Jose Rizal’s final moments on Twitter on Dec. 29-30
I prefer death and cheerfully shall relinquish life to free so many innocent persons from such unjust persecution.#JustLikeRizal
— Dr.Jose P. Rizal (@tweetnirizal) December 27, 2014
MANILA—From the moment he was handed his death sentence to his final steps toward the firing squad, Dr. Jose Rizal—a modern-day stand-in, that is—will be “livetweeting” his execution 118 years after his death.
An account on the microblogging site Twitter named after Rizal will be tweeting out the national hero’s final moments from Dec. 29 to 30 as part of his group’s annual commemoration of his martyrdom.
Twitter user @tweetnirizal said Saturday he will again reenact Rizal’s execution on social media, hoping to keep the hero’s memory alive in the age of bite-size information and of viral Internet posts ranging from the truly heroic to the mundane.
“It’s just to remind people that there’s more to know about Jose P. Rizal’s sacrifices—his pain, fear, sadness and resolve prior to martyrdom,” said @tweetnirizal, who reached out to the Inquirer via Twitter on Saturday.
“It’s not just to commemorate but to give meaning to the event. We’re just hoping to relive his last few moments and show the kind of sacrifice he was willing to make for the country,” he said in a telephone interview later.
The Twitter user, a lawyer and a member of the Knights of Rizal (KoR), has kept his identity hidden since joining the Twittersphere in 2011, so as “not to demystify the account.” The account has some 11,700 followers.
He said the reenactment, where he would send out tweets on the approximate times the events happened in 1896, hopes to give more meaning to the national holiday.
“The date Dec. 30 is just a footnote. We all know it’s a holiday between Christmas and New Year, but it’s a dead holiday,” @tweetnirizal said, adding that some even think Dec. 30 was Rizal’s birthday (June 19).
“It’s to keep him relevant and cool,” he said.
The idea is simple, he said: “If Rizal were alive today, how would he express his pain, sadness, his grief?”
Younger generations should learn more about Rizal’s life as his writings, subversive pieces that got him in trouble with the Spanish colonizers at the time, remain relevant today.
“All of what he said still hold true today. There is nothing in what he said that could not be applied today, like his letter to the young women of Malolos, which speaks of women’s rights,” said @tweetnirizal.
Now on its fourth year, the annual Twitter reenactment of Rizal’s execution takes on a sharper stance this year as it hopes to spread awareness about the hero’s monument that is threatened to be obscured by Torre de Manila.
The high-rise condominium continues to rise within sight of Rizal’s national monument and gravesite at the Luneta park, despite a pending petition by the Knights of Rizal in the Supreme Court.
Critics have slammed the building as an “eyesore” behind the national monument, among the most photographed spots in the country. The building’s developer DMCI Homes has maintained that it complied with all building requirements in the construction of the high-rise
“That’s our ultimate goal. We want to raise awareness about that issue because our government agencies (for the protection of historical sites) have not even lifted a finger,” said @tweetnirizal.
The Rizal Twitter account will begin posting tweets Monday morning (Dec. 29), starting from the moment the national hero received word about his death sentence while incarcerated at Fort Santiago.
“Then it will be progressive throughout the day, recreating what happened,” said @tweetnirizal of his series of tweets based on historically accurate accounts of the eve and the day of Rizal’s execution.
“And then there will also be a bit of drama, details that you won’t find in history books,” he said.
The final tweet of the reenactment will be posted between 10 and 11 a.m. Dec. 30, adjusted a few hours after the actual time of Rizal’s execution (around 7:03 a.m.) “for audience reach,” said @tweetnirizal.
The last post would be Rizal’s final words, the Latin equivalent of “It is done”— “Consummatum est.”