Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans



Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor GuatemalansThis Book Is About A Living Legend, A Young Guatemalan Orphaned By Government Death Squads Who Said That Her Odyssey From A Mayan Indian Village To Revolutionary Exile Was The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans Published In The Autobiographical I, Rigoberta Mench , Her Words Brought The Guatemalan Army S Atrocities To World Attention And Propelled Her To The 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Five Years Later, As Her Country S Civil War Ended And Truth Commissions Prepared Their Reports, The Nobel Laureate Seemed To Repudiate The Life Story That Made Her Famous That Is Not My Book, She Said, Accusing Its Editor, Elisabeth Burgos, Of Distorting Her Testimony.Why The Disclaimer One Reason Was The Anthropologist Interviewing Other Violence Survivors In Her Home Town In Rigoberta Mench And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans, David Stoll Uses Their Recollections And Archival Sources To Establish A Different Portrait Of The Laureate S Village And The Violence That Destroyed It Like The Imagery Surrounding Ch Guevara, Rigoberta S 1982 Story Served The Ideological Needs Of The Urban Left And Kept Alive The Grand Old Vision Of Latin American Revolution It Shaped The Assumptions Of Foreign Human Rights Activists And The New Multicultural Orthodoxy In North American Universities But It Was Not The Eyewitness Account It Purported To Be, And Enshrining It As The Voice Of The Voiceless Caricatured The Complex Feelings Of Guatemalan Indians Toward The Guerrillas Who Claimed To Represent Them At A Time When Rigoberta S People Were Desperate To Stop The Fighting, Her Story Became A Way To Mobilize Foreign Support For A Defeated Insurgency.By Comparing A Cult Text With Local Testimony, Stoll Raises Troubling Questions About The Rebirth Of The Sacred In Postmodern Academe Far From Being Innocent Or Moral, He Argues, Organizing Scholarship Around Simplistic Images Of Victimhood Can Be Used To Rationalize The Creation Of Victims In Challenging The Accuracy Of A Widely Hailed Account Of Third World Oppression, This Book Goes To The Heart Of Contemporary Debates Over Political Correctness And Identity Politics.

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  • Paperback
  • 368 pages
  • Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans
  • David Stoll
  • English
  • 06 December 2017
  • 0813336945

10 thoughts on “Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans

  1. Steve Kettmann says:

    My S.F Chronicle review from 1999 Give David Stoll credit for world class chutzpah He not only takes it on himself as a North American anthropologist to go after Central America s most famous symbol of oppression, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, but he refers to her throughout his book as Rigoberta, despite the obvious lack of respect this shows This is not a man who is going to be easily cowed by the hatred and recrimination he s sure to inspire Stoll, a professor at Mid My S.F Chronicle review from 1999 Give David Stoll credit for world class chutzpah He not only takes it on himself as a North American anthropologist to go after Central America s most famous symbol of oppression, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, but he refers to her throughout his book as Rigoberta, despite the obvious lack of respect this shows This is not a man who is going to be easily cowed by the hatred and recrimination he s sure to inspire Stoll, a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, obviously believes deeply in his material and his damn the left ideological argument Fortunately for him, he has done enough intriguing spadework to back up some, though by no means all, of that confidence Menchu, famous for her autobiography I, Rigoberta Menchu, did lose both her parents and two brothers to horrible deaths during the long war that claimedthan 100,000 Guatemalan lives She also knows firsthand the indignity of growing up Indian in a country that has often treated its majority indigenous population as second class citizens But Stoll makes a strong case that Menchu was away at boarding school during much of the violence that swept over her community in the country s western highlands, despite claiming in her book never to have studied that she never worked on the coastal plantations that she claimed and that she did not watch in person as her brother Petrocinio was set on fire by the Guatemalan army that, in fact, Petrocinio was probably not immolated by the army at all Menchu s motivation in altering her life history, Stoll charges with reason was to make her story an effective vehicle for promoting the Guatemalan guerrilla struggle internationally Stoll also writes that the Menchu family worked with U.S Peace Corps volunteers and achieved a modest degree of material comfort in local terms But his repeated mentions of this relative progress up the economic ladder make it sound as if the Menchus had a three Volvo garage, a satellite dish and a maid Even if what Stoll alleges is true, the Menchus were campesinos not unlike many others Even less compelling are Stoll s dogged efforts to recast the legacy of Menchu s controversial father, Vicente Menchu Yes, Stoll demonstrates that the future Nobel laureate took liberties with her father s story She set up his enemies in local land disputes as wealthy landowners, when an honest picture would have focused on bitter disagreements with his in laws But Stoll makes the grave miscalculation of assuming that only readers devoted to leftist causes will question his good faith In fact, most readers who come to this book with anything like an open mind will be struck again and again by Stoll s efforts at sleight of hand and by his motivation He also displays an undergraduate ingenuousness that can be almost touching He trudges around Uspantan, the town near Menchu s childhood village, and asks people what they remember about a leftist organization called the CUC Committee for Campesino Unity The CUC was a highly secretive organization affiliated with the guerrillas Everyone known to be associated with it had been exterminated Stoll s word a decade before Stoll did his interviews for this book Yet he somehow finds it meaningful when an ex mayor tells him, I don t recall anyone calling a CUC meeting Stoll has embarked on a project that is essentially advocacy journalism interviewing people with the specific intent of casting doubt on a political leader s life story and yet he repeatedly hides behind his air of higher academic purpose He ridicules Menchu s claim that her father was a founder of the organization He does this even though fundador in Spanish has the senseof original member than of creator Stoll speculates and speculates, and expects us to treat the endless stream of might have beens as if they add up to bedrock fact They do not No scholar in search of a wide, respectful audience would end a chapter on death squad practices the burning alive of victims in a schoolyard full of children, for example the way Stoll does He downplays racism toward highland Indians and fear of communism as factors in the many massacres, adding But other thoughts could have occupied squad members heads, because brutality toward civilians is the predictable result of irregular war That s not just mushy speculation, it also comes close enough to blaming the victim to make a lot of people queasy and not just those on the far left, either Stoll can write beautifully at times, as when he describes his first visit to Menchu s childhood village, and there s no denying the man s commitment to Guatemala, where during some recent stretches he has spenttime than Menchu herself, given her heavy international travel schedule But it eventually becomes clear that, like the leftist academics he so loathes, Stoll is using Menchu as a tool to make the points he thinks are important More than anything, he wants to battle his fellow North American academics, who he feels have wrongly used Menchu s story of growing up poor and developing a revolutionary consciousness Stoll has good points to make about the Guatemalan guerrillas having done some of the killing in the war, but his effort to suggest that the two sides bear commensurate blame falls flat on its face Gang rape and slaughter were the standard operating techniques of the men unleashed by the government The guerrillas killed, too, butselectively So is it fair to say that the highland peasants were just as intimidated by the arrival of guerrillas as of soldiers, as Stoll claims Only in the mind of a North American anthropologist willing to let the errors of the left justify shoddy rewriting of history Still, Stoll s valuable fieldwork cannot and should not be ignored, no matter how much he has let ideology warp his version of Guatemalan history No serious work on Rigoberta Menchu will fail to mention Stoll and his assertions, which Menchu herself has recently allowed might have some truth to them Butthan anything, Stoll s book will push people back to I, Rigoberta Menchu, a moving if seriously flawed book about muchthan polemics, even if men like Stoll can t see that Former Chronicle reporter Steve Kettmann, a frequent visitor to Guatemala since 1986, writes regularly for the Siglo News, Guatemala s English language weekly.http sfgate.com cgi bin article.cgiThis article appeared on page RV 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

