Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Term "National Hero"

In the Philippines, people thought a lot of national treasures such as national tree (narra) or national fish (bangus). Many Filipinos call Manny Pacquiao as the "Pambansang Kama-o" (National Fist). Basketball is widely considered as the national sport of the country though officially, it’s the sports called "Sipa" (Sepak Takraw).

Of course, there's nothing wrong with that but the one term that I have a problem with is the term "National Hero".

What is wrong with the term "National Hero"?

At the moment, the Philippine national hero is Dr. Jose Rizal. Some agree with it, others argue about it while the majority just accept whatever the elite-owned media feed to them or what they read in school textbooks written by biased historians.

Some Filipinos want Andres Bonifacio to be the national hero because he led the first anti-colonial revolution in Asia. Others want Bonifacio because he led a mass-based proletariat revolution. Some Filipinos want Jose Rizal to be the national hero because he inspired the revolution, his statues are also found outside the Philippines, his works/writings are very much present in most academic libraries in the world, he was considered a hero not just by Filipinos but also by Spaniards and fellow Asians. A few want the usurper Emilio Aguinaldo as the national hero too despite his role in the deaths of Andres Bonifacio and General Antonio Luna.   

Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio

"National Hero" means a hero of a nation. A person recognized nationally as a hero. Rizal, Bonifacio, and Aguinaldo are national heroes: They are not provincial heroes or regional heroes they ARE national heroes. Majority of Filipinos recognized them as heroes, the founding fathers of our nation. Therefore, they are national heroes.

The term "national hero" does not only apply to Rizal and Bonifacio but also to Datu Lapu-Lapu, Juan Luna, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Melchora Aquino, Apolinario Mabini, Diego Silang, Gabriela Silang, Francisco Dagohoy, Sultan Kudarat, Emilio Jacinto, General Antonio Luna, General Gregorio del Pilar and others recognized nationally as heroes.

To limit national heroism to Rizal alone is a pure insult to those who fought and died for our country before and after December 30, 1896.

Now, the question should be "Who is the greatest among our national heroes?"

My answer is Doctor Jose Rizal but that’s just me...

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