Rigoberta Menchu, a Quiche Indian woman native to Guatemala, is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for politically reaching out to her country and her people. In her personal testimony tittled “I, Rigoberta Menchu” we can see how she blossomed into the Nobel Prize winner she is today. Following a great deal in her father’s footsteps, Rigoberta’s mobilization work, both within and outside of Guatemala, led to negotiations between the guerillas and the government and reduced the army power within Guatemala. Her work has helped bring light to the strength of individuals and citizen organization in advocacy and policy dialogue on the world scale. In a brief summary of the book I will explore why Rigoberta Menchu is important to Guatemalan development, what she did, and how she helped her people overcome the obstacles thrown their way. As far back as Rigoberta Manchu can remember, her life has been divided between the highlands of Guatemala and the low country plantations called the fincas. Routinely, Rigoberta and her family spent eight months working here under extremely poor conditions, for rich Guatemalans of Spanish descent. Starvation malnutrition and child death were common occurrence here; rape and murder were not unfamiliar too. Rigoberta and her family worked just as hard when they resided in their own village for a few months every year. However, when residing here, Rigoberta’s life was centered on the rituals and traditions of her community, many of which gave thanks to the natural world. When working in the fincas, she and her people struggled to survive, living at the mercy of wealthy landowners in an overcrowded, miserable environment. By the time Rigoberta was eight years old she was hard working and ... ... middle of paper ... ...d for you to sign and the land will be yours... no-one will bother you on your land” (pg.105). This incident leads to a long chain of corrupt acts. All community members signed, rather, finger printed the document and we’re assured “they could rely on this paper as it is the title to the land” (pg. 105). Two years passed and they returned with the document in hand, claiming the land was no longer theirs to live off of. The signed document was in truth an agreement to live on the land for a mere two years and a promise to uproot once the two years expired. In conjunction with the Labour Unions, Rigoberta’s father fights this upheaval, however the landowners bribe the judges lawyers and interpretors involved in the crooked legal battles, twisting the communities stance says the landowners offered a great deal of money to the judge through -machines/market/lawyers
... A few photos of Tenochtitlan and warriors headdresses, clubs and obsidian blades would increase the pleasure 10 fold. Also in places the author tends to divert to other Ameriindian cultures and use their ritual practices as examples. These comparisons can bring the ritual practices of a 500 year extant culture into modern day belief.
Talking about the culture brought throughout this book, your looking at a Latin American culture, specifically the Dominican/Haitian cultures. As I read this book, beyond the many numerous ways she worded her sentences and how the characters spoke, they often spoke with a definant difference than you would hear here in common U.S. language. They would constantly use inferences to what they were talking about rather than being direct to what they were saying. Things like, “they say we are the burnt crud at the bottom of the pot.” –Amabelle, this is Amabelle talking to her lover, Sebastian, about how there’s talk about the field workers and the housemaids to the Dominicans, and them being “nothing”, inferring that they are poorer than the Dominicans. Or specifically, the title, “the Farming of Bones”, and mentioned also in the book, talking about how because after a day in the heat of the fields, dodging snakes and rats, brushing up against the razor sharp edges of the sugar cane, the workers find their skin is shredded, their bones being, “closer to the surface than the day before.” Another one being when there was talk about the massacre between men, when a man stood and said,”I’m one of those trees whose roots reach the bottom of the earth. They can cut down my branches, but they will never uproot the tree. The roots are too strong and there are too many.” There are also inferences, I believe in the beginning when they talk about, when Señora Valencia gives birth to twins and when the doctor finally arrives to check on the newborns' health, he says to Amabelle, "Many of us start out as twins in the belly and do away with the other." Here is where I feel another inference is posed. How Haiti and the Dominican Republic, racing for resources on the same island, can resemble like the twins in the same belly, both coming up at the same time, yet one to push the other one out, or to extinction.
"A recounted in your autobiography, the story of Rigoberta Menchu is the stuff of classic Marxist myth. According to your book you came from a poor Mayan family, living on margins of a country from which had been dispossessed by Spanish conquistadors. Their descendents, known as Ladinos, try to drive the Menchus and other Indian peasants off claimed land that they had cultivated. As said in your book, you are illiterate and were kept from having an education by your peasant father, Vicente. He refuses to send you to school because he needs to work in the fields, and because he is afraid that the school will turn his daughter against him.
The perspective of another society is always subjective, especially when two completely different cultures interact for the first time. In Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s The History of the Conquest of New Spain, the first hand account illustrates a barbaric and pagan society where sacrifices are pervasive in everyday life. However, David Carrasco’s essays titled “The Exaggeration of Human Sacrifice” and “Human Sacrifice / Debt Payments from the Aztec Point of View” shed a significant amount of insight into the religious roles that human sacrifice played in Aztec society rather than the cruel and barbaric connotations which Díaz heavily implied. Based on the readings of Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Carrasco’s essays offered an outside perspective
A cultures traditional understanding on a matter often creates conflict with how the matter is understood in the modern era. Mexico, a nation with deep ties to its traditional Native American roots, knows this conflict extremely well. Specifically, Mexico’s traditional understanding of the roles of both men and women creates a heavy conflict today. One of the most significant conflicts that stems from these traditional conceptions of gender is the propagation of a patriarchal society in which women are often exploited by seemingly powerful men. Carlos Fuentes, the author of the book titled The Crystal Frontier, highlights this conflict in the numerous short stories within this book. However, the short story “Malintzin of the Maquilas” gives
Rituals are held as a very important part of any society, including ours. They go back to ancient times or can be as simple as maintaining one’s hygiene. Non-western societies have rituals that may seem very foreign to us, but they have been engrained in their communities and are essential to their social structure. This interpretation will focus on the Great Pilgrimage, a ritual performed by Quechuan communities. We will be looking specifically at a community in the area of Sonqo.
