cien anos” first published in La Solidaridad, Madrid, September 30, 1889 – February 1, 1890), Rizal provided a basis for interpretation and evaluation of the period of one hundred years starting in 1889. He examined the various actors, organizations and other social entities that played important role in global politics. Then, Rizal dealt with the impact on foreign policies and international relations of the various power of the 19th Century. Furthermore, Rizal analyzed the relationships among various categories and groupings of powers, the East versus West and the interaction of states in organization, such as political coalitions, economic communities, etc. Finally, Rizal took a comprehensive and extensive look at the international system as a whole, and made predictions. Rizal’s predictions were inferences from historical facts and were marked by scientific accuracy.
Rizal, through Basilio, said in Chapter VII of El Filibusterismo (published in 1891, in Ghent, Belgium).
“Within a few centuries, when humanity has become redeemed and enlightened, when there are no races, when all people are free, when there are neither tyrants nor slaves, colonies nor mother countries, when justice rules and man is a citizen of the world, the pursuit of science alone will remain, the word patriotism will be equivalent to fanaticism, and he who prides himself on patriotic ideas will doubtless be isolated as (one suffering from) a dangerous disease, as a menace to the world social order.”
To which Simoun answers in this way:
“Yes, yes… yet to reach that condition it is necessary that there be no tyrannical and enslaved people, it is necessary, that man go about freely, that he knows how to respect the rights of others in their own individuality, and for this there is yet much blood to be shed, the struggle forces itself forward.”
Rizal, as a Filipino of the purest gold, understood and interpreted, in a brilliant exegesis, the 19th century so profoundly that his intellectual and cerebral labors led to the redemption, comprehension, and enlightenment of the Filipinos, which, today is the greatest, the noblest, and the loftiest commitment of all. Pues bien deben saber que lo perfecto va con Dr. Jose Rizal, El Genio (Well, give way to the genius, Dr. Jose Rizal.)
In conclusion, we say that may this death anniversary of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, this diamond of a man, this orgullo de su pueblo, this Filipinista de Vanguardia, invigorate us to make a firm resolve to help bring about solidarity, unity, and a national esprit de corps so that we can all cooperate for justice, democracy, liberty, peace, progress, and prosperity, and rebuff any offered solutions to our national problems which would result in a flagrant and shameless disloyalty to and sellout of the brilliant and magnificent heritage of Dr. Jose Rizal. By his death in martyrdom, Rizal definitively defined for us what it means to be truly a Filipino.
Dr. Rizal as a Liberal Optimist-Realist in World Politics:
Dr. Jose Rizal was largely optimistic in international affairs and relations. Humans want to cooperate, he said, and could learn the lesson of international union and solidarity. He believed that conflict in international relations can be decreased by building and nourishing cooperative relationships. States are still the principal units to create a better international system but, overtime, the role of the states will diminish and shrink. Rizal believed that human beings can promote norms, provide vehicle for nation – states to learn collaboration, provide protection and help for small states (as compared with imperialist powers) to facilitate cooperation, interaction and coordination. The key concepts of his belief in the international order included peace, justice, democracy (in fact, many scholars on Jose Rizal regard Rizal as the “Thomas Jefferson of Asia”), nationalism and self-determination and civil liberties and human dignity. On the role of morality in international affairs and security, Rizal saw the importance of having norms of moral and ethical standard of conduct for both state and individual action and deportment.
It is astonishing and incredible to note that on the key and major concepts, norms, processes, and ideas of international affairs and politics, Dr. Jose Rizal had already written almost prophetically and prognostically – not only was Dr. Jose Rizal foretelling events, he was, in truth, advocating and speaking innovatively and creatively for a cause. He was, in fact, bringing in new methods and ideas. He was a pioneer, breaking new ground, blazing a trail, making alterations and changes – Rizal was, in a word, revamping, remodeling, MODERNIZING. There are many rich examples of these concepts in international politics and security from the fecund and fertile mind of Rizal.
Concepts, Rules, Norms and Benchmarks on International Politics Commented on by Rizal, -
I On Peace:
“I rejoice more when I contemplate mankind in the immortal march, always progressing, in spite of its faintings and falls, in spite of its deviations, because that shows me its glorious purpose, it tells me that it has been created for a better end than to be a pasture of flames, that fills me with confidence in God who will not let His work be damned, despite the devil and all our madness.” (Miscellaneous Correspondence, Vol. I and II Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, 1961 p.248.)
