Jose Rizal & The Lost Indios Bravos

clip_image002Happy Birthday, Jose Rizal! Where are the youth who will consecrate their budding years and enthusiasm to the welfare of their country?

Wrong call! Now I know why Jose Rizal failed in his call for the Filipino youth to come to the aid of their country - he was too much of a dreamer, too idealistic, too much out of touch of the reality of his times. And so are we! We are the Lost Indios Bravos.

I have 1 last copy of my limited-edition book indios bravos! with the subtitle, Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption. I published it in December 2005, all 186 pages of it, trim size 8.5" x 11" (you are looking at the cover, cropped.) My book is relevant even today because Jose Rizal is the failed Messiah of the Redemption. Because a hero cannot redeem us; we have to redeem ourselves! And we have not, so we are The Lost Indios Bravos. If not The Last.

Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, our President Noynoy, in announcing that he was running after all after Mar Roxas gave way to him (see my "Noynoy's intent. Aquino's declaration, my translation," Frank A Hilario, 09 September 2009,, told the story of someone from Customs saying, when he heard that Noynoy was running for President, "Salamat naman at pwede na po muling mangarap." Thank you, we can dream again.

The trouble with us is that all these times we have only been dreaming!

We prescribe a contraceptive, close our prescription pad, and dream of a better Philippines.

We denounce the crooks in government, close our mouths, and dream of a better Philippines.

We talk on the air about abusive officials, close our programs, and dream of a better Philippines.

We write in abusive terms against the evildoers, close our computers, and dream of a better Philippines.

We condemn the politicians with the loudest voice in the bitterest terms, close our eyes, and dream of a better Philippines.

We email each other about the growing number of the poor and the over-population, sign out, close our computers, and dream of a better Philippines.

Dream, dream, dream! We are always dreaming like the Everly Brothers:

I can make you mine
Taste your lips of wine
Anytime night or day
Only trouble is, gee whiz
I'm dreamin' my life away!

Just like Jose Rizal, our National Hero. What did he say again through the mouth of Padre Florentino?

Where are the youth who will consecrate their budding years, their idealism and enthusiasm to the welfare of their country?

That is an erroneous plea. Jose Rizal even talked about the youth being the beautiful hope of the fatherland. That is a mistake. The young don't know anything; they have nothing except their idealism, and that's the problem.

The young need the adults to guide them. And who will guide the adults? The Counsel of the Elders.

Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination?

Why does it have to be a bloody sacrifice? You cannot wash away your shame with blood; you can only redeem yourself. Nobody can do it for you.

Pure and spotless must the victim be, that the sacrifice may be acceptable!

That describes the original Messiah, Jesus Christ. But why do we need another Jesus Christ? Why should I be spotless first before I can make a sacrifice for my community, if not my country? If only the sinless can go and do good, all of us will be left behind!

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 hearts?

It's not only the youth that have vigor. I am 72, but I have more enthusiasm than a million of our youth. And I can walk faster than any of them too!

And no, it's not the purity of ideas that we need. It's the creativity that we must produce, and continuously.

And no, anti-this or anti-that is not enough.

We await you, O youth! Come, for we await you!

And while we wait, we twiddle our thumbs? Time and Tide wait for no man.

Let me now quote the very last lines of my Rizal book because they are relevant to the times, even 7 years after they had been published (in italics):

This book is my way of celebrating the birth and death of my newly[1] discovered hero. The heroic joy is mine. Are you with me? In his 18 August 1888 letter from London to Mariano Ponce, Rizal wrote: "I am very busy these days,. For I am working ad majorem Filipinas gloriam (to the greater glory of the Philippines)." Even Dr Octopus, the intellectual villain in Spiderman 2, has it right: "Intelligence is not a privilege but a gift. You have to use it for the benefit of mankind."

Ad majorem Filipinas gloriam. That was all I had planned from the start: This book is a call to greatness.[2]

A call to greatness through a book, a book? Enlighten me. Why not through an explosive? Of course, an explosive. A brilliant idea!

Enlightenment. What you have in your hand right now is explosive.[3]

The greater explosive. Of course. In Christopher Morley's The Haunted Bookshop (1951: 18), Roger Mifflin tells Gilbert:

"The world has been printing books for 450 years and yet gunpowder still has a wider circulation. Never mind! Printer's ink is the greater explosive. It will win."

I am rewriting this line on Good Friday, the 25th of March 2005, and I'm thinking: The Word was made flesh, and he dwelt amongst us, and we would never have known much had it not been for the written word. And his one call? To greatness.

So, let's get busy now.
Let the greatness begin!
And let it begin with me.
I am one of the undiscovered creative heroes.
And so are you!

[1] In that book, I wrote about 13 discoveries I made about the life & times, words and intents of Jose Rizal in his works and letters published by the National Historical Institute.
[2] I take it that Apo Frankie's (F Sionil Jose's) call is a call for richness. "We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings, this in spite of those massive religious rallies of El Shaddai, those neo-gothic churches of the Iglesia ni Kristo sprouting all over the country, in spite of the nearly 400 years of Catholic evangelization" ("Revolution and the University of the Philippines," 2004, UP Online).
[3] I'm referring to the book that the reader is holding even as he reads it.

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