Chapter 7: - Page 3 of 8

Simoun

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Called by the vices of the rulers, I have returned to these islands, and under the cloak of a merchant have visited the towns.  My gold has opened a way for me and wheresoever I have beheld greed in the most execrable forms, sometimes hypocritical, sometimes shameless, sometimes cruel, fatten on the dead organism, like a vulture on a corpse, I have asked myself—why was there not, festering in its vitals, the corruption, the ptomaine, the poison of the tombs, to kill the foul bird? The corpse was letting itself be consumed, the vulture was gorging itself with meat, and because it was not possible for me to give it life so that it might turn against its destroyer, and because the corruption developed slowly, I have stimulated greed, I have abetted it.  The cases of injustice and the abuses multiplied themselves; I have instigated crime and acts of cruelty, so that the people might become accustomed to the idea of death.  I have stirred up trouble so that to escape from it some remedy might be found; I have placed obstacles in the way of trade so that the country, impoverished and reduced to misery, might no longer be afraid of anything; I have excited desires to plunder the treasury, and as this has not been enough to bring about a popular uprising, I have wounded the people in their most sensitive fiber; I have made the vulture itself insult the very corpse that it feeds upon and hasten the corruption.

Now, when I was about to get the supreme rottenness, the supreme filth, the mixture of such foul products brewing poison, when the greed was beginning to irritate, in its folly hastening to seize whatever came to hand, like an old woman caught in a conflagration, here you come with your cries of Hispanism, with chants of confidence in the government, in what cannot come to pass, here you have a body palpitating with heat and life, young, pure, vigorous, throbbing with blood, with enthusiasm, suddenly come forth to offer itself again as fresh food!

Ah, youth is ever inexperienced and dreamy, always running after the butterflies and flowers! You have united, so that by your efforts you may bind your fatherland to Spain with garlands of roses when in reality you are forging upon it chains harder than the diamond! You ask for equal rights, the Hispanization of your customs, and you don’t see that what you are begging for is suicide, the destruction of your nationality, the annihilation of your fatherland, the consecration of tyranny! What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty—everything you have will be borrowed, even your very defects! You beg for Hispanization, and do not pale with shame when they deny it you! And even if they should grant it to you, what then—what have you gained? At best, a country of pronunciamentos, a land of civil wars, a republic of the greedy and the malcontents, like some of the republics of South America! To what are you tending now, with your instruction in Castilian, a pretension that would be ridiculous were it not for its deplorable consequences! You wish to add one more language to the forty odd that are spoken in the islands, so that you may understand one another less and less.

On the contrary, replied Basilio, if the knowledge of Castilian may bind us to the government, in exchange it may also unite the islands among themselves.  

Learn this Filipino word:

pantawíd-gutom