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Che Guavara...forty years on.

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 02:55 am
Che is one of those ubiquitous 20th century icons...at least of a certain kind of fashion.


Speaking of that iconic image:

http://www.eplakaty.pl/img/towary/3115.jpg

I was very interested to read this, in the New Statesman:


"I worked over the image for several days," Honeyman wrote, "but couldn't seem to get the same idealistic gleam in Che's eyes. I finally compared the first Che with the second, and discovered that some canny designer, presumably at [the original Italian printers], had made Che slimmer and his face longer, by about one-sixth. It was so effective that I, too, stretched him, and it worked like a charm. It doesn't really do to have a revolutionary who's too plump."

There is something fitting about the world's most iconic revolutionary image having been manipulated. Che's legacy, 40 years after his death in a failed attempt to ignite revolution in Bolivia, rests heavily on an image so powerful and so plastic that it still serves both as a generalised inspiration to rebel and as a vehicle for the sale of everything from ashtrays to T-shirts.............



Full article



Less stretched Che:

http://www.radikal.com.tr/veriler/2006/03/18/10.gif



I have never really studied him....he was killed when I was a kid, albeit a kid interested in politics, and I remember being very fascinated at the stories of his death, and the photo from Bolivia of the dead man...and saddened.

However, I have always been supremely irrritated at the Che as obligatory wall poster in left wing homes thing, or the t shirts etc. God help us, one of the kids in our group was called Che (he clearly doesn't mind...he has just called his new son Ridley after Ridley Scott...but I thought it was awful.)



I would be very interested in informed views about the man and his achievements and legacy, if any.





Here are some opposing views:



The Cult of Che
Don't applaud The Motorcycle Diaries.
By Paul Berman
Posted Friday, Sept. 24, 2004, at 7:33 AM ET

Portrait of the insurgent as a young man

The cult of Ernesto Che Guevara is an episode in the moral callousness of our time. Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster. Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. 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. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che's imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for "two, three, many Vietnams," he also spoke about martyrdom and managed to compose a number of chilling phrases: "Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …"— and so on. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967, leading a guerrilla movement that had failed to enlist a single Bolivian peasant. And yet he succeeded in inspiring tens of thousands of middle class Latin-Americans to exit the universities and organize guerrilla insurgencies of their own. And these insurgencies likewise accomplished nothing, except to bring about the death of hundreds of thousands, and to set back the cause of Latin-American democracy—a tragedy on the hugest scale.

The present-day cult of Che—the T-shirts, the bars, the posters—has succeeded in obscuring this dreadful reality...........




Article in full






Brief bio




This from Time:


Che Guevara
Though communism may have lost its fire, he remains the potent symbol of rebellion and the alluring zeal of revolution
By ARIEL DORFMAN


Monday, June 14, 1999
By the time Ernesto Guevara, known to us as Che, was murdered in the jungles of Bolivia in October 1967, he was already a legend to my generation, not only in Latin America but also around the world.


Like so many epics, the story of the obscure Argentine doctor who abandoned his profession and his native land to pursue the emancipation of the poor of the earth began with a voyage. In 1956, along with Fidel Castro and a handful of others, he had crossed the Caribbean in the rickety yacht Granma on the mad mission of invading Cuba and overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Landing in a hostile swamp, losing most of their contingent, the survivors fought their way to the Sierra Maestra. A bit over two years later, after a guerrilla campaign in which Guevara displayed such outrageous bravery and skill that he was named comandante, the insurgents entered Havana and launched what was to become the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas. The images were thereafter invariably gigantic. Che the titan standing up to the Yanquis, the world's dominant power. Che the moral guru proclaiming that a New Man, no ego and all ferocious love for the other, had to be forcibly created out of the ruins of the old one. Che the romantic mysteriously leaving the revolution to continue, sick though he might be with asthma, the struggle against oppression and tyranny.....



Time article






No doubt I could find endless earnestly written hagiographies, but I won't.


What do people who have taken time to find out about and think about him think of him?
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nimh
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 01:12 pm
Re: Che Guavara...forty years on.
dlowan wrote:
I would be very interested in informed views about the man and his achievements and legacy, if any.

I was very impressed by the article by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (the son of Mario) below.

Like I wrote in an earlier thread about Che Guevara, reality and myth,

"For me the following article was an absolute eye-opener.

