When I was an undergraduate, one of my friends was dating a girl from Latin America. Her brother, the one that nobody ever talked about, was a member of Shining Path, the guerilla Communist group in Peru. Every so often, he would send her a letter on the group's stationery, which prominently featured a red drawing of Che Guevara. I only knew Che from Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musical Evita, so I was surprised to see that he still had such considerable cultural value. I remember asking her if she could get me a postcard; after all, images of Che were really rare, and I figured it would make an interesting curiosity.
A few years later, I realized just how shortsighted I was. Sometime in the mid-1990's, Che became a major cultural icon across the U.S. Suddenly, liberals of every stripe were sporting his bearded, Christlike face on t-shirts, pins, backpacks, and assorted other paraphernalia. As I dug a little deeper into Che's history, I began to realize just how ridiculous this was. While there is little doubt that Dr. Guevara was a hell of a revolutionary, there is also little doubt that he was also a hell of a killer. Although he had taken the Hippocratic Oath, a vow to protect human life, Guevara was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people throughout Latin America.
It's rare that I find myself agreeing with the Young America's [sic] Foundation, but, as the old saying goes, even a broken watch is right twice a day. Their Victims of Che Guevara poster features the classic image of Che. However, as you look closer, it becomes apparent that his revolutionary visage is composed of miniature photographs of his many victims. A striking and thoughtful commentary on one of the twentieth century's most misunderstood men, it is also free!
I'd suggest buying one for the hipster wannabe-liberal in your neighborhood!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. Idiots annoy him. People in Che t-shirts are idiots. Ergo...
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