Guatemala Nobel winner criticises 'doomsday' hysteria
GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) - Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is unhappy about the commercial hype over the supposed ancient Maya predictions of an end of the world on Dec 21.
The date marks the end of an era that lasted over 5,000 years, according to the Mayan "Long Count" calendar. Some believe that the date, which coincides with the December solstice, marks the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs - an idea ridiculed by scholars.
Nevertheless, millions of tourists are expected to flock to Mexico and Central America for celebrations that will include fireworks and concerts held at more than three dozen archaeological sites. But don't expect much authenticity, said Ms Menchu, an indigenous Guatemalan of Maya ethnicity.
"The authentic celebration of the Mayas - that will not be seen by everyone, that is part of the private lives of the Mayas," said Ms Menchu late Monday as she marked the 20th anniversary of her Nobel win. "We are going to bid farewell to the grandfather sun and will bid him farewell in thousands of ways," Ms Menchu said. "We don't care what the government will do."