Joshua Alim, a mod­ern day Julius Cae­sar

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Opinion -

“Cow­ards die many times be­fore their ac­tual deaths.” –Julius Cae­sar

Iloilo City Coun­cilor Joshua Alim made this Cae­sarean dec­la­ra­tion on Face­book ear­lier this week: I have crossed the Ru­bi­con… it’s con­gress­man for 2019 – Ilong­gos, I will fight for you. By refenc­ing the Ru­bi­con, a shal­low river in north­east Italy, as the fo­cal point of his bat­tle cry, he is im­i­tat­ing Julius Cae­sar, who crossed the wa­ter­way in 49 BC, which was tan­ta­mount to declar­ing war against Rome, as rep­re­sented by Pom­pey and the Se­nate.

By “cross­ing the Ru­bi­con,” the city of­fi­cial is com­mit­ting to tak­ing a cer­tain course of ac­tion and Alim must now de­ci­sively de­feat Pom­pey to com­plete the heroic saga.

He is ex­pected to face for­mer city coun­cil col­leagues Dr. Perla Zu­lueta and Juli­enne ‘Jam-Jam’ Baronda in next year’s con­gres­sional race. They rep­re­sent two “Pom­peys,” backed by two pow­er­house es­tab­lish­ments, “the Treñas Cavalry” and “the Joe III Squadron.” Alim joins the fray with the com­bined Gon­za­lezYnion Ar­mada.

The real Cae­sar and Pom­pey fought to the bit­ter end at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Pom­pey had a force of 48,000 in­fantries and 7,000 horses, while Cae­sar fought with 22,000 and 1,000. “Some few of the no­blest Ro­mans, stand­ing as spec­ta­tors out­side the bat­tle… could not but re­flect to what a pass pri­vate am­bi­tion had brought the Em­pire,” said Plutarch. “The whole flower and strength of the same city, meet­ing here in col­li­sion with it­self, of­fered plain proof how blind and mad a thing hu­man na­ture is when pas­sion is aroused.”

In “Cae­sar and Christ,” Will Du­rant nar­rated: “Near rel­a­tives, even brothers, fought in the op­po­site armies. Cae­sar bade his men spare all Ro­mans who should sur­ren­der; as to the young aris­to­crat Mar­cus Bru­tus, he said, they were to cap­ture him with­out in­jur­ing him, or, if this proved im­pos­si­ble, they were to let him es­cape.”

The Pom­peians were over­whelmed by su­pe­rior lead­er­ship, train­ing, and morale. 15,000 were killed or wounded, 20,000 sur­ren­dered, and the re­main­der fled. Pom­pey later tore the in­signia of com­mand from his cloth­ing and took flight like the rest. Cae­sar claimed to have lost but 200 men, which cast doubt upon all his books.

Cae­sar’s army was amused to see the tents of the de­feated so el­e­gantly adorned, their ta­bles laden with the feast that was to cel­e­brate their vic­tory. He even­tu­ally ate Pom­pey’s sup­per in Pom­pey’s tent.

Pom­pey rode all night to Larissa, then to the sea, and took a ship to Alexan­dria.

At Myti­lene, where his wife joined him, cit­i­zens wished for him to stay. He re­fused and ad­vised them to sub­mit to the con­queror with­out fear, say­ing, “Cae­sar was a man of great good­ness and clemency.”

Bru­tus also es­caped to Larissa, but there he dal­lied and wrote to Cae­sar.

The vic­tor ex­pressed joy on hear­ing that he was safe; read­ily for­gave him; and, at his re­quest, for­gave Cas­sius.

To the na­tions of the east, which were con­trolled by the up­per classes and had sup­ported Pom­pey, Cae­sar was like­wise le­nient. He dis­trib­uted Pom­pey’s hoards of grain among the starv­ing Greeks and, to the Athe­ni­ans ask­ing par­don, he replied with a smile of re­proof: “How of­ten will the glory of your an­ces­tors save you from self-de­struc­tion?”

When Pom­pey hoped to re­sume the bat­tle against Cae­sar (on the heels of news re­port­ing the army and re­sources from Egypt and the forces of Cato, La­bi­enus, and Metel­lus Sci­pio were or­ga­niz­ing at Utica), he was mur­dered by ser­vants of Poth­i­nus, eu­nich vizer of Ptolemy XII, as he reached Alexan­de­ria, in ex­pec­ta­tion of a re­ward from Cae­sar.

When Cae­sar ar­rived, Poth­i­nus’ men pre­sented him with Pom­pey’s sev­ered head.

Cae­sar turned away and wept.

By rid­ing on the epic of “cross­ing the Ru­bi­con,” which bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to his strug­gle in Iloilo City pol­i­tics, will Alim weep like Julius Cae­sar and loudly de­clare “Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I con­quered)” af­ter all the votes are counted?

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