First, it fillets the visible postmodern reduction of "Che" into what is, in effect, merely an extraordinarily successful market brand. A feel-good product for the young and rebellious. A pre-fab idealistic dream; an instant badge of revolutionary street cred. This part may make you laugh. In recognition; and at the surrealness of it.

But then, having wrapped off the countercultural commerce of Che as icon, it also digs into the actual historical record. To recount the rather more sordid story of who "Che" also was. Because filmic sketches of the man's soul are fine -- but what did he mean to those who lived under his actions?

The filmic and biographic portraits of Che seem to almost portray him in a vacuum; an individual soul, a romantic one-man story. But Che held real power. The Cubans and others who had to suffer his idealism are strangely absent in the iconic version of Che. This author puts them back into the spotlight.

This article is very long, and doesnt always make for comfortable reading. But it should be an obligatory read for anyone ever caught wearing a "Che" t-shirt.

Seriously.

Dont be mistaken about the ironic birds' eye view of Che-the-icon in the beginning of the article. The rage of the author is real - and very well-informed. It is not that of just another reactionary, either - note the very last section. It is that of one who sees history and fashion reward bloody zealots, and forget those who fought tyrants without killing a fly, and actually achieved results. Because those gentle reformers are so much less glamorous than your failed, bloodthirsty revolutionary.

You can still love the myth if you will. But before you put on the shirt, know about the politics behind it."

Quote:
Alvaro Vargas Llosa

The Killing Machine

Che Guevara, from communist firebrand to capitalist brand.

THE NEW REPUBLIC -- JULY 1 1 & 18, 2005


CThe Observer The Motorcycle Diaries so that Minà could produce his own documentary. Not to mention Alberto Granado, who accompanied Che on his youthful trip and advises documentarists, and now complains in Madrid, according to El País, over Rioja wine and duck magret, that the American embargo against Cuba makes it hard for him to collect royalties. To take the irony further: the building where Guevara was born in Rosario, Argentina, a splendid early twentiethcentury edifice at the corner of Urquiza and Entre Ríos Streets, was until recently occupied by the private pension fund AFJP Máxima, a child of Argentina's privatization of social security in the 1990s.

------------------------

Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, is the author of Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of Oppression (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

------------------------The Motorcycle Diaries"Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué," or "I have a Che T-shirt and I don't know why."

Consider some of the people who have recently brandished or invoked Guevara's likeness as a beacon of justice and rebellion against the abuse of power. In Lebanon, demonstrators protesting against Syria at the grave of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri carried Che's image. Thierry Henry, a French soccer player who plays for Arsenal, in England, showed up at a major gala organized by FIFA, the world's soccer body, wearing a red and black Che Tfilm shirt. In a recent review in The New York Times of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, Manohla Dargis noted that "the greatest shock here may be the transformation of a black zombie into a righteous revolutionary leader," and added,"I guess Che really does live, after all." The soccer hero Maradona showed off the emblematic Che tattoo on his right arm during a trip where he met Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. In Stavropol, in southern Russia, protesters denouncing cash payments of welfare concessions took to the central square with Che flags. In San Francisco, City Lights Books, the legendary home of beat literature, treats visitors to a section devoted to Latin America in which half the shelves are taken up by Che books. José Luis Montoya, a Mexican police officer who battles drug crime in Mexicali, wears a Che sweatband because it makes him feel stronger. At the Dheisheh refugee camp on the West Bank, Che posters adorn a wall that pays tribute to the Intifada. A Sunday magazine devoted to social life in Sydney,Australia, lists the three dream guests at a dinner party: Alvar Aalto, Richard Branson, and Che Guevara. Leung Kwokhung, the rebel elected to Hong Kong's Legislative Council, defies Beijing by wearing a Che T-shirt. In Brazil, Frei Betto, President Lula da Silva's adviser in charge of the highprofile "Zero Hunger" program, says that "we should have paid less attention to Trotsky and much more to Che Guevara." And most famously, at this year's Academy Awards ceremony Carlos Santana and Antonio Banderas performed the theme song from The Motorcycle Diaries, and Santana showed up wearing a Che T-shirt and a crucifix. The manifestations of the new cult of Che are everywhere. Once again the myth is firing up people whose causes for the most part represent the exact opposite of what Guevara was.

