Jose Rizal

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896, Bagumbayan), was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is considered a national hero of the Philippines, and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

The seventh of eleven children born to a wealthy family in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts. He enrolled in Medicine and Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain, where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages. He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries against the Spanish colonial authorities.

As a political figure, Jose Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.

Writings of Rizal

Rizal was a very prolific author from a young age. Among his earliest writings are El Canto de los Dioses, A la juventud filipina, Canto del viajero, Canto de María Clara, Me piden versos, Por la educación, Junto al Pasig, etc. On his early writings he frequently depicted renowned Spanish explorers, kings and generals, and pictured Education (the Philippines enjoyed a free public system of education established by the Spaniards) as "the breath of life instilling charming virtue". He had even written of one of his Spanish teachers as having brought "the light of the eternal splendor".

The content of his writings change considerably on José Rizal's most famous two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These writings angered both the Spaniards colonial elite and some of the hispanized Filipinos due to their insulting symbolism. They are highly critical of Spanish friars and the atrocities committed in the name of the Church. Rizal's first critic was Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Czech professor and historian whose first reaction was of misgiving. Blumentritt was the grandson of the Imperial Treasurer at Vienna in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. This did not dissuade him however from writing the preface of El filibusterismo after he had translated Noli me Tangere into German. Noli was published in Berlin (1887) and Fili in Ghent (1891) with funds borrowed largely from Rizal's friends. As Blumentritt had warned, these led to Rizal's prosecution as the inciter of revolution and eventually, to a military trial and execution. The intended consequence of teaching the natives where they stood brought about an adverse reaction, as the Philippine Revolution of 1896 took off virulently thereafter.
Leaders of the reform movement in Spain: Left to Right: Rizal, del Pilar, and Ponce

As leader of the reform movement of Filipino students in Spain, he contributed essays, allegories, poems, and editorials to the Spanish newspaper La Solidaridad in Barcelona. The core of his writings centers on liberal and progressive ideas of individual rights and freedom; specifically, rights for the Filipino people. He shared the same sentiments with members of the movement: that the Philippines is battling, in Rizal's own words, "a double-faced Goliath"--corrupt friars and bad government. His commentaries reiterate the following agenda:

    * That the Philippines be a province of Spain
    * Representation in the Cortes
    * Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars--Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans--in parishes and remote sitios
    * Freedom of assembly and speech
    * Equal rights before the law (for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs)

The colonial authorities in the Philippines did not favor these reforms even if they were more openly endorsed by Spanish intellectuals like Morayta, Unamuno, Pi y Margall, and others.

Cărti de Jose Rizal

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