“Iqra” in Islam is the first word revealed in the Qur’an which pertains to the process of reading, hence its closest translation is “to read”.
Reading is an essential part of our lives. It empowers us by providing us with knowledge and information, and enables us to have better understanding of the things around us.
To an extent, it also helps us further understand the various cultures, customs and traditions, and the history of God’s green earth.
In our context, the Bangsamoro Government recognizes the significance of conveying the narrative of our communities who stood up against injustices through meaningful reading materials.
The Bangsamoro peace process was indeed a long journey; and putting it in text is beneficial for us and the generations that will come to be reminded of our unique history and the narratives of our forefathers, which paved the way for the peace that we enjoy today.
The Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO), as the official information arm of the BARMM Government, launched this year its official news publication dubbed as “Merdeka.” It is the repository of the compiled monthly development news in the Bangsamoro region.
Few months after the publication of its premiere edition, the Merdeka Editorial Board has agreed to make its future publications more engaging; bringing it closer to the hearts of every Moro.
Such consensus has led the BIO to provide a contributor’s column entitled “Iqra: Stories of the Bangsamoro”— a space or outlet to cater the works of Bangsamoro writers who breathe the wonders of literary and journalism.
Entries can be reflective essays about the Bangsamoro, peace and development, women, children, success, profession, culture, struggles, tribute…anything that speaks of our Government, our people and our region.
Here are the guidelines for submission:
1. Tell us your story in 500 (minimum) to 1,000 (maximum) words
2. Send it to our official email address: [email protected]
3. Copy and paste your article on email body (NOT as Word attachments)
4. Format of sending email subject:
IQRA Entries: theme/topic (title of story)
IQRA Entries: Women (Widows of war)
5. Provide your name, age, address, a formal photo and a short bionote of yourself (third-person).
The editors will also consider the writer’s creativity, coherence, clarity, grammar, and conviction. The entries can be written either in Filipino or English.
Every month, the Editorial Board will choose one (1) story to be featured in the Merdeka news publication. It will also be posted in BIO’s official Facebook page.
BIO believes that Bangsamoro has a whole heap of good stories that need to be told, and there are countless Bangsamoro storytellers who simply need a place for their beautiful work.
BIO is optimistic that through this little space, the little voices and the wins of the Bangsamoro people, big or small, will be amplified and be recognized—after all, your story is the story of every Bangsamoro across the region, the nation and the world. (Aisah Abas/BIO)