Chapter 27: - Page 7 of 8

The Friar and the Filipino

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Yes, there is something that impels them to study, replied Isagani in the same tone, looking the Dominican full in the face.  Besides the duty of every one to seek his own perfection, there is the desire innate in man to cultivate his intellect, a desire the more powerful here in that it is repressed.  He who gives his gold and his life to the State has the right to require of it opporttmity better to get that gold and better to care for his life.  Yes, Padre, there is something that impels them, and that something is the government itself.  It is you yourselves who pitilessly ridicule the uncultured Indian and deny him his rights, on the ground that he is ignorant.  You strip him and then scoff at his nakedness.

Padre Fernandez did not reply, but continued to pace about feverishly, as though very much agitated.

You say that the fields are not cultivated, resumed Isagani in a changed tone, after a brief pause.  Let’s not enter upon an analysis of the reason for this, because we should get far away.  But you, Padre Fernandez, you, a teacher, you, a learned man, do you wish a people of peons and laborers? In your opinion, is the laborer the perfect state at which man may arrive in his development? Or is it that you wish knowledge for yourself and labor for the rest?

No, I want knowledge for him who deserves it, for him who knows how to use it, was the reply.  When the students demonstrate that they love it, when young men of conviction appear, young men who know how to maintain their dignity and make it respected, then there will be knowledge, then there will be considerate professors! If there are now professors who resort to abuse, it is because there are pupils who submit to it.

When there are professors, there will be students!

Begin by reforming yourselves, you who have need of change, and we will follow.

Yes, said Isagani with a bitter laugh, let us begin it, because the difficulty is on our side.  Well you know what is expected of a pupil who stands before a professor—you yourself, with all your love of justice, with all your kind sentiments, have been restraining yourself by a great effort while I have been telling you bitter truths, you yourself, Padre Fernandez! What good has been secured by him among us who has tried to inculcate other ideas? What evils have not fallen upon you because you have tried to be just and perform your duty?

Señor Isagani, said the Dominican, extending his hand, although it may seem that nothing practical has resulted from this conversation, yet something has been gained.  I’ll talk to my brethren about what you have told me and I hope that something can be done.  Only I fear that they won’t believe in your existence.

Learn this Filipino word:

hampas-lupà