"Debunking the Che Myth"
By Claudia Fanelli 2/19/2006
Che Guevara, I shudder when I hear his name. I am repulsed when I see a shirt with his face on it. And when I hear that Hollywood is making yet ANOTHER movie about him, well, I get downright nauseous. I just cannot get my mind around why so many people, especially Americans, have chosen to believe that this coward is a hero when in fact he was a mass murderer, a poor excuse for a warrior and a lousy businessman. Recently, however, it has occurred to me that the majority of the people who sport these t-shirts don’t have a clue about who Guevara was. Those who think they do know have bought into the myth of a man who fought for his beliefs, wanted to help the poor and died trying to bring justice to the less fortunate. I consider it my duty to enlighten the ignorant and debunk these myths.
I admit, Ché is popular. He was a murderer and a thug, but I can’t deny his popularity. Ché is cool, he’s hip, he’s trendy to the shirt-wearers. But they are clueless. As a high school teacher, I see kids wearing shirts emblazoned with Ché’s image all the time. His image is being mass-marketed all over the country. (Ironic that a man allegedly so opposed to capitalism has become one of retail’s most popular sellers.) One student I saw wearing a shirt actually does know who Guevara was and loves what he represents, at least, what the Hollywood version is. When I asked the student if he would likewise don a Hitler shirt, he looked at me as if I had two heads. “They’re both mass-murderers,” I explained. The teen waved me off as if to say “Lady, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”