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DAYS IN NOVEMBER: A SEASON WORTH REMEMBERING

Trumpeting the voices of the marginalized Filipino women and children all across America is an experience I will cherish in my lifetime. The untiring days and nights of my journey in this month of November- the season of autumn painted in me colorful shades of red, green, gold, brown, yellow, white and silver.

My November 4-20 speaking tour as an award winning World Pulse Voice of the Future correspondent together with my fellow correspondent awardees Sunita of Nepal and Jacqueline of Bolivia sparked another new beginning and celebration in my continuous search for a meaningful life.

A life that is committed to uplift our downtrodden dignity by raising our voices in this period of our history as a Filipino people; a life meant for building a lasting relationship with women and men for world peace, freedom and justice.

In my journey- the wonderful women and men, the young girls and boys I met became dear to me, giving me more wings to fly and soars the highest heights in our struggle for peace and freedom. The tears that I shed created rainbows that brighten my days and created ripples and waves of inspirations for someone to partake in a powerful social change movement for women’s empowerment.

The whispers of love and encouragement of the World Pulse community and our partners are like bells that keep ringing every morning as I wake up and songs that lull me to sleep after a tiring day. The hand printed beautiful words written for me lifts my spirit high and freshen me to take extra miles. The sweet voices calling my name everyday seems an endless melody of freedom to my ears. The hugs and dances of congratulations are still in my heart that keeps me in motion in the coldness of the autumn breeze.

November 14, 2009: My Gift of a Lifetime

It was dawn of November 14, 2009 when I received my gift of a lifetime – the World Pulse Voices of the Future award as citizen’s journalist. I was so deliriously happy but still I couldn’t yet fully believe that I made myself one of the best writers in the group and gained a name as international journalist.

Even until now, I find it hard to believe but I have to believe that this is real. I really don’t know why. Maybe because I always thought that I am not capable of being one and it’s only my fascination with writers and journalists that I am capable of.

I know I have still so much to learn in believing in myself and gaining that much needed confidence of voicing out through printed words of meanings and symbols. But, I know that I have still so much gift to give to the many voiceless women and children of today’s generation and of the future. Thus, I have to believe in my self and trust all the women and men around me that I am what I am today and am capable of what I’ll be in the future- a global voice of the silenced and struggling Filipino women and children of today and tomorrow.

November 25, 2010: A Day to Celebrate and Commemorate.

Thanksgiving Day:

A friend told me that this is a big celebration here in US bigger than Christmas Day because it rise above religions beliefs, race, gender, political beliefs and other issues that separate humanity. This is a very special day, a universal day that unites families and people to celebrate and give thanks for life and its blessings.

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving Day, a snowy day here in Seattle and it was a day filled with joy and friendship among Filipino friends gathered together. For the first time, I tasted the roasted turkey (which we seldom have in the Philippines) with cranberry sauce and yam. We had wines and cakes and never-ending stories and jokes. A fun day in a life of a Filipino migrant working hard to save his/her family from poverty back there in the Philippines but filled with longing for home.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:

Amid the Thanksgiving Day celebration, I joined the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This is perhaps a day not being commemorated by everybody but observed by women’s activist all over the globe since 1980. In the Philippines, women activist marched to the streets calling for the release of 43 health workers detainees, mostly women and justice for the victims of Ampatuan massacre.

In December 1999, the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 54/134 declaring November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The date commemorates the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of its dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1960.

I was not yet born during those times but the history and realities of such brutalities against women and children continue up to the present especially in my homeland.

November 23, 2009: The Brutal Massacre in our Country’s Modern History

It was in November 23, 2009 under the undeclared dictatorship and fascist rule of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when 57 people (22 were women and 37 journalists) were mercilessly massacred by the powerful Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao province. The women victims were believed to be massacred twice - their lives were brutally taken and were sexual abused till there last breath and buried in shallow graves.

The Ampatuan Massacre marks one of the darkest hours in the history of Philippine politics and world journalism. Today, a year after- justice is not yet served. Out of 196 suspects, 115 remain at large and 81 were arrested. But, not even one is convicted. The Filipino people feels that the wheels of justice grinds very slow even under the new president who promised to stop human rights violations and will render justice to all victims.

On this day, I honor the death of my two colleagues Atty. Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, who were among the 57 victims of the gruesome killings. Another woman friend, I honor was a human right activist Luisa Posa Dominado, who remains missing for more than two years now. I will continue to trumpet their voices and all the voices of my many fallen colleagues rising from the deepest corner of the earth to the highest heavens of remembering and claiming justice.

November 27, 2009: My Maiden Frontline Story

As journalist, happiness is when your articles are being published and read by many readers. It was November 26 that Jensina, our World Pulse founder and dynamic leader inspired me to write a frontline story about the Ampatuan massacre. Unbelievably, I was able to write in less than twenty four hours and got it published in World Pulse on-line magazine and other international media networks such Feminist Peace Network, Vital Voice Blog and Huffington Post.

