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Posts Tagged ‘Rio Grande Review

Che vs. Kim Jong Il

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A big thanks to Deus Do, editor at Reed Magazine, for accepting and publishing my art/poem, “The Glorious Right to Insult Kim Jong Il.” Kim Jong Il is a universally lampooned bozo, from Team America World Police to North Korean propaganda boasting of his shooting 38 under par. No one debates Kim Jong Il’s evil.Two years ago the Rio Grande Review published “Poem in the Form of Che,” a companion to my Kim Jong Il. How does lovable ol’ Che compare to a North Korean goon? Not well.

Ever since I lived in Argentina and read el diario del che en bolivia I plunged off the Che bandwagon. Guys like Pol Pot and Mao and Stalin and Kim Jong Il are easy targets.  Everyone hates them. But why hate on Che-dolf?

Because journals I read and respect, like Guernica, idolize him and avoid any real debate of whether he was a mass murderer. The simple one sentence conclusion: Che started good and died an evil man. Okay, the Che debate deserves at least a paragraph.The same people that are against torture, extra-judicial execution, killing of civilians, these anti-war people often adore and glorify the “legend” of Che. I can understand if you live in Cuba and have been force fed Che-paganda, there’s no free press in Cuba, but c’mon, Guernica, this is the West. We can look at all sides. In Argentina he’s only a “hero” to the far left, to the majority he’s a demagogue. I’ll concede his case falls into the realm of “moral ambiguity” and that he definitely had a humanitarian side. But dig deeper on Che. He should be reviled and not revered.

Reed Magazine, el diario del che en bolivia, Rio Grande Review

Rio Grande Review: Poem in the Form of Che

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Poema en la Forma del Che

The Spring Rio Grande Review is out with my poem/art/statement, if you will, about Che Guevara. Twenty years ago I had a different perspective. Che seemed an enigma, a revolutionary, and perhaps a hero. He received praise from the likes of Mandela, stood up against brutality and right-wing dictatorships, and dedicated his life to fighting for the oppressed.

As years went by, I came across documentation of Che’s deeds and words that seemed, well, er…odious. He killed a lot of people without reason, had a simplified Marxist view of economy, and prejudicial hatred against classes. Che abhorred atrocity but did not understand it. And for a soldier, judge, and executioner, this is a lethal combo.

Written by Caleb Powell

June 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm