At the future's edge, a bounty of voices

Already, World Pulse has become my wakeful window. Here, the world opens to me more generously now, allowing me to see the previously unseen. At its PulseWire, the inspirational stories of womankind pour their copious light into my own life not so much as I reach out on dark nights to post my own firefly-flickers of ‘storya.*

By World Pulse’s open window to countless women’s lives, I envision a brave humankind valuing women’s rights, gender equality, a sustainable peace where women take lead in shaping our shared world. To its making, remaking and making-over, I shall bear witness as a journalist.

I move towards this vision in the meager act of re-making this small and finite realm that is my own life. In hindsight, my breakdown last year was a divine gift. In its wake, solitude became the fertile ground for an engaged self-transformation. I foresee a change of pace now, a subtle U-turning. This survivor of violence at-work will be downshifting, in transit from hectic mainstream reportage to in-depth citizen journalism.

Becoming a Voice of Our Future correspondent can provide me some headway in this starting-over at the future’s edge.How blessed to thread together the discontinuities in my life-scripts under the guidance of VOF mentors! I acknowledge this sheer need to learn what was taught in workshops I had coordinated for journalists in the past years, the courses that I missed out on because I was more into the mind-numbing routines of legwork and the after-care of others. I yearn to explore alternative storytelling forms for digital media. I desire to learn life-sustaining skills in the company of global peers.

I will carry on towards fulfilling this vision as I forage again for stories in Mindanao’s Bangsamoro (Moro Nation). With women peacemakers at the helm, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had signed an agreement to end the war last year. On the ground, a peace pact signed by women and men still doesn’t guarantee peace has come to stay. So, I will strive to be there where women’s lives are continuing sagas of peace building, among evacuees and ex-rebels making over their villages. Where is the girl who wore red on her grandmother’s funeral after the soldiers felled the outspoken leader on her way to harvest a field of yams? Are the witnesses to the massacre of more than 30 journalists in 2009 back from the safe houses? Which of their dreams remain undeterred in the unburdening of memories?

I hope to wield the power of conflict-sensitive journalism beyond being “the voice for the voiceless” in grappling with these questions. For I believe these women are gifted with voices of their own. Only that their voices have been muted by extreme poverty, silenced by everyday violence. These voices are stifled by discrimination and hushed by the inconsolable grief of losing loved ones in brutal extra-judicial killings.

In the slow and imperfect making-over on the peacefronts of Mindanao, I will witness the gifted tongues of grassroots women -- those who are muted and silenced, hushed and stifled -- re-claim speech and utterance.

I dream of New Media literacy workshops where women are encouraged to regain inner strength and sustain their own voices. The priority beneficiaries will be digital immigrants, those disenfranchised widows, war evacuees, the indigenous; women who have been denied entry into the cyberculture. In turn, these women will be the listening ears attuned to the dynamics of transformation in women’s lives within their post-conflict communities.

These workshops will hopefully find resonance on World Pulse’s thrumming beat, too -- multiplying empowered voices to reach a critical amplitude. And when the women shall have spoken their own truths on World Pulse’s global platform, I will be their drummer-girl, the herald of these bounty of voices and their coming of digital age.

Come, I invite you. Open your windows now so the sound of our voices can pour into your lives. Come, listen. As you read this, we are already en route to There that will soon be Here. Already, in the distance you can hear my Drum Song.

*’storya: Binisaya word for “story

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