(Dedicated to the Knights of Rizal)
By Poch Suzara, a High School Expelled Student
On Dec. 30TH, 1896 I defy anyone who believes JOSE RIZAL, the first humanist the Philippines has ever produced, executed by the Catholic church authority, that he retracted and died not sober, but drunk with religious lies.
And why do I say RIZAL was a great humanist? What else do you call a man who was committed to the application of reason and science and to solving human problems of the here and the now?
What else do you call a man who deplored efforts to denigrate human intelligence, who did not seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and who did not look outside nature for salvation? A man, indeed, who wanted to leave this world one day a better place than he found it?
What else do you call a man who valued scientific discoveries that have contributed to the betterment of human existence? Who was concerned with securing justice and fairness by eliminating discrimination and intolerance and exploitation in society?
What else do you call a man who attempted to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity and who worked for the spread of common human decency?
What else do you call a man who believed in developing his creative talents to the fullest constituted the greatest happiness in life here and now?
What else do you call a man who believed in the cultivation of moral excellence, respected the rights of others, believe in human integrity, and was open to critical and rational way of thinking?
What else do you call man who was concerned with the moral education of children? Who wanted to nourish in them the passion for reason, love, and compassion?
What else do you call a man who rejected the theologies of despair, the ideologies of violence, and the sacraments of mediocrity?
And finally, what do you call a man who believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in place of dogma, truth instead of sacred lies, joy rather than guilt and sin, tolerance in place of fear, love instead of hate, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith?
JOSE RIZAL, - the nation’s chief hero, - indeed, believed in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that anyone is capable of as a human being, He was the greatest of Filipino humanists. And he died sober, not drunk with lies.
To JOSE RIZAL, whenever you are, I have the greatest love for you as a fellow human being, and I have the highest respect and admiration for you as a Filipino.