More than a hundred years ago, in Bagumbayan, shots rang out in the western sky and a man fell down without being able to face his assassins. He stumbled to the ground without being able to turn a complete three hundred sixty twist that he had labored to create when the word “Fuego!!!” rattled and hummed into the wind.
What courage does a man has to be able to muster enough resolve in order to face the unthinkable in the very instance of death. I have not known any man other than Jose Rizal, who could retain such composure, writing even what could be the greatest farewell ever written when he inscribed within the dim stonewalls put on him, a paean to this Motherland, a last goodbye. ….Adios patria adorada….Goodbye, my dear Motherland….
Jose Rizal is the man we see as an icon test, the standards we seek in order to size up our character. He has the courage that every Filipino needs in these times of the greatest trial to our nation’s character to rise above these seemingly unending bouts against poverty and corruption, that led the eventual fall of a once great and rich nation. We are still great now, but we have been much more in the past.
In his words, “the youth is the nation’s tomorrow”, and no patriotic words could ever be truer than this. The young amongst us are the rising stars that shall take us surging again towards the sky like a phoenix from the flame. They will be our last great hope to bend this stranglehold of misfortune and desperation that holds us down down like a monkey wrench. We, the Filipino people seem to have the perchance of pulling each other down that for every one man that escapes these desperation, a hundred lies naked and homeless in the streets and our daughters become whores that cater to fat-bellied thieves in the government and our sons are pushed to take up the hands of mischief and become hardened in crime and violence.
It is the moment for us to rebel and seek to put an end to this vicious cycle where generation after generation, we grow into a people lacking in extraordinary vigor and persistence. Our youth must survive this test and we must see our hero, the great Jose Rizal as a test of character for all of us, to emulate his discipline as a young shy creative student until the day he became the courageous young man that he had been, without thought to the benefit of the self but always to the benefit of the greater all, even in the very seconds that those murderous shots rang out in the wind-swept shores of Manila.
Every day we are bombarded with false icons and false gods. Movie starlets abound that goes gyrating in half-naked garments and they only instill the more animal instincts of our youth. What becomes then of our young but sex-crazed individuals who only seek the pleasure for the material self and puts away the passion and patriotism to contribute to the greater well-being of our country.
In politics, and in government service, we honor and put on a pedestal those that had fattened themselves with public money. They become our honorees with honoris causa here and honoris causa there. They become godfathers and godmothers to every betrothal there is in town and every loving child that are newly born. They become the toast of the town. The few ones that labor in honesty, like the man who rides a bicycle to congress, do not ever become a godfather to any weddings or a special guest in the openings of some fancy restaurants---at least not in the grandest scheme. We honor those that put us down. They are the cancers of our society.
Rich men within us just go walking past the hungered in the streets. They have lost their hearts towards their downtrodden brothers and sisters. The Lord Jesus Christ had once said: “Whomsoever said he loves God then hates his brother is a liar for how could he love God whom he could not see and yet hates his brother whom he could see”. We see them parading their charities when disasters come. They become listed in some foundations as the donor of this and the donor of that. That makes us wish that every day there is a disaster for it seems that there has to be some news-rich disaster that they come out from their mansions and castles in order to be part of some much talked about disaster.
Everyday, there is a disaster my brothers and sisters. Everyday, we see men and women who sleep in the streets and carry their young in their hungry arms even when it rains outside. We see infant crying in the night for they seek the milk of their mothers that are not there when they need them. They have no roof, no food, no water and no medicines to cure them. Yet, we pass by them like we do not see a daily disaster.
Everyday there is a disaster. Our laborers work for pittance and at times they earned lesser than that what is paid a mule. Yet, we do not see this as an everyday disaster. We see the earnings of these companies skyrocketing to the roof and yet the pay we earn moves like turtle. Net income increase for the year here, net income increase for the year there. Targets overlapped here, target overlapped there.
Yet our icons becomes them, those who seek not the hands of their brothers and sisters but labor and strive only so that they could build another mansion when they already have two, and looks forward to buy another car when they have already seven in their garages.
Our youth must see another form of icons. Of courage and discipline in order that we as a nation must rise from this quagmire of poverty and desecration of spirit. We must find new heroes to lead us forward, to move against the wind, to strive further even if the hill is so steep and the enemies are ever formidable.
Our youth today must become brave and patient. They must be industrious and resilient. Serious in their studies, and they must stop at nothing to gain more and more knowledge. At times we stopped when we see the difficulties are tremendous. We do not stop until we can build airplanes that will fly into the air or even rockets that shall roam and orbit the spaces above us.
We must promise not to recreate the mistakes of generations past. We must learn and rise from the ashes. Even when our young are just children now playing in the fields, we must invoke on them to please prepare themselves to become the people of the future, the builders of a rising nation, and then we shall rise up again like a phoenix from the flame.
And to start this uprising, we must all be prayerful to the Lord God for everything begins and ends from Him.