I was fortunate enough to see the Rizal Monument in Madrid, much similar to the one that we have in Manila. Although smaller, and less grandiose (the Manila version is guarded by security from the Philippine Marine Corps), Madrid’s Rizal bears the same significance of the legacy that our national hero has left us.
Stationed along Avenida de Las Islas Filipinas, the monument not only symbolizes Rizal’s importance in history, but also marks Spain’s appreciation of his bravery, respect for his reasons for revolting against the empire, and acknowledgment that his passion for doing so may have stemmed from his education in Madrid and from the influence of like-minded colleagues therein.
Now more than ever, Filipinos should be reminded of what our heroes fought for – our freedom. They may have fought oppression from a foreign ruler hundreds of years ago, but oppression has many faces in today’s world. Whether it be gender-related, cultural, religious, or socio-economic; freedom and equality must always prevail.
There are also statues honoring Rizal in Heidelberg, Germany; and Mexico City, and these are undoubtedly places that are worth a visit especially for Filipinos.