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Veneration Without Understanding by Renato Constantino

The article Veneration Without Understanding by Renato Constantino is all about doubts
and arguments about Rizals status as the national hero of the Filipino people. It depicts how
shallow the knowledge of the Filipinos is about Rizal and nationalism. In other countries, to be a
national hero, you should be a leader of a revolution. But it was different with the Philippines;
Rizal, being the national hero, repudiated the revolution and was completely against it. This was
never mentioned in history books; thats why people grew up knowing Rizal as a writer, a role
model, and a national hero. The people saw him as someone who would sacrifice everything for
the countrys freedom. They were blinded by the teachings of Rizals virtuous characteristics
from elementary up to secondary that we tend to not see the deeper story behind Rizal and the
revolutionaries.

Rizal had other nationalistic interests such as the reform. The purpose of the reform is to
be a province of Spain and have equality between the Spaniards and Filipinos. Because of this,
Constantino was in doubt if Rizal should really be considered as the national hero. It is us, who
Constantino has been talking about in his title, people who are used to adore Rizal until they
have understood the true essence of being a national hero.

The Philippine Commission was searching for the national hero as someone who has
the personality of detesting the idea of revolution and instead, was a governmental reformist
who wants liberty to be achieved in a peaceful way. Rizal was the perfect fit for this. He was
acknowledged as American-sponsored hero and was labeled as a limited hero by Constantino.
Rizals upper class background has certainly molded his philosophy and restricted his grasp of
the social reality that the lower classes are experiencing. Because of this limitation, Rizals
ambition for the Philippines to officially be accepted as a Spanish province rather than a colony
was created. However, separatist movement refused that led to Katipunan revolt.

Throughout the years, it was instilled in my mind that Rizal made the greatest
contributions to our independence. His works opened the minds, eyes and consciousness of the
Filipinos from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Not just because he was in contradiction of the
revolution means that he does not deserve to be the national hero. He was against it because
he wanted a revolution that is planned and systematized. He didnt want to risk the people who
are involved in a battle that they dont have a chance of winning. I admire Bonifacio and other
men involved in the revolution for their braveness to stand up against the Spaniards to attain our
freedom. But let us face the truth, the revolution wasnt prepared; it lacked money, men,
weapons, and moral empowerment that led to a total failure. Many lives have been wasted
because of their impatience. Im sure Rizal would have supported the revolution if he saw that
the revolutionists were strong and stable enough to overthrow the colonial government and
establish a new government of their own. Rizal had everything planned out. He was very much
aware of the status of the Philippines in terms of education, economics, and governance. These
are the primary elements a dependent country should exploit if it combats to stand on its own. It
was very well defined that the Filipino people were not properly educated and so do not stand a
chance for opportunities for economics and minimal political publicities. This is why Rizal
decided to be a reformist than to be a revolutionist. As a reformist, if the Philippines will be a
part of Spain, Filipinos will be given the same rights and opportunities as what the Spaniards
were enjoying such as fair education, economic development, and political connections. As
soon as the Philippines attained these fundamental elements, then theyre ready to prepare
themselves for independence. All Rizal ever wanted is to accomplish stability before attaining
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independence because with stability, everything else will follow. But, this never happened.
Today, we are becoming slaves again because of the prevailing endless growth of corruption,
increasing rate of poverty, crime, and education problems.

I think Constantinos intention about the article is to convince people that Rizal was
unworthy to be the national hero. There are some quotes that Constantino has justified that I
disagree upon. As indicated by him, a man must be considered as a hero if he is a revolutionist
and participates in bloodshed. I have to oppose with this one, for me, a hero is somebody who
stands on principles, who fights for what he believes and is not persuaded by the moments of
passion and spirit. Who shapes a philosophy and stays consistent with it. Who takes the long
view and fights and dies for something much better than impermanent grandness. Bloodshed
without viewpoint, death without being sanctified to a higher purpose, is pointless homicide.
That is something that Rizal could not disregard. He did not want to see useless death and
homicide, when the end result would have been the slaves becoming dictators themselves.
Constantino likewise called Rizal treasonous; as far as I can remember, Rizal was the main
motivation behind the production of the Filipino character. His works such as the Noli, Morga
and Fili were guides to patriotism and nationhood. If it werent for his works, the revolutionists
and the people wouldnt have been inspired to fight for their country. Yes, Americans were the
one who recognized him as the Philippine national hero. As a matter of fact, Aguinaldo ordered
the first Rizal day in 1898. Therefore, the leaders and the revolutionists have already honored
Rizal well before the Americans.

I have noticed that the article has three strengths. First off, the readers are reminded that
everybody ought to have a resilient and deep understanding of what characteristics make a true
hero. Second, Filipinos should have a more profound sense and level of comprehension in
deciding a genuine hero. Lastly, everybody can be a hero in light of the fact that Rizal should
not be the main premise of deciding the Philippine national objectives.

On the other hand, it has also three weaknesses. Firstly, it appears that the writer was
attempting to ruin the patriotism of the Filipinos since he exposed the thought of Rizal as the
Philippine national legend. Secondly, as per him, "we can't depend on Rizal alone", yet I think, it
is vital for the Filipinos to have a method of imitating Rizal. Lastly, the writer passed on to the
readers the thoughts of Rizal as an American supported hero.
We can't change our history. What we can do is learn from it. We ought not erect
hindrances by our continuing expedition for a genuine hero and a genuine Filipino, which just
sets to split us and lead us to our own particular annihilation as a country. Only in solidarity shall
we have the ability to take care of our grasping issues. Only in solidarity shall we have the
capacity to maintain our way of life as a Filipino race. Unity is one thing which we don't have but
which we incredibly require.