Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples.

— Rigoberta Menchu

The most irresistibly Rigoberta Menchu quotes that will activate your desire to change

We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos.

We are people and we want to be respected, not to be victims of intolerance and racism.


This world's not going to change unless we're willing to change ourselves.


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.


I am like a drop of water on a rock. After drip, drip, dripping in the same place, I begin to leave a mark, and I leave my mark in many people's hearts.


I resolutely believe that respect for diversity is a fundamental pillar in the eradication of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. There is no excuse for evading the responsibility of finding the most suitable path toward the elimination of any expression of discrimination against indigenous peoples.


The people are the only ones capable of transforming society.


Today the governments of Latin America should be ashamed of not havingexterminated the indigenous, at the end of the twentieth century, because weexist at the end of this century. We are not myths of the past, ruins in thejungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be respected, not to be victims ofintolerance and racism.


There is not one world for man and one for animals, they are part of the same one and lead parallel lives.


No less characteristic in a democracy is social justice.

This demands a solution to the frightening indexes of infant mortality, of malnutrition, lack of education illiteracy, wages not sufficient to sustain life


Not even anthropologists or intellectuals, no matter how many books they have, can find out all our secrets.


The problem in Guatemala is that there is no solution to the issue of human rights. The problem is militarization, it is the injust distribution of wealth. It is intolerance of the indigenous, it is discrimination and marginalization.


In my opinion, peace has not come to America, to Nicaragua, or to El Salvador.

A hungry people is a people without peace. If the demands of the people are not met, what kind of peace are we talking about?


About Rigoberta Menchu

Quotes 39 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday January 9, 1959

I wasn't the only orphan in Guatemala.

There are many others, and it's not my grief alone, it's the grief of a whole people.


... together we can build the people's Church, a true Church. Not just a hierarchy, or a building, but a real change inside people.


The media and politics have never allowed our people to speak through them.

The absolute marginalization of the indigenous peoples is a fact, as is sophisticated militarization. These have been the most significant ingredients in the silent war.


Impunity should be condemned in any corner of the world.


We can only love a person who eats what we eat.


It is said that our indigenous ancestors, Mayas and Aztecs, made human sacrifices to their gods. It occurs to me to ask: How many humans have been sacrificed to the gods of Capital in the last five hundred years?


We have learned that change cannot come through war.

War is not a feasible tool to use in fighting against the oppression we face. War has caused more problems. We cannot embrace that path.


In Guatemala, the gap between rich and poor must be eliminated, or we will continue to be the example of conflict in America.


I wish that a conscious sense of peace and a feeling of human solidarity would develop in all peoples.


To be a light to others you will need a good dose of the spiritual life.

Because as my mother used to say, if you are in a good place, then you can help others; but if you're not well, then go look for somebody who is in a good place who can help you.


In the case of my country, Guatemala, 65% of the inhabitants are indigenous.

The constitution speaks of protection for the indigenous. Who authorized a minority to protect an immense majority? It is not only political, cultural and economic marginalization, it is an attempt against the dignity of the majority of the population.


unless a religion springs from within the people themselves, it is a weapon of the system.


The Mayas, our grandparents, always said;

every human being occupies a small piece of time. Time itself is much longer, and because of this they always said that we must care for this earth while we are on it because it will be part of our children and the children of our grandchildren. They know that life is short, that it can end so soon, and that if one gets lost on the way, others will come to take their place.


I would get up in the morning and I would say, "How am I going to bother them today?"


We say no to the peace that keeps us on our knees, no to the peace that keeps us in chains, no to the false peace that denies the values and contributions of our peoples.


This is why Indians are thought to be stupid.

They can't think, they don't know anything, they say. But we have hidden our identity because we needed to resist, we wanted to protect what governments have wanted to take away from us.


The inaction of the international community towards Guatemala is injustifiable.

The community should play an active role with concrete measures and sanctions imposed, as was the case in South Africa, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Cuba and Haiti. Why for us no? Why legalize death in one place and somewhere else no? This is clear in our memories.


I think that nonviolence is one way of saying that there are other ways to solve problems, not only through weapons and war. Nonviolence also means the recognition that the person on one side of the trench and the person on the other side of the trench are both human beings, with the same faculties. At some point they have to begin to understand one another.


... only those of us who carry our cause in our hearts are willing to run the risks.


... our reality teaches us that, as Christians, we must create a Church of the poor, that we don't need a Church imposed from outside which knows nothing of hunger.


For me, to celebrate the twelfth of October is the absolute expression of triumphism, occupation and presumptuousness, and I think that history will remember those that celebrate it.


I am deeply gladdened that 1993 has been delcared the International Year of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations. It is the first year we have had in five hundred years. This is thanks to the struggle of many untitled, unnamed indigenous brothers who, without understanding international law, patiently walked the corridors asking for some time. Thanks to them this international year has been declared.


The culture of death is imposed by economic and political interests, the arrogance of power, corruption. I blame the first world for having taken our riches for so many years. I am speaking of the superpowers that dominate the life of the world. More concretely, the World Bank, the IMF. Those that have caused and tolerated the death of our people, those responsible for the plundering of the third world. Silence is also part of repression.


The human being is to be respected and defended, not protected like a bird or a river.


I think that if one's role doesn't correspond to what one says, if one's life doesn't correspond to what one preaches, if one is not true to one's people, someone else will come as a substitute.


The Bible has been used as a way of making us accept our situation, and not to bring enlightenment to the poor.