Writing our story

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, January 25, 2014


HISTORY is to the victors, it’s said. History is written by the winners. That’s a fact we know. The version of the winners is what lands in our history books.

The meek and overpowered slink away, ashamed to tell their own stories. In the process, they lose their own face, their own lives, their own history.

In a workshop a long time ago designed to encouraged women of indigenous tribes to write their stories, I pointed out to them that among their tribes, they have their stories about creation, the big flood, and heaven, and yet what we have in the bible is the creation of Adam and Eve, the flood saving Noah’s kin, and yes, the God as the Christian world is very familiar with, never Manama.

The only reason why we have the Bible, I said, is because it was written.

All tribes have their own big flood legend, but only Noah’s survives, and in that story are millions of Christians bound together in faith. That is the power of the written word.

Does that make the creation, big flood, and heaven legends of our ancestors any less important? Only by default because they were not preserved and passed orally and not through the written word that can be visited over and over again, revised, re-edited, and given new translations that make it relevant to the times.

Sad to say, despite being believers of the Bible, Quran, or whatever other holy book it is majority of us believe in, nobody fully appreciates the power of the written word, and thus lets their own stories pass on to the realms of the forgotten, unappreciated, untold.

Instead, we line up to let other people tell their own stories. In this world driven by money, we end up ringing up the cash registers of stories as inane as “My Little Bossings”.

This is an encouragement to all to write their own, to tell their own, to resuscitate and breathe life into the tradition of story-telling, and never to give this power up to those who only sees without a tinge of conscience on whether the stories they are pitching are really worth somebody’s money.

It’s unconscionable to allow inanities to hog our movie screens and television fare. There’s nothing wrong with fun and comedy, just don’t make it a highway robbery that robs even its audience of meaningful entertainment.

There is a story in every one of us. Our society is run by individual stories, let us learn to tell this and tell this well, for us to flood our consciousness with what really matters, how comedy should really be, and how brilliant the Filipino mind really is.

For all our failings and despite the level of intellect we witness among our politicians, we are an intelligent race. It’s just that, for so long, we have allowed the inane to rule us with their own version of what Filipinos are.

*****

saestremera@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 26, 2014.

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