The terrorist as Renaissance Man

The film “Chevolution” received its UK première last Friday. Eilis O’Hanlon in the Irish Independent muses on Guevara and the hagiography which surrounds him. She disapprovingly quotes Jean Paul Sartre, who called Guevara “the most complete human being of our age”. Gerry Adams is of course a fan of Guevara, as Ellis says: “Bearded man of violence inspires millions of devoted followers: now why on earth would Gerry find that such a pleasing thought?” Ellis continues: “The irony will be lost on Sinn Fein, because they don’t generally do irony, but it must have crossed their minds at some point that there is something more than a little contradictory about lecturing dissident republicans on the futility of violence whilst simultaneously lauding a man with such bloodied hands as Ernesto Guevara.”

  • John O’Connell

    Thanks Turgon for bringing this to us. It’s another good reason for shedding the preconceptions and seeing Adams for what he really is, the immoral beast of the Book of Revelation.

  • Scaramoosh

    Perhaps some of those that had, have, wish to have, a poster of Che on their bedroom wall, would do well to read Regis Debray’s analysis of the man.

    Debray was adopted by the Cuban leadership, and went to Bolivia to join Che Guevara’s guerrilla group shortly before Che’s murder.

    On the question of Che’s leadership, Debray says that Che did not give “a damn really whether anyone understood him or not; not bothering to acquire the means to win the ‘masses’ over to his point of view, as politicians do. Not even his own lieutenants: he never explained orders, briefed the men, asked them any questions or invited them to speak.”

    He says that Guevara went to Bolivia “without any political, geographical or social survey of the terrain, without trying to set up any sort of support network in the region or to recruit a single Bolivian from the region”.

    Debray concluded that “Che Guevara went to Bolivia not to win, but to lose”.

    Régis Debray, Praised Be Our Lords (Verso, 2007), £19.99

  • dunreavynomore

    Turgon,
    Eilis is a She not a He.

  • Big Maggie

    Odd how no one talks about the effulgent Fulgencio Batista any more. Or did we all imagine that Castro and Che decided suddenly to run amok in peaceful, fun-loving fragrant Cuba?

  • Turgon

    dunreavynomore,
    Thanks. I did know that but was clearly being a bit stupid.

  • Brit

    The idea that Che is some kind of hero to those of us on the Left, committed to empancipation, social justice, equality, human rights and democracy, is ridiculous.

    He was an illiberal anti-democratic political criminal. I can see why he is a poster boy for IRA/Sinn Fein but the purportedly lefty students wearing a T-shirt bearing his face need to be educated.

  • “I can see why he is a poster boy for IRA/Sinn Fein but the purportedly lefty students wearing a T-shirt bearing his face need to be educated.”

    Perhaps you would prefer they wore the face of Blair or his mate Bush, or Cuba reverted to being a murderous kleptocracy. For christ sake trying to lay the alleged shortcomings of Che at SF’s door is pretty pathetic.

    As to Che not explaining his orders, more thin gruel, can anyone name the generals who did? I am not defending Che and I to feel Castro allowing him to go to Bolivia was bound to end in tears, but Che was a revolutionary leftist of his time and continent and any criticism should start from there.

  • Brit

    “Perhaps you would prefer they wore the face of Blair or his mate Bush, or Cuba reverted to being a murderous kleptocracy. For christ sake trying to lay the alleged shortcomings of Che at SF’s door is pretty pathetic.”

    Somehow I don’t think a T-shirt with the face of Blair (still less Bush who eventually moved some way towards the progressive foreign policy model outlined by Blair in Chicago in 1999 when Bush Jnr was a US isolationist stuck in Texas) is likely to catch on with the “radicals”. In any case one can criticise Che as an abhorent deviation from the basic principles of the demoratic left, sadly one of many such scumbags idealised by western “revolutionaries, without being Blairite, let alone a neo-Con or a supporter of Batista.

    I think that the latin “marxist” guerillas and the populist “left” in latin america do share many features with Republicanism (or at least before the surrender and signing up to the GFA) – romantic nationalism, a persecution complex used to justify the murder of innocents, a total disregard for human rights and democratic norms for the greater good. However, as much as I hate physical force Irish Republicanism I fail to see how Che can be blamed on SF!!

