Marvelous Woman Monday

I recently wrote a letter to invite Rigoberta Menchú Tum to our campus, and as I was writing it I realized that I knew very little about her. So several deep dives later, here she is!

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Rigoberta was born in Guatemala to a poor indigenous family of K’iche’ Maya descent in 1959. Rigoberta attended Catholic schools and completed her middle school education. Her involvement in social reform developed through the Catholic Church, and she became a prominent women’s rights leader when she was just a teenager.

She left school and worked as an activist on campaigns against the Guatemalan military and the human rights violations that they committed during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996). The Guatemalan government committed mass torture, forced disappearances, sexual violence, and massacred an estimated 42,000 Maya citizens. The military viewed the Maya as subhuman, and systematically destroyed their villages while carrying out the genocide.

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Rigoberta’s reform work gained notice, and eventually her family was accused of taking part in guerrilla activities. Both she and her father eventually joined the Committee of the Peasant Union to fight for the rights of the people. In 1980, she was a prominent figure in the strike to get better conditions for farm workers along the coast. She actively participated in demonstrations in the capital and eventually joined the radical 31st of January Popular Front where she worked to educate the indigenous population on resistance to military oppression.

In 1979 and 1980, Rigoberta’s brother and mother were kidnapped, tortured, and eventually murdered by the Guatemalan army. In 1980, her father died in the Spanish Embassy Massacre after the police raided the peaceful occupation of the embassy by the Maya peasants and killed 36 people. And in 1984 her other brother was murdered after he surrendered to the army. I just cannot even imagine living through so many horrific losses in such a short period of time.

Rigoberta went into hiding in 1981, then fled to Mexico with tens of thousands of Mayan Indians escaping the civil war. She continued to organize the resistance from Mexico and co-founded the United Republic of Guatemalan Oppression. She gained international recognition in 1982 when she narrated her life story to anthropologist and author Elizabeth Burgos who published the book, Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia (My Name is Rigoberta Menchú and this is how my Conscience was Born).

There was a controversy over her story when anthropologist David Stoll investigated her claims. You can read an interview with Stoll about his work here. Anthropologist Victoria Stanford refutes many of Stoll’s claims and details his inaccuracies in an article for Latin American Perspectives (available here in full PDF if you have access to JSTOR). And this is why I have always struggled with qualitative research. Whatever you perceive to be your truth and story is the truth of the story even if those things did not really happen in truth. Your truth is THE truth (is Trump just a qualitative researcher at heart??). Still makes my head spin.

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After the conclusion of the civil war, she led a campaign to have political and military members responsible for the violence against the Mayan people tried in Spanish courts. She filed a complaint in 1999 after finding that prosecuting the crimes during the civil war in the Guatemalan courts was proving impossible. The Spanish courts determined that the plaintiffs had not yet pursued all avenues of justice in the Guatemalan legal system, and denied to prosecute. Finally, in 2006, Spain called for the extradition of seven government officials to be charged with the murder and torture of Spanish citizens in Guatemala and the genocide of the Maya people. In 2015, the commander of the police during the Spanish Embassy Massacre where Rigoberta’s father was murdered was convicted for his role in the attack.

Rigoberta got involved with the pharmaceutical industry of Guatemala and served as the president of “Salud para Todos” (“Health for All”) and “Farmacias Similares” in order to help offer low-cost generic medicines to indigenous people of the country. She was honored with the Nobel Peace Price in 1992 “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1996 and served as a goodwill ambassador for the peace accords that same year. In 1998, she was granted the Prince of the Asturias Prize for working to improve the lives of women and the  communities they serve.

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In 2006, she co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative with six other women Nobel Peace Laureates in a united effort for peace, justice, and to support the work being done for women’s rights around the world. She also travels the world as part of PeaceJam to teach young people to create positive changes in themselves and their communities.

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In 2007 she formed a new political party, the Encuentro por Guatemala, and ran for President. She lost in the first round, but continued to enourage peace for all of Guatemala after the defeat. She ran again in 2011 as a member of the Winaq party, but was again defeated. Rude!

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To end on a positive note, here is Rigoberta with a dove (probably – I’m no ornithologist). I find this photo go be completely delightful. What a fighter she is!

