Filipino freedom is one of the by-words in the June month-long celebration of Jose Rizal (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), his legacy to the Filipino race. In the quote below is a gentle rebuke to the Filipino malaise that has not found its cure to this day – a lack of true nationalism – a love for this country, the Philippines. A side look at this quote gives away some insights on the present state of the nation.
“As long as the Filipino people have not enough spirit to proclaim, brow held high, and breast bared, their right to a free society, and to maintain it with their sacrifices, with their very blood; as long as we see our country men privately ashamed , hearing the cries of their revolted, and protesting in conscience but silent in public, or joining the oppressor in mocking the oppressed; as long as we see them wrapping themselves up in their selfishness and praising the most iniquitous acts with forced smiles, begging with their eyes for a share of the booty, why give them freedom?” – El Filibusterismo
Think About What Rizal Wrote
"As long as the Filipino people have not enough spirit to proclaim, brow held high, and breast bared, their right to a free society...
Two people power revolutions later, note how many student's hands inside a classroom will go up when a teacher asks, “Who likes to go abroad to work [and reside there permanently]?” Are there still many remaining Filipinos out there who will choose to stay put in this land and not become another country’s citizen? How many Pinoys, when faced with a direct challenge from another culture will insist on their Filipino-ness and defend it against another nation’s impositions?
Or to put it another way, how many have embraced another way of life merely because it’s not Filipino or because it’s not “local?” Have we truly set ourselves free after getting rid of the major oppressors (Spain: 1521-1898; USA: 1900 – 1960 and onwards; Japan: 1942-1945; Marcos: 1972-1986) when other more subtle invasions brainwash our cultural mindset?
and to maintain it with their sacrifices,
We declare the OFWs as heroes who have sacrificed greatly. But are most of their sacrifices for the good of the country? Should this question be asked or is it assumed that everybody who goes abroad and has his or her family in mind will eventually give back to his homeland?
with their very blood;
After the first quarter storm in the early seventies, this generation has yet to see another of this kind of sacrifice, in the truest revolutionary sense.
as long as we see our country men privately ashamed,
Filipinos take pride in the professionals out there in other countries who are truly making their marks. But in most households in developed nations, a great number of Filipino workers belong to the lowest rank, and they are numbered among the more exploited laborers in the world.
Back home, a nurse has to pay a hospital in order to have practice and experience after she passes the board exam. A teacher earns only enough to pay rent. A policeman has to augment his income through other irregular means.
hearing the cries of their revolted
How extensive has been the documentation of the sufferings of the OFWs? Mostly, the noise is about successes. In fact any kind of international success is a palliative to the ailing Filipino morale: So Hail Manny Paquiao! Cheers for Charise! Loud applause for the Filipino Indie Filmmakers winning festivals abroad!
and protesting in conscience but silent in public,
Many people end up merely smirking at dead-end-win-some-lose-more deals reached by prosecutors of corruption. Cynicism prevents the citizens, especially the young people, from getting involved – at least in pronouncing their anger collectively and shaming the shameless propagators of bad governance.
or joining the oppressor in mocking the oppressed;
The influential who have the means to initiate change mostly play safe and just go through the motions. To preserve their vested interests, some hack away at every deal they could muster; the underpaid, the marginalized, the naive, the vulnerable, the ignorant be damned. Those who are in charge of basic services are at their wits end in solving crisis-after-crisis, but nobody notices their gargantuan efforts since grand scale corruption drowns all their efforts like a Tsunami.
as long as we see them wrapping themselves up in their selfishness
The ZTE scandal, the Jocjoc-Agri under the table deal, the PCSO foul plays, the GrandScale Landlordisms, the PIATCO scam, the unresolved murders of progressive journalists and social workers, the endless grandstanding in the house of representatives... and the list goes on....
and praising the most iniquitous acts with forced smiles,
Justice should always prevail but most of the time, the guardians drop their weapons and serve their pockets. They shrug their shoulders at “isolated irregularities” saying nothing ‘major, major’ has been happening and everything is all right. Hopefully greed will stop running amok on the streets.
begging with their eyes for a share of the booty,
When is freedom truly free?
why give them freedom?”