I, Rigoberta Menchú, liar

The story of Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiché Mayan from Guatemala whose autobiography catapulted her to international fame, won her the Nobel Peace Prize and made her an international emblem of the dispossessed indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their attempt to rebel against the oppression of European conquerors, has now been exposed as a political fabrication, a tissue of lies. It is one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century.

Equally remarkable, and also indicative of the cultural power of the perpetrators of this hoax, is the fact that the revelation of Menchú's mendacity has changed nothing. The Nobel committee has already refused to take back her prize, the thousands of college courses that make her book a required text for American students will continue to do so and the editorial writers of the major press institutions have already defended her falsehoods on the same grounds that supporters of Tawana Brawley's parallel hoax made famous: Even if she's lying, she's telling the truth.

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