The End Of Veneration 2•
Rizal has become anenduring victim of theCold War of the middle of the 20
It was a time of global ferment. Imagesof the Vietnam War brought combatinto living rooms worldwide. The ColdWar pitched America and its alliesagainst the Soviet Union and China,with Asia, including the Philippines, asa significant battlefront. An ever-present threat of nuclear annihilationleveraged skepticism towardstraditional authority, further fuelled bythe increasing economic power of theyouth. Student activism raged fromone continent to another, universitycampuses became war zones as the confused old world and the confident newworld collided.
This was the world of Renato Constantino, journalist, former WW2 guerrilla andPhilippine government official. A nationalist, he used Marxist historical class-basedanalysis in writing several books and articles to promote the struggle of the massesalthough his audience was predominantly middle class and wealthy students. He was anintellectual commando in the Cold War for supremacy of the hearts, minds andresources of the Philippines.As part of his mission to overthrow the status quo, in 1969, Constantino called uponhis countrymen to topple the pre-eminent Philippine National Hero, 19
century activistJose Rizal, by posthumously identifying him with American imperialism in an article,
Veneration Without Understanding
.Ferdinand Marcos was president and just three years later declared Martial Law, adictatorship which ruled until, desperately ill and losing control to his wife, ImeldaMarcos, and his military righthand man,General Fabian Ver, he was overthrown inthe People’s Power Revolution of February1986 by a loose coalition of the militaryleadership, the Catholic Church and thepeople.The Soviet Union, which most certainlypump-primed a number of radicals, hasfallen at the behest of its own masses. Images of the Hammer and Sickle, Lenin andChe Guevarra have transmogrified from political statements to fashion statements.China, whose own form of Maoist Communism influenced many a university campus inthe radical years, has tainted its political purity by courting Western capital, Westernmarkets and Western goods, selling uniform baseball caps to the armies of itsideological rivals and by encouraging capitalism among its own huddled masses earningfor their portion of liberty.Permanent US military bases in the Philippines have closed, partly because of USDefense Department spending limitations, partly because the technology, tactics andstrategy of warfare made such forward basing unnecessary, partly because the fall ofthe Soviet Union led to the closure of its Cam Ranh Bay facility to which Subic BayNaval Base was a counterweight, and partly because by a one vote majority thePhilippine Senate declined to ratify a treaty for the extension of the bases. Filipino