II On Travel and World Peregrination, -
“What revolution does not take place in the ideas of one who leaves his native land for the first time and travels through different countries x x x His judgment and ideas are rectified, many prejudices are dispelled; he examines close at hand what before he had judged unseen; he finds new things that suggest to him new ideas; he admires man in his greatness as he pities him in his wretchedness, the old, blind, exclusivism is converted into a universal and fraternal appreciation of the rest of the world. “ (Rizal’s Prose, p. 21.)
III Tolerance, Broadmindedness, Freedom from Bigotry or Prejudice and Understanding among Peoples and States, - “There in calm and slow conversation, with freedom to speak, we talked about our respective creeds on them. A great respect for the good faith of the adversary and for the differences in race, education, and age led us almost always to the conclusion that religions, whatever they might be, should not make men enemies of one another but rather brothers and real brothers. From those conversations, that were repeated almost every day for a period of more than three months, I do not believe I obtained anything , if any judgment does not deceive me, but a profound respect for every idea sincerely conceived and practiced with conviction.” (Miscellaneous Correspondence, pp. 205-206.)
IV Justice forms the cornerstone of friendship and cordiality amongst nations and peoples, - “I ask your enlightened and just administration to lift up my deportation if you find no merits for it and if you find me guilty, at least define it and submit me to the decision of the courts. It is already time, Most Excellent Sir, to reverse a decision that if it been dictated in a moment of rash haste, owing to circumstances that I cannot ascertain, now that it has been seen that neither peace has been altered nor have the spirits been over excited, there is no more reason for it to prevail and consequently to continue. Fortunately, for governments and peoples have passed away those times when it was believed that prestige was acquired only through harsh acts of an inflexible and blind policy. Your Excellency has proven enough times during your rule in Cataluña (in Spain) that the best and most enduring prestige is one based on the love of the people and the sentiment of justice, the most powerful means of assuring order and establish unity and respect among different or antagonistic races.” (Miscellaneous Correspondence pp. 288-296.)
V True and worthy dignity of the human person is the crowning virtue that embraces human freedom, justice and peace in the world, - “You harbor the best intention, you want the Spaniards to embrace us brothers. I am convinced that you like us much and that you also wish the good of Spain, but we do not solicit Spain’s compassion. We do not want compassion but justice.”
“Neither obscurantism and fanaticism not oppression or superstition ever bind nor have they ever bound peoples. On the other hand, liberty, rights, and love group distinct races around the same standard, one aspiration, one destiny.” (Rizal – Blumentritt Correspondence, Part One, pp. 304-305.)
VI Self-respect, among peoples and among states, is a way or instrument for man’s perfection, - “In my opinion, self-esteem is the greatest good that God has endowed man with for his perfection and purity saving him from many unworthy and base acts when he forgets the precepts he had learned or had been inculcated in him. Precisely for me self-esteem is dignity when it is not passionate and it is moderated by judgment. It is like the sap that impels the tree to turn upward in search of the sun, the force that launches a steamship on its course.
“God gave each one his own mind and his conscience so that he can distinguish between right and wrong. All are born without chains, free and no one can subject the will of another. Why would you submit to another your noble and free thought?”
“God, fountain of wisdom, does not expect man, created in His image, to allow himself to be fooled and blinded. Men were not created by God to be enslaved, neither were they endowed with intelligence in order to be misled, nor adorned with reason to be fooled by others.” (Miscellaneous Correspondence, p. 188; Political and Historical Writings, pp. 57, 65.)
VII Reasons for revolution and why free souls are in revolt, -
“If you continue the system of banishments, imprisonments, and sudden assaults for nothing, if you will punish the Filipinos for your own faults, you will make them desperate, you take away from them the horror of revolutions and disturbances, you harden them and excite them to fight. Treat the people well, teach them the sweetness of peace so that may adore it and maintain it.” (Political and Historical Writings, pp. 92-92.)
VIII Peace is first kept within man and then man radiates peace to the world and humankind, - “I do not mean to say that our liberty will be secured at the sword’s point, for the sword plays but little part in modern affairs, but that we must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it, by exalting the intelligence and the dignity of the individuals, by loving justice, right and greatness, even to the extent of dying for them – and when a people reaches that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, the tyranny will crumble like a house of cards and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.” (El Filibusterismo, p. 360.)
