“Even regular soldiers and police are often recruited into private armies through money or political favours. They are paid as little as US$ 58 a month to become enforcers in executions, abductions and drug-related crimes.”
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This piece started off in the remnants of my brain around late December. It was going to tackle the usual media/ politician outcry that video games are to blame for whatever the current mass murder tragedy was on people’s minds. That’s how it started but the more I thought about it (and as more current events unfolded) I had a Marty DiBergi moment where “I got that; I got more… a lot more.”
A mass murder is defined by the FBI “as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders.” So at the time that I thought of writing this the incidents that came to mind were Sandy Hook, Fort Hood , Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Ampatuan massacre. As I was writing this blog Ronald Baquiran Bae went nuts in Kawit, Cavite. My personal opinion one murder is one too many I also have to think about the unfortunate death of Stephanie Nicole Ella. I started writing this piece in late 2012 but it turns out 2013 is proving to be more tragic in its infancy.
As usual some people out there want so hard to blame entertainment like movies and video games. I am old enough to remember my dad bringing home this wooden console. He plugged it to the back of our black and white TV and the screen produced two paddles and a boxy ball in between. This console just had a switch and no port for any programs. The picture I found online isn’t exactly what we had but it’s close. Both controllers were right on the one piece console. Do you really think a technological descendant of that hardware can cause a human being to murder other human beings? Back in 1995 I had six friends over to watch True Lies which was incredibly violent. None of us has killed anyone since. That I know of anyway.
I will ramble on like I usually do but should you feel the need to pull the plug on me do yourself a favor and listen to Chris Rock’s explanation why anybody who blames violent entertainment totally has no legs to stand on. Violence was always there even when the only media were smoke signals and barely legible scratches on caves. People capable of mass murder are like the rest of us. We all do something whether it’s cook, mountain bike, raise pets or play video games. I am not sure why people are all so intent in finding significance in that? If 3 out of 5 mass murderers were known to eat a Snickers bar twice a month would that be cause for alarm? As Chris Rock said on the video “Whatever happened to Crazy?” I will tell you what happened to crazy, they are blaming a bunch of animated dots on a screen on mass murder.
During the wake of the Columbine killings, I was listening to radio preacher Bob Larson. He was saying a very radical thing that Keanu Reeves might as well have pulled the trigger. The film The Matrix was newly released at the time and there is a shoot ’em up scene towards the end with Neo (Reeves) donning a trench coat. The Columbine killers also wore trench coats. That may well be an extreme view but Mr.Larson does also offer a more practical solution than simply blaming a violent video game in a piece he wrote in response to the tragedy in Colorado.
It’s no secret that I love the National Football League. Despite watching it for 32 years I have yet to see the famous Lawrence Taylor breaks Joe Theismann’s leg play. Nor have I watched any replays of Tim Krumrie breaking his leg in the Super Bowl against SF. Maybe because despite the four decades I have spent watching the game, I never lose sight that there is flesh and blood on that field. I do not mistake toughness with invulnerability. NFL injuries as I have said in the past have their consequences. So we have many different people bemoaning the violent culture of 2013. I can be seen as Exhibit A because for decades I have played video games with shooting, watched violent movies like True Lies and Rambo and I love a very violent sport like the National Football League. Yet, a few years ago I tried to put the possible long term cost an extended boxing career may have to Manny Pacquiao in a blog . Am I desensitized to violence despite being a willing recipient to multimedia smorgasbord of violence??
You know what kind of little boys did not play with guns as kids? The kind that played with Barbies. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In this society there are still adults in high-profile positions that can’t stop playing with guns. As a guy I can tell you there is a certain romance to being able to wield a gun in some scenario in your head where you come out on top despite impossible odds. If you ever saw the movie Three Kings George Clooney’s character explains more realistic consequences to being shot.
Video games don’t desensitize us to violence. Filipino life desensitizes us to violence. New Year’s Eve is culturally an accepted war season. I once had an officemate return home from a provincial New Year’s holiday only to find they had no Manila house. Every year this celebration leads to collateral damage then we do it all again next New Year’s Eve. Mindanao is another part of reality that has become like body odor. The rest of the country hardly knows it’s part of their stink. There was a time in the stock exchange that traders didn’t understand why the conflict was affecting stock prices because the fighting was not in Manila. So what are they saying? What happens in Mindanao stays in Mindanao? The conflict is a Filipino problem brought on by Filipino culture. There are two things I know for sure. 1) Noynoy Aquino is not a member of MENSA. 2) Video games are not the cause of the decades old war in Mindanao.
