PARADOXES AND CONTROVERSIES IN THE LIFE OF DR. JOSE P. RIZAL Paradoxes are statements which are true but seem to be false, absurd, and contradictory. Controversies are disputable claims which are neither true or untrue unless they are proven by empirical facts and are founded on logic. 1. AMERICA’S CHOICE Jose Rizal is the Philippine national hero purportedly believed to be an American-sponsored hero who was chosen by the Americans because of his non-revolutionary ideology. 2. THE KATIPUNEROS’ CHOICE
While the Americans found him non-revolutionary, Jose Rizal was associated with the Katipunan as their honorary president and was therefore considered as the soul of the Philippine Revolution. 3. RIZAL FOR THE ELITE AND BONIFACIO FOR THE MASSES Jose Rizal belonged to an upper middle class family and was an ilustrado who spent many years in Europe. He was, therefore, perceived to be a leader of the elites while Andres Bonifacio as the hero of the masses. 4. RIZAL’S ALLEGED ALIENATION FROM HIS PEOPLE AND FROM THE FILIPINO CULTURE.
Rizal spent the best time of his adult life studying abroad. In his travels, he was exposed to different cultures, met learned men and devoted his time in books. Back in the Philippines, his stay was too short and for his last years in the country, he was kept away from his social and political endeavors in the urban areas. 5. ATTEMPTS TO REPLACE JOSE RIZAL AS NATIONAL HERO As a national hero, Jose Rizal has all the desirable qualities of a great moral leader. Despite all of these, there have been attempts at replacing him with other heroes every now and then.
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BIOGRAPHERS OF DR. JOSE P. RIZAL Ironically, the early biographers of Jose Rizal were written by foreigners. The first biographer was a Spanish named Wenceslao Retana in1907, followed by American biographers, namely: Austin Craig in 1913, Charles Russel in 1923 and Frank Laubach in 1936 and an Anglo-Saxon Austin Coates in 1968. In 1981, Spanish Jose Varon Fernandez also followed. Oddly, Filipino biographers started only writing about Rizal’s biography only after 40 years from his execution. CONFLICTING PERCEPTIONS OF DR. JOSE P. RIZAL
Biographers have conflicting accounts of Rizal’s life and works. There had been criticisms to the point of character assassination and depreciation of his personality, his life and his works, but there have also been fanaticism. Extreme admiration has led to the formation of cults which deify people either as God, as a saint, or a supernatural being. Such is the case of the Rizalista, who immortalize and worship Jose Rizal as a divine being by upholding his ideals and principles. At present, there are seven officially registered Rizalista sects, namely: 1.
Samahan ng Tatlong Persona Solo Dios, 2. Ciudad Mistica de Dios, 3. Adamista, 4. Bathalismo, 5. Iglesia Watawat ng Lahi, 6. Iglesia Sagrada Filipina and 7. Espiritual Pilipino. RIZAL’S MONUMENT AT LUNETA The monument was designed and sculpted by a Swiss, Henry Kissling, a runner up in an international competition for designing Rizal’s monument sponsored by nationalists in 1912. The winner actually was an Italian sculptor Carlos Napoli but he failed to present his own creation. Jose Rizal’s monument at Luneta depicts him as a typical Filipino, 5’2” to 5’5” tall donning a thick winter coat.
Behind him is an obelisk with three stars (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). The book on his hand signifies his travels, studies, and exposure to the different cultures of the world. It may also symbolize the value of education and the potency of media to expose the socio-economic and political ills of our country. On the ground near his statue, his last poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” (My Last Farewell) is engraved on a marble stone. His friend Mariano Ponce gave it the title of MI ULTIMO ADIOS, as it originally had none.
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