Chapter 49: - Page 2 of 9

The Voice of the Hunted

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

So they want—

Radical reforms in the armed forces, in the priesthood, and in the administration of justice; that is to say, they ask for paternal treatment from the government.

Reforms? In what sense?

For example, more respect for a man’s dignity, more security for the individual, less force in the armed forces, fewer privileges for that corps which so easily abuses what it has.

Elias, answered the youth, I don’t know who you are, but I suspect that you are not a man of the people; you think and act so differently from others. You will understand me if I tell you that, however imperfect the condition of affairs may be now, it would be more so if it were changed.  I might be able to get the friends that I have in Madrid to talk, by paying them; I might even be able to see the Captain-General; but neither would the former accomplish anything nor has the latter sufficient power to introduce so many novelties.  Nor would I ever take a single step in that direction, for the reason that, while I fully understand that it is true that these corporations have their faults, they are necessary at this time.  They are what is known as a necessary evil.

Greatly surprised, Elias raised his head and looked at him in astonishment.  Do you, then, also believe in a necessary evil, sir? he asked in a voice that trembled slightly.  Do you believe that in order to do good it is necessary to do evil?

No, I believe in it as in a violent remedy that we make use of when we wish to cure a disease.  Now then, the country is an organism suffering from a chronic malady, and in order to cure it, the government sees the necessity of employing such means, harsh and violent if you wish, but useful and necessary.

He is a bad doctor, sir, who seeks only to destroy or stifle the symptoms without an effort to examine into the origin of the malady, or, when knowing it, fears to attack it.  The Civil Guard has only this purpose: the repression of crime by means of terror and force, a purpose that it does not fulfill or accomplishes only incidentally.  You must take into account the truth that society can be severe with individuals only when it has provided them with the means necessary for their moral perfection.  In our country, where there is no society, since there is no unity between the people and the government, the latter should be indulgent, not only because indulgence is necessary but also because the individual, abandoned and uncared for by it, has less responsibility, for the very reason that he has received less guidance.  

Learn this Filipino word:

nagpantíng ang tainga