STAR RIZAL DAY EDITORIAL: INSPIRATION FROM DR. JOSE PROTACIO RIZAL
Davao City, December 29, 2001 (STAR) EDITORIAL - Inspiration from Rizal - Amid an economic slowdown and the threat of terrorism, the nation commemorates today the 105th death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal. More than a century after his execution, the national hero continues to inspire Filipinos. Rizalís achievements in his brief life have been recognized even in Malaysia, where he is seen as a shining example of the Malay race.
Filipinos who feel overwhelmed by the problems besetting the nation today should recall the challenges Rizal faced. While he was born to an ilustrado or educated elite clan, that hardly made him less of a native in the eyes of the Spanish colonizers. Yet the second-class status in his own country did not stop him from getting a world-class education, steeping himself in culture and the arts and realizing his fullest potential. He was an artist, poet, novelist. As an ophthalmologist he made sure even his poor compatriots could avail themselves of his services. Detention and even the threat of execution did not deter him. Through the power of the pen he continued his indictment of oppressive colonial rule.
He was a believer in non-violent resistance even before Indiaís Mahatma Gandhi made it fashionable. Rizal refused to endorse an armed uprising against Spain, fearing that the poorly equipped Filipino revolutionaries would be slaughtered. Instead he believed that quality education held the key to the liberation of his beloved land Ė a message that remains relevant a century later in the Information Age. It was ironic that he died a violent death, but even that also served as an inspiration to his compatriots. Rizalís execution fueled the Philippine revolution, telling the world that here was a people yearning to be free.
Rizal was a believer in the potential of the Filipino to seek the greatest heights, and he lived a life that proved this. His pride in being Filipino amid great adversity, his belief that the Filipino could slug it out with the best of the world, should inspire the nation as we face the challenges of the times.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
2001 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS
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