Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman In Guatemala Homework Essay Sample

The wise saying goes- if the fence begins to graze the fields, if the breast-fed milk to the child is poisoned by the mother, who else is to blame? If the protectors of the people become the ghastly perpetrators of the crimes, where can the people look forward for solace? The happenings in Guatemala are unbelievable.  This occurred some decades ago in this civilized world that swears by UN Charter, is amazing, but true.

The political leadership of the important countries of the world, the protectors of the human rights and the defenders of world peace should hang their heads in shame, that they failed to-do something tangible to protect the poor people from the heinous acts of the military rulers. As Rigoberta Menchu puts it, “My story is the story of poor Guatemalans. My personal experience is the reality of a whole people.” (Menchu, 1984, p.1)Broadly speaking, it is the same old story through the Ages—the one between the peasantry and the oppression of the rulers and landowners, the resistance of the people to change the authority that subjugates the society, and commits atrocities against humanity.

The pages of human history daubed in bloodshed due to conflicts in the name of religion, ethnicity, economic aggrandizement and other vicious and evil tendencies of the rulers, ask the crying question. How to make this Planet Earth heaven-like? The answer is simple and straightforward. Eyes full of understanding, heart full of love and the life that refuses to see conflicts-enough, these alone are enough! Rigoberta Menchu hailed from a very poor family; her parents struggled to make both the ends meet; could not provide the most essential for sustenance-food! She writes, “My mother who found the trees and our amazing mountains so beautiful. She said that they’d lost sometimes because the mountains were so high and not a single ray of light fell through the plants. It’s very dense.”( Menchu, 1984,p,4 )

Guatemala is a country-a conglomeration of twenty-three ethnic groups and twenty three languages! A fertile ground for differences of opinions and conflicting interests to occur and grow! Such conditions are ideal for military rulers, who have zero tolerance for dissent and opposition, to divide the people on ethnic lines and rule. Rigoberta’s brother, father and mother were tortured and murdered by the Guatemalan military.  At the young age, she saw her two elder brothers die from lack of food. She recalls how the Indian families suffered from mal-nutrition. Most of them failed to make the age of fifteen. In facing such grim experiences, anyone will become cynical.

But Rigoberta sustained her fighting spirit. If one reads the story of the capture of her mother by the military junta, worst possible dishonor to her body, torture, how they disfigured it part by part and allowed the mutilated body to rot in the jungle and how she died in terrible agony— in comparison, the narrations of the holocaust of Jews in Germany relate like the kindergarten stuff!

She lived through the bloodiest civil war that engulfed the country and the bloodthirsty military killed about 200,000 people of its own people. Though she had fire in her heart to serve for the cause of the poor people, academically she had nothing great to her credit. Her biography when it was published, took her name to the international scene. The plight of indigenous people attracted the attention of the world. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She was also criticized for her Marxist leanings as for the style of narrations contained in her book.

 “I, Rigoberta Menchu,” is the record of history Guatemala, in the critical period of its existence; its contents speak about the collective voice of the famous characteristics of Mayan culture; it speaks about the horrible and systematic destruction of over 400 villages; when even the human right organizations paid lukewarm response to the brutalities the military junta, this young woman had the courage to fight against their ruthless style of administration; this is the record of how she represented all poor Guatemalans; how a deeply pious and religious woman with the universal outlook was dubbed as a Marxist; how and why this woman considered  Bible as the weapon for the liberation of the poor and how she argued that the highest level of spirituality is conducive  for the greatest good of  the poor people.


Rigoberta is an author by her own right; she has not reached the pedestal of Nobel Prize with anybody’s mercy. She may not be an author with the sophistication of the authors of the metropolitan cities of the western world who are made even bigger by the literary agents and by the publishing house. She grew up in a poor, rustic environment, and narrated the story in the style dear to her heart. Anyone with a human heart must read this book.

The one with the research brain may read it for the second time, and even visit the Guatemala and arrive at own conclusions. To be amidst the people and inspire them to fight the military oppressors is a great achievement. To her, spiritual and political beliefs are the alternative beats of the same heart. She has proved this by her actions and without the trace of fundamentalism, which is the hallmark of theocratic state. For those interested in Latin American history, peasant cultures, human rights, political science and sociology, this is an excellent guide. This book serves as the reminder that autocratic and military rules are the worst thing that can happen to a country and eternal vigilance is needed by the people to protect and preserve democracy.


