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RIZAL AS RELIGION, CONSTANTINO AS DOGMA
Two years ago, I posted Rizal as Religion, a review by Prof. Roland G. Simbulan (YONIP) written about the book "A Nation Aborted," authored by Prof. Floro Quibuyen.
(Note that I entitled the book review as "Rizal: Reformist or Revolutionary?)
Late last month, Prof. Quibuyen came across the above posting and emailed to request for the sake of fairness that I post his response "Constantino as Dogma" which I frankly was not aware of; thus this below posting: Constantino as Dogma: Reply to Simbulan's "Rizal as Religion" - by Floro Quibuyen.
Personally, although History is not my profession, I have a very deep interest in it. History drives me to backpack a lot especially to Western Europe; which has influenced to a degree our "modernized" or westernized way of thinking, and the large relevance to our Spanish cultural heritage that includes some of our (acquired) native Filipino customs, values and Christian religiosity - for good or bad.
I have not researched yet as much as I want about Jose Rizal though I think and believe that per definition he was not truly a revolutionary; though he was a great reformist who wrote to expose the abuses of the Spanish rulers and religious friars in the homeland. I think and believe that the likes of Andres Bonifacio are truly revolutionary; and Apolinario Mabini was more of a revolutionary and nationalistic thinker than Rizal.
[Mabini, the "brains of the Katipunan/Revolution", urged his fellow Filipinos not to give aid to either the Spanish or the Americans; but to capture as much of the islands as possible so that the Americans -who were sure to be victors- would become convinced that here we have a strong and organized people that know how to defend their honor." Of course, our disunity, which was exhibited right from the beginning of the Katipunan doomed the national independence movement.
Back in 1987, retired CIA Agent Joseph B. Smith in his very personal story/book "Portrait of a Cold Warrior, -Second Thoughts of A Top CIA Agent," narrated (page 275) a conversation he had with then Ambassador Bohlen whereby the latter said:..."I want to tell you something I don't want you to let Recto know. Do you realize that the selection of Rizal as national hero for the Filipinos was (William Howard)Taft's doing?"
Taft quickly decided that it would be extremely useful for the Filipinos to have a national hero of their revolution against the Spanish in order to channel their feelings and focus their resentment backward on Spain. But he told his advisers that he wanted it to be someone who really wasn't so much a revolutionary that, if his life were examined too closely or his works read too carefully, this could cause us any trouble. He chose Rizal as the man who fit his model."
I do not doubt the veracity of Smith's story.
But today the bottom line is: it is time to and way overdue that we emulate all of our heroes -then and now, to decide and act with the nationalistic needs of our present (and future) time.
Definitions: In politics, a revolutionary is someone who supports abrupt, rapid, and drastic change, while a reformist is someone who supports more gradual and incremental change. A conservative is someone who opposes all such changes. A reactionary is someone who wants things to go back to the way they were before the change has happened. (WIKIPEDIA)
"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall." - Che Guevara
But how could a scholarly study contribute, as Simbulan alleges, to the further mystification of Rizal? Is Simbulan declaring by innuendo that I am guilty of card stacking, that is, of suppressing contrary evidence. But Simbulan, as reviewer, has the responsibility to show that this is the case, and not simply insinuate it. Any reader can see that I have engaged with practically every author who espouses the orthodoxy, as well with scholars who come up with new perspectives that, in my view, are not supported by the documentary evidence. For example, in Chapter 3, I critique Benedict Anderson's new perspective on Rizal and Philippine nationalism--which Simbulan completely ignores, or perhaps has not read.
If more and more Calambas and Dapitans could sprout all over the archipelago, a massive movement for social transformation could emerge. This could bring about the reform of civil society on a national scale. In such a situation Spain would have no choice but grant the demands of the people. But if, given such a social momentum, Spain refuses to budge, the people would be better prepared to rise up in arms. With a united people and a strengthened civil society, a revolution would have a better chance of fulfilling its dreams. (312-313)