NGranma is captured in a phrase in a letter to his wife that he penned on January 28, 1957, not long after disembarking, which was published in her book Ernesto: A Memoir of Che Guevara in Sierra Maestracasquitos, were peasants who had joined the army simply to escape unemployment.

But the "cold-blooded killing machine" did not show the full extent of his rigor until, immediately after the collapse of the Batista regime, Castro put him in charge of La Cabaña prison. (Castro had a clinically good eye for picking the right person to guard the revolution against infection.) San Carlos de La Cabaña was a stone fortress used to defend Havana against English pirates in the eighteenth century; later it became a military barracks. In a manner chillingly reminiscent of Lavrenti Beria, Guevara presided during the first half of 1959 over one of the darkest periods of the revolution. José Vilasuso, a lawyer and a professor at Universidad Interamericana de Bayamón in Puerto Rico, who belonged to the body in charge of the summary judicial process at La Cabaña, told me recently that

    Che was in charge of the Comisión Depuradora.The process followed the law of the Sierra: there was a military court and Che's guidelines to us were that we should act with conviction, meaning that they were all murderers and the revolutionary way to proceed was to be implacable. My direct superior was Miguel Duque Estrada. My duty was to legalize the files before they were sent on to the Ministry. Executions took place from Monday to Friday, in the middle of the night, just after the sentence was given and automatically confirmed by the appellate body. On the most gruesome night I remember, seven men were executed.
Javier Arzuaga, the Basque chaplain who gave comfort to those sentenced to die and personally witnessed dozens of executions, spoke to me recently from his home in Puerto Rico.A former Catholic priest, now seventy-five, who describes himself as "closer to Leonardo Boff and Liberation Theology than to the former Cardinal Ratzinger," he recalls that

    there were about eight hundred prisoners in a space fit for no more than three hundred: former Batista military and police personnel, some journalists, a few businessmen and merchants.The revolutionary tribunal was made of militiamen. Che Guevara presided over the appellate court. He never overturned a sentence. I would visit those on death row at the [i]galera de la muerte[/i]. A rumor went around that I hypnotized prisoners because many remained calm, so Che ordered that I be present at the executions. After I left in May, they executed many more, but I personally witnessed fifty-five executions. There was an American, Herman Marks, apparently a former convict. We called him "the butcher" because he enjoyed giving the order to shoot. I pleaded many times with Che on behalf of prisoners. I remember especially the case of Ariel Lima, a young boy. Che did not budge. Nor did Fidel, whom I visited. I became so traumatized that at the end of May 1959 I was ordered to leave the parish of Casa Blanca, where La Cabaña was located and where I had held Mass for three years. I went to Mexico for treatment.The day I left, Che told me we had both tried to bring one another to each other's side and had failed. His last words were:"When we take our masks off, we will be enemies."
How many people were killed at La Cabaña? Pedro Corzo offers a figure of some two hundred, similar to that given by Armando Lago, a retired economics professor who has compiled a list of 179 names as part of an eight-year study on executions in Cuba. Vilasuso told me that four hundred people were executed between January and the end of June in 1959 (at which point Che ceased to be in charge of La Cabaña). Secret cables sent by the American Embassy in Havana to the State Department in Washington spoke of "over 500." According to Jorge Castañeda, one of Guevara's biographers, a Basque Catholic sympathetic to the revolution, the late Father Iñaki de Aspiazú, spoke of seven hundred victims. Félix Rodríguez, a CIA agent who was part of the team in charge of the hunt for Guevara in Bolivia, told me that he confronted Che after his capture about "the two thousand or so" executions for which he was responsible during his lifetime. "He said they were all CIA agents and did not address the figure," Rodríguez recalls. The higher figures may include executions that took place in the months after Che ceased to be in charge of the prison.

Which brings us back to Carlos Santana and his chic Che gear. In an open letter published in El Nuevo Herald CshariaCImproper Conduct showed the world a couple of decades ago.

