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Frances Tracy C. Pasicolan BS Management II- B Lit 1- (MTh 1:00-2:30 pm)



God, Why Have You Forsaken Us?
(An Essay for Jose Rizals The Last Chapter of El Filibusterismo)

It all began from humans desire and greed for power. In 15
th
century, Spain and Portugal
divided the world among themselves. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese, was questioned and rejected
by his fellow Portuguese so he went to the Spaniards, where his voyage got approved. Magellan, then,
led the troops of Spaniards in search of Mollucas, the spice island. But the monsoon winds and tides
led them to Philippines. Despite the defeats and deaths of some Spaniards and of Magellan from
Lapu-Lapu and from Filipinos, it did not stop the Spaniards from coming back and from colonizing
us. The Spaniard used their motive of 3GsGod, gold, gloryon and devices such as divide and
rule and domestication of Filipinos to acquire, retain, and expand their power and fortune. For
three hundred thirty-three years, to be exact, Filipinos had endured and suffered from grave poverty,
oppression, and corruption of the colonial Spaniards and even in the hands of our fellow Filipinos.
Jose Rizals novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as Filipinos writers before and
after him presented social realism through their editorial protest. With the use of pen and ink, they
instigated national conscience and patriotism of the Filipinos.
Noli Me Tangere presents Elias and Ibarra opposing views on how to achieve liberty and
freedomthe former believes in the power of the sword, it is our duty, if necessary, to die fighting
for the country. Eliass views represent the movement of the Katipuneros, headed by Andres
Bonifacio. While Ibarra represents the view of ilustrados, the elite or middle class Filipinos who
studied in Europe, that independence is best achieved in a peaceful resort. The Propaganda
movement protests not for the separation and liberation of the Filipinos from the Spaniards but its
assimilation and recognition of our rights. The Propagandas motive is the assimilation of the
Philippinesrecognized as a state (representation of Filipinos in Spanish court and higher education
for the masses)free but still tied up in the hands of the Spaniards. Crisostomo Ibarra, the main
character of Noli Me Tangere, who came back to the Philippines with so much enthusiasm and
happinessto start anew and to marry his love, Maria Claralost all the prospects of life and of
future after he was framed up and stabbed on his back by those who were jealous and who detested
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him. Ibarra ended up as a fugitive, on the run to Cuba. Ibarra used his ancestral wealth and
befriended the high Spanish authorities and used them for his revenge. The good Crisostomo Ibarra
came back in the Philippines, with profound richness and vengeance, as the jeweler Simoun. But his
plan to avenge and to kill the authoritarian and tyrannical Spaniards and even some wicked Filipinos,
did not succeed at all. So again, Simoun was a fugitive on the run. He sought refuge in the house of
the Filipino priest, Father Florentino. And here is where the ending began.
The Conclusion of Rizals El Filibusterismo mirrors Rizals doubt in Gods justice through
Simouns existentialism and somewhat cynical views. As Simoun says,
Why then has He forsaken me? / What is my error compared with the crimes
of those who govern us? / Why allow so many who are worthy and just to
suffer and, without lifting a finger, find satisfaction in their sufferings?
Existentialism, a belief that life is nothing and so is man; however, it is up to a man to find meaning
and sense to his life. Existentialism is also a question of faithSimouns question regarding the
truthfulness of the existence of God. Cynicism, distrust in human society and of their motives.
Cynicism which is present in Simouns distrust of Filipinos ignorance and fearfulness that led him to
commit injustices to his fellow Filipinos just to wake them up from their nightmare. The harshness
and painfulness of reality, i.e Simouns loss of everything and the failures of his revenge, further
aggravate the vanity of vanities, all his vanity, the feeling of emptiness and nothingness. From
Spanish colonization period even to this day, Philippines is still predominantly Roman Catholic.
People, at home or in Church, pray to Godto ask for guidance, strength, and solution for their
problem. People usually pray to God to save them from their sins and from their suffering. Yet,
people feel that probably God does not listen to their cries or probably God does not exist. Eventually,
people became immune and seemed to accept reality, misery, and despair. All these negativism
constitute to their belief that God is nothing and so are they. Human beings, no matter how devout
and faithful, will begin to question and perhaps doubt the truthfulness and divineness of God. Why
then, will a just God let the good, innocent and just people, whos worthy of salvation, suffer not only
from their sins but from the sins of the corrupt and abusive Spaniards and Filipinos?
