The Pros and Cons of Che Guevara

Hey, it’s Che Guivara – In 1959 Guevara adopted formally the nickname Che and was granted honorary Cuban citizenship. He was visited by such intellectuals as de Beauvoir, and Sartre who saw in him the “most complete human being of our age”.

Before he was shot, Che said: “The decisive moment in a man’s life is when he decides to confront death,” Guevara once said. “If he confronts it, he will be a hero whether he succeeds or not. He can be a good or a bad politician, but if he does not confront death he will never be more than a politician.”

Tish (a friend on Facebook) comments:

I don’t think Che was such a good guy. He was a murderer:

And even the article you reference says: “Guevara opposed the right of dissidents to make their views known even within the Communist Party itself” And he calls Stalin a friend… Stalin murdered more people than Hitler. Huh? He was a murderer, by… his own words: “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary…These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall! (El Paredón)”

William replies:

I was not aware that Americans feel so strongly about murderers or about suppressing dissident viewpoints? I honestly do not believe that America will survive its current enemies unless they become a little less squeamish about the taking of human life and a lot more murderous. Was Truman a murderer? Was Nixon a murderer? Is Bush a murderer? When we are killing for a worthwhile cause we consider our actions noble and heroic. A college student in India taunted me saying “Oh you Americans must REALLY hate Che.” I said “On the contrary, we love such colorful figures and wear tee-shirts emblazoned with their image. As a matter of fact we love a figure such as India’s Phulan Devi the bandit woman whom the government never defeated.” He was not too happy when I threw Phulan Devi in his face. I watched the

    Motorcycle Journals

which seemed to portray Che in a positive light. For centuries now people have admired the murderer Caesar and the murderer Achilles. I imagine there is no shortage of cultures in this world who see USA as a monster and would rejoice at America’s annihilation. Who is a monster and who is a superhero depends on how you define evil.

Murder is the art which keeps a roof over our heads. Some murderers are more charismatic and lovable than others. Hannibal Lecter would not be so popular if we did not secretly admire something about his character.

Consider DEXTER as a current anti-hero role model

Dexter, the protagonist (played brilliantly by Michael C. Hall) is a serial killer, but he only dispatches murderers. He is eradicating deadly monsters, but he is not doing it out of a love of justice, but because HE is a monster as well who must have an outlet for what he calls his “Dark Passenger.”

The question then is: is there a line somewhere that cannot be crossed? After all, Dexter does wrong, but he only does it to people who the audience is made to feel deserve it. Could a show be made about a serial killer with no redeeming qualities at all? Could a drama be a hit if it were to focus not on gray anti-heroes, but on absolute villains?

Dexter is not the first murderer to get the audience on his side (Hannibal Lecter did that, too) but he is forgiven his faults because fans of the show know what he’s dealing with and maybe some small part of them wishes they could take vengeance on those who are evil.

Rommel, the Desert Fox, has much to be admired. He treated his prisoners humanely. He ignored orders to persecute Jews. Rommel failed in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hitler admired Rommel so much that he allowed Rommel to commit suicide rather than be charged and executed.

The history of humanity is the history of murder. The first crime in Genesis is Cain killing his own brother, Abel.

We glamorize people who embody some quality that we admire and make them into a hero. The touchstone of heroism is when a movie is made or a book is written which gains a lasting audience in history. We are all murderers at heart. We spend our spare time watching entertainment which teaches us 10,000 different ways to kill someone and get away with it.


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