My article was then picked up by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation through World Pulse and got me interviewed on line. It was such a joy of successfully bringing our loud cry for justice to the world. I had the first taste of joy for a neophyte journalist like me who never believed that I can be an international journalist.

November 27, 2007: Courage and Fear

This was three years ago, the day when I was confronted in reality by my deepest fear of joining the long statistics of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances in our country. It was early morning of November 27, 2007 when my husband woke me up saying that several men surrounded our house and was waiting at all exit points.

I was terribly scared how to handle the situation, all I had in mind is how to go out safely. I was shaking of fear and my fingers found it hard to dial and send messages to colleagues in finding ways to help me out of the house.

Luckily, my husband was there. He asked the help of local government officials to send security escort for my protection. Together with my two friend activists, we were given a room to stay for two nights.

Since that time on, my life is like a fugitive looking for safe places to continue my advocacy for women’s rights for peace and justice. Tears filled my eyes , whenever I watch my daughter sleeping soundly in the middle of the night; whenever I hear the voice of my son calling my name ; whenever my husband hold my hands, whenever my sister look at me, I just feel so scared of what will become of them when I’ll not be around anymore.

But I have to brave my self; rise above my fears – because I believe courage will make us safe – the collective courage to survive and fight to end violence and cruelties of powers that be in our country.

International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA): A Powerful Solution

I long for the day when violence, cruelties and poverty will come to an end. I long for the day when I will not feel the fear of political persecution. I long for the day for my daughter’s safety and for all the mothers and daughters of the world from all forms of violence. I long for the day when there will be no orphans and widows due to imperialist war and terrorism. I long for the day when we have to stop fighting for our rights as women and girls but to enjoy our God-given rights for food, security, education, health, shelter, etc.

My passion to make this longing a reality is I believe also a passion for every woman who suffered the most cruelties inflicted on her by unjust social and political structures in her own time and space. Thus, I call everyone to join hands together and let our words flow like rivers creating unstoppable power for change in the halls of US Congress and Senate. Let the power of the web 2.0 and our women power shake the US corridors and pillars of powers in transforming violence to peace and justice.

Let us support IVAWA to make it as a landmark in US legislations putting into halt the never ending stories of violence and cruelties against women and children all over the world. Send them our letters loudly saying NO to Violence Against Women!

Comments

JaniceW's picture

My heart sings with joy

After a week starting with the devastating stampede in Phnom Penh where 15 friends of friends were among the casualties and losing 29 miners in New Zealand, I read this post with a lightened heart. The courage, strength, wisdom, dedication and commitment the three of you have displayed restores my hope and brings a smile to my face which has seen too much loss in the last 3 months. Thank you for lifting my spirit and for being the voice for justice for the Filipino people. I bow to you in respect, love and gratitude.
Janice

malayapinas's picture

Hi my dear Janice! What more

Hi my dear Janice! What more can I say to a woman who always come first to my journal. I'm so sorry for all the tradegy - all I can offer to comfort you is my words of inspiration. How I wish someday I can touch you and hug you - laugh and cry with you. But, we may miles away from each other - my heart always goes with you! I miss you during the tour - and I met all the wonderful and lovely women of WP - and the men of course Scott and Ankur.

It was such an amazing bonding !. Jensina, Ellie, Jade and Lily were the ones who were with us during the tour - Ellie and Lily in New York and Washington, Jade in Colorado , San Francisco and all the way to Portland , Lily in San Francisco to Portland! Jensina was always there with us!

We'll be speaking at TED Women Confrence on Dec 7-8 at will rock the world with our voices!

How I love to share my joys with you! I'll find sometime after the tour.

love,
Malaya

warona's picture

Oh Malayapinas................

Dear Malaya

You are such a powerful woman,strong as you are i thank God that we celebrate you while still alive Malaya...its an honour,God has honoured you.Indeed this is a poem.Today you are shinning,having gone through a trumatic time as you state in the recent years, being a pulse wire correspondent,Malaya howevever, I can see how your life has been under siege.

My sister your pain is my pain,though i might have not gone through what you ve gone through.You talk about the brutal massacre is so so painful.also the fear that grabed you when those people sorrounded your house to try and attemp to destroy your life.Yes Malaya.. there is hope ,when President Obama endorse that act i believe women wil be on the safe side and we shall be liberated.Oh Malaya... you are encouraging me so much,i now learn that there,there are serious situations that are so overwhelming over there.May God keep you safe.

Freedom is coming in philippines.I hope the ACT will be endorsed.Just get ready and prepare for your freedom.

