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The End of Veneration

The End of Veneration

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Published by bcouttie
Renato Constantino's "Veneration Without Understanding" has become a standard work on Jose Rizal's place as a Filipino revolutionary hero and has been unchallenged for decades, until now. Bob Couttie, author of "Hang The Dogs - The True Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre", "Chew The Bones - Maddog Essays on Philippine history" and contributor to respected reference works such as Scribner's Dictionary of American History", and a lifetime member of the Philippine National Historical Society puts Constantino under the microscope and uncovers uncomfortable facts that put "Veneration" in a new and disturbing light.
Renato Constantino's "Veneration Without Understanding" has become a standard work on Jose Rizal's place as a Filipino revolutionary hero and has been unchallenged for decades, until now. Bob Couttie, author of "Hang The Dogs - The True Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre", "Chew The Bones - Maddog Essays on Philippine history" and contributor to respected reference works such as Scribner's Dictionary of American History", and a lifetime member of the Philippine National Historical Society puts Constantino under the microscope and uncovers uncomfortable facts that put "Veneration" in a new and disturbing light.

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Published by: bcouttie on Aug 01, 2010
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10/25/2012

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The End Of Veneration
ByBob Couttie
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The End Of Veneration 2•
 Renato Constanino
 Rizal has become anenduring victim of theCold War of the middle of  the 20
 th
century
Introduction
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
th
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
 
The End Of Veneration 3•
nationalists and the ghost of US President Eisenhower,who consistently urged closure of American bases in thePhilippines, doubtless applauded.The Cold War has gone, to be replaced by the alleged‘War On Terrorism’ and Islamic fundamentalism, with itsdeeper roots in the Sunni-Shia Schism, the EuropeanCrusades, the British and French betrayal of Arabnationalists in World War 1, American foreign policy post-World War 2 and the Russian involvement in Afghanistan.Anti-Americanism remains, protests continue over US andAllied involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan but they carry little of the romance ofstruggling masses that made the activism of the 1960s and 1970s so fashionable.Even though nearly 40 years have passed since
Veneration Without Understanding 
 was written, the picture painted by Constantino remains the predominant image of JoseRizal among many Filipinos and Filipinists. Is that image accurate or has Rizal becomean enduring victim of the Cold War of the 20
th
Century?
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Constantino remains the predominantimage of Jose Rizal 

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