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Hails Genocide Conviction of Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt
Nobel Prize Biography
On Rigoberta, Guerrillas and Academics: An Interview with David Stoll


10 Thing Friday

1. For those of you following my Instagram story, I am sorry to report that curling corner is likely over. We wrapped up the closing arguments yesterday, and moved into deliberation in the afternoon. So, now, instead of having hours together in the hall where I can grill a guy on his curling “lifestyle,” we are now trapped in a room together deliberating the verdict.

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2. I am LOVING the Forever35 podcast. Thank you so much for the recommendation, Jill! I have not listened to a beauty podcast before, but I am all about lotions, serums, and magical elixirs to keep me forever looking 25 (I kid. I just want to look less haggard and tired.).

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Outside of beauty projects, it’s fun listening to two ladies who are close to my age just chatting about life in general. They’re delightful and funny!


3. We finally finished the last episode of the Waco miniseries on the Paramount Channel, and I thought it was especially well done (other than the fact that they clearly filmed it in New Mexico which does NOT AT ALL look like Waco, but whatever). The cast was fantastic and talented on all sides.

Image result for waco paramountI know that people feel a lot of different ways about what went down at Mount Carmel, but I believe it’s a tragedy that the federal government NEVER should have been a part of. If they were sincerely worried about child abuse, then there are already systems in place to investigate that. Regarding the issue of guns, “‘Waco’ Laments America’s Unique, Tragic Obsession With Guns.” I absolutely think David Koresh was an delusional grifter, but none of those people deserved to die because of their faith in him. The Atlantic has a good article on the show and the tragedy.

4. A Taylor Kitsch palate cleanser because he is SO CREEPY in Waco.

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5. 18 Delicious Recipes with Dried Beans. Yay, I love beans!

6. The positive to jury duty is that I have been forced to explore new lunch places since I’m trapped downtown. I stumped upon La Bonne Soupe Cafe on Tuesday, and apparently it’s THE PLACE for sandwiches. I had no idea! I got a blue crab melt and it was totally dreamy.

7. The time change has messed with my “window of falling sleep” and I’ve not been to actually sleep until 1 or 2 am this week. On the bright side, I finished Hannibal! I thought the first half and second half of the third season didn’t fit together at all. It was almost like watching two different shows. The first half was a bit too moody and brooding for my taste, but the Tooth Fairy also felt like it came out of nowhere (and I know it’s from the book, but it still felt discordant when he arrived). I was fine with the ending, but I am sad it’s over. I really liked the first two seasons, and I will really miss Hannibal the Handsome.

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I also enjoyed Hannibal in his white shirt with the rolled up sleeves fighting it out in the kitchen WAY more than I should have for such a violent scene. He just looked so good jumping against that pantry door! He’s got a really nice back. I probably need some therapy about this.

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8. “Gun-trained teacher accidentally discharges firearm in Calif. classroom, injuring student.”

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9. I thought both Meghan and Kate looked fab at the Commonwealth Service.

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10. I cannot believe that students and educators are having to hold walk outs and protests to end gun violence in schools, BUT HERE WE ARE. I am so proud of the young people who refuse to allow their voices be silenced or forgotten.

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WTF Wednesday

I cannot WAIT to really talk about jury duty when it’s all over. WHAT A RIDE so far. People are just simply incredible.

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I am already terrified of going to prison in general, but I hope to GOD that I never end up on trial for something because the way people make decisions is terrifying.

I am SO PISSED about the news that Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith for The Crown. She is THE CROWN. I know that he is more popular across the pond and with Doctor Who fans, but while I would have recognized him as a face I had seen before, I couldn’t have told you his name. I think this goes back not only the need for people to discuss salary, but also for agents and actors to renegotiate their salaries. Agents have to know what the other actors are making in order to act in the best interest of their client. Claire was on board before Matt, and her salary was likely negotiated before he was made an offer. Because he is a name, she should have been able to go back and get more based on what he was paid. That is the only way their will every be parity for women and actors of colors. SHE is the principle character, and while the producers have promised that going forward no one will get paid more than the queen, Claire will never have a chance to get paid what she is due (because she makes the damn show) since her seasons are up. RAGE.

