Jose Rizal and Martin Luther King, Jr. Jose Rizal and Martin Luther King, Jr. are both great men known for their dignity and love of country. Through comparison, Jose Rizal was proponent of institutional reforms through his writings, while Martin Luther King, Jr. used his charismatic personality through orations and sermons to cry out the need for change. Both of them used peaceful means instead of violent revolutions to attain their heroic purpose. Through Rizal’s perspective, during the Spanish occupation, the Filipinos started to lose their own identity.
They were forced to praise and admire the things that were foreign and incomprehensible. The Filipinos endured this kind of life, but sad to say, they would only be repaid with insults and abuses. They were highly discriminated, they were treated as slaves and puppets, and they were robbed of their human rights. Rizal, who cared so much for his countrymen, did not bear this sight, so wrote his two famous novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, even if he knew that this was a sure danger to his life.
Like Rizal, King saw the United States as a divided country. Black men are separated from the whites even in the simplest daily activities like eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a washroom, attending school, going to the movies, and rental or purchase of a home. He believed that this segregation would only generate hate and perpetuate a feeling of distrust among the races. King, like Rizal, also loved his country so much, that he bravely stood for his fellow blacks, even if it cost his life.
While Rizal tried to awaken the lethargic spirits of the abused Filipinos through his symbolisms in his novels, King voiced out the cries of injustice among the powerless black Americans through his charismatic personality to the population. Rizal sought to defeat injustice, not the people. That is why, he used only his moral means. Similarly, King tried to achieve his goal by touching the hearts of the people. He appealed to the consciences of the white Americans and thus brought political leverage to bear on the federal government.
He feared nothing and trusted only God and himself. And all his actions were peaceful and morally upright. Upon Rizal’s martyred death of age 35, it did not cow the spirits of his people, but furthermore propagated the burning desire for freedom. His death was the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution, which later led to Philippine Independence. King also died at a young age of 39 when he was assassinated. And in the same way, his death did not end the advent for social justice in the United States.
But it led to the abolition of legal apartheid in many parts of America. Rizal’s ideologies helped create a new climate of thought which led to the attrition of colonialism and the emergence of new Asiatic nations. This only proved that Rizal’s influence was not limited to the boundaries of his country, but extended to the whole of Asia and even the world. Likewise, King’s influence reached internationally and inspired more and more people to promote equal rights and brotherhood.
Both Rizal and King are well known, inspiring men, to all cultures of the world. They were and still are two of the most influential heroes. They both faced many obstacles on their quests like imprisonment and assassination. Despite these obstacles, they became successful leaders and even after their deaths guided their fellowmen in a non-violent and positive direction for the fight to secure rights and equality. These reasons make them worthy enough of the title “heroes” – heroes who shaped the world of today.