So TIME magazine may have been less than accurate in August 1960 when it described the revolution's division of labor with a cover story featuring Che Guevara as the "brain" and Fidel Castro as the "heart" and Raúl Castro as the "fist." But the perception reflected Guevara's crucial role in turning Cuba into a bastion of totalitarianism. Che was a somewhat unlikely candidate for ideological purity, given his bohemian spirit, but during the years of training in Mexico and in the ensuing period of armed struggle in Cuba he emerged as the communist ideologue infatuated with the Soviet Union, much to the discomfort of Castro and others who were essentially opportunists using whatever means were necessary to gain power. When the would-be revolutionaries were arrested in Mexico in 1956, Guevara was the only one who admitted that he was a communist and was studying Russian. (He spoke openly about his relationship with Nikolai Leonov from the Soviet Embassy.) During the armed struggle in Cuba, he forged a strong alliance with the Popular Socialist Party (the island's Communist Party) and with Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, a key player in the conversion of Castro's regime to communism.

This fanatical disposition made Che into a linchpin of the "Sovietization" of the revolution that had repeatedly boasted about its independent character. Very soon after the barbudos THGuerrilla Warfare teaches that popular forces can beat an army, that it is not necessary to wait for the right conditions because an insurrectional foco (or small group of revolutionaries) can bring them about, and that the fight must primarily take place in the countryside. (In his prescription for guerrilla warfare, he also reserves for women the roles of cooks and nurses.) However, Batista's army was not an army, but a corrupt bunch of thugs with no motivation and not much organization; and guerrilla focos, with the exception of Nicaragua, all ended up in ashes for the foquistas; and Latin America has turned 70 percent urban in these last four decades. In this regard, too, Che Guevara was a callous fool.

IBases y puntos de partida para la organización de la República Argentina, was the foundation of the Constitution of 1853 that limited government, opened trade, encouraged immigration, and secured property rights, thereby inaugurating a seventy-year period of astonishing prosperity. He did not meddle in the affairs of other nations, opposing his country's war against Paraguay. His likeness does not adorn Mike Tyson's abdomen.

0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 01:46 pm
"Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted."

-Ernesto "Che" Guevara



"The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this."

-Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Whatever his merits and demerits I respect that guy for those words which I had quoted above.
He had prooved to the world that he is not a couch-potatoe or the easy-chair intellectual.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 03:34 pm
Thanks Nimh...I didn't realise there had been an earlier thread.


I'll read your stuff when I get home from work.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 03:36 pm
Well, Rama that's not a very good logic. I could surely find two or three statements by Hitler that are all peaceful and loving.... that will not, however, make me respect Hitler for them.

Not to say Ernesto Guevara was a Hitler.... just that you can pluck quotes to support pretty much anything you want to convey, it doesn't really say much about the man himself.

Nimh, that was a great read, thanks for posting that. I real ALL of it and sent it to my ex who has a Che t-shirt...we always had (lighthearted, yet) squabbles about it.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 03:55 pm
I see his legacy being almost exclusively based on that extremely well-done bit of graphic artistry and his execution.

He never actually did anything worthy of his iconic status and was little more than a wandering youth searching for a cause. But what he wanted to do resonates to this day in revolutionary leftist youth.

But that's par for the course. Many revolutionary icons did little other than die unjustly.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 04:07 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
I see his legacy being almost exclusively based on that extremely well-done bit of graphic artistry and his execution.

He never actually did anything worthy of his iconic status and was little more than a wandering youth searching for a cause. But what he wanted to do resonates to this day in revolutionary leftist youth.

But that's par for the course. Many revolutionary icons did little other than die unjustly.


I thought he had some real success as a commander?

The article that pointed out the changes to the most iconic photo also pointed out the creation of a kind of revolutionary christ image...assisted by the also iconic death photo...I do find myself wondering if this apparent hunger for young and beautiful martyrs fills a basic human need, since it exists in mythology, religions, political ideology (which so resembles religion in many ways) and popular culture...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 04:46 pm
The world Che grew up in was far different from the world we at our computers live in. For one, the United States government viewed the lands to the south as an exclusive preserve, where they could coerce and manipulate the people and their governments at will - by armed force and assassinations, if necessary. Only right wing toady dictatorship governments seemed to survive for long. The government that Che helped Castro supplant was at least as corrupt as is Castro's. But, the US govt. turned a blind eye, as it would have done Castro, had he not confiscated American business property and announced himself as a Communist. Guevera thought Bolivia was ripe to become another Cuba type of land, and he sought to make it so. He saw the yoke of America as an evil to be defeated all over latin America. I read a book or two by him, in those days, and I still think of him as no worse than his enemies.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 04:50 pm
dlowan wrote:

I thought he had some real success as a commander?


