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José Rizal
Filipino patriot, medical doctor and man of letters

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There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.
-- El Filibusterismo (translated by Charles Derbyshire as The Reign of Greed)

I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land. You who have it to see, welcome it -- and forget not those who have fallen during the night!
-- Noli Me Tangere (translated by Charles Derbyshire as The Social Cancer)

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.
(in Tagalog: "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.")

The youth is the hope of our future.

To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past.
-- Quote inscribed in Fort Santiago

I wish to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and convictions.
-- Quote inscribed in Fort Santiago

Does your Excellency know the spirit of (my) country? If you did, you would not say that I am "a spirit twisted by a German education," for the spirit that animates me I already had since childhood, before I learned a word of German. My spirit is "twisted" because I have been reared among injustices and abuses which I saw everywhere, because since a child I have seen many suffer stupidly and because I also have suffered. My "twisted spirit" is the product of that constant vision of the moral ideal that succumbs before the powerful reality of abuses, arbitrariness, hypocrisies, farces, violence, perfidies and other base passions. And "twisted" like my spirit is that of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have not yet left their miserable homes, who speak no other language except their own, and who, if they could write or express their thoughts, would make my Noli me tangere very tiny indeed, and with their volumes there would be enough to build pyramids for the corpses of all the tyrants...
-- Open letter to Barrantes published in La Solidaridad (15 February 1890), regarding his novel, Noli me tangere

Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.

I die when I see the sky has unfurled its colors
And at last after a cloak of darkness announces the day;
If you need scarlet to tint your dawn,
Shed my blood, pour it as the moment comes,
And may it be gilded by a reflection of the heaven’s newly-born light.
-- Poem, "Mi Ultimo Adios", written on the eve of his execution (29 December 1896) as translated into English as "My Last Farewell" by Charles Derbyshire

He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish.
(in Tagalog: "Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika, daig pa ang hayop at malansang isda.")

It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.

While a people preserves its language; it preserves the marks of liberty.

He who knows the surface of the earth and the topography of a country only through the examination of maps..is like a man who learns the opera of Meyerbeer or Rossini by reading only reviews in the newspapers. The brush of landscape artists Lorrain, Ruysdael, or Calame can reproduce on canvas the sun's ray, the coolness of the heavens, the green of the fields, the majesty of the mountains...but what can never be stolen from Nature is that vivid impression that she alone can and knows how to impart--the music of the birds, the movement of the trees, the aroma peculiar to the place--the inexplicable something the traveller feels that cannot be defined and which seems to awaken in him distant memories of happy days, sorrows and joys gone by, never to return!

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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