Last September 2008 at the Omega Institute of New York, a number of conferences called ‘’Woman, Power, and Peace’’ were held, during this event Ana Nogales personally interviewed Rigoberta Menchu, the guatemaltec indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Price awarded in 1992. Dr. Nogales shares in this report some thoughts and testimonies taken from the touching meeting- through all my life, I have been lucky to meet people from whom I learnt a lot, mainly how to be a better person.
Dr. Ana Nogales, Rigoberta Menchu and Dr. Sonnee Weedn, Psychologist.
Recently, I was honored with the responsibility of leading a workshop: "Woman, Power and Peace" at the Omega institute of New York. Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize an extraordinary wise indigenous woman also participated and with extreme delicacy.
Contributed with her experiences and her healing spirit. Having undergone the civil war in Guatemala, the discrimination and racism against the indigenous people and being witness of the cruel torture and murder of her brother and her parents, Rigoberta was able to make her voice be listened, even nowadays when the indigenous voice is still being silenced.
The armed conflict that finished only 10 years ago left a lot of after-effects, but Rigoberta works day by day to repair the damage, a very hard task according to her own confession. However Rigoberta admitted that spiritual health can be rescued, even after bloody trauma, since we all appreciate life although sometimes we don’t admit it. She proved it by working with terminally ill people, and said "everybody fights for some further moments, everybody wants a little more that we can see it when our days are finishing".
Rigoberta says "I’m Maya, I have walked round almost all the energetic centers in Guatemala, volcano, rivers, hills and everything has a porpoise in the lives of people. That’s why I feel that we don’t lose hope Rigoberta found physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health among her people, because they have learnt to manage without doctors or other help. Nature itself has provided them with elements to which they have access such as candles and medicinal plants. Nevertheless, Rigoberta recognizes that the most important resource is the human contact" to be able to cry with another person enables you to share that energy. Is extremely important to listen to a person who is in trouble, to pay attention to what happens to their families, to that exists in their homes, In Guatemala many women have been raped by army men, killed their husbands and they do not know how to make justice. "You cannot talk about Human rights because they are not in force".
Even though Rigoberta won a legal claim for discrimination after being insulted in the court, the victimizers repeated their insults for over 6months calling her ‘’Dirty Lady’’ and saying things like ‘’ your place is at the terminal, with your people’’ apart from other humiliations and insults, the sentence was of three years of prison and resulted in the first legal claim for discrimination won by an indigenous in Latin America. Although the prison term was not served until now at least ‘’discrimination against indigenous has been condemned’’ says Rigoberta who also won another legal claim for genocide last year in Spain ‘’there is an arrest warrant against the genocides who have not been captured yet. The impunity is tremendous’’ Rigoberta affirms.
For Rigoberta it is very difficult to theorize about ‘’peace’’. For her to give peace means to give comfort or an advice, ‘’peace is a personal commitment to help, to provide support and understanding ‘’ in our Maya culture, the more you give to a loving one the more you are blessed and productive. I have put into practice. My husband calls me Santa Claus wife because I give away everything I have at home, since if I have a little bit of money I give it soon. I feel satisfaction with the acts one can do in life. There is nothing better than thinking that whenever I need help I will find it. There is nothing worst than hearing ‘’I cannot help you’’ Human values such as support, solidarity and understanding create a flame of hope for all people. Neither guns nor bullets, only Human being can ensure quality of life’’. Committed to her mission Rigoberta gives everything she can, even material things, since she does not leave attached to things. She worries about the other person knowing that she does her best to give that person whatever she or he needs.
In ‘’dialogues for peace’’ beyond her personal experiences, Rigoberta admitted that it is necessary to coincide with people, to agree and to bee including with young people, indigenous, women, and white people, without leaving anybody aside and to ensure that each community is represented.In the Maya culture all men are equal. Nobody is taller or smaller. The notion of circle gives a vision that all individual are necessary. If one of them is lacking the absence is felt. Faith of all people is needed, faith in humanity, faith in life, and in the future. ‘’none of us is eternal, so we must not destroy what belongs to future generations. Our future must remain intact for future generations. For that purpose, we need to have always a light in our minds and in our glances, that there was always light on our way and thanking our ancestors of thousands and thousands of years, since because of them we are here’’.
Is such a simple an at the same time deep message that we must ask ourselves if all human beings and the governments that represent us are ready to give Peace a chance,
considering that we all deserve it.