Rigoberta Menchú: The Voice of A Nation

I stumbled across this week’s inspiration almost by accident, when I fell into the pages of ‘Me Llamo Rigoberta Menchú y Así Me Nació La Conciencia’. This testimonial had been sitting patiently in my ‘to read’ pile for a good couple of months, and this Monday literally fell on me as I shuffled endless piles of paper. Despite the paper cut casualty, I am so glad this read took over my Monday and Tuesday this week.

It is easy to forget the luxury of the world we live in. A life that is not only free of poverty, oppression and violent discrimination, but also a life in which we can access the rest of the world with the touch of a button, we can have food delivered to our front door within minutes, and we are freely accepted into education purely based on our academic merits, and not our religion/ethnicity/age/gender.

Reading Rigoberta’s testimony turned our Western way of thinking and modus operandi on its head- not literally, this time.

Aside from the poor living conditions of Rigoberta’s early life, she exists in a world where she is continually confined by external forces. Her gender, her race, her spiritual beliefs, her family’s financial situation, and her geographical location continually create limitations within Rigoberta’s life. Early within the testimony, she states that she was “afraid of life” and that her own parents told her her dreams would never be realised. This is less a reflection on poor parenting than it is statement of Guatemalan Indios’ life-long social and political barriers.

Through the immense journey that is Rigoberta’s living testimony, her attempt at inciting the international community into stopping the genocide of Guatemalan Indians, the reader never loses sight of Rigoberta’s own voracious and enlightening energy.

Having sold more than half a million copies across the globe and overcome over thirteen language barriers, Rigoberta’s book is a literal transcendence of physical, political, and cultural limits.

I was left feeling quite humbled. I don’t believe that in my life I have ever acted as selflessly as Rigoberta Menchú, and I didn’t even have to struggle to survive. To me, the most resonant issue is that this is testimony of the recently oppressed. This is a testimony that relates to real-life discrimination and suffering that is still happening around the world. While this suffering may not be racial, war crimes and religious bloodshed is still very prevalent.

This week’s inspiration leaves you on an earnest note, with a quote from Rigoberta herself.

“The world’s not going to change unless we’re willing to change ourselves”

Please leave any thoughts, comments or questions below. While In Search Of Silver Linings tries to operate as an open forum, any offensive or discriminative comments will be deleted.

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