i wonder about what Rizal was thinking during the last days of his life. he already knew that his execution awaits only a couple more days. There was of course the sadness that came from leaving behind the people he loved, especially his wife. He must have wished he had children, then again, who will take care of them without him…? But despite the ‘end’ that awaits him, he must have, he must be… still thinking of our ‘fatherland’ and its fair hope that he knew lies in our youth. “fair hope of our fatherland,” words of Rizal that we have so repetitiously used until it finally lost its meaning. Words that we have reduced to a slogan or fancy quotable quote.
i wonder about Rizal’s faith in his countrymen. Did he approach his death with a firm hope that if not in the next decade, it was sure that men’s eyes will one day be opened to the true worthiness and cost of attaining freedom? Did he fear that this unblinding of our eyes might take longer that it should? That many a generation will choose the status quo over the best of what life has to give, that many a generation will choose to look after only their own interest rather that their fatherland and countrymen’s? What if the vicious cycle remains to be such and the nation never finds its way out of it? What if many a good men hesitate to pay the price that he chose to pay and thus fail to fulfill his part in waking up a generation of slumberers… sweetly cradled in a lullaby of deception?
We are all pointing towards where Rizal had run towards throughout the course of his life. We have flipped through pages and pages of his propaganda and heart-sown pieces. We understand and see but are we STEPPING into the destiny that all heroes have literally fought for unto death?
I am uneasy. I am anxious. I am angry. I am restless. I am burning inside as i ponder about how we have reduced Rizal’s writings into historical pieces that tell us about a past so relevant yet not relevant enough to influence our present actions. we have repeatedly and conveniently left the lessons inside our classrooms and discussion rooms. we say we understand Rizal. but our understanding never jumps from the realms of lip service into a realm that actually cuts through the very flesh and bones that we feed with pizza, chicken, burger and fries.
who are you Filipino? have you discovered yourself in studying your past? have you repented for your failures and blindness and are you walking now against the grain? it is not enough to walk peacefully just because the weather around you is calm. blindness is a tricky thing. and freedom is not something you gain by how loud you shout, how long you stay on the streets, or how much risk you take in defying rules and regulations.
freedom is that moment when you cease thinking about yourself and how right you are. it is that moment when the things that we consider right and just finally cuts through our apathy and comfort, then reforms us. the offspring of change can only be birthed by change. it is humble hunger for righteousness that changes complainers into doers. only when we ourselves bear the cost of self reformation, only then can we change a nation.
“I do not write for this generation. I am writing for other ages. If this could read me, they would burn my books, the work of my whole life. On the other hand, the generation which interprets these writings will be an educated generation; they will understand me and say: ‘Not all were asleep in the night-time of our grandparents’.”
—The Philosopher ‘Tasio, in Noli Me Tangere
Are our eyes really open? If yes, then why is it that we still hear many crying out for freedom?