“One submission stood out above the rest. With ‘A more democratic world without Ronald Reagan,’ Mark Pere Madrona of the Philippines earns the on-topic prize. This marks the second time that an American Pundit winner hails from outside the United States.” – Excerpt from the news article
AllVoices.com, an international online citizen journalism platform based in San Francisco, California, has announced today that I am one of the two winners in their ongoing American Pundit Contest.
Writers from all over the world can join the competition, which runs until November 5, 2012 (or a day after this year’s United States presidential elections). The other winner is Amee Ellsworth of Bennett, Colorado.
AllVoices is seeking “well-informed (and) well-written political reports that relate to the 2012 election” for the competition. Every two weeks, AllVoices also announces specific topics that interested parties may write about.
For the first half of June, participants were asked to “write about how America and the world would be different if any of the eight U.S. presidential elections since 1980 had gone the other way” (Carter winning reelection over Reagan in 1980, and so on).
I imagined how different things would have been for the world had Reagan, a close friend of former Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos, failed in his bid to unseat President Jimmy Carter. AllVoices gave this brief summary of my opinion piece titled “A more democratic world without Ronald Reagan”:
“In writing about Reagan’s see-no-evil policy toward U.S.-allied strongmen such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Baby Doc Duvalier of Haiti and the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, Madrona explains how the U.S. commitment to international human rights became a glaring sham under Reagan.
Had Carter won re-election, Madrona argues that “it is not realistic to believe Carter would have suddenly cut ties with all pro-American strongmen. Instead, he could have sent a strong signal about his stand on democracy by being more assertive in pushing for meaningful political reforms.”
You can read this prize-winning in this link. The article unsurprisingly triggered negative reactions from Reagan supporters. A user named “Anyvoice” called my piece the “most idiotic guess work,” saying that Carter “was the one who brought the rule of the Ayatollahs to Iran, (which) created the nuclear threat of today.”
He added that had Carter won a second term, “the whole world will be like the Middle East now.” A commenter named Adrian Holman claimed that the scores of American hostages held in the US embassy in Tehran would still be in Iran if not for Reagan.
The citizen journalism website noted that this is only the second time since the competition was launched last January that a non-American writer had won. According to AllVoices, my win gives the competition organizers “a chance to reiterate that while The American Pundit deals with Campaign 2012 in the United States, writers from all over the globe are welcome to participate.” Looking at the roster of past winners, I am fairly certain about being the only winner from Asia so far.
AllVoices describes itself as “the world’s premier platform for citizen journalism.” It aims to provide “a community-driven platform for open, global news, and idea exchange.”
Anyone can report news on AllVoices through its website or via SMS. The idea behind AllVoices first came about in 2005 during the aftermath of a strong earthquake in Pakitan, the native country of its founder Amra Tareen.
Speaking to About.com’s Tony Rogers, Tareen said she wanted to share her impressions of the disaster to the whole world but she has no platform to do so. According to Forbes.com, AllVoices has 300,000 site-contributors from 161 countries worldwide – as of 2010! Evidently, AllVoices, a site not affiliated with any mainstream media outlet, has further upped the ante of citizen journalism worldwide.
PS: This is the first time I’ve won in an international competition, and oh boy, being described as a “writer from the Philippines” gave me chills!