"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats, which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.
In El Filibusterismo, Rizal advocates nothing but revolution but being the romantic he was, he wanted the revolution instigated by the noble and pure, those "sin mancha" for "sea holocausta acceptable". Surely the characters Rizal created in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo could never fit the bill. For Rizal only the Filipino youth could.
I have always been intrigued about the character of Simoun. There is nothing that has been created in all of world literature that personifies corruption in all its shades, depths and motives. Simoun can represent the kind of government we have allowed to take its place. In the end, Simoun the corrupted, reveals the reason why he became corrupt and that is to avenge the loss of his love. But this love is not the Philippines. Simoun by partaking of the corruption, became corrupt himself and fostered further tyranny. And so he, mortally wounded, received absolution after confessing from the noble Indio priest, Florentino.
Simoun's lamp is a metaphor for all the last resort of the defenseless against corruption. The nitro-glycerin in the lamp "is all the hatred, wrongs, injustice and outrage" all distilled as a clear liquid. Rizal was not against the lighting of the lamp, but he was against lighting the lamp for the wrong reasons and motives. The weapon that will kill corruption is no more than a noble idea and Rizal was clear on that.
And have we lighted the lamp? Perhaps we did on August 26, 2013 the day of heroes. Definitely the metaphorical lamp was not lit by the corrupt, the corrupted or by the corruptors. It was lit by neither but by so many Filipinos whose only motive, and noble indeed that is, to seek a just future for their nation and children.
And the lamp will explode when the people have reached that height, God's weapon definitely. The oligarchic idols will be crushed and the corrupt edifice will fall like a house of cards.. that is if the Filipino government fails to punish the criminals, excise its putrefaction, burn the vices of its thieves.
Otherwise the lamp will just be a source of light and justice. What then is your choice?