Chapter 50: - Page 6 of 7

Elias’s Story

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

What the people ask for is impossible. We must wait.

Wait! To wait means to suffer!

If I should ask for it, the powers that be would laugh at me.

But if the people supported you?

Never! I will never be the one to lead the multitude to get by force what the government does not think proper to grant, no! If I should ever see that multitude armed I would place myself on the side of the government, for in such a mob I should not see my countrymen.  I desire the country’s welfare, therefore I would build a schoolhouse.  I seek it by means of instruction, by progressive advancement; without light there is no road.

Neither is there liberty without strife! answered Elias.

The fact is that I don’t want that liberty!

The fact is that without liberty there is no light, replied the pilot with warmth.  You say that you are only slightly acquainted with your country, and I believe you.  You don’t see the struggle that is preparing, you don’t see the cloud on the horizon.  The fight is beginning in the sphere of ideas, to descend later into the arena, which will be dyed with blood.  I hear the voice of God—woe unto them who would oppose it! For them History has not been written!

Elias was transfigured; standing uncovered, with his manly face illuminated by the moon, there was something extraordinary about him.  He shook his long hair, and went on:

Don’t you see how everything is awakening? The sleep has lasted for centuries, but one day the thunderbolt [4] struck, and in striking, infused life.  Since then new tendencies are stirring our spirits, and these tendencies, today scattered, will some day be united, guided by the God who has not failed other peoples and who will not fail us, for His cause is the cause of liberty!

A solemn silence followed these words, while the banka, carried along insensibly by the waves, neared the shore.

[4] The execution of the Filipino priests Burgos, Gomez, and Zamora, in 1872.—TR.

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