An Icon of Evil

Che Guevara remains a celebrated figure in our culture, despite his bloodthirsty history and track record of failure. A recent Argentine movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, romantically celebrated his youth. Now, a photo exhibit at the International Center for Photography in New York City, whitewashes his history. William Meyers in the New York Sun explains:

Cuba is a communist country. This will not be news to the readers of The New York Sun, but it may come as a surprise to visitors at the International Center of Photography. In the almost 400 words that make up the wall text at the entrance to "Che! Revolution and Commerce" and discuss its eponymous hero, neither "communist" nor "communism" appear. It is like explaining who Osama bin Laden is without mentioning he is Muslim.

The first paragraph of the wall text informs the visitor that the exhibition is about "Alberto Korda's 1960 portrait of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, titled 'Guerrillero Heroico,'" and that for "the last 45 years, this iconic photograph has symbolized antiestablishment thought and action." That's true enough, and for an institution that prides itself on its willingness to deal with the "transgressive," a mighty plus.

It points out approvingly that the picture was used during the 1968 student uprisings in Europe. These, however, were revolution as opera bouffe. Che's picture was certainly not displayed during the Solidarity protests in Poland in the 1980s or in the Tiananmen Square demonstration in China in 1989, when men and women genuinely hazarded their lives for freedom.

The article goes on to explain the actual brutality of the real Che. Those who celebrate this thug because he looked romantic are useful moral idiots.

Thomas Lifson  12 27 05

Che Guevara remains a celebrated figure in our culture, despite his bloodthirsty history and track record of failure. A recent Argentine movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, romantically celebrated his youth. Now, a photo exhibit at the International Center for Photography in New York City, whitewashes his history. William Meyers in the New York Sun explains:

Cuba is a communist country. This will not be news to the readers of The New York Sun, but it may come as a surprise to visitors at the International Center of Photography. In the almost 400 words that make up the wall text at the entrance to "Che! Revolution and Commerce" and discuss its eponymous hero, neither "communist" nor "communism" appear. It is like explaining who Osama bin Laden is without mentioning he is Muslim.

The first paragraph of the wall text informs the visitor that the exhibition is about "Alberto Korda's 1960 portrait of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, titled 'Guerrillero Heroico,'" and that for "the last 45 years, this iconic photograph has symbolized antiestablishment thought and action." That's true enough, and for an institution that prides itself on its willingness to deal with the "transgressive," a mighty plus.

It points out approvingly that the picture was used during the 1968 student uprisings in Europe. These, however, were revolution as opera bouffe. Che's picture was certainly not displayed during the Solidarity protests in Poland in the 1980s or in the Tiananmen Square demonstration in China in 1989, when men and women genuinely hazarded their lives for freedom.

The article goes on to explain the actual brutality of the real Che. Those who celebrate this thug because he looked romantic are useful moral idiots.

Thomas Lifson  12 27 05