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Partial vs. Whole, Distance vs. Embrace and Silence vs. Voice

Erin's picture

Firstly, I have to say that a lot of things happened this week and this reading is really out of anticipation in many ways.  Our reflections and readings make me think of a lot of questions which I don’t have answers right now.

To check the validity of the accusations Sommer claimed on Rigoberta Menchu, who is the writer of the book that moved me deeply last week, I Googled Rigoberta. Surprisingly, her Nobel Peace Prize was nearly revoked by Nobel Committee due to the David Horowitz’s campaign attacked her using David’s Stoll book. David Stoll carried out an investigation of Menchu’s story and found many evidences that proved that she changed many elements of her life in order to meet publicity needs for some political purpose.

I guess this explains some of confusions I had reading  the book, disconnected timelines, contradicting stories and mixed orientations of narratives and my feelings was cheated partially to fulfill some political causes. I am pretty sure this is not the first case of falsification in the literature history. In the end, the controversies about her testimony and potential of losing the prize were settled because Menchu’s contributions of bringing attention to the genocide happened at Guantemala and to advocate peace. Still, such a drama was not expected when I read such emotional piece.

“I’m still keeping secrets what I think no-one should know. Not even anthropologist or intellectuals, no matter how many books they have, can find our secrets”

This sentence is a very powerful, strong and striking statement.  At the same time, Sommer refutes it with the title “No secrets for Rigoberta” She analyzed the article from several perspectives and I was the last part: Alliances, Metonymies.

I was particularly struck by” The whole truth is not found in the Bible, but neither in the whole truth in Marxism” So irony but so true, and I can’t agree more. (Please don’t find it offensive) We can feel the constant resistance from writers in both the literal and emotional level. She is resisting us and at same time claims that her individuality is irrelevant (130) Even though we are reading the autobiography and I was not fully presented form the beginning.  We, as academic reader sometimes have fixed only the reality of reference.  The double standard was all over the place. In order to achieve certain purpose, language was reinvented. Not only is the consistency was lost in those flips but also the violating her initial claims at the same time.

Therefore, I wonder what’s meaning of the partial truth we get form her narratives. I think these discoveries about that time period and resonance we got in reading still means a lot. Just like author said at the end of article: “Respect is the condition for lasting love”

Also, I still want to emphasize that I am not disappointed at her work at all. She was the one who took the courage and use the language she hasn’t mastered to speak out while the rest of community remained reticent. Many people would still not know about what happened there if not her continuous efforts. She use her voices as weapon to defend her community and her dignity and prides that she has for her culture and people. The words sometimes can’t capture the whole truth but they do reveal the feelings and passions.

I think there is no existence of the whole truth not even truth. People see, feel, comprehend and interpret their observations based on so many difference standards. Experiences do give us the authority to speak about some topics. At the same time, the distance from the topics give people another kind authority to comment.



Erin's picture

Some extra explanations

Firstly, I want to apologize for the inconvinence that my late post might bring for those have to respond.

Secondly, I struggled a lot writting this post after finish reading Tuesday readings. I have to admit that I totally lost the control of my words when I tried to write a response to such a academic paper. I have a lot a things to say but my proficiency of English silenced me from defend my opinions in front of such a academic piece. All my analysis seem so weak compared to the paper.

I will try to say more in our actual discussion then.