Chapter 27: - Page 6 of 8

The Friar and the Filipino

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

So let it be! I accept it because it is an accomplished fact, but I will further ask: why, if your social organization is defective, do you not change it or at least give heed to the cry of those who are injured by it?

We’re still far away.  Let’s talk about what the students want from the friars.

From the moment when the friars hide themselves behind the government, the students have to turn to it.

This statement was true and there appeared no means of ignoring it.

I’m not the government and I can’t answer for its acts.  What do the students wish us to do for them within the limits by which we are confined?

Not to oppose the emancipation of education but to favor it.

The Dominican shook his head.  Without stating my own opinion, that is asking us to commit suicide, he said.

On the contrary, it is asking you for room to pass in order not to trample upon and crush you.

Ahem! coughed Padre Fernandez, stopping and remaining thoughtful.  Begin by asking something that does not cost so much, something that any one of us can grant without abatement of dignity or privilege, for if we can reach an understanding and dwell in peace, why this hatred, why this distrust?

Then let’s get down to details.

Yes, because if we disturb the foundation, we’ll bring down the whole edifice.

Then let’s get down to details, let’s leave the region of abstract principles, rejoined Isagani with a smile, and also without stating my own opinion,—the youth accented these words—the students would desist from their attitude and soften certain asperities if the professors would try to treat them better than they have up to the present.  That is in their hands.

What? demanded the Dominican.  Have the students any complaint to make about my conduct?

Padre, we agreed from the start not to talk of yourself or of myself, we’re speaking generally.  The students, besides getting no great benefit out of the years spent in the classes, often leave there remnants of their dignity, if not the whole of it.

Padre Fernandez again bit his lip.  No one forces them to study—the fields are uncultivated, he observed dryly.

Learn this Filipino word:

hanggáng sa labì ng hukay