"El verbo del filibusterismo": Narrative Ruses in the Novels of José Rizal
Schoolchildrn learn his "Ultimo Adi6s" by heart. University students, although not those of the Universidad de Santo Tomsis, are required to read his two famous novels. Citizens gather annually around his statue in Luneta Park, site of his December 30th execution. Some pray to him as to a saint, before domestic altars displaying his portrait. He is indeed the "patron-saint" of the Filipinos: 1 the apostle, martyr and patriot; "the man who," according to one biographer, "single-handedly awakened the Philippine people to national and political consciousness." 2 A precursor to Gandhi in his advocacy of Asian nationalism, Dr. Jos6 Rizal y Alonso, born in 1861, became a hero of modern Third World nationhood when he denounced the violence of Spanish colonialism in his novels Noli Me Tangere( 1887) and El Filibusterismo(1 891). For doing so, he was shot by a Spanish firing squad in 1896 at the age of 35. Together with Rizal's speeches and articles, the two novels are often credited with sparking the Philippine Revolution, which began two years after his death, in 1898, only to be cut short by the intervention of the United States, engaged at that time in its own war with Spain.
This article is from Revista Hispánica Moderna 48 (1995): 250–264. Posted with permission.