  2. Elliot says:

    While the author of this book is frequently criticized for attacking the story of Rigoberta Mench , it seems that the vast majority of the attacks come from people who have made their decision about what they want to believe before they actually read the book In reality, the book is presented in a honest and fair way that does not attack Rigoberta Mench but rather points out inaccuracies with her story.In my opinion this book should be assigned along with Rigoberta s, or at least given attenti While the author of this book is frequently criticized for attacking the story of Rigoberta Mench , it seems that the vast majority of the attacks come from people who have made their decision about what they want to believe before they actually read the book In reality, the book is presented in a honest and fair way that does not attack Rigoberta Mench but rather points out inaccuracies with her story.In my opinion this book should be assigned along with Rigoberta s, or at least given attention in classes that read Rigoberta s as the controversy is very important to understand Sadly, rumors and accusations fly at Stoll that are based on little or nothing and distract from the actual story Reading this book, along with Rigoberta s, and The Rigoberta Mench Controversy gave me new respect for her and for the testimony genre in general, but care must be taken to realize that testimony is a specific genre and is different than non fiction or biography David Stoll is a brave man to have published this book despite the backlash that he certainly knew that he would receive, and he has done us all a great service by writing it

  3. Thomas Ray says:

    See Rigoberta Menchu Controversy by Arturo Arias.Stoll relies on survivor interviews he did in the 1990s,than 10 years after the worst of the slaughter, 1982 1983 under R os Montt and Ronald Reagan Stoll s view is that of a leftist hating cold warrior See also Paradise in Ashes A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror, and Hope, Beatriz Manz, pp 9 11 of 311.Also Crossing Borders, Rigoberta Mench See Rigoberta Menchu Controversy by Arturo Arias.Stoll relies on survivor interviews he did in the 1990s,than 10 years after the worst of the slaughter, 1982 1983 under R os Montt and Ronald Reagan Stoll s view is that of a leftist hating cold warrior See also Paradise in Ashes A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror, and Hope, Beatriz Manz, pp 9 11 of 311.Also Crossing Borders, Rigoberta Mench

  4. Mumallah says:

    The guy writes well but doesn t really know how to carry out a decent ethnography His attempt to attack the leftist resistance forces in Guatemala and to portray them as having little popular support is a bit silly given the historical situation of the day Hobsbawm s Primative Rebels details a good case for why the rebels must have had some support somewhere, else be destroyed by the death squads of the rightist military regime that sent Guatemalan society into such torment An excellent case The guy writes well but doesn t really know how to carry out a decent ethnography His attempt to attack the leftist resistance forces in Guatemala and to portray them as having little popular support is a bit silly given the historical situation of the day Hobsbawm s Primative Rebels details a good case for why the rebels must have had some support somewhere, else be destroyed by the death squads of the rightist military regime that sent Guatemalan society into such torment An excellent case of how one s politics and biases frames and often vitiates academic inquiry Would have beeninteresting and challenging had Stoll carried out satisfactory ethnographic work He didn t, so the book isn t any of those things, unfortunately

  5. Amy says:

    This book definitely helped me gain perspective on I, Rigoberta Menchu An Indian Woman in Guatemala and helped me sort out some of the issues I had with it It was educational but not exactly enjoyable This book definitely helped me gain perspective on I, Rigoberta Menchu An Indian Woman in Guatemala and helped me sort out some of the issues I had with it It was educational but not exactly enjoyable

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