Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Che Day!

This is how I like to remember him…

I posted about a nauseating BBC tribute to Guevara here, and there's no shortage of other uncritical, grossly distorted eulogies on the major news sites today. Fausta has more, while Babalu has lots on the anniversary, including a round-up of links here.

While the Left gets misty-eyed with reminiscence, it's worth remembering that they're really just pining for an ideology that has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Cuba, and the handful of other countries where the ideas Guevara stood for are still practised, are economic basket cases whose people are denied basic freedoms. Outside of those godforsaken places, Marxism, Communism and their variants exist only in books and lecture halls. They're over, and no amount of T-shirts or posters are going to bring them back, which is probably why the Left are so damn mad all the time.

But they haven't given up, and the delusions that manifest themselves in the hero-worship of Guevara are still very much with us, in the form of the anti-globalisation and anti-American movements, and in the apologies for Islamic extremism. While they might have tweaked the details a little, the leftist worldview is fundamentally the same. We may never find a cure for the self-loathing and moral confusion that torments them, but when your most influential and charismatic figurehead has been dead for 40 years, you know your ideology's in trouble.

1 comment:

Doug Dryden said...

I remember in the early 70s talking with a member of Castro's inner circle, who defected shortly after Castro seized power. He related a story that explains Che on several levels.

During a cabinet meeting, Castro was distressed about the economic chaos that ensued after the fall of the Batista government. He asked the assembled group if any among them were trained as economists, & Che raised his hand. Castro was thrilled, & immediately appointed Che as his Minister of the Treasury (bank notes of that time had his signature - 'Che'). After the meeting, Che approached Castro for clarification about the original question. Che then exclaimed "'Economist'?! I thought you said 'Communist'!"

The story may sound apocryphal, but my Cuban interlocutor insisted that it was true. Based on my other research about Che, I believe him.