Part 3b

The Qualities of a Filipino Icon

February 10, 2022

English Translation of Filipinas Dentro De Cien Años by Jose Rizal

Racial Looks

Each race has its own aesthetics.

China has 414 million people and has a very ancient civilization. It finds all Europeans ugly, calling them Fan-Kwai or red devils.

China aesthetic has 100 million more supporters than the European aesthetic. If this were followed, then the Latins, especially that of the Spaniards, are inferior to the Saxons who are much whiter.

And as long as it is not said that the Spanish Chamber is a meeting of Adoises, Antinoos, boys and other similar angels; As long as you go there to legislate and not to socratize or wander through imaginary hemispheres, we believe that the Government should not stop in the face of these inconveniences.

The Law has no skin, nor reason noses.

We do not see, therefore, any serious cause for the Philippines not to have representatives. With its creation, many discontents are silenced, and instead of blaming the country for its ills on the Government, as is happening now, it will cope with them better, because at least it can complain, and because, having its children among its legislators, it acts in a certain way in solidarity Of their acts. We do not know if we are serving the true interests of our country well by asking for deputies.

We know that the lack of enlightenment, the timidity, the selfishness of many of our compatriots, and the audacity, cunning, and powerful means of those who want obscurantism there, can turn reform into a harmful instrument.

But we want to be loyal to the Government and we indicate the path that seems best to us so that its efforts are not wasted, so that the discontents disappear. If after such a fair and necessary measure has been proposed, the Filipino people are so foolish and cowardly that they betray their true interests, then let the responsibilities fall on them, let them suffer all the consequences.

Every country gets the luck it deserves, and the government will be able to say that it has done its duty. These are the two fundamental reforms that, well interpreted and applied, will be able to dissipate all the clouds, affirm the affection for Spain and make all subsequent ones bear fruit.

These are the sine quibus non reforms.

The fear that independence will come through them is childish: the free press will let the government know the beats of opinion, and the deputies, if they are the best among the sons of the Philippines, as they should be, will be their hostages.

There being no reason for discontent, what will be the attempt to excite the masses of the people? Equally unacceptable is the inconvenience that others allege about the faulty culture of the majority of the inhabitants. In addition to the fact that it is not as defective as it is claimed, there is no plausible reason why the ignorant and helpless (through their own fault or someone else’s), be denied their representative to watch over them so that they do not run over them.

He is the one who needs it most. No one ceases to be a man, no one loses his rights to civilization just because he is more or less uneducated, and since the Filipino is considered a capable citizen when his contribution and his blood are asked to defend the homeland, why should he be denied that capacity when it comes to granting him a right?

Furthermore, why should he be responsible for his ignorance, if it is confessed by everyone, friends and enemies, that his eagerness to learn is so great, that even before the Spaniards arrived, everyone knew how to read and write, and that as we see now, the most modest families make enormous sacrifices so that their children can learn a little, even serving as servants to learn Spanish?

How can we expect the country to be enlightened in the current state, if we see that how many decrees the Government launches in favor of instruction, are met by Pedros Rezios who prevent their fulfillment, because they have in their hands what they call teaching? If the Filipino, then, is intelligent enough to contribute, he must also be intelligent enough to choose and have someone who watches over him and his interests, with the product of which he serves the Government of his Nation.

To reason in another way is to reason like a funnel. Once the laws and the acts of the authorities are supervised, the word Justice can begin to cease to be a colonial irony. What makes the English most respectable in their possessions is their strict and expeditious justice, in such a way that the inhabitants place all their trust in the judges. Justice is the first virtue of the civilizing races.

She subdues the most barbarous nations; injustice revolts the weakest. The posts and charges were to be given by opposition, the works and trials being published so that there would be encouragement and discontent would not arise. Thus, if the Indian does not shake his indolence, he will not be able to murmur if he sees all the positions carried out by castilas. We assume that it will not be the Spaniards who are afraid to enter this fight: this way they will be able to prove their superiority by the superiority of their intelligence.

Although this is not customary in the Metropolis, it must be practiced in the colonies, since true prestige must be sought through moral qualities, because the colonizers must be or appear to be, at least, just, intelligent and upright, like the man feigns virtue when in contact with strangers.

The posts and positions thus won naturally reject arbitrary dismissal and create employees and rulers who are capable and knowledgeable about their duties. The positions held by the Indians, instead of endangering Spanish domination, would only serve to strengthen it; for what interest would they have in changing what is safe and stable against what is uncertain and problematic?

The Indio:

  • is very fond of quietude
  • prefers a modest present to a brilliant future.

