FRESNO CAMPUS - To my knowledge, my review of a critique of the "autobiography" I, Rigoberta Menchu
appeared only once on the Front Page of Bulldog Newspaper, Friday January 15, 1999.
Reader reaction was quite favorable, with 211 positive comments from readers. However, in one critical
BulldogNews e-mail received on Friday, Purdue University excoriated me on a pretext that I lacked direct personal experience
of Guatemala's political and economic environment in the 1950's. Really!
Keep in mind Purdue University English Dept. took me to task, not for anything pertinent to the text
of my review, mind you -- not for my positions on misrepresentation and fraud apparently
contained in Menchu's essay, nor for my criticism of "multicultural education".
So, I took it in the knees for my column which is just a review of a critique by a Stanford antrholpologist
analysis of the Menchu claims in an 1987 publication. Prof. Robert Stoll of Middlebury College
had unearthed and revealed that the modern Liberal Studies icon of the Multicultural college curriculum, the 1992
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu is a fraud.
My Bulldog News column emphasized that much of Ms. Menchu's supposed autobiography of her life in
Guatemala in the late 1950's she portrayed in her 1987 book I, Rigoberta Menchu apparently
contained materially false representations and outright fabrications.
At the time of publication of my column in January, Ms. Menchu's defenders were
already claiming that her transparent dishonesty 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.
The focus of the column is on serious criminal fraud allegations
that the celebrated and widely taught testimonial of Rigoberta Menchu, the Nobel Prize-winner
and advocate of indigenous people's rights in Guatemala, lied about specific events that
she could not have witnessed directly.
More generally, Menchu miscast the actual conflict between the Guatemalan military and peasantry in order to
project her political agenda into a long standing conflict over many centuries.
The Purdue writer seems to have adopted Menchu's strategy in his e-mail,
"Perhaps we should send some anthropologists into Israel to gather proof
that the Bible is a fraud. I'd rather not, since for the most part I recognize the difference between fraud and representation. As an
important book about both factual and fictitious events, the Bible is possibly the best thing ever written -- Rigoberta Menchu's piece doesn't
even come close. As an autobiography, though, the Bible's got to be a big hoax, right? I mean, isn't God supposed to remain a mystery?
Don't worry, I don't count Rigoberta's work as comparable to the bible. That would just give your paper all it needed to write me off as an
atheistic liberal, wouldn't it? You might say that I could compare it to, say, a newspaper -- which is also chock full of fiction and
hyperbole (in the editorials, for instance)....I think that maybe your "conservative voice on campus" should first concern itself with
proper comma placement...then issue its editorials about fraud...You are unprofessional, Ms. Williams, and a poor excuse for an editor.
...I realize we have a "difference of opinion." I am fully aware that your
editor approved your piece. I am not surprised that you received
positive responses to it (though I doubt "hundreds"); many so-called
conservatives are ill-informed, selective readers who shore up their
ignorance about Latin America as a way of chasing down anyone they
perceive as "liberal." My recommendation would be for you to drop out of college for a while, stop getting your politics from disc jockeys, and possibly join
the Peace Corps or some other organization that might teach you where the people live who you are so bent on chasing down. Were you
attending a journalism class under my tutelage, you would receive an F."
In contrast, The Bulldog News is a private enterprise Free Press. Our editors promote standards that will
foster good news writing. Objectivity purists often insist that reporters must go beyond the facts which obtrude into the news. U.S. news writers seem to have settled upon
what is called an objective interpretative treatment of news and opinion columns. It is interpretative to the extent that good
reporters do seek related facts and opinion beyond those which merely obtrude into the news momentarily. They are objective to the extent that opinions are
attributed to sources, not stated as facts.
Since American press freedoms rest ultimately upon public opinion, the Bulldog News is concerned
with pressures on that opinion and how pressures are brought to bear on news
and opinion writers. Pressure tactics seeks to stifle freedom of expression, shift, shape, and modify the factual content and the writer's interests and opinions, first in the student publication, and then in newspapers of general circulation.
For these reasons, The Bulldog Newspaper Foundation has sponsored the Bulldog News
since 1958, and reports it has achieved a better level of tolerance toward press freedom. There are promising signs of greater success at
the millennium, however, with growing acceptance of legitimate on-line news publication through world-wide distrubtion on Web Portal's Hitch Hiker's Guide to Cyberspace!
[Editor's Note: The Bulldog Newspaper is a member student news organization of U-Wire. Amy Wiliams' daily column has a weekly average readership of slightly more than 97,000 with
a value added content distribution of nearly 300,000 through the U-WIRE news service.]