Throughout the course of history, suffering has been part of human nature. During the early
conversion of Roman pagans to Catholicism, Roman Catholics, young and old, female and male were
fed to lions, dragged by chariots, crucified upside down or burned on the stake. The persecution of
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the Catholics, the believers of God, was a grandiose spectacle for the Roman pagans. During World
War II, the Jews, the chosen people of God, suffered from cruel labor and died from holocaustthe
inhumane killing and burning of Jews by Nazis. Millions of lives, soldiers or mere townsmen, died in
the war. For example, Emily Rose, a hypersensitive and normal teenage girl suffered, not from the
hands of humans but, from the possession of demons. A scene from the movie, The Exorcism of Emily
Rose (2005), Emily met the Blessed Virgin Mary in her dream. Emily was given a choiceeither let
the Blessed Virgin Mary free her from her suffering or to continue enduring the possession. If she
chooses to stay, through her, people will begin to believe that the realm of spirit is real but more
importantly, God does exist. Emily chose to stay, and in the end, her grave had been an unofficial
holy shrine that draws people around the world. From Emilys grave, her epitaph, quote en quote
Philippians 2:12 of the Holy Bible says, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. The
crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, for instance, is a symbol of suffering, but suffering is an allegory
of Gods love for humanity. Before Jesus died on his cross, he even asked God, Father, why have you
forsaken me. Through Jesuss suffering, humanity was saved from grave sins. Through Jesuss
suffering, humanity began to believe in God. As, Father Florentino says,
God is justice and He cannot abandon His own cause, the cause of freedom without
which no justice is possible. / The just and worthy must suffer so that their ideas may
be known and spread. The vessel must be shaken or broken to release the perfume,
the stone must be struck to raise a spark. / A most just God, a God who punishes our
lack of faith, our vices, the little regard we have for dignity and the civic virtues./ He
is a God of mercy and of justice, who improves us with His punishments and grants
happiness only to those who have merited it with their exertions. The school of
suffering tempers the spirit, the fighting arena strengthens the soul.
Simouns plan for the Filipinos did not bring success, for his belief that evil will trample evil
only created more evil, as Father Florentino says. His own corruptionvengeance and greed that has
consumed himonly created more corruption and suffering. In representation to Simouns treasure
chest, greedhumans desire for materials things and poweris the source of graft and corruption
that led to injustices and inequalities. As Father Florentino says,
May Nature guard you in the deepest of the deep, among the corals and pearls
of the eternal seas. / When men should need you for a purpose holy and
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sublime, God will know how to raise you from the bottom of the seas. Until
then you will do no evil there, you will not thwart justice or incite greed!
For an evil, unacceptable, means to achieve freedom and liberty only hasten or worsen the situation.
No matter how good the plan is, its success depends on the preparedness of the people. During the
Spanish period, Filipinos werent ready yetfor not all Filipinos were woken up from their dreadful
dream. As Father Florentino says,
Our misfortunes are our own fault, let us blame nobody else for them. If Spain
were to see us less tolerant of tyranny, and readier to fight and suffer for our
rights, Spain would be the first to give us freedom / With or without Spain,
they would be the same, and perhaps, perhaps worse. What is the use of
independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? / Mr.
Simoun, as long as our people are not prepared, and enter the struggle
deceived or compelled, without a clear idea of what they are to do, the best
planned movements will fail and it is better that they should fail
And Father Florentino adds that it is love, virtue, and sacrifice that what Filipino needs. Filipinos
must endure and work. However, if it wasnt for the pen, there would be no Philippine Revolution of
1896. If it wasnt for the sword, there would be no Philippine Independence of July 12, 1898. But the
independence was only short lived. From Spanish to American to Japanese occupation, and worse,
Philippines was undermined from his own dirty hands during the declaration of Martial Law by
President Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1973. Unlike the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the
Philippine Revolution of 1986, the so called EDSA People Powers Revolution, was a bloodless
revolution. On February 25, 1986, Filipinos from all walks of life and ageespecially the initiatives
and ambitions of the youthunited, stood up and voiced out their cries and protests against the
corrupt and oppressive government. The bloodless revolution was a success, in trampling and ousting
the Marcos dictatorship. Today, we are a republican and democratic third world country, but are we
really free and liberated from poverty, injustices, and marginalization? Are we really free and
liberated from being someones puppet or pet? But most importantly, are we really free and liberated
from our own tyranny?