IX Rizal bats for independence, and eloquently fights for self-determination and the right of peoples to rule over themselves. Powerful self-will and self-reliance will lead to genuine independence. In this respect, Dr. Jose Rizal who wrote his thoughts to the end of colonialism on November 14, 1888 was in advance of and up ahead of the United Nations establishment in 1945 by a good number of 57 years. –
“A country should have colonies only when she has too many people and too much culture at home, and then she should pledge herself to promote the happiness and welfare of her colonies.”
“If a colonizing nation cannot make her colonies happy, she ought to abandon them and give them their liberty. No one has the right to make others unfortunate.” (The Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence, Manila, Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, 1961, p. 215.)
X The role of travel as the great convenor of peoples. “To see one promontory, one mountain, sea, one river, and see all,” says the Greek Philosopher Socrates. Travel teaches global peace and toleration, -
“The patriarchal era in the Philippines is waning; the deeds of her illustrious sons are no longer wasted away at home. The oriental chrysalis is leaving the cocoon. The morrow of a long day for those regions (the Philippines) is announced in brilliant tints and rose colored dawns, then that race, fallen into lethargy during the historic night while the sun illumines other continents, again awakens, moved by the electric impact that contact with Western peoples produces, and, she demands light, life, and civilization that at one time they bequeath her, thus confirming the eternal laws of constant evolution, of change, of periodicity, of progress.” (Political and Historical Writings, pp. 18, 21)
XI The so-called “Indolence of the Filipinos,” –
In his sociological and anthropological analysis “Concerning the Indolence of the Filipinos (Sobre la indolencia de los Filipinos, La Solidaridad, 15 July 1890) Rizal said that “a man in the Philippines is only an individual, he is not a member of the nation.” Further, Rizal wrote:
“The evil is not that indolence exists more or less latently but that it is fostered and magnified. Among men, as well as among nations, there exist not only aptitudes but also tendencies toward good and evil.”
- Rizal, Indolence of the Filipino People
“Under the present circumstances, we do not desire separation from Spain; all that we ask is for greater attention, better education, better government employees, one or two delegates and more security for us and our properties. Spain could win the appreciation of the Filipinos if she were only reasonable. But as the Latin saying goes, ‘Quos vult perdere Jupiter, prius dementat.’ (He whom Jupiter wishes to lose, he first makes him lose his mind).”
- Epistolario de Rizal, 139
“A country should have colonies only when she has too many people and too much culture at home and then she should pledge herself to promote the welfare and happiness of her colonies. If a colonizing nation cannot make her colonies happy, she ought to abandon them and give them their liberty. No one has the right to make others unfortunate!”
- Jose Rizal
“Law has no skin, reason has no nostrils.”
- (The Philippines: A Century Hence)
Dr. Rizal supplied the ideas of development and modernization that kindled some movements that changed the destiny and providence of the Philippines. He sparked and aroused such Filipinos as Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, M.H. del Pilar and Emilio Jacinto – these Filipinos became the extensions, the continuity of Rizal’s brain. Rizal always provided the ideas, the concepts, the brainstorm for the actions of the other great
Filipinos. The novels and other works of Rizal and his eventual execution thru musket gun fires struck the Filipinos’ brains and hearts to wrath and fury against Spanish tyranny, persecution, suppression and mismanagement. Rizal’s ideas on political modernization are still very far from actualization.
Dr. Rizal Organizes the Convening of “An International Association of Filipinologists”:
As an internationalist (el estudiante de intercontinental politica, as Rizal called himself) Dr. Jose Rizal wanted to gather together all the great scholars and savants on the “Philippine Cause.” He thought of holding it in the great, classical City of Paris, then, with London, the intellectual and cerebral capital of the Western World. In this project, Rizal was assisted by Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt and the Filipino Association aspired “to study the Philippines from the scientific and historical point of view.” It would assemble international congresses, hold public competitions in the fine arts and endeavor to establish a biblioteca publica, un museo and publish un libro de biblioteca sobre Filipinas and written by los conocidos especialistas (This project would be something like the “United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).”) The proffered Junta Directiva consisted of:
Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt (Austrian) – Presidente
Edmund Plauchut (Frenchman) – Vice President
Dr. Reinhold Rost (Anglo-German) – Counselor or Consojero
Dr. Antonio Regidor (Filipino) – another Counselor or Consojero
Jose Rizal (Filipino) – Secretary to the Board.
