Si Rizal sa Mata ng mga Migranteng Pilipino sa Amerika

Bago natin ipagbunyi ang bagong napagtibay na batas sa kongreso – ang paglilipat ng pagdiriwang ng Rizal Day mula sa ika-30 ng Disyembre sa ika-19 ng Hunyo, ang petsa ng kapanganakan ng ating pambansang bayani si Gat Jose P. Rizal- magandang balik-tanawin natin ang pagdiriwang ng Rizal Day bilang araw ng kabayanihan ni Rizal sa mata ng mga migranteng Pilipino sa Amerika.
   
Alam ba ninyo na bago naging taunang pagdiriwang ang ika-12 ng Hunyo bilang Araw ng Kasarinlan (Philippine Independence Day), sa Estados Unidos magmula nuong pagbubukas ng 20 dantaon sa hanay ng mga manggagawa at migranteng Pilipino, ang pinakahihintay at pinaghahandaang pagdiriwang bilang araw ng mga Pilipino ay ang Rizal Day – ika-30 ng Disyembre, araw ng pagpaslang kay Dr. Jose P. Rizal sa Bagumbayan?

Ito ay halaw sa libro ni Prof. Ronald Takaki (yumao kamakailan lang) “Strangers from a Different Shore: A Hsitory of Asian Americans”(1989). Ayon sa kanya:

The most important celebration of Filipino plantation laborers was Rizal Day – December 30, the day the Spanish executed the famous revolutionary leader Jose Rizal in 1896. To honor Rizal, Filipino plantation bands played mandolins and guitars at outdoor concerts. As the Filipino plantation laborers remembered Rizal, they told one another tales of his heroic deeds. “The Kastilas could not kill him, because the bullets bounced off his chest,” a worker would declare. And a compatriot would “tell it up one notch” and quickly add: “He caught them (the bullets) with his bare hands!” Filipinos repeatedly told the story about how the revolutionary leader actually did not die: “After he was buried, his wife poured his love potion on his freshly filled grave, and in the night – he rose, Apo Rizal rose from the grave.” (page 165).

Ayon naman sa isa pang manunulat, si Howard A. Dewitt, (Jose Rizal: Philippine Nationalist as Political Scientist, 1997): “For two decades Rizal Day has provided the civil rights issues, the sense of Philippine history and the organizational skills to bring California Filipinos into the mainstream of the Golden State. Had it not been for the word and deeds of Dr. Jose Rizal, California Filipinos would not have been able to make their way as effectively in the Golden State. ”

Sa madaling salita, sa hanay ng mga migranteng Pilipino sa Amerika nuong mga unang dekada, malaki ang papel na ginampan ang kabayanihan, buhay at kaisipan ni Rizal. Isa siyang ulirang Pilipino at huwaran ng mga lider-manggagawa tulad ni Philip Vera Cruz, ang dating bise ni Cezar Chavez sa United Farm Workers. Ayon kay Vera Cruz ““Dr. Jose Rizal was not only the first person to proclaim himself as Filipino, but he taught us how to deal with adversity.”

Sa San Francisco (California) maraming mga pamana si Rizal sa mga Pilipino tulad sa pagtataguyod ng La Liga Filipina at tradisyong mason – siya ang inspirasyon ng pagbubuo ng Gran Oriente Filipino, Legionnarios del Trabajo. at Caballero de Dimas-Alang, tatlong kapatirang mason na namili ng mga bahay at ari-arian sa panahong ito ay pinagbabawal at laganap ang diskriminasyon sa mga Pilipino at sa mga taong may-kulay. (Matatagpuan ang kanilang mga ari-arian sa South Park at sa Dimas-alang Square kung saan ang mga kalye ay pinangalanang Rizal, Mabini, Bonifacio, Lapu-Lapu at Tandang Sora.)

Unang napadpad si Rizal sa San Francisco nuong 1888. Tumira siya sa Palace Hotel, ang pinakamahal at modernong otel nuong panahon yaon. May marker ngayon sa gilid ng otel na pinaskel nuong 1996 sa pagdiriwang ng kanyang sentenaryo.

“Dr. Jose Rizal, Philippine National Hero and Martyr, stayed at the Palace Hotel from May 4 to May 6, 1888, in the course of his only visit to the United States. Imbued with a superior intellect and an intense love for his country, Dr. Jose Rizal sought to gain freedom for the Filipino people from centuries of Spanish domination through peaceful means. His writings, foremost of which were the novels, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”, dared to expose the cancer of colonial rule and agitated for reforms. For this he was arrested, triad and executed by a firing squad on December 30, 1896. With his martyrdom the man of peace fanned the flames of the Revolution of 1896, the first successful uprising in Asia against a western colonial power.”

