Chapter 31: - Page 4 of 4

The High Official

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

I don’t wish that the coming ages accuse Spain of being the stepmother of the nations, the vampire of races, the tyrant of small islands, since it would be a horrible mockery of the noble principles of our ancient kings.  How are we carrying out their sacred legacy? They promised to these islands protection and justice, and we are playing with the lives and liberties of the inhabitants; they promised civilization, and^we are curtailing it, fearful that they may aspire to a nobler existence; they promised them light, and we cover their eyes that they may not witness our orgies; they promised to teach them virtue and we are encouraging their vice. Instead of peace, wealth, and justice, confusion reigns, commerce languishes, and skepticism is fostered among the masses.

Let us put ourselves in the place of the Filipinos and ask ourselves what we would do in their place.  Ah, in your silence I read their right to rebel, and if matters do not mend they will rebel some day, and justice will be on their side, with them will go the sympathy of all honest men, of every patriot in the world! When a people is denied light, home, liberty, and justice—things that are essential to life, and therefore man’s patrimony—that people has the right to treat him who so despoils it as we would the robber who intercepts us on the highway.  There are no distinctions, there are no exceptions, nothing but a fact, a right, an aggression, and every honest man who does not place himself on the side of the wronged makes himself an accomplice and stains his conscience.

True, I am not a soldier, and the years are cooling the little fire in my blood, but just as I would risk being torn to pieces to defend the integrity of Spain against any foreign invader or against an unjustified disloyalty in her provinces, so I also assure you that I would place myself beside the oppressed Filipinos, because I would prefer to fall in the cause of the outraged rights of humanity to triumphing with the selfish interests of a nation, even when that nation be called as it is called—Spain!

Do you know when the mail-boat leaves? inquired his Excellency coldly, when the high official had finished speaking.

The latter stared at him fixedly, then dropped his head and silently left the palace.  

Outside he found his carriage awaiting him.  Some day when you declare yourselves independent, he said somewhat abstractedly to the native lackey who opened the carriage-door for him, remember that there were not lacking in Spain hearts that beat for you and struggled for your rights!

Where, sir? asked the lackey, who had understood nothing of this and was inquiring whither they should go.

Two hours later the high official handed in his resignation and announced his intention of returning to Spain by the next mail-steamer.  

Learn this Filipino word:

parang waláng butó