I once had a gun pointed at me by a complete stranger. If it was loaded I will never know. I probably told this story to three people in my life. It happened on a Friday night and I was driving home at 9 PM. Part of Filipino culture is when it comes to driving , most drivers could care less about posted directions and lanes. This FX driver going the opposite way decides to occupy my lane In the end he does not or can’t turn and gets in my way. Eventually we are parallel to each other and I called him the more common English word for rectum . I like using that on the rare occasion I need to because it helps let out frustration and most targets don’t hear it often enough that it does not register. In this case, the FX driver thought I was calling him the Tagalog word for dog and he didn’t like it. In front of his passengers he takes out a gun Since this was a few years ago I can’t remember if he did point it at me or just showed me he had it. My mood did not change because rightly or wrongly in my head the idea of an FX driver shooting a private driver while in front of his own passengers seemed too stupid even for this place.
“Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this”
Take the Ampatuan mass murder incident. Blame that on video games? Why not put blame where it belongs. Vanity, greed and politics pinoy style. Those three things result in private armies and lax law enforcement. Last I looked, all that has nothing to do with video games. Also we should note, the outcry for video games is a lot louder than the outcry for our inherent local culture. Where elections and violent death are joined at the hip. I don’t have to name any other names but the idea of the private army is very accepted in pinoy culture. These armies not only help pull off massacres but also intimidate the “little people” in everyday life. Are there places on Earth where that does not exist? Does it have to be that way? An article in the Economist describes the Filipino private armies as “It is hard to imagine Philippine politics without them.” That is pinoy culture.
Democracy don’t rule the world
You’d better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that’s better left unsaid
Union Sundown Bob Dylan
Life in the Philippines is cheap to begin with but isn’t it so pinoy the murder rate spikes up even higher during election season? Makes one wonder why anyone is proud to be a politician or win an election in this country. Actually makes one wonder about the country. You guys proud of that?? You sure as heck put up with it. You sure as heck encourage the lowlifes that perpetuate it. You know why private armies exist in the Philippines. Because it works. The culture accepts it. The fact that you all need an idiot like me to remind you speaks to how little any of us are aware what should go into pinoy pride.
You don’t have to read me long to notice I have vigorously opposed the illusion of “Pinoy Pride”. Here is why you won’t see me chest beating like all these Pinoy Pride zombies. To every action there is an opposite reaction. Many will look at pinoy pride without accounting for the other side of the ledger which is pinoy shame. For some there is no such thing as pinoy shame. Whether it’s obstructing a Hong Kong foot bridge, blatant disregard for justice, missionaries put to death , highly rated yet cranium challenged noon time shows, uneducated high-profile public servants proud of being uneducated and proud of making uneducated decisions , the spike in mortality rate during election time , chaos that leads to death on our public streets,The four Volvo riding alleged killers of George Anikow, The smiling Chesire Cat in response to the hostage handling flub. Not only is the pinoy is capable of all that, they actually do that and more. So spare me your pinoy pride battle cry. Why is it exactly more fun in the Philippines?
Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
Rip off the masks and let’s see.
But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?
There’s you and there’s me
That can’t be right
When it comes to those examples I cited what I think qualify as Pinoy Shame you may fall on one of three camps:
1) Those things did not happen Gogs, it’s just your imagination (fabrication of evidence)
2) Those things did happen but so what? The Pinoy is being the pinoy and ganyan talaga. (apathy/ que sera sera)
3) Those things did happen and we are ashamed we are viewed that way and we have to hold ourselves accountable for not paying attention to such behavior. (shame/ acceptance for the need for change)
Popularity for some reason is equated in this culture with being fit to lead. In the case of the current president it’s even worse. He was never popular on his own like FPJ or Joseph Estrada. His mother was popular and upon her death his campaign tweaked pinoy emotions to fabricate him inheriting that popularity. The same Pinoy culture that turns movie stars and spoiled good for nothing sons into presidents also makes the populace ignore just how warped our peace and order situation is. So they find solace in … American Idol.
