the biographical sketches
José Rizal, (1861-96), Filipino physician, novelist, and nationalist martyr. The son of a wealthy Filipino planter, Rizal was born in Calamba, in Laguna Province. He studied medicine in Madrid, Paris, and later in Germany, where he published his novel, The Lost Eden, (1886; translated in 1961). The book attacked the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines. This book and a second novel, The Subversive, (1891; translated in 1962), won him wide recognition and helped to spark a reform movement in the Philippines. These books are known by the titles, Noli Mi Tangere, and El Filibusterismo. Rizal was critical of the power exercised by Roman Catholic religious orders in his country and demanded political rights and equality for Pilipinos, but he did not advocate independence. Rather, he wished for the Philippines to be made a province of Spain and for Pilipinos to have full equal rights. After practicing medicine in Hong Kong, he returned to Manila in 1892. The authorities there exiled him to the island of Mindanao. A Filipino revolt happened in 1896, and Rizal was accused of being responsible for it. He was convicted of sedition by a military court and condemned to death. His execution took place in Manila on Bagumbayan Field. He is rightly honored as a national hero in the Philippines. You will find his life story to be inspirational, if you take the time to read his biography. You will be amazed by his many accomplishments. If you read the two novels I have mentioned here, you will see a good example of why mankind progresses so slowly. There is no lack of capable men who are gifted with the intellect and the spirit to discern what needs to be done. But these men are rarely motivated by greed. They usually have very good morals and this puts them in direct conflict with the greedy people who hold the reins of political power. I will definitely look for José after I die and play a game of chess with him.
Michael Hawes © 2003
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