Rigoberta Menchu: Broken Silence

The 25-minute movie “Rigoberta Menchu: Broken Silence” addresses the issue of limited human rights of the Guatemala indigenous people, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. The Spanish movie with English subtitles is mainly done in the interview format where Rigoberta Menchu tells her personal story and story of her people when their human rights were often violated. Rigoberta shares information about such critical situations in the country as military dictatorships, economic and political problems, repression of peasants, and so on. Though, the main heroine is not the one who just complaints about difficulties in her life, but involves herself in the active initiatives for the social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation. Her life is presented as a symbol of sufferings not only her personal ones, but also all Mayan Quiché people and other indigenous people of the Americas who experienced similar discrimination.

The important part of the movie is when Rigoberta honestly compares the true situation of Mayan people and how they are presented for the tourists and on the paintings in museums pointing that visual presentation is too far from the reality where these people have been living for many years and continue to live nowadays. Rigoberta emphasized that Mayan people does not want any confrontations and problematic situations with Ladinos, but rather prefer to have their human rights be protected by law and live in peace and mutual respect with others. In the interview Rigoberta Menchu shares her two main dreams, when a Guatemalan Congress has integrated both indigenous and non-indigenous men and women, and she has a child, who is like her own seed for the future hopes, whether in good or bad times.

What Were The Challenges Faced By Rim To Protect Its Intellectual Property?

Research in Motion, ‘aka’ RIM; the name stands synonymous with the kind of research going on in its premises from the last 25 years. Like any other company which reaches a level of world recognition, RIM has been through turbulent times and still survived to become leading designers, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communication market.

RIM, started as a small Information Technology company in Waterloo, Ontario in the year 1984 with the efforts of Mike Lazaridis, who is President and Co-CEO along with Douglas Fregin. During the growth period from wireless network development to Black berry, RIM faced challenges which can be broadly stated as:

  • Legitimacy of firm and technology.
  • Implications of technology standards.
  • Network effects and complementary goods.
  • Partners and social capital as resources.

Lots of critics came along the fame for RIM, like many believed that RIM was too small to maintain its dominance. But RIM has proved its dominance with Black Berry becoming a part and parcel of huge population across the globe. It would be injustice to cover the challenges faced by RIM spanning 25 years in few pages; hence we bring forward a few important case studies.

Case study 1:

RIM launched software in the year 1990 which allowed users to send data on wireless data network, but unfortunately the software failed to create business because it was beyond the time in the market; the consumers were not ready for it.

But RIM was undeterred and in the year 1991, RIM’s wireless technology for modems was licensed by Erisson for $250,000. As the market for wireless data emerged; RIM started producing wireless modems for computers and other appliances.

Case study 2:

It was in 1995 when RIM convinced BellSouth, Pagers – portable wireless devices capable of receiving and sending data. BellSouth agreed to expand its network coverage with a view to support the handheld devices.  In 1997, RIM launched the first interactive pager. This pager was wearable that notified the receiver when a message was received and also allowed to respond to the message.

RIM found new vision in this endeavour; they approached BellSouth and proposed to develop BlackBerry which they believed will capitalize the market. BellSouth agreed to sell it wholesale airtime that could be used for the product. In the process of product development, RIM protected its advantages with consistent policy of securing patent protection for its products.

Case study 3:

It was in year 1999 when RIM’s director of Product Planning, Ray DePaul sat in his office and prepared his notes. Top management of RIM had called a meeting to discuss latest product-the BlackBerry and its intensions to set a new standard. The idea was clear to become a world leader in wireless communication devices.

But the challenge faced by the company was mighty, RIM had only 270 employees and was trying to promote wireless email product. RIM faced problems in attracting personnel to work with them because of its size and location. Despite this, RIM was well known for its cutting edge technology; also RIM was an object of curiosity and interest particularly among students and local universities. As a result, it managed to recruit some significant and valuable talent. And thus in January 1999, BlackBerry was launched which allowed its users to send and receive data through emails.