I certainly hope this is the case for Olivia Colman. She has been cast for months, but we still don’t have a confirmation on who will play Philip (rumors are it will be Hugh Laurie), so I worry that her contract and salary are already set. I guarantee that if the roles were reversed and Claire was the bigger star playing a supporting role as the consort, then Matt Smith would STILL make more than her playing the king as an unknown actor. I GUARAN-DAMN-TEE-IT.

Poor little Alan puked the other night and he was quite distraught over it. When Bardot was still here (SOB), I am not even sure that she knew when she had puked. She would be walking, pause very briefly, have a barf, then keep on moving like nothing happened. For Alan, I heard a weird little noise while I was asleep, and before I could even get my eyes completely open, Alan was running down the bed at me meowing frantically like his own little wahmbulance. He was so upset about it that he wasn’t over it that evening. I called the vet and they said unless it happens again, then he should be fine, but it was a very dramatic 3:30 am wake up. He’s a sensitive guy.

On Friday, my sister sent me a text that I had butt dialed her a few minutes earlier. I replied that I had not because my phone was plugged in and charging on my desk, and I had been on the opposite end of my desk on my office phone for the past 15 minutes. I looked on my call log and there was nothing, but she sent me a screen shot of her call log which showed I had called. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE.

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If you somehow missed the 60 Minutes interview with Betsy DeVos on Sunday, then you are in for a TREAT. All I can say is WOW this woman does not have two brain cells to rub together. I particularly love when she states that she hasn’t “intentionally” visited poorly performing schools. Did you unintentionally visit them? Did your helicopter land in the wrong spot?? Did you get drunk and wake up in a shitty school?

Judge Dread

I know the degree to which this is ridiculous, but I have been so stressed out because of jury duty. I got to go to work on Friday, and was able to take care of a few things, but I spent most of the weekend wrapping up projects and preparing to be out for the week. I don’t consider myself to be an especially flexible person, and I am a planner to the point of fault. I struggle with uncertainty, and my goodness it is rough to not know what the schedule is during jury duty.

Someone at work said, “Just think of it like you’re on vacation” regarding getting work stuff done. But, it’s not the same at all. For one, I’m not in a fun place, so that is a dumb point. Secondly, when I go on vacation, I spend weeks preparing so that everything that can possibly be taken care of is complete before I leave. I prepare information for the people who work with me and report to me so they know the status of everything I was working on, and spreadsheets of where to find various documents or resources they may need. I create more spreadsheets of who can be contacted as a back up in case an unexpected situation arises. So, basically, I just assault people with spreadsheets until they submit and are afraid of the sheer number of columns. And I didn’t have time! I do my best to make sure my coworkers are not inconvenienced by my absence. When I am out sick, I am still available via phone and email, and respond to people so that they can continue their work. A last minute week to a week and a half away from work is causing me GREAT ANXIETY. I know that everything will be fine, but my civic duty is really inconvenient right now.

Hannibal! I am into the third season now, and as Jennifer noted, it is “artsy.” I don’t understand a lot of what is happening, but it’s quite pretty. Also, did Alana’s fall knock some lesbian into her? I’m so confused. I don’t believe that sexuality is discrete data with clear categories, but I felt like the scene where she is in bed with the Verger sister came out of nowhere. Her style also totally changed. Before she wore a lot of tight wrap dresses and now she kind of dresses like Hannibal and wears bright lipstick (she looks amazing, but still, it’s totally different). I assumed at first that she had transitioned to pants because the shoes would be more practical for a healing pelvis, but everything is different. I love a sharp suit on a lady, but I missed where and how this all evolved. Oh well, good for her.

Gillian Anderson also talks SO SLOWLY in this show and I find myself wanting to scream “SPIT IT OUT.” Anyway, struggling through this season. I hate knowing that it is the last one and had an abrupt end. I am preparing myself for an unsatisfactory ending.

Other than working, I made it to OTF on Saturday morning and Sari and I went to see Thoroughbreds on Sunday afternoon. We were both excited to see it, but it was beyond slow. Lots of scenes of staring and chewing.

I survived my first day of trial yesterday, and I am dreading deliberation. The judge said it can take DAYS and ain’t nobody got time for that. Just getting through the basic instructions to the jury was absolute misery.