Biography and History Essay
Biography and History
The fourth chapter of Quibuyen’s “A Nation Aborted” explores the meaning of Rizal’s intellectual work by scrutinizing the fusion of Rizal’s biography and history. Quibuyen begins his chapter by refuting what Austin Coates and Maria Guerrero have said- that Rizal inspired the Filipinos to make the first revolution in Asia single-handedly with ideas all his own. Quibyen presents in this chapter two crucial things to consider in interpreting Rizal’s work: (1) Rizal’s ideas that embodied like a form of debate and also the Blumentrit (2) Rizal’s vision and nationalist projects and how it affected Filipinos’ thoughts and feelings. Quibuyen mentions lots of personas such as Father Jose Burgos, Grciano Lopez Jaena, Jose Rizal Andres Bonifacio ,Apolinario Mabini, Antonio Luna , Marcelo H. del Pilar, Gregorio del Pilar, Emilio Jacinto, among others who were destroyed by the system they wished to radically transform. He further said that they were consumed by the intensity of the struggles.
Quibuyen only contention is to prove that Rizal was not the only one who contributed for what we do endure in the present. Quibuyen enumerates three moments that make up the national consciousness of the Filipinos: (1) Burgos as the principal figure and the spectator 11-year-old Rizal. (2) the time when Bonifacio saw and heard Rizal as the speaker in the inauguration of the La Liga and also when Bonifacio founded the Katipunan (3) Rizal’s martyrdom and the beginning of the Revolution. These essential events happened in 1872, 1892, 1896 respectively. Quibyen points out that the making of the nation started with the time of Father Burgos until the time of Rizal’s execution.
According to Felipe Buencamino Sr., liberal Peninsulars introduced to the Philippines the ideas of French Revolution which enlightened the Filipinos. It was in 1834 when the Philippines facilitated the opening to the national trade. Moreover, he emphasized that the first Liberal Party in the country was not a party in the sense of being formally constituted like the Liga or the Katipunan rather it involved a loose alliance of: Comite de Reformadores and Juventud Escolar Liberal. The former consisted of priests, professors and the businessmen while the latter consisted students. Hence, Buencamino stated that the first “liberal” as he observes, was fighting for Filipinos equality with the Spaniards. Filipinos as per Buencamino presupposed the basic principles of Enlightenment: freedom, human rights, and man’s dignity.
Quibuyen therefore pointed out that these principles are not opposed to the moral teachings of Catholicism. That is why Burgos, also known as “ Catholic Liberal” became the movement’s de facto leader and spokesman. Furthermore, Quibuyen mentioned the two moral perspectives which underpinned the movement: Enlightenment and Catholicism. Furthermore, Quibuyen stated in this chapter that the liberal movement aimed for equality among Filipinos not only in terms of secularization or Church but also equality in terms of military and the government. The Filipino liberals founded the first Filipino periodical El Eco Filipino in Madrid to rebut the friars racist periodical La Verdad. The latter discriminated the Filipinos and promoted that the Filipino was inferior to the Peninsular and incapable of assuming positions held by the Peninsular.
Quibuyen further said that Rizal stood out as the Tagalog Christ in the Pasyon notwithstanding the facts that lots of Ilustrados were executed at the Bagumbayan shortly after the Katipunan’s exposure in 1896. That is why Bonifacio transalted Rizal’s Mi Ulitimo Adios to disseminate to the Filipinos. Quibuyen emblematized Rizal and Bonifacio not only as the symbol for Enlightenment but also and more important, of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Quibuyen mentions in the chapter Rizal’s influences, juvenile writings and college readings that would determine Rizal’s historical works and constitute his major contributions to the nationalist movement. Among these events are: his prize-winning poem A La Juventud Filipina, his writing of Junto al Pasig etc.
Moreover, when Rizal went to Europe and began his historical project, he had glimpsed of the Philippine history’s frame: pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial. Rizal got intrigued Jagor’s essay hence became interested not only in his country’s past but also his country’s future. Meanwhile, Quibuyen also cited in the chapter that Burgos, Rizal and Bonifacio constitute the three links in the nationalist movement from the 1870’s to the 1890’s. Meanwhile Rizal’s edition of Antonio Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas along with his Filipinas dentro de cien anos and Sobre la Indolencia de los Filipinos became the basis of national view of history which Bonifacio in turn would disseminate through the revolutionary Katipunan.
The El Filibuserismo and Noli Me Tangere as stated by Quibuyen are necessary to determine who among its characters share with Rizal’s ideas. Sinibaldo de Mas, a civil servant in Madrid has made a colonial discourse on how to rule efficiently-“ Informe sobre el estado de las Islas Filipinas en 1842”. This became the cornerstone colonial practice in the Phillipines. Mas started with the premise that the question on how to rule depends on the government’s purpose. If the purpose of the government is to keep the islands as a colony, the regime must the three policy imperatives: (1)” the coloured population must voluntarily respect and obey the whites” (2) the growth of the creole class and the formation of liberals in the colony must be prevented; (3) the administration must undergo a thorough reform.
Mas further pointed out that the creoles constitute a dangerous threat. However, Mas realized that it was best for Spain to prepare the Philippines for independence after when Mas had a tour of the country and had examination of the working of the colonial government. He concluded that the country was in fact useless to Spain and that it did not augment the Crown’s treasury. Meanwhile, the chapter progresses as Alatas stated that colonial discourse was a defensive reaction by the ruling class against popular movement for change. Lastly, I liked how Quibuyen ended up the chapter by corroborating that the radical ilustrados as mentioned by Quibuyen were “amateur intellectuals” because they never got paid for what they wrote and even had to suffer for it. For instance, Rizal who had to shoulder the cost of his research and publishing his books and instead of a book award , he ended up being exiled and executed.