Part 3

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February 10, 2022

English Translation of Filipinas Dentro De Cien Años by Jose Rizal

Part 2 showed that if the Philippines is to stay under Spain, its politics must change as demanded by Filipinos.

This transformation will be:

  • violent and fatal if it starts from the masses.
  • peaceful and fruitful if it starts from the upper classes.

Some rulers have guessed this truth. Driven by their patriotism, they try to propose reforms.

But these reforms have produced scant results, both for the Government and for the country. They sometimes damage even those that only promised happy success.

All the reforms that have a palliative character are, not only useless, but even harmful, when the Government is faced with evils that must be radically remedied.

All these partial reforms were only ointments from a doctor who, not knowing how to cure a cancer, or not daring to remove it, wants to distract the sufferings of the patient.

Sancho Panza

They are similar to the dietary regimen of Sancho Panza on the Insula Barataria.

He sat at a sumptuous table full of fruit and a great diversity of dishes. But the doctor Pedro Rezio interposed his rod between the mouth of Sancho and each plate.

They removed the delicacy, leaving Sancho hungrier than ever. The despotic Pedro Rezio gave reasons that seem to have been written by Cervantes for the Overseas Governments:

"You must not eat, Mr. Governor, but as is the custom and custom in the other islands where there are governors"

He found inconveniences in all the dishes, some because they are hot, others because they are wet, etc. This is entirely like our Pedros Rezios from across the seas.

Damn the good that the art of his cook did Sancho!

In the case:

  • the Philippines is Sancho
  • the reforms are the delicacies
  • the charlatan doctor are performed by many people, interested in not touching the dishes, perhaps to take advantage of them.

It turns out that the patient Sancho, or the Philippines, misses his freedom, denying all governments, and ends up rebelling against his so-called doctor.

Free Press

In the same way, as long as the Philippines does not have a free press, it does not have a voice in the Chambers to let the Government and the Nation know whether or not its decrees are duly complied with, whether or not they take advantage of the country, all the abilities of the Overseas Minister will have the fate of the dishes of the Ínsula Barataria.

Therefore, the minister who wants real reforms must begin by:

  • declaring the press free in the Philippines, and
  • creating Filipino deputies.

Complaints from the Philippines rarely reach Spain.

  • No newspaper dares to reproduce them.
  • If they reproduce, they reproduce late and poorly.

A government that wants to administer a metropolis straight and decently must have a free press. This is more true for a government of a country that is far away.

  • A government that is on the same land can govern without the press because it has eyes and ears. It closely observes what it governs and administers.
  • But the Government that governs from afar absolutely needs the truth and the facts to come to its knowledge through all possible channels, so that it can better judge and appreciate them. This need is even more pronounced when it comes to a country like the Philippines, whose inhabitants speak and complain in a language unknown to the authorities.

To govern in another way will also be called to govern, since it is necessary to give it a name, but it is to govern badly.

It is to judge hearing only one of the parties; It is directing a ship without taking into account its conditions, the state of the sea, the reefs, the lows, the course of the wind, the currents, etc. It’s managing a house thinking only of polishing and money, without seeing what’s in the box, without thinking about the servers and the family.

But routine is a slope where many governments walk, and routine says that freedom of the press is a danger. Let’s see what history says. Uprisings and revolutions have always taken place in tyrannized countries, in those where human thought and heart have been forced to silence.

If the great Napoleon had not tyrannized the press, perhaps she would have warned him of the danger into which he was falling, and would have made him understand that the peoples were tired and the land needed peace; perhaps his genius, instead of wasting itself in external aggrandizement, folding in on itself, would have worked for its consolidation and would have been consolidated.

Spain itself has more revolutions when its press is muzzled.

What colony has become independent having a free press, enjoying freedoms?

Is it preferable to govern blindly, or to govern knowingly?

Some will answer us, alleging that in the colonies with the free press the PRESTIGE of the rulers would be in great danger, that column of false governments.

We will answer that the prestige of the Nation is preferable to that of several individuals. A nation gains respect not by supporting or covering up abuses, but by punishing and condemning them. Besides, what Napoleon said about great men and his valets succeeds to this prestige. We, who suffer and know all the falsehoods and humiliations of those alleged gods, do not need the free press to know them; They have long been in disrepute. The free press is needed by the Government, the Government, which still dreams of prestige, which builds on mined land. We say the same about the Filipino deputies.

What dangers does the government see in them?

One of three things: either they come out unruly, pastry chefs, or they come out as they should be. Assuming that we fall into the most absurd pessimism and admit the insult, great for the Philippines, but even greater for Spain, that all the deputies were separatists, and that in all their proposals they maintained filibustering ideas, isn’t the majority there, Spanish and patriot, is not there the clairvoyance of the rulers to oppose their ends and fight them?

And wouldn’t this be worth more than the discontent that ferments and spreads in the secret of the home, in the huts and in the fields? It is true that the Spanish people never spare their blood when it comes to patriotism; but would not the struggle of principles in Parliament be more preferable than the exchange of bullets in swampy terrain, 3,000 leagues from the country, among impenetrable forests, under a burning sun or in torrential rains?

These peaceful struggles of ideas, in addition to being a thermometer for the Government, have the advantage of being cheaper and more glorious, because the Spanish Parliament abounds precisely in champions of the word, invincible in the field of speeches.

In addition, they say that the Filipinos are indolent and modest; what, then, can the Government fear? Doesn’t it influence the elections? Frankly; it is doing great honor to the filibusters to be afraid of them in the midst of the Courts of the Nation.

If pastry chefs come out, as is to be expected and probably will be, all the better for the government, and all the worse for its constituents. They are a few more votes in favor, and the Government will be able to laugh freely at the filibusters, if there are any.

If they come out as they should be, worthy, honorable and faithful to their missions, they will undoubtedly annoy the ignorant or incapable minister with their questions, but they will help him govern and they will be some more honorable people among the representatives of the Nation.

However; If the true inconvenience of the Filipino deputies consists in the smell of Igorots that made him so uneasy in the Senate, the seasoned General Mr. Salamanca, Mr. D. Sinibaldo de Mas, who has seen the Igorots up close and wanted to Living with them, you can say that they will smell, at worst, like gunpowder, and Mr. Salamanca, without a doubt, is not afraid of that smell.

If it were not more than this, the Filipinos, who back in their country have the custom of bathing every day, once they are deputies, they will be able to leave such a dirty custom, at least during the legislative period, so as not to bother with the smell from the bathroom the delicate smells of the Salamancas. Useless to refute certain inconveniences of some pretty writers, about the skins more or less brown, and the faces more or less proboscis.