Kahit hindi naging migrante si Rizal, sa kaisa-isang pagbisita niya sa Estados Unidos hindi maikaila ang kanyang pagtuligsa sa lipunan at sistemang Amerikano. Basahin halimbawa ang kanyang liham kay Mariano Ponce petsa 27 ng Hulyo, 1888. (cf. E. San Juan, Rizal in USA)

“I visited the largest cities of America with their big buildings, electric lights, and magnificent conceptions. Undoubtedly America is a great country, but it still has many defects. There is no real civil liberty. In some states, the Negro cannot marry a white woman, nor a Negress a white man. Because of their hatred for the Chinese, other Asiatics, like the Japanese, being confused with them, are likewise disliked by the ignorant Americans. The Customs are excessively strict. However, as they say rightly, American offers a home too for the poor who like to work. There was, moreover, much arbitrariness. For example, when we were in quarantine.

They placed us under quarantine, in spite of the clearance given by the American Consul, of not having had a single case of illness aboard, and of the telegram of the governor of Hong Kong declaring that port free from epidemic.

We were quarantined because there were on board 800 Chinese and, as elections were being held in San Francisco, the government wanted to boast that it was taking strict measures against the Chinese to win votes and the people’s sympathy. We were informed of the quarantine verbally, without specific duration. However, on the same day of our arrival, they unloaded 700 bales of silk without fumigating them; the ship’s doctor went ashore; many customs employees and an American doctor from the hospital for cholera victims came on board.

Thus we were quarantined for about thirteen days. Afterwards, passengers of the first class were allowed to land; the Japanese and Chinese in the 2nd and 3rd classes remained in quarantine for an indefinite period. It is thus in that way, they got rid of about 200 [actually 643 coolies, according to Zaide] Chinese, letting them gradually off board.”

Malinaw na magandang balik-tanawin ang buhay at panulat ni Rizal at ang karanasan ng pagtataguyod ng kapilipinuhan ng mga migranteng Pilipino sa kabila na sila ay naninirahang malayo sa tinubuang lupa at nakapalibot sa mabuti at di-mabuting sibilisasyong Amerikano.

Naalala ko ang interbyu ko sa matandang supremo ng Caballero de-Dimas-Alang, si Vincent Lawsin ng Seattle, nuong 2002. Ayon sa kanya at dinagdagan naman ni Dr. Dick Solis, isang pastor sa Salinas at historyador ng Caballero.

“Dimas-Alang was an outreach of the underground Katipunan working for Philippines’freedom and independence against Spain and continued the fight against the new colonialist master- the United States of America. Patricio Belen, a Manila bodegero and head of the Dimas-alang brought the movement to America in 1906 to support the Filipino clamor for Philippine Independence. Like the pre-Katipunan reformist Los Indios Bravos, the organizers used the Masonic method (i.e. initiation and rituals) and format characterized by lodges. The bulk of the membership of the Dimas-Alang in the Philippines were peasants and workers and were very critical with collaborationist stance of the Filipino elite with American, including the politician Manuel Quezon’s deal with American politicians in attaining the country’s independence. Many Dimas-Alang Society members, admirers of Artemio Ricarte, veteran Katipunero leader with strong anti-American stance, were restless and gearing up for an uprising.

In America, since the Filipino sojourners and migrant workers come from peasant and working class background in the Philippines, compounded by the racial and class discrimination and struggle in the work places, the Caballero de Dimas-Alang became the popular organization and mutual aid society in many parts of the country, which at its heyday had 69 lodges outside of California as far as Alaska, NewYork, New Orleans, Dallas, Chicago and of course, Honolulu (Solis). One lodge had ten to 100 members. The Caballero de Dimas-Alang was incorporated as a California non-profit organization on January 22, 1921, and considered as one of the oldest Filipino organization in the United States.”

Nabanggit din ng Supremo sa akin na halos lahat ng aktibidades at ritwal nila nuon sa Caballero ay sa Tagalog isinasagawa. Nitong nakaraang dekada lamang daw sila nag-iingles. Malakas daw ang pananalig ng kanilang miyembro sa mga bayani ng ating lahi, laluna kina Rizal at Bonifacio. Malakas at matingkad ang kanilang kapilipinuhan at makabayang adhikain sa kapwa at sa tinubuang lupa. 

Dalawang petsa ang maaring pag-ukulan sa pagdiriwang sa buhay, gawa at kamatayan ng ating pambansang bayani. Ang Hunyo 19 ang bagong Araw ni Rizal, ang araw na kapanganakan ni Rizal, at ang Araw ng Kabayanihan ni Rizal sa Disyembre 30,  ay mga magaling na pagkakataon para gunitain at  manumbalik ang masiglang pag-aaral sa kasaysayan ng kapilipinuhan sa hanay ng mga Pilipino sa tinubuang lupa at sa mga nasa pook sa ibayong dagat sa maraming bansa sa mundo. Kung baga magandang simula ito sa diskurso sa pandaigdigang kapilipinuhan.

(ni MC Canlas, Hunyo 19,2009)
Explore posts in the same categories: KaPilipinuhan sa Pangkalahatan, Paggunita sa kabayanihan

One Comment sa “Si Rizal sa Mata ng mga Migranteng Pilipino sa Amerika”

  1. lamberto valerio Says:

    yong petsa sa huling talata should read: Hunyo 19, 2009; mispelled as Hulyo.

    i enjoyed reading this article very much.


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