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Us, womankind, casting our stories together into the cybersphere

It is almost midnight but Magdalena Suhat and Rosalinda Bantilan are still deep at work, defying sleep. Suhat’s two middle fingers are alternately pressing the keys on a desktop keyboard, writing a radio script while Bantilan, is fumbling with the mouse of a laptop, a headphone over her head, recording her own voice, using a web-based audio editor.

This is their debut into the digital realm: the first time ever to use computers and launch an expedition online. With them are Salima and Leigh, both in their 20s, coaxing and coaching them; the young mentoring the old, the wise learning from the tech-savvy.

Both Suhat and Bantilan are indigenous women. Suhat, a Manobo, 54, is the oldest among the trainees learning digital radio skills for the grassroots. She leads a tribe in Arakan, North Cotabato. Bantilan, a B’laan, 45, also heads a group of mat weavers in Malapatan, Sarangani. Their poor and remote villages have been impacted by protracted insurgencies.

But despite the challenges of poverty and conflict, they are life-long learners. They are becoming peace builders and mediators. Tonight they are polishing their recording, and tomorrow, they would present their radio plugs. The plugs would be rough-hewn but their commitment to use the digital media is promising. In a month, the digital radio plugs on women engaged in building a culture of peace, as bannered by the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1325, would be heard over several radio stations in parts of Mindanao that are battlefronts, where the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front are clashing with government military troops.

Empowering community-based women peace builders like Suhat and Bantilan so that they become actors, their presence counting in Peace Tables and negotiations are emblematic of what is exciting for me about Web 2.0. The digital media ensures the visibility of doubly disadvantaged women, like those of ethnic minorities, particularly an older generation who are also, like me, digital immigrants. The Web as New Media won’t leave us behind, instead it grants us crones the citizenship, allowing access to digital technology as tools for peace activism. And come to think of it, they –we -- have barely explored social media networking yet!

I have read about the shapeshifting anew of this digital culture: “it won’t be a chaotic cobweb anymore, but a ‘cybersphere’, where its billions of users will be spinning their own tales, the Earth telling its own story.”

This possibility also ignites excitement: another level of democratization for this global technology. I am hopeful that older women will embrace bravely this improvement as an upgraded tool.

I can already imagine the rivulets and streams and flowing rivers of buoyant texts and images and stories. And, I tell you, the Suhats and Bantilans, as well as the Salimas and Leighs, will be there, a compassionate community of Womankind, casting stories of empowerment, of peace building and conflict transformation into that Cybersphere’s endlessly flowing, liquid conversations.

Comments

Taha Mirani's picture

Brilliant

Beautiful work. Very powerful, dear.

More power to your pen.

Blessings from this side.

Love

Taha Mirani

Love

Taha Mirani

libudsuroy's picture

Thanks, Taha.

Thanks, Taha.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

JaniceW's picture

So poetic

You have a wonderful way of bringing the women's stories to life with beautiful imagery and prose. I can already imagine the ripple effect their broadcasts and trainings will have on their communities.

Thank you for sharing their story. I am excited to read more from you.

libudsuroy's picture

Thanks, Janice! Your comments

Thanks, Janice! Your comments inspire me to write again, to write some more.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Sharontina's picture

Beautiful story

Dear Sis,

this is beautifully narrated.

Keep sharing.

love.

Merlin Sharontina

nifkinz's picture

This was very inspiring to

This was very inspiring to read! I agree with you, I hope that the older generations of women will embark on the journey and tell us their stories too. I for one cannot wait to hear them!

Becky Frary

libudsuroy's picture

They -- we -- already are on

They -- we -- already are on that storytelling journey. But here is a caveat for the crones,borrowing a strand of yarn from "Bone People" by Keri Hulme:

Wherahiko:we don't want to be left out, to sit ignored in a corner, but we might as well be. All the things we've got to tell, years of love and life and hate...
Marama: when they want to listen, they'll listen. We can't wake them up just to tell them our stories. They're busy making their own."

:)

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

This is a beautifully written piece. I feel like I am seeing a word painting! Your description of women empowering women so that the wisdom of the elders can reach others is quite inspiring. You have created a lovely gift here.

Leslie Stoupas

libudsuroy's picture

Thank you!

Again, I say thank you! I am glad to know that somewhere-not-here, someone is engaging with my story, which is not mine really, but those of sagacious women like Magdalena and Rosalinda. Somehow I am missing them now. I wish upon the WP north star, bring my friends here, let me invite them to sit side by side with me.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

gaurav.nakhare's picture

A step into the web-age

Dear libudsuroy,

Thank-you so much for sharing your story - it's a gentle reminder that the internet and cyberspace, something some of us take for granted, can bring about progress in leaps and bounds. I wish you the very best, and I hope the Suhats and Bantilans can share many more stories in the days to come

Gaurav Nakhare
WP Listener

libudsuroy's picture

Thank you, Gaurav, for

Thank you, Gaurav, for listening. Thank you for attuning to the peripheral voices that seek to sing a different song. :) Cheers!

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Rebecca R's picture

Amazing

Web 2.0 has been blamed for creating gaps between the generations. Our mothers tell us they don't understand those machines and the young are told we spend entirely too much time on the internet. You have written the other side, the untold story, where Web 2.0 is a bridging factor. Here, the young generation has taught the older women how to use the equipment and now the world can benefit from the wisdom of Magdalena and Rosalinda. The space of influence for them has been enlarged.

It is truly amazing.

Looking forward to reading more,

Rebecca

libudsuroy's picture

Rebecca, Rebecca, I feel

Rebecca, Rebecca, I feel humbled to know a writer and journalist of your stature has come by to read my piece. I enjoyed reading your stories, including your columns in your national daily. Thank you for coming by.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

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