Sad to say, the plan to convene the International Congress throughout the course of the Paris Exposition which lasted from May 6, 1889 up to November 7, 1889 was not carried out because France confined the period of the international congress to only six (6) months from May to October of the year 1889. Nevertheless, the tireless, inexhaustible, vigorous, spirited, unflagging and unfaltering Internacionalista de Vanguardia Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal attended many of the sixty-nine (69) international conferences conducted during the world-wide Paris Exposition (Una Exposicion de Paris el Siglo Diecinueve). May I advance the view that during this Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Rizal, we sponsor a similar Exposicion to bring Dr. Jose Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda to the awareness, recognition, cognizance and mindfulness of the whole civilized world. For, truth to tell, Rizal belongs to the ages and to all the generations of the human race. I further propose that the topics of discussion include the international order, evolution of world politics, globalization, transnationalism, international law, international organization, international morality, NATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, GLOBAL ECONOMY, ECONOMIC COOPERATION, ENHANCING HUMAN RIGHTS, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, POPULATION, RESOURCES, the ENVIRONMENT, FOOD SECURITY, HEALTH EDUCATION and so on and so forth.
XII On Nationalism –
For Rizal, nationalism, which is loyalty and devotion to our nation and the sense of national consciousness exalting our nation and placing her along with other nations, underscoring our culture, our values and our other interests, comprised principally his never ending battle. It is as though, to Rizal, our nation had a national memory that got us in shape and prepared us for our decisions, determinations and choices. The idea of nationality and nationalism was necessary and crucial to our political growth, and had a vitality, a spirit, an energy, that is to say, a robustness, that can go above and beyond national frontiers. To Rizal, it is not enough to think nationally, or even regionally, but that we must think internationally, globally, even intercontinentally. Nationalism, which is made sacred by patriotism so that it does not degenerate into national egotism or smug and arrogant braggadocio, then leads the Filipino to become a true “citizen of the world”, to quote the Greek philosopher, Diogenes (412-323 B.C.), or “un ciudad-ano verdaderamente cosmopolita o mundial”. No wonder Rizal wrote a letter to Mariano Ponce, dated 27 July 1888, Epistolario Rizalino, Vol. II, 32-36.) stating: “Let this be our only motto: For the welfare of the Native Land. On the day when all Filipinos should think like him (M.H. del Pilar) and like us, on that day we shall have fulfilled our arduous mission, which is the formation of the Filipino nation.” And in an eloquent speech, “Farewell to 1883”, Rizal affirmed in a soul-stirring, heartrending poignant declaration thus: “In my heart I have suppressed all loves, except that of my native land; in my mind I have erased all ideas which do not signify her progress; and my lips have forgotten the names of the native races in the Philippines in order not to say more than Filipinos.” And, finally, so that I can tie up the loose ends on nationalism, Dr. Rizal wrote a sarcastic, almost caustic and sneering, letter to Reverend Father Vicente Garcia, in Madrid, on January 7, 1891, as published in Epistolario Rizalino, Volume III, No. 432 pp. 137 where Rizal bitterly declared: “The smallness of the advancement that the Filipinos have made in three centuries of Hispanism is all due, (in my opinion) to the fact that our talented men have died without bequeathing to us nothing more than the fame of their names XXX There is then individual progress or improvement in the Philippines, but there is no national, general progress. The individual is the only one who improves and not the species.”
Rizal in Dapitan, banished in 1892-1896, -
Rizal lived in exile in far-away Dapitan, a remote town in Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao which was under the Jesuits, who were in charge of the Catholic Evangelization of Mindanao. This four-year inter regnum in the life of Rizal was extremely fruitful and copious and abundant with many feats and achievements. He practiced medicine, pursued scientific projects and studies, went on with his artistic, humanistic and literacy works, broadened his linguistic interests (Rizal knew 23 languages and he was fluent in Spanish, German and French), built a school for boys, fostered and promoted community development projects, invented a wooden machine for baking small, usually rectangular, blocks of fired or sun-dried clay, which are bricks used in building, involved in farming and commerce and he even had time to preoccupy himself in lotto games (the Spanish lottery). In addition, this all-universal man, this Renaissance Man, carried on correspondence with his family, kin’s, siblings, fellow political reformists, illustrious scientists, scholars, professors, savants, scientific experts, academicians, anthropologists, etymologists, linguists and cultural anthropologist. He sent and received letters and studies to such illustrious personages as Ferdinand Blumentritt, Dr. A. B. Meyer, W. Joest of Berlin, S. Knuttle of Stuttgart, N.M. Keihl of Prague or Praha and Reinhold Rost. Incidentally, it is said that Rizal, the musician, composed the song “Leonor”, “El Canto del Prisoner”, and “Alin Mang Lahi.”
