I Am Rizal
I am Rizal. I am the same hero who fought the tyranny of the past; now casting away the tyranny of ignorance. Through my brown skin, I declared how proud I am to be an Indio. I wrote the destiny of an empire – Espania – through my books that gave my people the glimpse of hope; stood up and held their ground; and broke the bond of slavery for hundreds of years.
I was once proven how mighty my pen was. That cold night in Berlin, where I almost hurled down to the fire the Noli Me Tangere, my heart struggled against my personal will and my Motherland’s cause. But the latter prevailed, because of my undying love to my countrymen. I could have chosen another path – the easier and much convenient for me, but not prouder and more dignifying than what I took.
I had spoken through the minds of Pilosopo Tasio, of Crisostomo Ibarra, of Elias and how prophetic I am; seeing the big picture of what you are enjoying today – Freedom. I could have simply kept to myself the revenge of Simoun, or killed Ibarra in the halfway or not had written A La Juventud Filipina that encouraged the Filipino youth to give honor to the Motherland.
I could have chosen another path.
I remember the night when my mother Teodora told me the story of the moth. In my young mind I felt the weight of the consequence of getting near to the fire – wisdom and enlightenment that was. But like the moth that cannot resist the charming and eloquence of the burning desire, I, too, was caught in the desire to fill my heart with wisdom, and enlighten the Filipino heart.
Not even the glorious flowers of touch-me-not of Heidelberg; not even the liberality of Barcelona and Madrid; not even the morning coffee of Brussels and gracefulness of Paris spoiled my mission to educate myself and my countrymen in return and to ignite the fire of reformation and revolution. Not even the beauty of O-Sei-San, of Suzanne Jacoby, or Leonor’s infidelity stopped me from lifting my prime mission for my beloved Filipinas.
I could have saved my skin. I could have practiced medicine in Hong Kong and live there with lucrative life. But curing the cancer of the society – my society- was better than curing individual disease. The more I struggled during cold winter, the more fire fuelled in my heart in the name of freedom and exaltation of Filipinos.
I am Rizal. Inside me were impulses of desire to uplift the Filipino way of living. Inside me was not a cold genius, but a selfless human being who lead the big step towards independence, which no one wanted to lead. Inside me was a proud son of Filipinas, destined to face the bullet of tyrants, and to be killed, and to inspire. I strongly believe, like what I have said to Lopez-Jaena, man is destined to die once and we should take it gloriously.
Gone are days of colonization. Gone are the days of physical slavery. Gone are the days of European adventurism. But the fight against tyranny of today’s generation is far from over: the tyranny of indolence, the tyranny of corruption, the tyranny of poverty, and the tyranny of disease.
I am Rizal, and every youth of today can be me. The ideals, the love for peace, the thirst for knowledge, the pursuance of dreams and the preservation of freedom should be their burning desire towards brighter future. Let everyone be shouldering the responsibility that once I took, that I died for, that I fought for. Let them take the path of common goal, and move forward.
For me, I am rested. But for all of you - not yet, not yet.