FRESNO - Professor Robert
Stoll of Middlebury College has, this week, unearthed and revealed that a
modern Liberal Studies icon of the Multicultural college curriculum, the
1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu is a fraud.
Much of Ms. Menchu's supposed autobiography
of her life in Quatamala in the late 1950's is contained in the 1987 book
I, Rigoberta Menchu and it apparently contained many fabrications, as well.
Never the less, Ms. Menchu's defenders are already
claiming that the dishonesty of her account is of no consequence, because her words
are "metaphorically true".
However, in the interest of fairness and
justice, Ms. Menchu should be required to surrender the
Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to her under false pretences.
It was widely known that in Guatemala,
Indians had no rights as citizens. Rigoberta Menchu's account has her
father fighting as a rebel leader against the government which was taking
the Indians' land by force. One of her brothers was depicted as "tortured
and killed in front of her and her family" because of what she claimed
was her father's anti government activity. She wrote that her mother and
father were killed soon after. On the surface that would appear believable
because it is known that at least 50,000 Indians had been killed or, at
least, had disappeared in Guatemala during its 30 year civil war.
Rigoberta Menchu says she survived
because as a child, she was able to make it to Mexico where she began
writing her 'autobiography.' She claims that she and her sisters then
joinedthe guerrilla movement against the government.
Her exciting and tragic tale won the
1992 Nobel Peace Prize and focussed world wide attention on the
atrocities perpetrated against Indians by the Guatemalan government.
Ms. Menchu says she used all her Nobel Peace
Prize money to set up a 'foundation to fight for human rights.'
Millions of university students in the U.S.
know that story and it has become
sacred ground to the Multiculturalism Curriculum in U.S.
Some readers of the 'autobiography'
thought it odd that Ms. Manchu had a seemingly confused
rendition of the contemporary political setting there. The all
important links between the peasant and guerrilla movements were not mentioned.
In spite of obvious lapses, Rigoberta Menchu and her book obtained the Nobel Prize.
Now, the veracity of her story has been challenged. If her words are false, then
Ms. Rigoberta Manchu may have obtained the Nobel Peace Prize through
fraud and mirepresentation.
More of the ultimate truth began to
emerge this week in well documented research that exposes major portions
of the book, I, Rigoberta Menchu as fraudulent.
Professor, David Stoll of
Middlebury College published his findings in a new book,
Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans based on more than
120 interviews in Ms. Menchu's hometown, reports that key events detailed
in the autobiography could not have taken place, and that the author's
description of herself and her family conflicts with the historical record.
Hearing of the fraud, the New York
Times has now sent one of its investigative reporters to Guatemala in an
attempt to verify Ms. Menchu's claims in the supposed 'autobiography'.
Thousands of University faculty members
who teach the autobiography this semester plan to go right on teaching it.
They say it doesn't matter if the facts in the book are false, because
they believe Ms. Menchu. They say it speaks to a greater truth about the
oppression of poor people in Central America.
"I think Rigoberta Menchu has been used
by the right to negate the very important space that Multiculturalism
is providing in academia," says Marjorie Agosin, head of the Spanish
Department at Wellesley College. "Whether her book is true or not,
I don't care ... We should teach our students about the brutality of the
Guatemalan military and the U.S. financing of it," anyway.
Professor Stoll, the Middlebury
anthropologist, contends Ms. Menchu's book contains a leftist message and
the partisan message should not be represented in colleges as "truth."
He told Bulldog Newspaper reporters "Books like I, Rigoberta Menchu
will be exalted by some academics ... its what they want to hear."