Malayapinas i pray to God to restore your heart, kip going strong,prayer is the only tool to overcome these challenges.People who fight for rights,or wants to put things in good place usually they dont live easy life.Because the enemy woul want to steal,kill and destroy, that is his mandate.So stand firm.Be careful on your everyday walk,know how you go about everything ,as well your family is precious

Yes i also
long for the day when we have to stop fighting for our rights as women and girls but to enjoy our God-given rights for food, security, education, health, shelter, etc.

Let love prevail in our hearts.I love you so much Malaya..,you are a blessing.

Cheers,your sister

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

malayapinas's picture

Wooh! Warona, I feel so

Wooh! Warona, I feel so honoured by your words... Thank you so much for celebrating with me! Yes, the day will come that we will stop fighting for our rights - we will reap the fruits of our struggle - if not in our lifetime - definitely it will be for the future generation.

Yap! I promise to keep my self safe and with your prayers I will be safe. We still so much work to do and our children are waiting for us - for the bright future. Keep my prayers too for you and congratulations for being among 30 VOF Correspondent 2010! Keep up the good work and keep on writing! Stay safe from scorpions!

love.
Malaya

warona's picture

Thats my lady!

Oh thank you Malaya..Indeed we still have a lot of work to do.And now i was wondering all these events took place in November, i wondered Malaya..whats the meaning of all this.My dear sister i love you so much,i want you to be even stronger, you need to arise Malaya.. against what happens in the month of November, i want you to pray and cut the linkage. The November situations i dont want to hear about them.I want you to experince the freshest breeze you ve never in the month of November.You are such a woman worrior.

you may also ask those who know God.You know evrything is possible.Stand strong and be fearless as you pray,All they divice against you they shall instead receive the arrows.I love Malaya..,you ve 'already suffered too much,Now enough is enough.

May God bless you and your family.Finally be strong and be of a good courage.

Your sister

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

Nusrat Ara's picture

Loved your post. You take the

Loved your post. You take the reader with you on a wonderful journey.

Love

Nusrat

malayapinas's picture

Affirmation

Hi my dear Nusrat! Short words yet very inspiring! You always affirm my writing giving me more confidence of being a journalist! Thank you so much!

love,
Malaya

jadefrank's picture

WOOT!

Malaya,

You did it! You wrote in your journal, from you heart, on the journey this November across the US with powerful women, speaking for the peace and freedom of the Philippines, speaking for your daughter and for those who are underground. I felt a profound sense of both sadness, and also great hope each time I heard you speak. Everyone who witnessed you in person, speaking form your heart, has been given a blessed gift and a reason to continue our advocacy work in bringing a great social change. Everyone who had the chance to speak with you face to face, witnessed the pure electric charge of joy, passion and life within you. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and your laughter. And thank you for being a true friend.

And now onto TEDWomen! I am so proud of you my dear - you are rockin' the world!

Lots of love,
Jade

malayapinas's picture

Dear lovely Jade, Hi! How's

Dear lovely Jade,

Hi! How's my and Ellie's dance partner ha ha ha! I miss you ! Yap, I did it! How I wish I could write more for everybody... thank you so much for all the joys and the friendship! I always remember your smiles - it's so refreshing . How's life after the tour? back to normal ? - I wish we could have another time together.

The tour and the friendship is beyond my description - I'm so thankful and bliss and still enjoying the feelings of it!
Regards to your champion! Go! Go! Giants!

love,
Malaya

JT Long's picture

Opportunities for all

It was a joy meeting you in person in San Francisco. You are so focused and well-spoken. One of the take-aways I came to understand that special night with those amazing women is that oppression comes in many forms. Blatant bodily threats must stop. But we also have to ensure opportunities to learn and realize our potential as unique human beings and feed our children and create secure lives everywhere in the world. Thank you for giving voice and body to this important message.

telling stories; creating communities

malayapinas's picture

Dear JT, From the bottom of

Dear JT,

From the bottom of my heart thank you for coming on that very memorable night.. it was very inspiring for me too. Keep supporting us and all the women's voices! We need women like you who are there on our sides to keep our spirits high.

love,
Malaya

Kim Crane's picture

Dearest Malaya

It was so wonderful to spend time with you in Portland. Don't doubt for one second that you are a writer and a woman with a story the world needs to hear. I enjoyed taking this journey through some of the recent and significant events in your life, both tragic and hopeful. Your work is a beautiful testament to the memory of your murdered colleagues, and all those you are fighting for. I know there will soon be many more dates added to this entry to mark the incredible journey that you are only just beginning.

Love,
Kim

malayapinas's picture

Keep On

My dear Kim,

Wow! you give me a cup of confidence today my dear! Yap ! I should never doubt for one second that I'm a writer. thank you Kim ! I need this affirmation everyday to write a book and my journal everyday. It was such a wonderful time meeting you there in Portland - I will never forget you even for that short time we had have. Hope to see you in the future! Keep on !

love,
Malaya

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