Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, October 05, 2004

St. Patrick's Day at O'Che's
Written by: Beck

I once went to Prague to attend a friend's wedding (Captain Dave, to be specific). The last night in town, a friend and I decided to make the most of our time and went bar hopping. We'd actually completely forgotten that it was March 17. We spotted a bar called O'Che's, didn't give the name much though, and headed in. You can imagine our surprise when we found it full of Scottish (yes, Scottish, not Irish, I'm not sure why) expatriates wearing kilts and partying like it was Saint Patrick's Day or something.

We had a very fun night, but there was something that bothered me about the place. The bar, as you might have guessed, was Che Guevara themed. It was full of Cuban & communist themed decorations, along with a smattering of anti-American propaganda (I seem to recall a small stuffed bald eagle doll locked in a canary cage). Inasmuch as Prague had behind the iron curtain less than a decade prior, it wasn't that big a deal. It kind of fit, despite the massive charge into capitalism the Czech Republic has embarked on since the fall of communism.

Still, I was disturbed by the worship of Che that I saw there, which I saw on campus when I was in college, and which I've seen plenty of during anti-war protests. OK, so I haven't actually seen any anti-war protests, but I've seen plenty of pictures. Che was a brutal man who, even more than Castro, brought violence, death, destruction, and poverty to millions of the world's South and Central Americans.

Having seen ads for the upcoming movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, I anticipated & feared a new resurgence in Che worship. Anti-war protestor endorsement of Che's principles and philosophy constitutes the highest of ironies. Consequently, I was very happy to see an excellent post by Ken Wheaton dissecting the cult of Che and examining Che as the monster he really was--while still giving Che the credit he deserves for behaving consistently with his beliefs and remaining dedicated to the cause he'd dedicated his life to. The post is a long & excellent one, and I highly recommend you read it all. To whet your whistles, I'll excerpt some of the choice remarks:
Having heard of "The Motorcycle Diaries" and having read a couple of reviews, I'm tempted to make an early statement that the movie is almost accurate. This is Ernest before he became Che. This is the privileged white kid (relatively speaking) doing his cross-country tour. This, ultimately, is the journey of a self-righteous kid ... and what the movie doesn't tell you is that Ernest Guevara becomes Che Guevara, a war-mongering, death-worshipping thug.

[...] But that was just it. He fought. And he fought. And he fought. He worshipped war. It would cause one to wonder why American "pacifists" would sport Che shirts and banners ... if one didn't realize that such pacifists, especially college kids, were historically ignorant. And the rich irony here is that Che hated Americans, especially well-meaning middle class Americans. Malcolm X, who met Che, had nothing on Che.

[...] And Che wasn't satisfied with setting up a Marxist government in Cuba. He wasn't satisfied with executing enemies of the revolution. He wasn't satisfied with crushing free speech and freedom of education. He wasn't satisfied with creating the Guanacahabibes "rehabilitation" camp (aka gulag) in western Cuban, a place so brutal and controversial that Fidel Castro, that champion of human rights, shut it down after Che left Cuba.

No, Che wasn't satisfied until he left Cuba to spread warfare and mayhem in Africa and then South America. Yes, his "intentions" may have been noble, but then again, so were Stalin's depending on perspective. But it always resulted in war. It always resulted in death, not only of his men and of the soldiers who they battled, but of the peasants who Che was supposedly trying to "free" from imperialism.

[...]Sometimes, as an atheist, it amazes me that modern people can worship a "god" like Jesus, a pacifist (according to the gospels) who died two thousand years ago. But what is more amazing is that modern people, U.S. citizens in particular, can worship, in the same light, a known thug and war-monger who worshipped death, preached death and sought the ultimate destruction of civilizations.
Yeah, that's a lot of excerpting, but that's less than half of the entire post. Read it all.

(Hat tip: In Search of Utopia & Stained Glass Soul)

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