Category Archives: Hero
117 years ago today, Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, was executed by the Spanish Authorities on false charges of rebellion, but ultimately their fear of him sprang from his written works about the mistreatment of the Filipinos by the Spaniards. To rub salt into the wound, the Spanish had ordered Filipino soldiers of the Spanish army to act as firing squad and even had a backup force of Spanish troops on standby to shoot the executioners in case they failed to obey the orders of the commander.
Rizal requested to face the firing squad before they executed him, but he was refused. In a last defiant act as the triggers were pulled, Rizal twisted his body in an effort to face them – but the bullets riddled him and he died facing the morning sun. His last words were “consummatum est” which means “it is finished”, the same last words of Jesus Christ.
Jose Rizal was brave, compassionate, well-educated and gentle. He didn’t fight with the sword, but with the pen. He always retained his dignity, never hating his enemies, but instead forgiving them for their wrongs. He was the biggest inspiration for the uprising against the Spanish and he has inspired future generations to love their own country and strive to have a good education; he is right up there with the other great men of history who, through hardship and self-sacrifice, made a significant difference for their people, no different to Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi (the latter of whom spoke of his enormous respect for Rizal) and all the others who strove to attain a better life for the many generations to come. He was an all-round brilliant human being and it makes me proud of my Filipino heritage to know that such a person fought tooth and nail for his country without ever lifting a hand to anyone else, using his brains and heart as opposed to brute force.
Above: The death of Rizal, December 30th 1896. At the last moment, he turned to the side in an effort to face his executors.