This is one of the questions that comes into mind when Rizal’s name is mentioned. Was Rizal a reformist? Or revolutionary? Why did he condemn the revolution that was to be waged by the Bonifacio-led Katipunan?
Jose Rizal, our national hero, was one of the Filipinos who asked for reforms. These reforms will grant the ultimate dream of the reformists; assimilation. Filipinos will be given the rights that they deserve. Rizal choose to seek for reforms than to start a revolution because he knew that Philippines was not yet ready to stand on its own (during his time). Rizal used his liberal ideas in asking for reforms.
Rizal denied the existence of the 1896 Revolution because he didn’t want his conscience to be marred by the blood of his countrymen who will inevitably suffer because of their unpreparedness for a full-scale revolution. Moreover, he believed that this will not make the Philippines a better country. The Philippine Revolution freed the Filipinos from the hands of the Spaniards. Although Rizal had revolutionary ideas, he was not for armed revolution per se. He was more for the gradual and peaceful one. One that is catalyzed by the education of the people.
He reasoned out that when subject people are educated, intelligent, and have become aware of their human rights, they would have self-determination and they would strive to be free from their mother country. When this revolution happens, drastic changes will occur in the political, economical, social, religious, and intelligence sphere of a society paving the way for its independence someday.
Even though Rizal did not actually support the revolution, he we can say that he also contributed in this revolution. His works and writings were the corner stone of the revolution and he was indeed an inspiration for the Katipuneros during those times. Rizal’s life was devoted to his country (Philippines). His works and writings were evidence for his noble act as a reformist.
– Terry Lim