September 19, 2022
The Interfaith Peace Project will observe this year’s International Day of Peace by sending out a reflection each day from September 10 through September 21. Today is the ninth reflection. If you miss any reflections, you will find them on our website: interfaithpeaceproject.org.
We will continue our ongoing observance of the International Day after September 21, by sending out a reflection on the twenty-first of every month. We invite you to share in this effort by sending any articles or information that you would like to share to:
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P
CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
SEPTEMBER 10 – 21, 2022
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1992
Rigoberta Menchu Tum is a Guatemalan human rights activist, feminist, and advocate for the self-determination of Indigenous peoples in Guatemala and throughout the world. She comes from both Catholic and Mayan roots. Rigoberta grew up during the times of the Guatemalan Civil War, 1960-1996. After leaving school, she worked as an activist campaigning against human rights violations committed by the Guatemalan forces against Indigenous people during the country’s civil war.
Women were targets of physical and sexual violence at the hands of the military. Rigoberta lost several family members during this time. In 1979-80 her bother Patrocinio and her mother, Juana were kidnapped, brutally tortured, and murdered by the Guatemalan army. Her father, Vicente, died in 1980, burning the Spanish Embassy after urban guerillas took hostages and were attacked by governmental security forces. Rigoberta’s older brother, Victor, was shot to death after he surrendered to the Guatemalan army. In 1981, Rigoberta was exiled and escaped to Mexico, where she found refuge in the home of a Catholic bishop. She continued to organize resistance to the oppression in Guatemala in the struggle for Indigenous rights.
She co-founded the United Republic of Guatemalan Opposition. She continued her efforts after she returned to Guatemala. In 1996 Rigoberta was appointed as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of her activism for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. From 1995-2004 she served to improve international collaboration on issues concerning the environment, education, health care, and human rights for Indigenous peoples.
Rigoberta’s Words of Wisdom
“Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development can’t exist without respect for the identity and worth of all cultures and peoples.”
“What I treasure most in life is being able to dream. During my most difficult moments and complex situations I have been able to dream of a more beautiful future.”
As I prepare for The International Day of Peace, I become aware of the nightmare so many people live. Yet, I must admire the courage, good humor, and wisdom of those who suffer unjustly. They dared to dream, and the World is a better place because of their creativity and determination to come to the aid of others. Today I will dream my dream for the World. Today I hope my dream comes true.