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Rigoberta Menchu: an Indian woman in Guatemala
Only a small group of people had known about Rigoberta Menchu when she was awarded the Nobel prize in 1992. So Rigoberta Menchu belongs to the Quiiche, one of the twenty-three indigenous ethnic groups who together make up the majority of the population in Guatemala. Rigoberta had a difficult life and the book I, Rigoberta Menchu was extremely important to the people of Guatemala. Rigoberta’s voice tells us about suffering of Guatemalan people during the political terror of a 36-year Civil War that ended in 1996. As the result of these events, about 100,000 people were dead or disappeared.
When the military brutality is protested, they answer with more violence and Menchu sees her brother’s and other organizers’ death. However, instead of being frightened seeing the tortured and burned bodies gives them power and courage to keep on fighting. Unfortunately, her father was burned to death as a subversive with other organizers. After that, her mother was raped, tortured and killed. Her body was left to be eaten by animals. These things lead Rigoberta Menchu to the thoughts about morality. She believes that it is a sin to kill a person. This is a turning point and she understands that the violence is necessary as a means of survival of her people.
Rigoberta Menchu had to leave Guatemala in 1981 after death of all her family and her participation in the mayor agricultural strike in 1980. She had to hide for months and after she had managed in leaving Guatemala she started new life. So Menchu began in travelling around the world and speaking to people about Guatemalan people and the situation in the country. She tried to work in defense of human rights in Guatemala.
While she was in France she met Elizabeth Burgos-Debray a Venezuelan woman married to a Frenchman. Debray came to Menchu and Rigoberta agreed that Elizabeth would interview Mecnhu, transcribing the tapes into text. These interviews are the main part of I, Rigoberta Menchu.
Rigoberta’s message is the true story of her culture and her people. She told it from the heart and it looks more like a series of conversations than a book. Because of this, sometimes the writing is rambling and redundant. The message is really significant because it shows us he impact on one individual, the effects of a political and economic system that exploits the poor. The book shows Mecnhu’s political development and eventual commitment to political and community organizing.
Only a small group of people had known about Rigoberta Menchu when she was awarded the Nobel prize in 1992. So Rigoberta Menchu belongs to the Quiiche, one of the twenty-three indigenous ethnic groups who together make up the majority of the population in Guatemala. Rigoberta had a difficult life and the book I, Rigoberta Menchu was extremely important to the people of Guatemala.