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Llamado, Adrian R.

PI 10 B-6R Why We Need Rizal Today

May 17, 2013 Synthesis Paper

More than a century has passed since Jose Rizal died as a martyr in Bagumbayan. His death is perhaps one of the moments of history that changed the course of our people’s fate and today, he is the most celebrated Filipino hero. His life, works, and ideals will probably be remembered for generations particularly due to the Rizal Law that was passed in 1956, which made every Filipino know more about him and learn from him. That time, it was agrarian unrest and the threat of economic colonization that led our leaders to decide that there is a need to revive our nationalistic spirit and identity, and they found a solution in Rizal. Decades have passed since then, and our country has continued to progress through time, facing more difficult hindrances along the way. In today’s society, how can a man’s ideas and experiences help each of us to face the pressing problems that eat up our nation? Which of Rizal’s works, teachings, and ideals need to be promoted to the people and why do we need Rizal now, at a time like this? Let us first situate our current society in the world. There are countries that look down on the Philippines, a militarily powerless country that can only depend on a superpower ally when a great conflict arises. We are practically divided on our own culture and we have been left behind by our neighboring nations. What only keep our country from being written off from history are international diplomatic laws. We may have attained our independence and our democracy, but the need to identify ourselves and our place in the world still persists and studying the life and works of Rizal, if only taken seriously, can be an effective tool in empowering each of us with the proper morale and capability to change our current world, our current reality. So which of Rizal’s writings or ideals are essential in the empowerment of the Filipino individual? Let us start with his most known works: the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. As taught in the Rizal course, we must not view these novels as a merely romantic and tragic story, but we must identify ourselves in the society set up by Rizal in these books as a reflection of reality and seek the strengths that we need for us to rise above that reality. Through the characters Crisostomo Ibarra in the Noli, before his transformation, and Basilio in the Fili, Rizal argued that education equates power and that we should value our education and not waste it, for it is the most effective means that we can express ourselves to the world. We can compare an extreme case in India in the time of Rabindranath Tagore, wherein the rigid social structure called the caste system has allowed only two means for an individual to be heard: either belong to the high caste or risk a rebellion and become an outcast. What about Simoun and the revolution, Elias and the voice of the masses? What about those who could not afford education? Did or did not Rizal believe that their cries had the right to be heard? He did, and I also believe that education only is not enough to achieve our goal of upholding our national identity; it merely gives us influence above, but the ones who move this nation are below. One cannot decide which social class he would be born into, but Rizal was aware of every individual’s capability to contribute significantly to the society. He stated through his character Padre Florentino that one must struggle and persevere to liberate himself from oppression. At the end of El Filibusterismo, Rizal was trying to teach us that not only education can give hope to the future, but also strength of character. The importance of character is exemplified in how many Filipinos today who have achieved education but refused to give back to the nation and opted to live abroad, relinquishing their origin. Meanwhile, there are many

He also emphasized this point in his essays. We must break free from the chains of apathy and realize our patriotic duty to our country and our countrymen. but not take any action against them. most notably in his poems “Mi Ultimo Adios”. we must study our forefathers’ past struggles in order to find that tiny ray of light that would guide our nation to the glory it deserves. we must progress. the greatness of her people praised by her neighbors while the world gazes at her with pride and admiration. there are still some teachings and ideals of Rizal that does not need to be reinforced on today’s Filipino. concepts that have been outdated by the many changes that happened to the social system. was teaching us that we are one. This is what makes our nation weak as if it is suffering from a disease. In his annotation of de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.” Furthermore. Rizal. Granted. living like animals.commoners who have managed to ascend to recognition just because of hardwork and noble actions. would no longer be accepted by the current society where women are now promoted as on equal standing with men in terms of rights and abilities. as Simoun had put it. the current social conditions of our country justify the need for us to learn from Rizal’s teachings. A revolution may not be the right solution to society’s current problems but our collective will as a nation is still vital if we want to transcend the boundaries of oppression and discrimination. but allowing oneself to be oppressed is a worse sin on its own. As the future dawns upon us. but liberating ourselves from our self-oppression. a statement that is still applicable to our society today and something that must be dealt with. just as it was during the 1950’s. as stated in his letter to the women of Malolos. Most are contented to see this country’s miserable state as long as they survive and are having their immediate needs satisfied. we have failed to produce a common will and were divided amongst ourselves. in his writings. “The Indolence of the Filipinos” and “The Philippines. In conclusion. he also said that not only oppression. he wanted us to realize through his writings. the time will come when future generations will be born to see the Philippines emitting her bright and warm glow in the Orient. In his letter to the women of Malolos. Rizal’s view on the role of the women in society. All of his revolutionary ideals against the Spanish oppression were also of little use for us today since we are no longer struggling against an alien force. while some resort to crime. our own indifference against our countrymen. . The ideals of Rizal that the people need today are those focused on national identity and reconstruction of society and culture. and enforced an identity that every Filipino can hold on to. As the ones who had the opportunity to obtain these ideals through the study of Rizal’s life and works. but are still worth understanding. but ourselves. If only each Filipino can share the same vision for a tomorrow as Rizal had. which Rizal had intended to achieve in many of his works. our. A Century Hence. The rich continues to discriminate and exploit the poor while the latter consistently blames the former for their misfortunes while waiting for someone else to do a miracle for them. In the absence of a common enemy. Therefore. particularly the youth’s. our worst enemy does not come from outside the nation. “A La Juventud Filipina” and “Sa Aking Mga Kabata”. we must take the first step on propagating them to the people. a construction of our national identity is needed. Those who decide to fight for their cause are ignored. and that our country is worth the blood and sweat. duty to love the country and sacrifice for it. and those who are contented with their life can only speak of the problems of the country. Sadly. he wanted to show us that we were once a great nation with a great culture.