When we hear the name Jose Rizal, what usually comes into mind? More often than not, a figure clad in in an overcoat would surely be it.
Decades ago, I encountered Jose Rizal in the mandatory Rizal Course in college. I found him utterly boring. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most authors portray him as a person holier than thou and so utterly unreachable. However, if we take away the overcoat, that idiotic flat affect mug, we can plainly see a man. Not just a man, but a pseudo-subversive man with a wit that conjures up the word, cynic. Many know Rizal only from the brainwashing they received all their life regarding this "hero of heroes". Rizal is a hero because of the The Rizal Law. By law Rizal is taught in all of the schools. It is taught that he is a national hero. There is no room in this law for dissent. If you question, you are considered unpatriotic.
And from whence did this quote "Ang 'di marunong magmahal, sa sariling wika, ay higit ang amoy sa mabahong isda"? It certainly does not come from Rizal. He tried to write a book in Tagalog and epically failed in 1892 after completing only a chapter of his "Makamisa". The aforementioned quote comes from a poem “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” which he supposedly wrote when he was just 8 years old. That is total poppycock! The poem was posthumously published ten years after his execution in Libreria Manila-Filatelico, 1906 by the poet Herminigildo Cruz as an appendix. As to who actually wrote that poem, it definitely is not Rizal. Yes, his writings may have inspired some revolutionaries but isn't it also true, his books were written in Spanish? Weren't his books meant for a Spanish-speaking lot and not Filipino, or in this case, indio?
Gospel truth: All of Rizals poems are in Spanish. Check the NHI. According to Ambeth Ocampo, the preeminent and infamous Rizal scholar in the country today, the two main suspects who wrote “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” are the poets Herminigildo Cruz or Gabriel Beato Francisco. Year after year, decade after decade, school children are brainwashed into believing that Rizal wrote "Ang 'di marunong magmahal, sa sariling wika, ay higit ang amoy sa mabahong isda". Rizal and that quote? Total tosh.
But I digress, what would make Rizal truly palatable to the youth today? Perhaps the values he seem to embody is not who he really was. He was a philanderer. A fact which so-called biographers seem to forget or conveniently forget to mention. Hell, he had a woman in every country he visited. By today's standard, he might be considered as the poster boy for RA9262.
Rizal was no saint. That much is a fact, he's no god either, though these Rizalistas say he really is. Fact of the matter is, he is as normal as your regular Juan de la Cruz.
The ideals he inspired are nothing more but the creations of the so-called biographers in order to paint a picture of him as the self-less hero thrust upon the cusp of and the rising feeling of nationalism.
He was definitely no hero. Not for me anyway. He believed that the revolution would not bring anything and that independence should not be an option for the indios. Hero indeed.
He wanted reforms, reforms in how Spain governed the Philippines and he wanted our islands to still become a part of the Spanish Crown. He did not come from the working class of people in the Philippines. He came from a privileged class called the "illustrados". During his entire life, Rizal was faithful to the Crown of Spain. He was opposed to the armed revolution and volunteered his services to Spain to do whatever he could to stop it. He volunteered to go to Cuba in the service of Spain to help serve Spain against the forces of the revolutionaries in Cuba who were suffering the same repression that Filipinos were.
If such is the picture of who Rizal really was, would those yokels still want him to be our so-called national hero? I really doubt it.
Bonifacio was a better person. He believed in taking hold of the hand that fate dealt him and took into his hands by force what Rizal only dreamed and wrote about.
Going back to the issue on palatability of Jose Rizal as a hero. He's still unpalatable as last week's left overs.
Give me a hero who bears arms and smites his enemies. That's my kind of hero. Not someone who's being touted as great just because he is a Malay and all that bullshit written by Zaide and cohorts or by law that enforces brainwashing.
Is he really Malay? He's a chink. A Chino. Not Malay.
Is he really chock-full of those virtues and morals history seem to brainwash us into believing? Definitely not. I would rather see a dissected Jose Rizal. Rizal the man without the overcoat and definitely without that heavenly halo.
But history and culture tells us that if we want to glorify a person, we tend to forget how he was a person and glorify him for our own selfish reasons. (to sell books, perhaps?)
I certainly do not glorify him. Irreverent as it may sound, his spirit is long gone and dead. No matter how much we tout him a great Filipino (which he was definitely not), he is nothing more than just another hopeless Romantic who did not want nor even advocate independence for this damned republic which we now have. (Maybe he was right all along?)