There are indications that Dr. Rizal dealt with ecological concerns and, by his friendships with eminent and distinguished scientists and scholars of Europe such as Ferdinand Blumentritt, Reinhold Rost, A.B. Meyer, W. Joest of Berlin, S. Knuttle of Stuttgart and N.M. Keihl of Prague, Rizal believed in cooperation. Of course, even now, the problems are immense and complex; barriers to cooperation are formidable failure to find solutions carry potentially dire consequences.
Rizal found Dapitan and other places in Zamboanga an ideal place for collecting specimens for scientific study. Accompanied by his students, Rizal explored the forest and seacoast looking for specimen of insects, plants, seashells and other aquatic lives. He examined carefully every specimen to find out its potential value. He sent different types of specimen, e.g., insects, birds, fish, snakes and shells to Dr. Meyer. Some of the specimens he sent were rare and had not been known yet which were named in his honor by the European scientists. Among these specimens were Draco Rizali (a flying dragon), Apogonio Rizali (a small beetle), and Rhacaphorus Rizali (a rare frog).
In payment of these valuable specimens and in recognition of his effort, the European scientists sent him scientific books, journals, magazines and surgical instruments.
Rizal in a Larger Perspective:
Rizal’s quest for knowledge was boundless - it was unlimited; it was never-ending. He conducted researches and studies in anthropological, ethnographical, archeological, geographical and geological field of knowledge.
Rizal today has become politically useful, but Rizal was not a politician in the contemporary sense. Rizal did not even pretend to be a political leader. Rizal has continued to address us in the political sense because he remained basically as an intellectual, as a cerebral thinker and a writer. We get his political message through his works and his writings. Not through anecdotes or short accounts that are cute and entertaining.
I emphasize this important point because in our culture we have tended to identify the political worth of individuals in terms of their involvement in politics. Wala kang cuenta kung hindi ka nakadikit sa politico. Wala kang halaga kung wala kang boss na politico. Dapat marami kang kakilalang politicians, senators, congressman, government officials, etc., etc. This is precisely what Rizal had consistently tried to avoid.
We can here define a positive formulation of Rizal’s role. He was content, like Apolinario Mabini, to remain the BRAINS, the INTELLIGENCE, the INTELLECT, the BRAIN-POWER, the THINKER of the REVOLUTION. He was an arbiter of values – he was a passionate partisan for freedom. As a social thinker, he was very close to the ideas of Francois VOLTAIRE, Denis DIDEROT and Charles de Montesquieu. Rizal truly belonged to the Enlightenment of the 18th Century.
Rizal premised his hopes and aspirations on EDUCATION – Por la educacion recibe lustre la patria. He also premised his hopes on the general enlightenment and illumination of the people. Of course, it was obvious that enlightenment could not be possible unless the colonial and imperialist status quo was first demolished and dismantled. There must be an upheaval or revolutionary turbulence that would make possible what Rizal was advocating.
Herein lies the greatness of Rizal – his reliance on INTELLIGENCE cognitive insight, intellect and TRUTH and the tenacity, the unswerving determination, the persevering obstinacy in upholding them.
To have such brilliant and enlightening parallel lives and equivalence as Rizal, Gandhi and Nehru; Rizal and Sun Yat Sen; Rizal, Jefferson and Lincoln; Rizal and Juarez and Jose Marti. Rizal and Benjamin Franklin is to widen the reach of this essay-dissertation and this is as it ought to be for the lives and vigor of such personages of destiny – of persons of such rank and importance – converge or rendezvous in a confluence in that junction of vision and quest that in the lyrical, (rhapsodic) words of Albert Camus (1913-1960) “transcend national barriers with an effulgence that reaches even the stars.” The lives of these luminaries give us, in the words of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), “a gleam of time between two eternities.”
On this day of Martyrdom- Heroism of Dr. Jose Rizal, may we be brought one step closer to the attainment of Rizal’s dream – a nation worthy of its freedoms, esteemed and admired not so much for its material power as for its moral and ethical dignity, a people rising to its deserved distinction in the group of free peoples, because we have kept faith with the teachings and ideas of Dr. Jose Rizal.
