El Filibusterismo

I had just finished reading Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo. As much as I’d love to go over the whole book (hmmm… who’s up for it? :D) I just had to share something in the closing chapter which is – since this is a World YOUTH Alliance blog – for us youth.

“Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination? Pure and spotless must the victim be that the sacrifice may be acceptable! Where are you, youth, who will embody in yourselves the vigor of life that has left our veins, the purity of ideas that has been contaminated in our brains, the fire of enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await you, O youth! Come, for we await you!” – Padre Florentino

Rizal finished writing the Fili in 1891. The two books – El Filibusterismo being the sequel to the Noli Me Tangere – were replete with polemics that, as is the nature of works considered classical, still ring true today. 117 years hence and Philippine society is still confronted with what seem to be the same problems, and a cliché inevitably comes to mind: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Or as Padre Florentino would have preferred the more biblical, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

As it was true then so it is true now and Padre Florentino still challenges us with the same words: “Where are you, youth? … Come, for we await you!”

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