Happy Che Execution Day!
How could I have forgotten this grand and round – the 50th – anniversary?
At “The Nation”, the former terrorist (“activist”) and Barack Obama’s mentor, Bill Ayers, and a leftie journo, Michael Steven Smith, celebrate the life of a communist thug:
A New YorkTimes reporter was visiting with us recently, and she noticed the Che buttons gracing each of our shirts. “Oh, I love Che!” she said enthusiastically, which surprised us since she worked for the self-styled “newspaper of record,” an outlet that for over half a century echoed the State Department’s relentless attacks on the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara himself. But times change, and people as well as institutions are, of course, filled with contradictions, so, why not?
“You love Che? How come?”
“Oh,” she went on, “I was just in Cuba for the first time, and Che’s picture was everywhere. And he’s so appealing—those piercing eyes look right through you, and that valiant stance is so awesome. I bought Che T-shirts for my nephews, and Che coffee mugs for my parents!”
A “New York Times” journalist in love with Che? I’m not quite sure why Ayers is suddenly so surprised and bashful. His Chicago protege, Obama, after all got all the way to the White House. Ayers helped behind the scenes to create the modern world – “the long march through the institutions” and all that – where the anti-establishment is now the establishment and things terrify but no longer surprise. Mind you, the newspaper that won a Pulitzer for Walter Duranty’s lies about Stalinism didn’t have to move very far.
As Ayers and Smith eulogise, Che was more than just a cool T-shirt:
Che Guevara was also a flesh-and-blood human being—flawed, contradictory, trembling, and real—and as we mark the anniversary of his murder on October 9, 1967, it feels important to reflect on the Che who burned, intense and vital, for 39 years. This Che was a Marxist revolutionary and anti-imperialist, who saw the ravages of US foreign policy and fiercely fought against them; he was an internationalist, a believer in popular uprisings to end oppression and poverty—and for this he was assassinated with the active support and participation of the United States.
You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say revolutionary and anti-imperialist, I say a sadistic, mass-murdering apparatchik of terror on behalf of the 20th century’s deadliest ideology, which murdered or otherwise prematurely sent to their mostly unmarked graves some 100 million people, enslaved hundreds of millions more, denied basic human rights to people, and retarded the economic growth of half the world for decades. Che was also a racist and a homophobe, which for all I know are nowadays much bigger sins than merely being a communist thug (I’m being overly optimistic thinking that being any type of a communist is considered a sin in a polite company), but hey, he was cool, edgy, handsome – an icon – so we’re overlook his un-woke-iness.
When rummaging around Krakow flea markets, one can buy a nice selection of Soviet military and civilian memorabilia, including whole chestfuls of Red Army medals. One can also buy a few Nazi trinkets – unlike in most other parts of Europe, they are still available on the market, but sold more furtively, like old copies of “Penthouse” once used to be. But even though available, there is no magic to them, and rightly so. You won’t catch anyone but an inbred-looking skinhead wearing a Heydrich t-shirt, and one will go to a fancy dress party dressed up as a Nazi only at the risk of one’s friendships, career, and reputation. Yet communism and all its iconography is still socially cool and acceptable. There are many reasons, and many excuses for that, which does not necessarily make it any more morally right. But that’s how it nevertheless is.
So wear your Che tee and romanticise the terror; I’ll just sit back and have a drink to Capt Prado and his Bolivian soldiers who finally got the bastard 50 years ago before he could inflict even more misery upon this world.