Guatemala held democratic elections in 1944 and 1951, they resulted in leftist government groups holding power and rule of the country. Intervention from the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) backed a more conservative military minded regime. A military coup took place in 1954 to over throw the elected government and install the rule of Carlos Castillo Armas. Carlos Armas was a military general before the coup and with the CIA orchestrated operation he was made President from July 8th 1954 until his assassination in 1957. Upon his assassination, similar militant minded presidents rose to power and continued to run the country. Due to the nature of military dictatorship, in 1960, social discontent began to give way to left wing militants made up of the Mayan indigenous people and rural peasantry. This is the match that lit Guatemala’s Civil War, street battles between the two groups tore the country and pressured the autocratic ruler General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes to fight harder against the civilian insurrection. Similar to the government Abductions th...
From the time of its colonization at the hands of Spanish Conquistadors in the early 1500’s, Guatemala has suffered under the oppression of dictator after dictator. These dictators, who ruled only with the support of the military and only in their own interests, created a form of serfdom; by 1944, two percent of the people owned 70 percent of the usable land.
Guatemala’s culture is a unique product of Native American ways and a strong Spanish colonial heritage. About half of Guatemala’s population is mestizo (known in Guatemala as ladino), people of mixed European and indigenous ancestry. Ladino culture is dominant in urban areas, and is heavily influenced by European and North American trends. Unlike many Latin American countries, Guatemala still has a large indigenous population, the Maya, which has retained a distinct identity. Deeply rooted in the rural highlands of Guatemala, many indigenous people speak a Mayan language, follow traditional religious and village customs, and continue a rich tradition in textiles and other crafts. The two cultures have made Guatemala a complex society that is deeply divided between rich and poor. This division has produced much of the tension and violence that have marked Guatemala’s history (Guatemalan Culture and History).
... stand. You give a sideways glance to the balding man in front of you. Jose Efrain Rios Montt. Oh, how you hate that man! After all, the things he has done to you, your brothers, and your sisters are unspeakable! You take a deep breath and begin to speak. You answer all the questions with a complete feeling of appreciation. Appreciation fueled by the fact that people want to hear your story. You tell them about the day the soldiers marched in to your village, murdered your people, and walked away as if nothing had happened. You tell them about the days of fear. People stare at you in amazement. You see their eyes gleaming with tears and—suddenly—you break down too. It’s all too much. The man that caused you pain is going to get punished! In the back of your mind, you are thinking that the Guatemalan genocide was a terrible tragedy that cost many people their lives.
Guatemala’s staple food is the beloved tamales plus the have a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables. Because of its Mayan influence, the dress that is worn is brightly colored and varies among the different regions of Guatemala. This makes it very easy to spot a person’s home town. The people of Guatemala are very proud of their ancestry, and they show it in everyday life. Guatemala is truly an astounding country that is a glimpse into the past while it moves to the
In the Central America, most notably the Yucatan Peninsula, are the Maya, a group of people whose polytheistic religion and advanced civilization once flourished (Houston, 43). The Maya reached their peak during the Classic Period from around CE 250 to the ninth century CE when the civilization fell and dispersed (Sharer, 1). Although much has been lost, the gods and goddesses and the religious practices of the Classic Maya give insight into their lives and reveal what was important to this society.
Throughout history in the Americas many Native Americans have been repressed by conquerors. Since the discovery of Christopher Columbus and the Invasion of Cortez many natives have been dislocated from their land and forced to work for those that invade. In I, Rigoberta Menchu, By Elisabeth Burgos-Debray tells the story of Menchu and native Maya Indians in Guatemala. In this literature it is explained how the natives struggled to keep their rightful lands from the bourgeoisies and to do away with forced labor. In the struggles of Menchu and the Mayas their struggles for survival not only were they facing forced dislocations and labor, but also risking their lives as they fight for their human rights.
Life in Mexico was, before the Revolution, defined by the figure of the patron that held all of power in a certain area. Juan Preciado, who was born in an urban city outside of Comala, “came to Comala because [he] had been told that [his] father, a man named Pedro Paramo lived there” (1). He initially was unaware of the general dislike that his father was subjected to in that area of Mexico. Pedro was regarded as “[l]iving bile” (1) by the people that still inhabited Comala, a classification that Juan did not expect. This reveals that it was not known by those outside of the patron’s dominion of the cruel abuse that they levied upon their people. Pedro Paramo held...