    “As to Che not explaining his orders, more thin gruel, can anyone name the generals who did? I am not defending Che and I to feel Castro allowing him to go to Bolivia was bound to end in tears, but Che was a revolutionary leftist of his time and continent and any criticism should start from there.”

    Not explaining his orders is pretty much irrelevant (and it was not me who cited it) it was his personal complicity in crimes such as those at La Cabana and his support for the creation of the apparatus of a totalitarian state in Cuba which make him wholly unfit to be any kind of hero for progressives.

  • Turgon

    Mickhall,
    “…Che was a revolutionary leftist of his time and continent and any criticism should start from there.”

    That is completely inappropriate. By the time Guevara was running around murdering people we already had well established such concepts as war crimes. You are quite right to call Cuba prior to Castro a murdering kleptocracy. However, that does not excuse Guevara from being a mass murderer.

    Interestingly, Mickhall if we follow your attempts at logic, by analogy to criticise say the unionists for anthing from 1912 is unacceptable as one must start from early twentieth century with them. Remind me Mickhall what is your position on 1912 etc.?

    Then turning to Northern Ireland of more recent times we should judge the likes of McGuinness and Adams by the standards of today. Ah yes that makes them unrepentant terrorists. Is that what you believe, do remind me?

    Sorry Mickhall if you want to try more subtle cheerleading you will still get exposed.

  • Sean

    Turgon

    that makes all unionists unrepentant terrorists as well

  • Turgon,

    You are clearly on a far higher intellectual plain that I, as I fail to understand what 1912, Mr McGuinness and Mr Adams, or indeed the six counties has to do with a thread about Che. So I bow to your superior intellect, mystified as to how orange giants like you, could make such a dogs dinner of the north east of Ireland.

    As always I concede the last word to you, whilst I retreat back to my pom-poms.

  • Turgon

    Mickhall,
    I see you no longer try to indulge in intellectual argument with me. I suppose that is due at least in part to the fact that you always lose.

    It is not because I am good at debating: it is because you insist on supporting intellectually and morally unsupportable positions. That is your and not my problem.

  • Big Maggie

    Mickhall,

    “I fail to understand what 1912, Mr McGuinness and Mr Adams, or indeed the six counties has to do with a thread about Che.”

    You’re no fun at all. The customary way of ending a thread like this is to compare Che to Hitler. That way you could have gone one better than Turgon—while invoking Godwin. Double brownie points :^)

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Big Maggie: “You’re no fun at all. The customary way of ending a thread like this is to compare Che to Hitler.”

    Feh – clumsy and kack-handed, Maggie…

    The proper comparison is Che to Feliks Dzierżyński.

    My favorite irony, however, is the liberal lefty college-aged dolts who don’t understand why wearing Che-stamped clothing to an anti-death penalty rally qualifies as farcical.

  • dunreavynomore

    “My favorite irony, however, is the liberal lefty college-aged dolts who don’t understand why wearing Che-stamped clothing to an anti-death penalty rally qualifies as farcical.” hee hee hee.

  • Big Maggie

    Dread Cthulhu,

    Feh to you too. The magic word is “Nazi”.

    Oh shit, I’ve just closed the thread :^)

  • Mayoman

    Turgon: “it is because you insist on supporting intellectually and morally unsupportable positions”

    Hasn’t done unionists any harm.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Big Maggie: “Feh to you too. The magic word is “Nazi”.”

    Nah — once you’ve reduced the argument to an “-ism” or a bloody handed butcher from the history pages, its still over but for the shouting.

    I mean, I’ve watched some here try to explain why Stalin “shouldn’t count” as a communist, since he’s such a liability to the movement. Likewise, comparing someone to Pol Pot is just as final as comparing someone to the Austrian paper-hanger, save that you occasionally have to explain who Pol Pot was as a coda to the argument before it all goes to skittles.

  • You are clearly on a far higher intellectual plain that I

    Yep. Turgon and anyone else who can string a legible sentence together.