Rizals Revolution

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Rizal and the Revolution 1 by Floro Quibuyen Two myths have been perpetuated in the history of the late 19th century Philippine nationalist movement. The first myth is that Rizal is a bourgeoisie reformist who 1) opposed the 1896 Revolution, and 2) advocated the assimilation of the Philippines to Spain. According to this myth, Rizal's primary goal was the Hispanization of the Filipino, and not the creation of an independent Filipino nation. The second myth pits Rizal and his La Liga Filipina against Bonifacio and his Katipunan. This myth asserts that 1) Bonifacio was a poor and unlettered laborer, and 2) that the Katipunan was an organization of the "poor and ignorant" masses. These two myths, which constitute a distortion of the past, have prevented the post-colonial generation of Filipinos from gaining a better understanding of their nation's history. As we Filipinos today celebrate the centennial of the Bonifacio-led Revolution and Rizal's martyrdom, these myths should be exposed and relegated to the dustbin of history. It is easy enough to expose these myths by checking the historiographic evidence. With regard to the first myth, a good way to begin is by a critical examination of Rizal's correspondence, cat 1887-1892. It should be emphasized that as early as 1887, Rizal had expressed the view that independence through peaceful struggle is nothing but a dream and that seeking assimilation to Spain was a mistake, in two letters to his friend and mentor, the German scholar Ferdinand Blumentritt—

1Excerpted from Chapter 2 (pp. 261-412) of my 785 Ph.D. dissertation, Imagining the

Nation: Rizal, American Hegemony and Philippine Nationalism, Political Science Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, May 1996.

February 21, 1887 The Filipinos had long wished for Hispanization and they were wrong in aspiring for it. It is Spain and not the Philippines who ought to wish for the assimilation of the country. (Rizal-Blumentritt, 52; emphasis mine)2 January 26,...