The Odyssey

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Rigoberta's Story
The Odyssey

Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchu
I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
pages 138-139

We took the disarmed soldier to my house, taking all the necessary precautions. We blindfolded him so that he wouldn't recognize the house he was going to. We got him lost. We took him a round-about way so that he'd lose his sense of direction. We finally arrived back. I found it really funny, I couldn't stop laughing because we didn't know how to use the gun. We were very happy, the whole com-munity was happy. When we got near the camp, the whole com-munity was waiting for us. We arrived with our captured soldier. We reached my house. He stayed there for a long time. We took his uniform off and gave him an old pair of trousers and an old shirt so that if his fellow soldiers came back - we tried to keep him tied up -they wouldn't know he was a soldier. We also thought that those clothes could help us confuse the other soldiers later on. Then came a very beautiful part when all the mothers in the village begged the soldier to take a message back to the army, telling all the soldiers there to think of our ancestors. The soldier was an Indian from another ethnic group. The women asked him how he could possibly have become a soldier, an enemy of his own race, his own people, the Indian race. Our ancestors never set bad examples like that. They begged him to be the light within his camp. They explained to him that bearing a son and bringing him up was a big effort, and to see him turn into a criminal as he was, was unbearable. All the mothers in the village came to see the soldier. Then the men came too and begged him to recount his experience when he got back to the army and to take on the role, as a soldier, of convincing the others not to be so evil, not to rape the women of our race's finest sons, the finest examples of our ancestors. They suggested many things to him. We told the soldier that our people were organised, and were prepared to give their last drop of blood to counter everything the army did to us. We made him see that it wasn't the soldiers who were guilty but the rich who don't risk their lives. They live in nice houses and sign papers. It's the soldier who goes around the villages, up and down the mountains, mistreating and murdering his own people.

We didn't kill the soldier. The army itself took care of that when he got back to camp. They said he must be an informer, otherwise how could he possibly have stayed and then returned. They said the law says that a soldier who abandons his rifle must be shot. So they killed him.

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