Monday, May 25, 2009

Ché's Boina

"Name a famous person wearing a beret" and 9 out of 10 people will say Ché Guevara.

Ernesto Ché Guevara was an Argentinean born Marxist revolutionary, famous for his participation in the Cuban revolution. Was it not for the picture taken by Alberto Korda in 1960, you can wonder how many –younger- people would know about Ché these days; the picture of Ché, taken while attending a Havanna funeral, has become one of the most known icons of popular culture –reproduced on posters, murals, T-shirts, shoes; advertising anything from vodka to cigarettes; worn by soccer players on various body parts as a tattoo and functioning as a role model for anyone regarding him- or herself as progressive and leftist. 

This blog is obviously not the right place to discuss politics, but it does amaze me time and time again how people adore this symbol of rebellion and revolution; not the under privileged, but very much the wealthy, hip and chic (that are so much what Ché fought against).

Yes, Ché was in many ways an admirable man, a tireless revolutionary with great ideas and a much needed initiator of social reform, but at the same time he was, and became more and more so, a totalitarian, a murderer, the founder of Cuba's notorious labor camps, a strict censor of writing and music and head of a firing squad – eliminating his political enemies.


Much has been written, sung and filmed about Ché, pro and contra and even more can be found on the web. One interesting article on the commercialization of Ché's image can be found here; and more specifically on the famous photo 

Either way, Ché (posthumously) became a great promoter of beret-wearing for the new generation.

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