Wednesday, July 27, 2005


One of the more baffling fads of the past few years, the idolizing of Che Guevara, is brutally dissected in this excellent article in the New Republic (via Zacht Ei).
Guevara might have been enamored of his own death, but he was much more enamored of other people's deaths. In April 1967, speaking from experience, he summed up his homicidal idea of justice in his "Message to the Tricontinental": "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.
Do read the whole thing. This absurd cult has been partially invigorated by last year's movie The Motorcycle Diaries. At the time, Slate ran an outstanding review of this despicable exercise in revisionism.
Yet the entire movie, in its concept and tone, exudes a Christological cult of martyrdom, a cult of adoration for the spiritually superior person who is veering toward death—precisely the kind of adoration that Latin America's Catholic Church promoted for several centuries, with miserable consequences.
Che Guevara was an ignorant, violent thug, who destroyed countless lives not only by killing hundreds of his political opponents but also by completely destroying the previously sound economies and emerging political systems of several states. What on earth is there to celebrate?

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