Tell those various Filipino officials who are still in office: they are the most inert conservatives.

We could add other detailed reforms concerning commerce, agriculture, security of the individual, property, education, etc.; but these are issues that we will deal with separately in other articles. For now we are content with the schemes, let no one say that we ask too much.

There will be no lack of spirits who brand us as utopian: but what is utopia? Utopia was a country that Thomas More imagined, where there was universal suffrage, religious tolerance, almost complete abolition of the death penalty, etc.

When the little novel was published, these things were considered as dreams, impossible, that is, utopian. And yet, civilization has left the country of Utopia far behind: the human will and conscience have performed more miracles, they have abolished slaves, and the death penalty for adultery, things impossible even for Utopia itself! The French colonies have their representatives.

In the English Chambers, attempts have also been made to give representation to the Crown colonies, since the others already enjoy a certain autonomy; the press, there, is also free; only in Spain, which in the 16th century was the model nation in colonization, is it far behind.

The population of Cuba and Puerto Rico:

  • is less than 1/3 of that of the Philippines, and which have not made the sacrifices for Spain that the latter, have numerous deputies.

From its first days, the Philippines had its own, who dealt with the Kings and the Pope of the needs of the country.

It had them in the critical moments of Spain, when it was groaning under the Napoleonic yoke, and they did not take advantage of the misfortune of the Metropolis like other colonies, but rather tightened the ties that united them to the Nation, giving proof of their loyalty; continued until many years later…

What crime have the Islands committed so that they are thus deprived of their rights?

In short: the Philippines will continue to be Spanish, if they enter the path of legal and civilized life, if the rights of its inhabitants are respected, if they are granted the others that are owed to them, if the liberal policy of the Governments is carried out carried out without obstacles or pettiness, without subterfuge or false interpretations. Otherwise, if you want to see in the Islands a vein to be exploited, a resource to satisfy ambitions, to free the Metropolis from taxes, draining the goose that lays the golden eggs and closing its ears to all the cries of reason, then However great the fidelity of the Filipinos, they will not be able to prevent the fatal laws of History from being fulfilled.

The colonies founded to serve the politics or commerce of a metropolis all end up becoming independent, said Bachelet; Before Bachelet said it, all the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, English, Portuguese and Spanish colonies had already said it.

Close without a doubt are the ties that unite us to Spain; Two peoples do not live three centuries in continuous contact, participating in the same fate, shedding their blood in the same fields, believing the same beliefs, adoring the same God, communicating the same thoughts, without stronger ties being born between them than those that they impose weapons or fear: sacrifices and benefits on the part of one and the other have given birth to affections.

Machiavelli used to say: the human condition is to bind oneself both for the benefits that are made and for those that are received. All this and even more is true. But it is pure sentimentality, and in the bitter field of politics, hard necessity and interests prevail.

No matter how much the Filipinos owe to Spain, they cannot be required to renounce their redemption, that the liberal and enlightened wander like exiles from the homeland, that the grossest aspirations be drowned in its atmosphere, that the peaceful inhabitant live continuously capsizing, depending the fate of the towns on the whims of a single man;

Spain cannot pretend, not even in the name of God himself, that 6 million men be brutalized, exploited and oppressed, be denied light, the innate rights in the human being, and then be filled with abuse;

no, there is no gratitude that can excuse, there is not enough gunpowder in the world that can justify the attacks against the freedom of the individual, against the sacredness of the home, against the laws, against peace and honor; attacks that are committed there every day; there is no Divinity that can proclaim the sacrifice of our most expensive affections, that of the family, the sacrileges and violations that are committed by those who have the name of God on their lips; no one can demand of the Filipino people the impossible; the noble Spanish people, so fond of their liberties and rights, cannot tell him to renounce his own;

The people who take pleasure in the glories of their past cannot ask another, educated by him, to accept abjection and dishonor his name!

Those of us who today fight in the legal and peaceful field of discussions, understand it this way, and with our eyes fixed on our ideals, we will not cease to advocate for our cause, without going beyond the limits of the legal; but if before violence silences us or we have the misfortune to fall (which is possible, since we are not immortal), then we do not know what path will be taken by the numerous offshoots and of better sap that will rush to occupy the positions that we leave empty. If what we want doesn’t come true…

In the face of the unfortunate eventuality, it is necessary that horror does not frighten us, that instead of closing our eyes, we look face to face at what the future may bring. And to that end, after throwing the handful of earth that is tributed to the Cerberos, let us frankly enter the abyss to fathom its terrible mysteries. the Solidarity; no. 21: Madrid, December 15, 1889.