Are you with me??..
Veneration without understanding link for the article
VENERATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING: MY ANALYSIS
“More than a hundred years ago, a hero was born. He was regarded as one of those who fought for freedom, not through the literally revolutionary way, but through his works and writings. He fought the bloodless way, for he believed that the pen is mightier than the sword.” – Quite familiar? It’s because this is actually the usual introduction we hear whenever we speak of Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda… the doctor, the writer, the economist, the philosopher, our national hero.
“Veneration Without Understanding” by Renato Constantino is not just a simple article (or essay) about Rizal. It is a much deeper analysis of the real story behind his being a national hero, the aspects that contributed to such recognition, his condemnation of the revolution, and other factors which are not reflected on history books… - factors which we fail to converse over the years. He also had a discussion of the concept of Filipino nationhood, the metamorphosis of the term “Filipino”, and how Rizal viewed the terms, “independence” and “liberty” as words whose meanings are apart from each other.
Admit it. We are all regarding Dr. Jose Rizal as one of our role models. We look up to him and “praise” him for that slight contribution he did for us to gain colonial independence. It was so surprising, however, that there are, still, a lot of things that we do not know about him and what really happened during his existence. Constantino was right when he made mention of how we are blinded by our adoration of how great Rizal was…of how martyr he was…of how he died for our country through unjust execution by the Spaniards.
The writer, as I can assess, is not an anti-Rizal one. Rather, he is just trying to inculcate how important is the necessity of looking into a much deeper sense, the attributes of a real and true hero…the factors that should be considered so as to call someone, a hero. Is it because he died for our country? Or is it because he had enough courage to fight a losing battle, despite the fact that all he wanted to do was to surrender?
The role and contribution of Rizal, according to Constantino, must be evaluated in the context of his particular reality within the general reality of this time. True enough, he was a necessary moment in our history. But like all things, he was just a moment. And though his heroism amounted to being recognized for all time, we cannot say that his ideas should be the yardstick of our aspirations…that despite the fact that he is a Filipino we can be proud of, we should not consider him as the whole basis or determinant of our national goals.
As each day passes by, society evolves into a higher level of organization thereby needing and creating higher forms of heroism. Every nation is always discovering or rediscovering heroes in the past or in the present. Therefore, we must always be ready to admit at one point that a hero’s applicability ceases to be of current value. A true appreciation of Rizal would require us to study social criticisms against him and take steps to correct, if not, eradicate the evils he decried.
Accordingly, we should start now. Start examining Rizal’s limitations and profit from his weaknesses just as we have learned from the strength of his character and virtues. Nobody’s perfect. A hero’s weaknesses, is society’s weaknesses. Rizal’s weaknesses were his society’s weaknesses. Every little thing he did was a product of the society which nurtured and formed him as a whole individual.
In conclusion, let me quote one part of the article:
“We must discard the belief that we are incapable of producing the heroes of our epoch, that heroes are exceptional beings, accidents of history who stand above the masses and apart from them. He true hero is one with the masses: he does not exist above them. In fact, a whole people can be heroes given the proper motivation and articulation of dreams.”
Let us be heroes of our time. This need not be further elaborated. For in its true sense, it can be easily understood.