Case study 4:

Competition for RIM’s products came from the likes of Nokia and Motorola who were putting huge investments in wireless digital voice communication rather than wireless data communication. On the other hand, Personal Digital assistant from U.S. Robotics was making headway into market which could digitally organize and store personal information such as task lists, calendars, contact information etc.

RIM could see in future and under leadership of DePaul it predicted a convergence to a single worldwide standard of future devices. The future generation networks would support and encourage multifunctional devices with e-mail, voice, internet connectivity and multimedia functions. Industry standard committee was setup to set standards for future technology generation.

In 1999, RIM’s technology was perceived as one of the few wireless data solutions, the company could not participate in such committee due to its small size.

Case study 5:

(1999) Despite all the revenues of RIM coming from United States, it was almost unknown over there. Potential users were unfamiliar with BlackBerry’s capability, value and ease of use and thus would not allow a small company to be the part of their communication network unless they know that company is reliable and is long known in the field. Also most organizations did not have resources for BlackBerry; instead they had to shift resources from other areas to adopt BlackBerry. BlackBerry faced resistance from IT departments companies which felt that the device is complex enough to confuse an already complex market. To worsen the matter, RIM did not have enough sales force in order to approach each company individually and encourage adopting the product.

In order to face such issues RIM needed to name its products with its own name, do private branding of each BlackBerry in market. After a working on well understood strategy, by September 2002, RIM started licensing its technology to cell phone makers, like Nokia. The companies stocks rose more than 800 percent in May 2005.

Above a mentioned a brief discussion on the challenges faced by RIM. Please appreciate that these Case study are condensed and are the most prominent ones in the history of RIM.

What were some of the industry factors that influenced rim?

IT Industry dynamics posed unique challenges for RIM and influenced it. Few of them are:

In 1999, Companies like Nokia, Motorola invested in voice communication and other means of communication. RIM did not have enough resources to produce wide variety of complementary goods for its BlackBerry. As a result the performance was unsatisfactory compared to voice communication etc. Thus the consumer demand was low for BlackBerry which also reduced the interest of software developers and other complementary goods producers. This forced RIM to improve its product compatibility with other kinds of communication channels.

RIM’s products used to be compatible with the data – only Mobitex and DataTAC networks in 1999. This influenced the company to capitalize on future products that would be an upgrade to GSM standard to GPRS.

RIM’s old partner BellSouth wanted to downplay RIM’s brand in its own favor and other partners also tried the same. This influenced RIM to put its own name on the product to strengthen its brand. Emergence of new non voice wireless communication systems like GPRS, increased speed of data transmission and convergence voice and text data in single device attracted both carriers and handset manufacturers. Thus new emerging technologies have influenced RIM’s dominance in the market.

With Microsoft and Good Technology acting as software vendors, that has more than 5000 organizations paying for its rival GoodLink system, BlackBerry position was influenced. Microsoft introduced new versions of its mail server and Pocket PC software which has push email style like BlackBerry.

The intense competition in the communication market forced RIM to think of it future revenues. Thus RIM entered into partnerships and tried to secure its fate in the e-mail industry as a whole, which has grown and is projected to keep growing exponentially.


From the above discussion, it can be drawn that RIM enumerated the challenges it faced during the course of 25 years and emerged as leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovator wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communication market. BlackBerry proved to be successful and RIM launched various other server versions; today more than 42000 BlackBerry Enterprise Server have been installed worldwide and more than three million people subscribe to BlackBerry service in some form or the other.

But the questions in front of RIM were logical; was this enough to ensure firm’s survival and success? What new decisions had to be taken because of network effects, compatibility issues, and technology standards? What should be the strategy; should RIM aggressively move into the market or delay product development for standards to rise?

RIM had taken a bold step in the initial stages of wireless communication; hence it acted as a beacon for later industry. Other companies invested in alternate technologies of wireless communication as they were awakened by the early success of RIM. The competition was becoming intense and to survive this threat RIM entered into partnership with companies that could major threat.

These influential factors affected RIM course of action and thus we find some of the above stated case studies which clearly show that RIM never deviated from the aim which it coined in its inception; i.e. development of hardware and software for wireless data communication.

Work cited

  1. Research In motion: A small firm commercializing a New Technology by Sofy Carayannopoulos Journal Title – Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice. Volume 29, Issue: 2, Publication Year – 2005.


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