The Execution of Dr. Jose Rizal

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Many were mistaken especially for the Filipino youth why December 30 is considered a holiday, and they would post birthday greetings for Rizal on social media. If Rizal is still alive, well, he would be disappointed with the younglings today. That is why we are here to educate, teach them, and we commemorate his death 124 years later of one of the most gifted Ilustrados of his time.

The year was 1896 (4 years after Rizal's capture at Ilaya, Tondo to organize a civic movement named La Liga Filipina). Bonifacio gathers his forces to Pugad Lawin and tear down their cedulas (translates to identification). 2 days later they were attacked by the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards of Spain). Martial Law was declared in 8 provinces after the Katipunan attacked San Juan Del Monte, Bulacan. Executions were organized by the Spanish to spread fear against the revolutionaries, even the Trece Martires (translated to Thirteen Martyrs) who supplied the Katipunan didn't survive. Emilio Aguinaldo's forces were victorious at the Battle of Binakyan & Dalahican. It was the spark that light the fire of the rebellion at that time. Aside from bloodshed between the Spanish and the Filipinos, a popular football player was born making him the first half-blood (Filipino-Spanish) to play with one of the most popular clubs in Europe, FC Barcelona, and will be called upon by our national team.

Before Rizal's execution, he was declared an enemy of the state because of his novels that triggered the Spanish authorities. In 1892, he was deported to Dapitan, Zamboanga. For the last 4 years of his life, he built a school in which he taught farming, other languages like Spanish & English, a hospital, and a water supply system. Most of his students became a Datu, then another one became the Governor of Zamboanga. Ferdinand Blumentritt, his best friend continues to exchange letters with Rizal in different languages, mostly about the updates of the Filipino Revolution. In 1895, he met Josephine Bracken, who eventually would become his wife before the execution. They met when her adoptive father's cataract need medical attention. After numerous visits, the LagueƱo and the Irish woman from Hong Kong fell in love, then plans to get married. George Taufer disagrees about this, so he tried to commit suicide by slicing his throat. Rizal grabbed Taufer's wrists to prevent him from killing himself. To avoid this tragedy, Josephine returned to Manila with George back to Hong Kong. Then she introduced herself to the Rizal family after returning from Hong Kong.

Rizal is a Freemason, while Josephine is a Roman Catholic. If Rizal wants to marry Josephine, he needs to reinstate his religious views to Catholicism. Rizal's Mother (Teodora Alonzo Realonda) recommended a civil marriage, which is a lesser "sacrament" and free of hypocrisy. Now, both lovebirds lived together as husband & wife. They had a son, Francisco, but died a few hours after giving birth. On August 1, 1896, Rizal is about to leave Dapitan with Josephine after receiving a letter from Governor-General Ramon Blanco who volunteers and gives his services as a doctor in Cuba. Rizal was arrested, imprisoned, and sent back to Manila on October 6, 1896, to face the Spanish court. Rizal was charged with rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy against the Spaniards and sentenced to death by firing squad.

A day before Rizal's execution (December 29, 1896), his Mother, his Sisters (Lucia, Josefa, Trinidad, Maria & Narcisa), and his Nephews visited Jose. He gave instructions in another language so the guards would never understand inside of an alcohol stove. Then, the stove was handed over to Narcisa. At home, the family opened the stove and recovered a folded paper. A poem consisting of 14 stanzas but it hasn't given a title. They reproduced copies of the poem which would become an influential poem and Rizal's last titled "Mi Ultimo Adios" (My Last Farewell).

December 30, 1896. Hours before the execution, Rizal and Bracken marry for the second time officiated by Fr. Vicente Balaguer, this time, he retracts his religious views to Catholicism. It became controversial, the marriage certificate by the married couple was a forgery, others claimed it was a legitimate document. Rizal sent letters to his family, he wrote "Treat our aged parents as you would wish to be treated. Love them greatly in memory of me. Bury me in ground. Place a stone and a cross over it. My name, the date of my birth and of my death. Nothing more, if later you wish to surround my grave with a fence, you can do it. No anniversaries." To his closest friend Blumentritt, "Tomorrow at 7, I shall be shot; but I am innocent of the crime of the rebellion. I am going to die with a tranquil conscience." Ferdinand broke down and wept for his dear friend.

After the wedding ceremonies, he was brought to Bagumbayan (now Luneta Park) to be fired upon by a squadron of our own people which is a reserve force of the Spanish Army. His last words after soldiers taking the shot, "Consummatum est" (translates to It is done). Rizal is secretly buried at Paco Park. After his death, the revolution continues to light its fire against the oppressors. Josephine Bracken joined the Filipino Revolutionaries in Cavite as a nurse, and operate reloading jigs for Mauser cartridges on Imus under Gen. Pantaleon Garcia. A witness of the Tejeros Convention when Emilio Aguinaldo was elected as President while Andres Bonifacio was chosen to be the Director of Interior making the 2 factions of the Katipunan divided. Then married Vicente Abad, and had a daughter named Dolores Abad y Bracken. On March 15, 1902, Josephine died of tuberculosis and was buried at the Happy Valley Cemetery (now, Hong Kong Cemetery).

Rizal's last poem became influential for independence activists and translated to Bahasa Indonesia by Rosihan Anwar, then later recited by the forces of Indonesia before battle to declare independence in 1944. Years later, the poem was translated into different languages.

Rizal's death showed us the uprising of a revolution, even if he disagrees that the foundations would become an armed movement, but supported violence as a last resort. The revolution has begun, but it would end a total failure because of the lack of experience, leadership, undisciplined troops, and self-interest of those who were seated at that time under the influence of regionalism/provincialism. The pen is mightier than the sword, and Rizal died for us to be free against tyranny, slavery, and oppression.

Sources:

Lead Image taken from the Art Murals near the City Hall of Manila

https://www.fabulousphilippines.com/mi-ultimo-adios-jose-rizal.html

https://sinosipepe.wordpress.com/life/rizals-exile-in-dapitan/

https://r3.rappler.com/move-ph/balikbayan/151213-jose-rizal-josephine-bracken-irish-connection

http://countrystudies.us/philippines/12.htm

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