Chapter 39: - Page 6 of 8

Conclusion

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

A brief pause ensued, broken at length by the sick man’s voice.  Then, what can be done?

Suffer and work!

Suffer—work! echoed the sick man bitterly.  Ah, it’s easy to say that, when you are not suffering, when the work is rewarded.  If your God demands such great sacrifices from man, man who can scarcely count upon the present and doubts the future, if you had seen what I have, the miserable, the wretched, suffering unspeakable tortures for crimes they have not committed, murdered to cover up the faults and incapacity of others, poor fathers of families torn from their homes to work to no purpose upon highways that are destroyed each day and seem only to serve for sinking families into want.  Ah, to suffer, to work, is the will of God! Convince them that their murder is their salvation, that their work is the prosperity of the home! To suffer, to work! What God is that?

A very just God, Señor Simoun, replied the priest.  A God who chastises our lack of faith, our vices, the little esteem in which we hold dignity and the civic virtues.  We tolerate vice, we make ourselves its accomplices, at times we applaud it, and it is just, very just that we suffer the consequences, that our children suffer them.  It is the God of liberty, Señor Simoun, who obliges us to love it, by making the yoke heavy for us—a God of mercy, of equity, who while He chastises us, betters us and only grants prosperity to him who has merited it through his efforts.  The school of suffering tempers, the arena of combat strengthens the soul.

I do not mean to say that our liberty will be secured at the sword’s point, for the sword plays but little part in modern affairs, but that we must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it, by exalting the intelligence and the dignity of the individual, by loving justice, right, and greatness, even to the extent of dying for them,—and when a people reaches that height God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, the tyranny will crumble like a house of cards and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.

Our ills we owe to ourselves alone, so let us blame no one.  If Spain should see that we were less complaisant with tyranny and more disposed to struggle and suffer for our rights, Spain would be the first to grant us liberty, because when the fruit of the womb reaches maturity woe unto the mother who would stifle it! So, while the Filipino people has not sufficient energy to proclaim, with head erect and bosom bared, its rights to social life, and to guarantee it with its sacrifices, with its own blood; while we see our countrymen in private life ashamed within themselves, hear the voice of conscience roar in rebellion and protest, yet in public life keep silence or even echo the words of him who abuses them in order to mock the abused; while we see them wrap themselves up in their egotism and with a forced smile praise the most iniquitous actions, begging with their eyes a portion of the booty—why grant them liberty? With Spain or without Spain they would always be the same, and perhaps worse! Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.

Learn this Filipino word:

ipagdasál mo na