We Filipinos, deserve a better fate, a destiny realized in happiness and prosperity, and we will achieve these, if only we will affirm that such a noble destiny is our inalienable right.
Lastly, to conclude:
Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal left behind him a rich, sumptuous, abundant and abounding heritage of worthy precepts and nationalistic teachings and principles from which our beloved nation shall continue to draw wisdom, insight, vision and inspiration. In every important public question – especially the issue of our national identity and dignity, Rizal always and eloquently spoke in the full panoply and brilliant efflorescence of his genius, definitely statesmanlike and clear-visioned and with our national pride and interest paramount and dominant in his mind. In this poetical and lyrical sense, Rizal has not died. Rizal has acquired a permanent validity in our culture and our history and has made an enduring, everlasting contribution to the national heritage. Rizal was una perla del hombre and I, once in a forum-colloquium, described Rizal as genio de su raza and un Filipino de oro mas puro.
Hero-worshipping exists about Rizal because, says Thomas Carlyle, “hero-worshipping will forever exist universally among mankind.” A hero, such as Rizal, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) the American transcendentalist essayist and writer, “is never braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” And in the winter of our discontent, Rizal shines like the glorious sun!”
I am hearkening again to the eloquent voice of Rizal across all these years – it is soothing, calming, comforting, and quieting voice, it is a sound formed in the brain and uttered by lips that speak the truth:
“What are you doing for the country that made you what you are, that gives you life and knowledge? Don’t you realize that a life which is not dedicated to a great idea is useless? It is a pebble lost in the field, when it should form a part of some building.”
Through the sage Father Florentino, Rizal says:
“xxx as long as the Filipino people do not have sufficient vigor to proclaim, head held high and chest bared, their right to a life of their own in human society, and to guarantee it with their sacrifices, with their very blood; as long as we see our countrymen feel privately ashamed, hearing a growl of their rebelling and protesting conscience while in public they keep silent and even join the oppressor in mocking the oppressed; as long as we see them wrapping themselves up in their selfishness and praising with forced smiles the most despicable acts, begging with their eyes for a share of the booty, why give them independence?” and - - lyrically, mellifluously these silvery, impassioned and emotional words of Padre Florentino in Noli Me Tangere
“we must win our freedom by deserving it, by improving the mind and enhancing the dignity of the individual, loving what is just, what is good, what is great, to the point of dying for it.”
Speaking for myself alone, and for the whole Filipino people, to discover Rizal is to discover the Filipino; to discover the Filipino is to discover Rizal.
Pues! Bien deben saber que lo perfecto
Va con Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal, El Justo,
EL CAMPEON! EL VENCEDOR! y UN GANADOR!
(Very well, give way to what is perfect
Give way to Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal the Just
The Champion! The Conqueror! The Victorious!)
With Rizal, as our turn of mind and frame of reference, there is a critical need for a governance-management that is earnest and dedicated, generous and altruistic and honest and above board; a governance-management that looks out for the people and responds to their grievances and complaints; a governance-management that leads the sovereign people by persuasion and exhortation rather than by force and violence; a governance-management that is principled and moral and adheres to the force of civic, virtues, values and self-respect and merit of the individual; a government-leadership that creates a vision, expresses and elucidates the vision, and tenaciously and resolutely accomplishes the vision; a governance-management that generates, not just more followers, but more leaders; and finally, a government-management that cares not just how well and stable the affairs of government go after they left office. After all, leadership is not first telling the people they are the “boss”; leadership leads the people where they do not naturally want to but ought to, have to, need to, be obliged to or required to.
How then will the Filipino people, but the youth most specifically, respond to these stirring, cogent, and forceful interrogations posed by Dr. Jose Rizal:
“Where are the youth who will dedicate their innocence, their idealism, their enthusiasm to the good of the country? Where are they who will give generously of their blood to wash away so much shame, crime and abomination? Pure and immaculate, must be the victim for the sacrifice to be acceptable. Where are you, young men and women, who are to embody in yourselves the life force that has been drained from our veins, the pure ideals that have grown stained in our minds, the fiery enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await you, come, for we await you!”
Your words, Rizal are undying and immortal expressions, and they have reverberated, and will continue to reverberate in our moral principles, across a wide time span, like the weeping and commiserations of a true martyred-prophet. Go, then, Rizal into the peace that is the Lord’s “et in alarum tuarum confugio donec transeat inequitas. And you, Rizal, will seek safety under the wings of the Lord’s till the passing of iniquity!