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Guatemalan Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Manchu Says Her Presidential Campaign is a New Process for Guatemala

LatinaLista — Over 1,000 delegates from 43 countries and 34 states in the U.S. have converged on Dallas, TX this week for the 3rd International Women’s Peace Conference.

Yet, the peace conference has been anything but peaceful, underscoring the fact that in today’s world passive protests in the name of peace may be a thing of the past.

The unrest started yesterday at the opening of the conference when Northern Ireland’s Nobel Peace Laureate, Betty Williams, in expressing her frustration with the Bush Administration said that she just “could kill George Bush.”
Immediately after Williams finished her remarks, officials with the conference rushed to the podium to clarify that those remarks were Williams’ opinion and not that of the conference organizers.
But it was already too late.
Needless to say, the blind followers of this Administration began calling in threats to the conference and towards Williams herself. It was enough to make the outspoken Irish woman, who braved the bloody conflict in her own homeland to get the warring sides talking peace, issue an apology today at an early morning press conference with security in high visibility.
As an explanation for her spontaneous outburst, Williams told members of the press “You’re looking at my weapon of mass destruction,” as she stuck her tongue out and pointed to it.

“Peacemaking is not for wimps, Williams continued. “You can’t see the suffering and not feel violent. We are violently non-violent.”

In fact, with the conference barely underway, it is one message that is becoming clearer with every speaker — today’s road to peace is going to take more than turning the other cheek.
In some cases, it’s going to take running for President of a country.
That’s something that another conference guest who is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient is doing.
Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, the youngest person and the first indigenous person to receive the coveted honor, is running for President of Guatemala.

(L-R) Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jody Williams (Spanish translator behind Menchu) answer questions at an early morning press conference.
(Source: Latina Lista)

When asked by a reporter if her campaign was in trouble, she laughed by saying that her whole strategy for running for office is distinct for Guatemala as her campaign refuses to bow to traditionally unethical practices of buying votes.
Because she is campaigning among her own people, the Mayans, Menchu said that it is a learning process for them all since Mayans weren’t really recognized in the past to be part of the system.
So, she and her campaign are starting a new process – a new way of doing things in preparation for the September 9, 2007 elections.
Strong advocates for human rights, Menchu, Betty Williams and Jody Williams of the United States, who also won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in getting passed the international treaty to ban landmines, all confessed that the fight for human rights is an uphill struggle since it is an issue plagued by double standards.
Yet, none of the women are going to give up the fight any time soon.
Betty Williams is opening up the first City of Peace for children in Italy within the next few months.
Rigoberta wants to start addressing the injustices immigrant Guatemalan women face in the United States — in addition to the other issues of her presidential platform.

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  • luisa
    July 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    wow! i wish i was there.
    i didn’t even know menchu was running for president! i would vote for her if i was in guatemala and i don’t even believe in presidents! go, menchu, go!
    i heard her speak once–she’s amazing.

  • amanda
    July 16, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I agree with Luisa— Menchu IS amazing!!!

  • turtlebella
    July 17, 2007 at 9:53 am

    well, I could kill GW Bush too. If I could kill anyone. I think just about anyone could understand that sentiment, except for idiots that still think Bush is doiong good. And I mean, she didn’t mean she was going to go out and do it or even advocate anyone else to do it, any more than I am actually going to get anywhere near the man, so I am not sure why the conference organizers were all in knots about it…
    Menchu is totally awesome. (oh and HI luisa! waving madly. Miss you!)

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