Sunday, June 12, 2005

FAREWELL from the El Renacimiento (Jan. 15, 1910)

[What we Filipinos should know: To those who wonder "why dig the past": We engage in revisiting and revising our past, i.e. historical "revisionism", to develop new emphases and raise new questions on assumptions and explanations for key historical issues and policies --given by our former colonial master America, government officials and authors of history books, then and now.

In our homeland's case, we can not afford a "balanced" approach to history since in the past and present years, our homeland's history --as it refers to Philippine-US relationships-- has been imbalanced in favor of the Americans, who as far as we baby boomers can remember, are only "the good guys" and "do-gooders" in history. It is long overdue and time for us, especially for Filipinos-in-the-Philippines to recover our history, a nationalist history, which necessitates uncovering the lies and myths about America; since the American arrival into and occupation of our homeland, the sweet nothings about "Philippine-American Special Relations", etc. perpetuated through our school textbooks, mass media, government pronouncements, Filipinos with Americanized minds, etc.

We Filipinos, here and abroad, past and present, relied and continue to use these official explanations that lead only to our ignorance of hidden truths and knowledge of untruths, thus perpetuating the post-WW2 neocolonial conditions that brought only worsening impoverishment to the masses; foreign control of the national economy and the dwindling of our national patrimony.The historical article below demonstrates and reminds us that our subjugated forefathers were nationalists and knowledgable about true democracy versus hypocrisy in the American gospel of "manifest destiny".]

“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996
FAREWELL from the El Renacimiento (Jan. 15, 1910)

The drama nears its end. This morning the American Judge Jenkins pronounced sentence against us in the civil suit for libel brought by Commissioner Worcester.
(1) It is for P60,000 damages, and costs. The Renacimiento, which, as our readers know, was not undertaken for the sake of profit and has never been a lucrative enterprise, does not possess any such amount. We must, therefore, expect to be sold out by the sheriff, and this issue is probably our last. These lines must serve as our farewell to the Philippine people.

Under conditions so striking as necessarily to attract the attention of the country, arousing it to the realization of an intolerable situation, vainly gilded by hypocrisy and pretense which are but a thin veneer for unbridled greed and triumphant arrogance, this Filipino paper is forced to relinquish the hard task undertaken eight years ago.

We have been assured that vandal governments and enslaved peoples, with the accompanying rapacity and tyranny, have been unknown since the dark ages, and that humanity is marching steadily toward a glorious future, enlightened by liberty and democracy. Our readers can judge for themselves how far all this is true.

Unasked, the Americans came to these islands, impelled (they say) by the love of humanity, and announcing that they brought with them liberty and prosperity; -- all, in short, that an oppressed people dream of. For a moment we believed that the hour of redemption was at hand. When the armed opposition of the people was overcome, and the Americans found themselves undisputed lords of the land, redemption became domination under the guise of "preparing the Philippine people for self-government." Some believed, or pretended to believe, in this scheme, supposing that justice, liberty of thought and speech, and the freedom of the press were safeguarded. But soon the veil was torn from their eyes. Suspicion replaced trust, and discontent, hope. The people, shocked and surprised, could no longer explain the acts of the government as resulting from pure philanthropy.

Again and again dull murmurs arise from the masses, indicating unrest and discontent, but apparently the government is either too proud to admit the possibility of a protest against its omnipotence, or so credulous as to suppose that the people are in reality increasingly satisfied with American sovereignty and that soon the efforts of agitators to keep afire the flame of independence in the hearts of their fellow-countrymen will be no longer effective.

There is an attempt to make it appear that we have in these islands an earthly paradise created by American intervention for the benefit of the Filipino, where no crime goes unpunished, where the American treats the native like a brother, and the native looks to the American as an exemplar of morality, and where the office-holder is a missionary, working solely for the love of God and his fellow men, unmindful of his pocket.

Whoever dares whisper the contrary, and attempts to prove it, is Anti-American, a demagogue, an agitator, a rebel, a disturber of the peace. Yet what is, in fact, the avowed purpose of the present Administration? Is it not to attract to these islands American exploiters by offering every encouragement and protection, by representing these islands as a land of promise with which Providence has rewarded American military prowess?

Against this course we have protested, seeing in it only a menace to Philippine nationality; and in this, our last issue, we protest once more against the present policy, which is in conflict with the legitimate aspirations of the Philippine people. Conquered, but unconvinced, we lay down our work with the satisfaction of having fulfilled our duty. The battle has been a desperate one, and our last cartridge is spent. One way of safety, indeed, lay open to us; we might have survived the disaster by humbling ourselves before our powerful adversaries and recanting.

The instinct of self-preservation was strong, but loyalty to our country was stronger. Money, influence and authority were all on the side of the enemy; on ours only the national conscience, which gave us courage. The people know the outcome of the struggle. The American courts of justice (so-called) have found us guilty. It is well to repeat here the statement made before one of the judges who condemned us: "Your honor, this case involves the good name of the government and the prestige of the American people in these islands." Perhaps, had the tables been turned, we should have done the same, for such is universally the "justice" of imperialism.

It may be that at this moment of our cessation great events are impending. During the next ten years, -- perhaps sooner, -- the country will see great changes, notwithstanding all official assurances to the contrary. We should have liked to play our part, but since this is impossible, we have one last word of advice to give our people. We can never become Anglo-Saxons even though we wished it. We are an Oriental people: a part of the East which is today rising in its strength and shaking off the tyranny of ages. Let us remember now and in the future that the only salvation of our race lies in independence. It may be that notwithstanding the "liberty" of the press in these islands, a successor may take up our work in the vanguard of the people. In such case we bespeak for it all the support which has hitherto been ours.


1. On November 5, 1908, five people connected with El Renacimiento were prosecuted for libeling U.S. Philippine Commissioner Dean C. Worcester. The article did not mention Worcester by name but alluded to him as a "bird of prey" who had used his office to accumulate a fortune through improper means. Two of the defendants were sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined $1,000 each. The case was appealed, and El Renacimiento continued to operate until the appeal also resulted in a decision against it. El Renacimiento was immediately succeeded by La Vanguardia, which the secretary of the Anti-Imperialist League described as "representing exactly the same views, though presenting them with some added caution."

Thanks to Jim Zwick, editor of Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898–1935 at

"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

“Nations whose NATIONALISM is destroyed are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"To oppose the policies of a government does not mean you are against the country or the people that the government supposedly represents. Such opposition should be called what it really is: democracy, or democratic dissent, or having a critical perspective about what your leaders are doing. Either we have the right to democratic dissent and criticism of these policies or we all lie down and let the leader, the Fuhrer, do what is best, while we follow uncritically, and obey whatever he commands. That's just what the Germans did with Hitler, and look where it got them." - Michael Parenti

"We shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know..." - SOCRATES

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

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