Monday, January 11, 2010

So you say you want a revolution?

Watching Steven Soderbergh's two part 4 hour 8 minute epic is a brilliant portrait of a very flawed man. Che is more a romantic interpretation, yet it holds true to facts and events over the extensive "revolution" brought on by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
I think it goes without saying that his philosophy is very flawed and was destined to have him assassinated by his enemies. But what is so attractive about telling Che's story is his passion and firmness in his belief. Replace communism with any other political ideology and it would not have changed our view of Che. It's impossible not to root for him all throughout the film (even if we know the context). I found his charisma and zealousness inspiring, it's no wonder he recruited so many to his cause.
But his philosophy is his demise.

When asked if he believes in God, his responds that he "believes in mankind". His "faith in mankind" sounds inspiring but is a utopia that could never exist. He believes all mankind will adapt to his passion. And in most cases, they do. They are inspired, caught up in revolution, fighting against "injustices". But if the people are not with him, then he is basically nothing. After all, he believes the only way to bring about radical change in government policy is by force. This goes against everything Che preaches, this "faith in mankind". If his coup works, does he assume this new found power will never go to the head of another man in politics again? That is inevitable. Man will always find himself power hungry in that position. That's the way politics go. It's a vicious cycle.
The "peasants" who lived in the Bolivian countryside had no desire to stray from their meager lifestyles. They are so isolated from everything that they know not of the injustices Guevara speaks of. Che's message proves invalid and instead of creating a revolution in the heart of Latin America, he ran in circles away from Bolivia's prudent military forces.
Che realizes this as he speaks with a Bolivian soldier the night of his capture. The two converse very informally and it looks as if Che will be able to talk himself out of captivity. But the soldier eventually turns a back to his friendliness and follows orders to guard.
Faith in mankind can be fleeting at times.

I think our society vilifies him far too often. He was by no means a good person, but he had morals. He is known to have killed many men, most in battle and "traitors" to the cause. This is where most will point to when trying to defame him. But we have no room to talk. Our government kills innocent foreigners just about every day in Afghanistan. As a God-fearing democracy, we carry out just as many top secret assassinations as those "corrupt" political ideologies do. We must not also forget that Che's cause was very admirable at root. He surely went about it in all the wrong ways. But at heart he was a humanitarian. It's a shame he resorted to picking up a gun for his cause. That is where he went wrong.

I will say, I was very inspired by Che's message of helping the less fortunate. Sure he let the ideology go to his head. But the initial care he has for each new person he meets is stirring. He truly could have become a brilliant humanitarian if he had wanted to. You can see this side of Che in the 2004 film, The Motorcycle Diaries. Here is a young Che, uninfluenced by ideas of forceful revolution, a man of the people; believing that the road to change is through individuals. There is a peace that can be found once you accept this.

I want to do more for the individual.
Right here, right now, I am making a promise to myself:
I feel called to offer myself to others more often. I've never gotten too involved with local charities because I've had this view of helping less fortunate people worse off than those in the U.S. But there is still a lot of work, a lot of love to spread to the less fortunate locally. This semester I will set my sights more on "local".

1 comment:

redneckzilla said...

A) When reading this, I got to a point on your page where it just looked like you ended your musings with a picture of Nic Cage as Chunk.

B) We vilify everyone that isn't American. We even vilify Americans. Welcome to first-world society.

C) I still want to see these movies.