Perhaps, but nothing that merits him being known by anyone other than his peers. It's not like every half-wit who enjoys some king of military success is a household name.

Ultimately he's known for what he's supposed to represent, not for anything he actually did.

I have yet to meet a single Che fan who can tell me anything that he did. They'll wear his likeness and espouse "his" politics but still can't tell me what he accomplished.

Most can't even tell me where he is from and where he went. All they know is the symbol and what the Che brand is supposed to represent.

Quote:
I do find myself wondering if this apparent hunger for young and beautiful martyrs fills a basic human need, since it exists in mythology, religions, political ideology (which so resembles religion in many ways) and popular culture...


Humans are obsessed with death and beauty separately, but I think there's an extra connection to death and beauty toghether that has additional emotional appeal due to the perceived additional injustice of dying young.

As the late rapper Edgar Allan Poe said in one of his hit singles (Lenore):

"A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young."

I think the unrealized potential is a big part of it. Che may have eventually changed his corner of the world but his chance was cut off short. Part of his legacy may have to do with what people dreamed he would have done more than what he actually did.

But I personally think very lowly of him. I think he was little more than a thug who happened to rationalize his own hyper-aggression through politics.

Some people need a dragon. He certainly seemed to, and in a perfect world I bet he would still be advocating violence.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 04:56 pm
I thought it was the beret, and I'm only fractionally kidding. (I still like berets, even after Monica.)

I need to check Paul Berman, not sure if I'm remembering the same guy.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:01 pm
"Some people need a dragon. He certainly seemed to, and in a perfect world I bet he would still be advocating violence."


I am a self confessed Che ignoramus...having been too irritated by the ignorant t shirt etc nonsense to really look at him...I do have friends who have some reverence for him, and have, I know, really studied him....I have generally avoided arguments with them because they know more than I do, and some fights aren't wrth having...but I will make a point of asking them what they see as his achievements.


I do think from the little I know that your comment above is rather harsh....I would have thought there were dragons enough in his world to justify a commitment to doing something about them? I'd be interested in some further understanding of your reason for saying that.

If you have the inclination, I'd be interested in hearing what you would have thought to be reasonable actions in Che's circumstances.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:08 pm
edgar said it - short and to the point :

Quote:
The world Che grew up in was far different from the world we at our computers live in. For one, the United States government viewed the lands to the south as an exclusive preserve, where they could coerce and manipulate the people and their governments at will - by armed force and assassinations, if necessary. Only right wing toady dictatorship governments seemed to survive for long. The government that Che helped Castro supplant was at least as corrupt as is Castro's. But, the US govt. turned a blind eye, as it would have done Castro, had he not confiscated American business property and announced himself as a Communist. Guevera thought Bolivia was ripe to become another Cuba type of land, and he sought to make it so. He saw the yoke of America as an evil to be defeated all over latin America. I read a book or two by him, in those days, and I still think of him as no worse than his enemies.


and in many (most ?) countries of central and south-america and the caribbean , what edgar wrote still applies today .
not much has improved for the poor .
hbg
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:10 pm
No worse than his enemies is right, perhaps. But 'just as bad' is perhaps also right.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:12 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
No worse than his enemies is right, perhaps. But 'just as bad' is perhaps also right.



Really? Can you expand on this? Do you mean ideologically? Bodycount?
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:12 pm
Well, Rama that's not a very good logic. I could surely find two or three statements by Hitler that are all peaceful and loving.... that will not, however, make me respect Hitler for them.

Not to say Ernesto Guevara was a Hitler.... just that you can pluck quotes to support pretty much anything you want to convey, it doesn't really say much about the man himself.



Yes
But I had commented about this person in my above response.
Moreover
Hitler is not the subject of this thread.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:17 pm
dlowan wrote:
dagmaraka wrote:
No worse than his enemies is right, perhaps. But 'just as bad' is perhaps also right.



Really? Can you expand on this? Do you mean ideologically? Bodycount?


