What is the future of the Philippines?by Jose Rizal
English Translation of Filipinas Dentro De Cien Años by Jose Rizal
To read the destiny of peoples, we should look at their past.
The past of the Philippines can be reduced to the following:
Barely incorporated into the Spanish Crown, they had to sustain with their blood and with the efforts of their children the wars and the conquering ambitions of the Spanish people,
In these struggles, in that terrible crisis of peoples when they change their government, laws, uses, customs, religion and beliefs, the Philippines became depopulated, impoverished and backward, surprised in its metamorphosis, without confidence in its past, without faith even in its present and without any flattering hope in the days to come.
The ancient lords, who had only tried to conquer the fear and submission of their subjects, accustomed by them to servitude, fell like the leaves of a dry tree.
The people, who had neither love for them nor knew what was freedom, he easily changed masters, perhaps hoping to gain something from the novelty.
Thus began a new era for the Filipinos.
Little by little, they lost their ancient traditions and their memories.
They forgot their writing, songs, poetry, laws in order to memorize things which they did not understand:
- foreign doctrines
- foreign morality
- foreign aesthetic
These were different from those created by:
- their race
- the climate
- their way of feeling.
The Filipino lowered himself, degrading himself.
He was ashamed of what was his and his nation. He admired and praised what was strange and incomprehensible. His spirit fell and he bowed.
Years and centuries passed.
The religious pomp, the rites that speak to the eyes, the songs, the lights, the images dressed in gold, a cult in a mysterious language, the stories, the miracles, and the sermons hypnotized the spirit, superstitious by itself. , of the country, but without being able to destroy it completely, in spite of the whole system later deployed and followed with implacable tenacity.
At this stage, the moral decline of the inhabitants, the discouragement, the disgust with oneself, they wanted to give the last coup de grace, to reduce to nothing so many wills and so many dormant brains, to make of individuals a kind of arms, brutes, beasts of burden, as well as a brainless and heartless humanity.
Then it was said, what was intended was accepted,
The race was insulted. Attempts were made to deny it all virtue, all human qualities. There were even writers and priests who, taking the blow further, wanted to deny the children of the country no not only the capacity for virtue, but even the disposition for vice. Then what they believed to be death was precisely their salvation.
There are dying people who return to health thanks to certain strong medicines.
So many sufferings were filled with insults. The lethargic spirit returned to life.
Sensitivity, the quintessential quality of the Indian, was wounded, and if he had patience to suffer and die at the foot of a foreign flag, he did not have it when the one for whom he died paid him his sacrifice with insults and nonsense.
Then he examined himself little by little, and learned his misfortune. Those who did not expect this result, like the despotic masters, considered every complaint, every protest as an insult, and it was punished with death, every cry of pain was tried to drown in blood, and fault after fault was committed.
The spirit of the people was not intimidated by this. It had awakened in a few hearts. Its flame, however, spread safely and voraciously, thanks to the abuses and clumsy maneuvers of certain classes to extinguish noble sentiments and generous.
Thus when a flame catches a dress, fear and embarrassment cause it to spread more and more, and each jolt, each blow is a blow of bellows that will enliven it.
During this entire period, there was no lack of generous and noble spirits among the dominant race who tried to fight for the rights of justice and humanity, nor petty and cowardly souls among the dominated race who helped to degrade their own country.
But one and the other were exceptions and we speak in general terms. This has been the outline of your past. We know your present.
What will be his future? Will the Philippine Islands continue as a Spanish colony, and, if so, what kind of colony? Will they become Spanish provinces with or without autonomy?
To get to this state, what kind of sacrifices will you have to make? Will they perhaps separate from the Motherland to live independently, to fall into the hands of other nations or to ally with other neighboring powers?
It is impossible to answer these questions because all of them can be answered with a yes and a no, depending on the time that you want to mark.
If there is no eternal state in nature, how much less should there be in the life of peoples, beings endowed with mobility and movement!
Thus it is that in order to answer these questions it is necessary to fix an unlimited space of time, and in accordance with it try to foresee future events.
La Solidaridad 16: Barcelona, Sept 30 1889.