Crazy people walkin’ round with blood in their eyes And all she wants to do is dance, dance Wild-eyed pistol wavers who ain’t afraid to die And all she wants to do is- And all she wants to do is dance
I am not a great man nor am I even a kind man. What I did think up however is the phrase “KSP is the root of all evil”. It’s not much at all but it explains what unconstructive positions the pinoy will put themselves in search of the holy grail of “pansin”. I wish I came up with Sayaw Pinoy Sayaw. My take on the pinoy mentality is that our peace and order situation is a joke so let’s retreat into the superficial so Sayaw Pinoy Sayaw. Kate’s blog is true. Strangely Kate’s sentiment is parallel to a song that came out in 1985. Don Henley might have had more even more violent Latin American countries in mind but the concept applies here.
Colin Cowherd has a little test for validating any future action. Just sayÂ out loud exactly what your plan is . Example he gave I think was let’s put on stockings on our faces next Friday , hold water pistols and then convince the 7-11 clerk to give us all the money in the register. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. But people do it all the time basing their faulty decisions on emotion. Pinoys say this out loud “Let’s pin the hopes of the country on a 16 year old who has never been here and sings songs made famous by other people. “. How can somebody represent you when she has never been with you? How can you identify with someone who has never been to where you live or does not talk the way you talk or whose mass media is totally different from yours? The most important question is , why does it mean so much to you?
Bill Parcels said you are what your record says you are. What he means by that is you look at your wins and your losses to define yourself. You don’t just pick and choose and pretend the loses are not there. It does not mean you get to be choosy with what you think is positive and just be blind to what could be improved. The pinoy has pride in something as trivial as American Idol yet could care less of the country’s long lasting civil war or spotty human rights record. Our civil war has been going on so long we barely know it’s there. It has become white noise. You are shocked by an elementary school shooting as you should be yet you are callous when it comes to “war torn Mindanao”. Hate to break it to you guys but Jessica Sanchez had never been to the Philippines at the time of her American Idol participation. You guys had nothing to do with her. Yet we hear quotes “Jessica Sanchez shows what the Pinoy is capable of”. Can I by the same sentiment say Rolando Mendoza shows what the pinoy is capable of”? The Abu Sayyaf when they behead missionaries and teachers shows what the pinoy is capable of? One case it’s a teenager who had never been here yet we claim her accomplishments as our own. The other cases are tragedies performed by Filipinos on Filipinos or foreigners either visiting or helping the Philippines? Which one is more real? Why do we identify with one when the outcome is partly determined by Paula Abdul. I don’t care what year she may or may not have judged. It’s all your fault for putting so much stock in it. By my book any outcome that is or was partly determined by Paula Adbul at anytime can’t be of any consequence . Yet we distance ourselves from other topics that seem to have more gravity than American Idol. Philippines, whatever violence exists in this country has your stamp of approval on it. You have accepted it as a nation so it just repeats itself and will not go away. Acceptance is always the first step to change. We prioritize trivial things yet ignore issues with much more significance. We dwell in the superficial while escape the realities of those with lasting consequence. When I last checked life and death is a consequence.
Putting a very sharp needle into the balloon known as Pinoy Pride since 2012.
27 Replies to “Life, It’s More Cheap In The Philippines. Who Cares? We Have Jessica Sanchez!”
Life is cheap, justice is selective.
What causes outrage in civilised countries soon disappears from the radar here – especially with a ‘friendly’ press.
Now we have the atimonan massacre with the palace saying ” aquino is in no hurry to review the report” !! (i.e. back off, whitewash in progress) Incredible and remarkably insensitive. A few peasants, or farmers – hacienda luisita – killed in cold blood – doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.
Respect is not earnt by gun loving politicians and presidents, but by those who have the creativity and capacity to empathise with people and govern with principles, not through fear.
P-noy is part of the problem, not the solution, so dont expect any change to the gun culture. You elect cowboys and they want to shoot indians. thats how they get their kicks.
forget jessica sanchez – we now have the farting farmer
Philippines Got Talent (PGT) launches last night with man who can put out candle by farting on it. Nothing like 3rd world tv to make you thankful to be civilised and 1st world.
