Essay On Rigoberta Menchu

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Rigoberta Menchu’s book outlines her experience, giving a first hand account of the suppression, exploitation, and death faced by indigenous Guatemalans, at the hands of a militarized government. She describes how the economic disparity between wealthy landowners and indigenous people create this suppression, that not only threatens their land, but their entire culture. This testimonial placed Menchu in the spotlight, and was met with attempts to discredit her account. I will discuss these attempts, made in particular by David Stoll, and argue against not only the validity of the claims made against her, but their significance to the overall account. The original source of oppression of the indigenous people of Guatemala came from Spanish …show more content…
Rigoberta Menchu was able to file a case in the Spanish National Court against Rios Montt and others for their crimes against humanity. This trial has not been entirely successful, but it brings world attention and awareness to the genocide that occurred in Guatemala during their 36 year civil war. Consequently, Menchu is faced with death threats in her home of Guatemala, and so must live in exile. In 1992 Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of her work towards fighting the injustices done to the indigenous of Guatemala. David Stoll followed by publishing, I Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of all Poor Guatemalans in 1999, in a clear attempt to discredit Rigoberta Menchu’s account, and in turn cast doubt on all claims regarding crimes against humanity in Guatemala. Stoll argues that Menchu dramatizes the land dispute between her father and the wealthy land owners, by discrediting two claims in I Rigoberta Menchu: “(1) Indigenous communities are more cohesive than non indigenous ones and (2) peasants’ most important conflicts are vertical with external oppressors, such as plantation owners and state authorities, which explains their proclivity for rebellion”(Stoll 31). He also argues, that she was not an eyewitness to her brothers death. He interviews witnesses to support these claims, but the question remains why David Stoll so adamantly pursued his attempt to discredit Menchu’s

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