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This is something I have meant to blog about for ages and am just now finally getting around to it. What in the world is up with all the Che Guevara shirts? Wikipedia.org link not-withstanding, how many people even know who he was? What he stood for?
For those of you unfamiliar with the tshirts I mean:
There are tons of variations on this shirt out there, but this is the most familiar image.
Could someone please tell me the love affair with this shirt? Could you tell me if even 25% of the people who wear it now know who Che was, or even what he stood for? Do they even understand he would be disgusted by the merchandising of his image?
Let’s take a walk through history shall we? Dr. Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna was born June 14th, 1928 and grew to be known as Che Guevara over the years. He became a Marxist and joined with Fidel Castro and his 26th of July Movement in their second attempt at a Cuban revolution. They finally did over throw Cuba in 1959, using guerrilla warfare tatics.
After spending seneral years working with the new Cuban goverment, he finally left in 1965 to work on revolutions in places such as the Congo and Bolivia. He was captured by the CIA in 1967 and was killed by the Bolivian army on October 9th, 1967.
He was a communist, a guerrilla fighter and, by some accounts, tyrannical. If you believe in what he stood for, if you agree with him, more power to you. Wear the shirts all you want. But do you think would have really wanted to see socks with his face on them? But, do you think Alberto Korda, a supporters of Che’s ideals, would have wanted to see his famous picture used for such capatilst ideals? (He didn’t, and sued Smirnoff Vodka over the use of the image in an ad)
Personally, I am a capatilist through and through and do not agree with Che or Castro, but that is for each person to decide on their own. What I don’t like is seeing people wear the shirt because it’s fashionable or hip. You are doing one of two things when you wear that shirt, either saying you respect the man and his ideals or secondly, you have no clue who he was, or what he stood for, and it is disrespectful of his ideals.
You make the call.