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The Wisdom of Jose Rizal

It wasn’t just the generals and politicians who secured Philippine independence. A lot of the credit belongs to the activist and writer Jose Rizal. His books, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo became a major inspiration for future leaders, challenging the Spanish colonial system which would eventually lead to his death.

Aside from his books, Jose also made extensive use of poetry and political commentary to criticize the existing government. He spoke of how despite Spain’s dominance on the world stage, it was only built on the backs of slavery.

In his works, Jose Rizal adopted a satirical style that mocked the ruling elite for their excesses and illusions of superiority while acting as wild and uncivilized as the people they colonized. Meanwhile, he also criticized some of his countrymen for their attempts to simply immediate Spaniards instead of demanding true equality.

Even with his wealthy background, Rizal was well aware of the abuses happening to his people. He urged the Filipino people to rise and fight for change to be treated as equals by the Spanish government. He insisted that while they are quieter and more peaceful, the Filipinos are no less patriotic and are aware of the injustices, even if the Spanish ignore them.

One of his lost-standing principles was that he believed the change should come peacefully and without violence, insisting that the Philippines was not prepared for that. Even in his books, he openly criticized those who tried to stage armed uprisings.

Despite his moderate views, the Spanish still had him for sedition. This would lead to his eventual execution. Despite that, Rizal remained defiant and insisted that he his innocent.

“When you receive this letter, I shall be dead by then. Tomorrow at seven, I shall be shot; but I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. I am going to die with a tranquil conscience.”

-Jose Rizal, Author.
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