Thursday, September 12, 2019

Martin Luther King Jr.,Ernesto "Che" Guevara and their contrasting visions of struggle

“Blind hate against the enemy creates a forceful impulse that cracks the boundaries of natural human limitations, transforming the soldier in an effective, selective and cold killing machine. A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary.” - Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1967)
"We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying -- We are saying that we are God's children. And that we are God's children, we don't have to live like we are forced to live." - Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

Both died at age 39 but their legacies could not be more different.
Cuba Archive has taken on an important educational campaign. In recent months Mia Farrow, Mayor Di Blasio and now Barnes and Noble have been caught promoting Che Guevara. The Ernesto "Che" Guevara cult is not only offensive to the families of victims he murdered, but dangerous for free societies. Che Guevara's writings were borrowed from Mao Zedong and were all about guerrilla warfare. This cult celebrates violence, killing and dehumanization. In 1967, as on many other occasions the Argentine spoke clearly celebrating brutality: “Blind hate against the enemy creates a forceful impulse that cracks the boundaries of natural human limitations, transforming the soldier in an effective, selective and cold killing machine. A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary.”
Guevara was also an advocate of nuclear war if it meant destroying the imperialists declaring in November 1962: "What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”
Many were not taken in by this call to mass murder. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. told his staff in 1968 to combat the “romantic illusion” of Che Guevara style guerilla warfare among young radicals concluding: “We must not be intimidated by those who are laughing at nonviolence now.
Critics of nonviolence like to point out that Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968, but fail to mention that he succeeded in transforming the United States into a better country by successfully and nonviolently addressing historic injustices.
What did Reverend King accomplish? He led the successful Montgomery bus boycott that ended segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama in 1956. He led the Birmingham campaign in 1963 that faced off with the Birmingham Police Department, led by Eugene “Bull” Connor, who used high-pressure water jets and police attack dogs on children. The campaign ended with Connor losing his job and the city’s discriminatory laws were changed.
Reverend King played an instrumental role in the August 28, 1963 march on Washington, D.C. with over 250,000 participants. It was done to pressure for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 in Alabama demonstrated African Americans desire to vote. The violence by local authorities, racists, and the Klu Klux Klan and the nonviolent resistance of the civil rights activists were key to passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. These laws gave African Americans political power that had been denied them.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was executed in Bolivia in 1967. What did he accomplish? Installing a communist dictatorship that killed thousands, and left millions in misery. Inspired guerrilla wars and international terrorism across the world that in Latin America helped give rise to a new generation of military dictators to combat the guerrilla threat. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro created the conditions for Augusto Pinochet to become the dictator of Chile. This is but one example.
Reverend King spent the last few hours of his life making the prophetic Mountaintop speech courageously predicting that he would not lead a long life and campaigning for the rights of poor people. What about Che? He was hunted down, while trying to overthrow the Bolivian government to impose a communist dictatorship and executed while trying to beg for his life.
Both the civil rights leader and the communist revolutionary died at the age of 39. However their legacies could not be more different.
The Barnes and Noble bookstore, Mia Farrow and Bill Di Blasio should not be promoting this individual or his ideology. Worse yet the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided on June 18, 2013 to add “The Life and Works of Che Guevara” to the World Registrar in order to provide funds to preserve and disseminate Che Guevara’s papers.

Need to celebrate non-violent icons like Oswaldo Payá
This is literally spreading hate and fanaticism to new generations that will result in more bloodshed, and already has in the past. The Che Guevara cult needs to be fought with facts, historical context and when necessary economic boycotts and social ostracism.
What the world needs is less Che Guevara and more Martin Luther King Jr. In the Cuban context that would mean elevating the writings of martyred Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, who advocated love and freedom not hatred and tyranny. It would also mean sharing the facts surrounding his untimely death and demanding justice. Not to mention more friends of freedom wearing Oswaldo Payá t-shirts.

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