Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rizal, Rizal, Rizal!

There. I hope Google sends them all here.

I've noticed that a significant amount of traffic in my blog can be attributed to people (most likely students) searching for info about Jose Rizal via Google. Google sends them to a post I made in 2004. In it I speculated that the standard of beauty in Rizal's time was significantly different from ours. So I surmised that Rizal probably liked chubby chucks given his description of Maria Clara having flabby arms (according to a certain English translation of the Noli anyway).

Anyways, if you fit the bill above (average Pinoy student doing a hurried paper on Philippine history, Rizal's life and times, or other related topic), it would be fun perhaps to consider a totally radical report instead of what would've been the obligatory praise and adulation that recycles the stuff penned by Agoncillo, Ocampo or Zaide. Consider challenging the convention that Rizal and his peers were indeed heroes.

To get you started, try exploring the quaint and largely ignored fact that the Katipunan "borrowed" many aspects of Freemasonry. As I mentioned in a previous post, such details are quite illuminating, considering that Freemasonry and the Catholic Church back then were never allies. Note also that most of the leading names in the Propaganda Movement and the Katipunan were indeed Masons. A mere coincidence? Try again.

Alternatively, consider the socio-political climate in Spain. Try connecting the Philippine Revolution of 1896 with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. I don't think it'll be hard. I think you can find that many of the ideologies at play in the Philippine Revolution resurfaced in the Civil War. Also note that biggest batch of martyred beatas were produced by the Spanish Civil War.

If you've noticed, the Catholic Church seems to be favorite target here. Because it is. I won't be surprised if the Catholic clergy and religious weren't popular in those days. A lot of abuses certainly took place, just as they do now, and some people just did the most radical things to set things right according to their way. Unfortunately, their way was simply evil. Remember Chesterton's quip: "The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right."

That clergymen are capable of abuse should be no surprise to one who goes to Mass these days. If priests (and other religious) are capable of abusing the Mass, what's there to stop them from abusing other petty stuff like your rights or human dignity?

Rizal praised the Women of Malolos for their courage to pursue education and think for themselves. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you, dear Pinoy student, did that for yourself as well.

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