Friday, December 08, 2006

While I was out shopping on Saturday afternoon, I happened to pass a trendy teenager wearing a cap bearing Che Guevara's image . Now this trend of wearing t-shirts or caps bearing this image has been something that has bothered me since the days of University. Most of the people who have worn his image are (I'm assuming) people who have no idea who he is and what he stood for. In University, the kids were all from wealthy families who drove the latest car and the t-shirt (with his face) cost an arm and a leg.
Now I'm not saying I'm against their wealth, but against the way this trend seems to belittle the ideals that this man fought and died for. Che Guevara died fighting capitalism and now his very face is used to sell everything under the sun e.g. CDs, swatches, beer, keychains, rafts and believe it or not ice-cream. One company slapped the likeness of Che's image on an ice-cream stick called Cherry Guevara. The copy on the wrapper read:'The revolutionary struggle of the cherries was squashed as they were trapped between two layers of chocolate. May their memory live on in your mouth.' If that's not blunt disregard of one man's struggle than I don't know what is.
The image that they slap on almost anything was from a picture taken at a rally in Cuba, organized to protest an explosion in Havana harbor in which more than 100 people died in early March 1960. Che never spoke at the protest but he stood on the podium to show his support. Now that stance of defiance is sold as something kitch. The Washingtonpost, while writing a report on this phenomenon, asked the sites that sold his image why Che was so popular and they replied: 'He's a rebel, and along with rebel comes the cool factor and trendiness'. Well never mind his cause!
It's really sad that the world could take this man who gave everything up to fight the injustice that he saw and make him into a 'rebel without a cause.'

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