The Odyssey


Rigoberta's Story

Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchú
Picture of Rigoberta  
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of the whole transcript.

Abeja: Good morning, welcome to The Odyssey World Trek for Service and Education. We are here in Guatemala City live this 18th day of February 1999 with 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

Her life has been dedicated to bringing peace and justice to her country, Guatemala, which has been ravaged by a civil war for 36 years.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum is an inspiration to all of us who strive to make the world a more peaceful place and we are honored to have this opportunity to speak with her today.

Rigoberta: Thank you.  

Jamila: The first question is from the organization I*EARN. They would like to know: How has the struggle for your people changed since it began?

"I would say that it has changed many things, above all, because there existed an armed conflict here in Guatemala that had high costs." more...  

Abeja: Earthharmony asks: How can we help the indigenous people in Central America from our homes in the United States?

  "Well, what you are doing is a way of helping in that you are not just sharing with us the good experiences that we have but also that people can know about our truth, our history." more...

Jamila: Now we have a question from Jeff in the state of Idaho. He wants to know in what project or work are you concentrating now and how can children help you and support you in this project?

  "Well, I believe that the biggest thing we are doing now is reconstructing Guatemala. We are relocating the refugees who were in Mexico, who are returning to Guatemala, we have built some houses, we have built some schools." more...

Abeja: Our next question comes from Pat Muller: Pat wants to know, how can you continue without losing your faith when so many times it seems things will never change.

  "I believe that faith is the most important thing we have and we should never lose our faith. We also need to trust people, in the new generations, in victims, and the women who struggle for life and peace." more...

Question: How can indigenous people maintain their culture under so much influence coming from the US and other countries?

  "I believe that for many years they have denied us our own respective history, they have denied us our participation. They have seen us as colonized people, as victims, as incapable. They have studied us so much. But the last few years the situation has changed a lot." more...

Question: We have a question from San Diego. How does it affect you to be such a very famous person?

  "Well, by one hand it's very sad that there need to be people who are controversial in order to break the silence, in order to condemn the grave violations of humans rights, to represent a women's voice. I dont think that one should have to be controversial in order to do these things." more...

Question: Now I have a question from Prospect High School: They want to know what is the conflict between you and the government of Guatemala.

  "Well I think it's not exactly a conflict between the government and myself. I'm not subject to any political party I respect all the parties, I'm not a part of the government. I've maintained my autonomy as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as an indigenous woman, but also as president of the Menchu foundation." more...

Question: Wed like to know what you think about the Odyssey program.

  "I think that this program makes Odyssey a global service to education, very innovative, very important, and it puts the Internet and technology to the service of education." more...

Question: Thank you very much, we've gone beyond our schedule but we'd like to thank you for answering our questions.

  "I am the one that would like to thank you, first because we were a little bit nervous as this is the first time I've had the opportunity to talk on the Internet." more...
Rigoberta Menchu Tum Chat Transcript
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