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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rizal: "To My Country"

Dr. José Rizal
This was an old entry from my old defunct blog and I decided to transfer it here.

Well, Dr. José Rizal wrote "To My Country" as an introduction to his first novel "Noli Me Tangere" (translation: "Touch Me Not"). However, "To My Country" is more than just an introduction. It serves as a reminder to each an every one of us that we, as a people (the Filipino people), have our very own defects, bad habits and vices. In other words, a social cancer.

Rizal admitted that he himself was suffering from the social cancer. Throughout his life, he change himself from that social cancer, he becomes a better man, a true patriot and indeed, the father of our nationalism. While in Spain, he distanced himself from other Overseas Filipinos (fellow propagandists), who enjoyed luxurious lives and vices that blinded them from their patriotic duties.

Today, we Filipinos have even greater social cancer. First thing that comes to every Filipinos mind when it comes to politics is corruption. Most Filipinos I know will always say that all presidents in our nation's history were corrupt leaders. Yet something is wrong with that view because society itself is corrupt. Not only our politicians are corrupt but also the people themselves are corrupt. People should not expect good leaders would rise to save them because they themselves are corrupt and they are bound to elect corrupt leaders. Therefore, corruption must end whether politically, bureaucratically and economically but it must first end from the people. Corrupt politicians do not elect themselves; the people are [the one voting for them]. In other words, “corrupt people always vote for corrupt politicians”.

To My Country

Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant
a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the
sharpest pains. Thus, how many times, when in the midst of modern
civilizations I have wished to call thee before me, now to accompany
me in memories, now to compare thee with other countries, hath thy
dear image presented itself showing a social cancer like to that other!

Desiring thy welfare, which is our own, and seeking the best treatment,
I will do with thee what the ancients did with their sick, exposing
them on the steps of the temple so that every one who came to invoke
the Divinity might offer them a remedy.

And to this end, I will strive to reproduce thy condition faithfully,
without discriminations; I will raise a part of the veil that covers
the evil, sacrificing to truth everything, even vanity itself, since,
as thy son, I am conscious that I also suffer from thy defects and
weaknesses.

Yours Truly,
José Rizal

(To My Country is the introductory entry to Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere)

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