Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Tragedy That Was the Revolution, The Tragedy that Was Andres Bonifacio: A Short Book Review

Adrian Cristobal’s “The Tragedy of the Revolution” immediately begs the question: what was the tragedy all about? More than being a mere object of curiosity, the book starts out with the assertion that Andres Bonifacio was the heart of the Revolution (the Revolution being the 1896 revolution against the Spanish colonial government in the Philippine Islands) and that Andres Bonifacio is the Revolution. It seemed that what eventually happened to Andres Bonifacio was also the fate of the Revolution.

In six concise essays which formed the bulk of the book, Cristobal set to unravel details (however scant and fragmentary) of Bonifacio’s life starting from his childhood to his life as a leader of the secret society KKK or Katipunan. What is surprising is that most of the details elaborated in the book are not seen in our traditional Philippine history books. These certainly made the reading from one chapter to another engaging.

The tragedy from my reader’s viewpoint started in the form of small friction between the two widely known councils of the Katipunan, Magdiwang and Magdalo. Such friction inevitably grew into internal political differences culminating in the fracas in the Tejeros Convention. It must have been the start of Bonifacio’s falling out with the Katipuneros under Magdalo. But Cristobal retraced other accounts and laid down the fact that differences went back earlier than the Tejeros assembly.

Somehow it must have been Bonifacio’s destiny to be the embodiment of the Revolution’s tragedy, but that makes him more deserving of honor from us, his descendants. It may have been simply part of the ‘politics’ during the time of the Revolution but we must see through it and give what is due to the Katipunan’s founding father.

Rereading of Cristobal’s book would be good before Bonifacio Day in order for one to be reminded of the details and worth of the Supremo’s life and achievements as a Filipino fighter and hero.

Reference: Cristobal, Adrian E. The Tragedy of the Revolution. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2005.

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