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Few novels have made a more shattering impact on their society than El Filibusterismo - and its predecessor, Noli Me Tangere of Jose Rizal. And surely no writer has paid a higher penalty for self-expression. Rizal was executed by firing squad mainly because of these two books. Filipinos, inspired by Rizal, made the first nationalist revolution in Asia in 1896, established its first democratic republic which survived until 1901, and in 1946, exactly half a century after Rizal's execution, became the first Asians to win independence from Western colonialism. It is not mere patriotic pride that leads Filipinos to acclaim the author of the Noli and El Fili as the first Asian nationalist and as one who in his way moved the world.

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