SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: Garden, not a plantation

(Welcome remarks delivered during the launch of Our Mindanao as a weekly news magazine in Davao City, 28 August 2013)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 Aug) – Since I’m not a native of Davao City, I find it awkward that I should give the welcome remarks. I grew up in Agusan, studied in Marawi, worked for some years in Cagayan de Oro, and am now living in Malaybalay.

So instead of saying welcome in the usual sense of the word, I’d refer to the text printed on the shirts of my colleagues – Mindanao is a garden, it is not a plantation.

The word garden suggests variety, diversity, color and hence, beauty – wild beauty, if you wish. Plantation on the other hand means hundreds, if not thousands, of hectares of land planted to a single crop – a picture of monotony and drab uniformity.

Mindanao is a garden because it is home to diverse cultures, rich biodiversity, and sadly, diverse conflicts spawned by diverse interests.

This is the Mindanao we wish to portray and must portray. To write only about its beauty and color is a crime. To write only about its ugly side is a sin.

And so we shall write about the festivals and other happy events. But we shall also write about displaced peoples, calamities and other tragedies.

To paraphrase Lord Oliver Cromwell, if you’re going to paint my face, don’t flatter me, but include the warts and all.

We shall write about Mindanao, the garden, its plants and flowers, worms, pests and all.

Welcome to the garden.

Welcome to our garden.

Welcome to Our Mindanao.

(H. Marcos C. Mordeno is the chair of Mindanao News and Information Center Service Cooperative, the publisher of Our Mindanao and MindaNews, an online publication.)