Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Wednesday, May 11, 1898

Spanish Heroism

The Spaniards, pretending to resist, will eventually give in at the last minute. Manila, perhaps, has more resources than we think. The Walled City has been transformed into a citadel ready to fight the adversary. The navy officers who escaped the disaster of Cavite now serve in the army. They do not look as if they are ready to risk their lives.

Meanwhile, all one has to do is to follow an American or an Englishman as he looks condescendingly at these courageous Spaniards who, in response, return their contempt, being totally unaware of the insensitive nature of the Anglo-Saxons. The English project the image of wealth, strength, and intelligence, but the Spaniard, in spite of my criticism, epitomizes the heroic soul.

No, I shall no longer tolerate Spain’s defamation in my presence. I have nothing in common with them: my ideas they reject, and my sentiments they find repugnant. I am quite convinced that their misfortune is justly deserved. But we should not mock the Spaniard for his excessive predisposition to die. All peoples have their own culture flaws which ridicule and diminish their most noble virtues. We have our own fanatical patriots and tragic misfits. The English have their hypocritical shopkeepers and political usurers. Therefore, it is not shocking to find deceptive Spanish knights. We must judge them with a man’s heart and pay tribute to them for accepting defeat with honor. These men’s love for country and the sword surpasses their love for life itself. They would suffer death with exultation and perhaps not even feel death when it comes. They would perish, agonizing from their wounds, without uttering a word, without a gesture, without imploring for a drop of water. An astonishing people, difficult to love and to pardon, who do not bargain for less than blood, their own as well as that of others. They derive pleasure from cruel and mystical deaths which, when achieved, vanish into thin air like burning incense. They are, indeed, a people one can admire and detest for the same reasons.