Thursday, December 30, 2010

He was the best of us all

"Rizal could have lived beyond December 30, 1896, if he had stayed out of the Philippines and its politics. If he remained in Hong Kong, then he would just be another forgotten expatriate Filipino doctor. Rizal, however, was different. You could say he had a death wish and this, for me, makes a "conscious hero" doubly brave, because unlike military heroes whose job description contains "death in battle," Rizal was a quiet, peaceful man who willfully and calmly walked to his death for his convictions. Before his execution, his pulse rate was reputedly normal. How many people do you know who would die for their convictions if they could avoid it?"

From the essay "Why Rizal is the National Hero" (1989) by Ambeth R. Ocampo (included in the compilation Rizal Without the Overcoat, 2008 ed.)

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