Yes, ideologically. To achieve the Revolution by force, using and encouraging hate of the enemy. I was never fond of such approaches. Anything 'for the sake of masses' usually ends up hurting the masses. Plus, who really talks with the 'masses' about what they want.
I am not objective. I grew up under communism. I dislike what communism was when I was growing up and I dislike what Cuba is today.

Rama, I was just commenting on the logic of quoting selective statements. Either think about it, or just forget it. Up to you.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:20 pm
hamburger wrote:
edgar said it - short and to the point :

Quote:
The world Che grew up in was far different from the world we at our computers live in.


That hardly relativates the violence - dogmatic, ruthless and often futile violence - that he inflicted on scores of people, though. The world may have been a different place, but people then were no less hurt by torture and political terror than they are now. And they resented it no less either.

It may seem easy to moralise about human rights from behind our computers in our prosperous countries, yes. But it is no less easy to casually relativate the terror that came with revolutions there as, you know, par for course for those countries, in those times, from behind our computers in our prosperous countries. I doubt its victims were as lacsidaisical* about it.

That was the mistake made by a few too many contemporary fellow-travellers of the Russian and Chinese revolutions too. News of terror sown by insurgent revolutionaries, or of the violent state clampdowns once they were in power, was too often relativated in terms like, you cant make an omelette without breaking eggs, or: you have to see it in the context of that country, with its violent history. All very easily said for a Communist intellectual from his Berlin, London or New York study.


*(Someone tell me how to spell that..)
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:25 pm
nimh wrote:
hamburger wrote:
edgar said it - short and to the point :

Quote:
The world Che grew up in was far different from the world we at our computers live in.


That hardly relativates the violence - dogmatic, ruthless and often futile violence - that he inflicted on scores of people, though. The world may have been a different place, but people then were no less hurt by torture and political terror than they are now. And they resented it no less either.

It may seem easy to moralise about human rights from behind our computers in our prosperous countries, yes. But it is no less easy to casually relativate the terror that came with revolutions there as, you know, par for course for those countries, in those times, from behind our computers in our prosperous countries. I doubt its victims were as lacsidaisical* about it.

That was the mistake made by a few too many contemporary fellow-travellers of the Russian and Chinese revolutions too. News of terror sown by insurgent revolutionaries, or of the violent state clampdowns once they were in power, was too often relativated in terms like, you cant make an omelette without breaking eggs, or: you have to see it in the context of that country, with its violent history. All very easily said for a Communist intellectual from his Berlin, London or New York study.


*(Someone tell me how to spell that..)




lackadaisical

:wink:




Thanks Dag and Nimh. Interesting. I absolutely agree re the study...for both left and right. It's easy to dismiss death and suffering when it isn't yours.


Interestingly, I was reading that Che was disturbed by Cuba's closeness to the USSR...but I also hear him denounced as Stalinist....?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:29 pm
dlowan wrote:
dagmaraka wrote:
No worse than his enemies is right, perhaps. But 'just as bad' is perhaps also right.

Really? Can you expand on this? Do you mean ideologically? Bodycount?

Re bodycount -- I am not anywhere as informed about Cuba as Vargas Losa or Berman, so dont ask me about numbers.. But just want to make one observation. Look at other Communist countries that emerged after a revolution. How many people died at their hands? And how many died at the hands of the reactionary regimes they replaced?

Soviet Russia certainly was far more murderous than Tsarist Russia was. Maoist China was far more murderous than the ancien regimes there had been. Sandinista Nicaragua was less violent than Somoza's preceding dictatorship had been; but the same can not be said of communist Vietnam, if you compare it with the reactionary Vietnam from before the war - or of Cambodia of course. Ethiopia's Haile Selassie was a murderous dictator, but the communist Mengistu Haile Mariam who succeeded him was no better..

Again, I dont know - but I'd not be surprised if the body count per year of Castro's regime actually was worse than that of Batista's. Would like to see the numbers for that.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2007 05:31 pm
Violence was being used, by superior forces, before and after Che made his try. Anybody who thinks the US forces were going to dialog for a better world does not know the situation, as it existed on the ground, then. Torture and killing by dictators was allowed by the Americans. They had CIA active in all trouble spots.

When Cuba's Bautista had the protesting nuns murdered in the streets, I don't believe anybody batted an eye, except the revolutionaries.
0 Replies
 
 

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