Tuesday, September 28, 2004

About Mr. Guevara-

Paul Berman has an article in Slate
that's well worth reading. It's essentially pointing out that Che Guevara was not the purehearted martyr he's made out to be. The essential bits:
Che presided over the Cuban Revolution's first firing squads. He founded Cuba's "labor camp" system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims...[h]e helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a free-thinker and a rebel.

Berman's no reactionary; his leftist bona-fides are solid. And he's right to assail the cult of Guevara when it's about to get a pop-cultural shot in the arm. The people walking and driving around the bay area with their Che® patches and stickers right alongside their peace symbols have always struck me as remarkably ignorant. Almost as ignorant as those who say "what we really need is a revolution, maaaan". Right fella. Spoken like someone who's never been through a revolution. Cute patch, by the way.
Anyhow, don't let my ellipses speak for Berman's timely and worthwhile article. Read the whole thing.

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