Judge Kris aquino who clearly knows about these things said he should practice some more!!
And maybe become cheerleader for bag of wind Bum aquino ?
p-noy aquino no doubt wants a private show
beans, beans, good for the heart
the more you eat, the more you fart
the more you fart, the better you feel
beans, beans for every meal
I watch PGT, except last Saturday, thus I never saw the man who fart. What made me wonder now is why that man *wasn’t* screened in private audition?
A culture that loves pettiness and approves of violence to enjoy that pettiness really will stay a basket case.
An irresponsible society beholden to gun violence is probably the most shocking aspect of “Pinoy shame.” But there are other things that should NOT have a place in a country that touts itself as the ONLY predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. Consider: domestic violence, sexual predation and abuse, the Filipino willingness to accommodate illegal behavior with the excuse “trabaho lang ‘yan” or “wala naman nakatingin.” Seems to me that if, at a very early age, Filipinos are exposed to the attitude that breaking the rules because the rule-breaker has a “good enough” reason, it eventually escalates to ever worsening behavior. And culminates in somebody getting killed.
Sexual predation? That reminds me — NBC’s Dateline had a report that said 3 out of 5 Internet predators preferred “Mike’s Hard Lemonade.” Guess I better stop buying this stuff.
Life’s indeed cheap in the Philippines coz our leaders are very irresponsible and selfish. Who’s to blame, then, us. We will never prosper as a nation coz we refuse to learn and keeps on repeating the same mistakes over and over again. We don’t strive for the best and just getting contented ending up runners up and be happy about it. #pinoyshame
Why be so hard on the country?
N e way, the shot-gun sings the song of change. If it is change that is wanted or needed it will most likely need the shot-gun to perpetuate that change…lots of ’em. Nothing else seems to work. Especially elections, LOL!
But it’s that exact attitude that needs changing — “nothing seems to work…Especially elections…” So lets just have a shootout instead. Of course it’s hard, difficults struggle to make society function the way it should according to the ideals that humans have envisioned. That’s the essence of civilization. Taking the easy way out and dropping out of society by resorting to gun violence and other extra legal means is the coward’s way out.
When the people have to live with tyranny it is the peoples duty to revolt.
That is a paraphrase of something Thomas Jefferson said, and it is not cowardly. Most of the world is living in a tyrannical state and the PI is no exception. It takes balls, big balls, buddy, to get a weapon and get to doin what needs to be done. Cowards put up with tyranny, which is exactly what is happening now. If you vote you are wasting your time. The more things stay the same, the more nothing changes. Good luck with voting.
I’m not disputing Thomas Jefferson’s position on the duty of the individual to revolt. The US Constitution has provisions built into it that try to ensure that no one individual or branch of government has the opportunity to monopolize power. Hence the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
My point of contention is that any revolution MUST have an alternative to the status quo and the means to effectively implement it. Otherwise the society that foments the revolution finds itself back in the same situation but with different faces. Contrary to popular belief, most of the world finds itself under a tyranny because the revolutionaries turned out to be exactly the same as the previous tyrant.
It’s cowardly to resort to violence. It is very easy to wield a gun and start shooting. That’s what an AK-47 was designed for. It is even simpler to wield a machete and start hacking up the neighborhood.
It takes a monumental effort to build a society from the mess left behind by the AK-47-shooting, machete-wielding anarchists who didn’t bother to stop and think what happens next. They’re the stupid chumps that create the real problems. They never thought deeply enough about what they were fighting for; it was an emotional response borne out of frustration and a desire to hurt someone else. Ever stop to think where pseudo heroes and leftists get the cannon fodder they need to install them in power?
The most recent uprisings were termed “the Arab Spring”. They were started by the Tunisians who were outraged by a fellow citizen that committed suicide by pouring gasoline on himself in a public-squaren then lighting a match. The revolt spread from there. The Revolutionaries lacked the fire-power though, to overthrow the current regimes in Libya/Egypt and now Syria, and the USA/NATO helped the revolutionaries out by providing armaments. Somehow I do not think that this is what you are referring to, but the reason the same people ended up in power is because after getting help from the USA, the revolutions leaders were forced to deal with their benefactors, much to the peoples’ dismay. Like the Workers in the states with the Mafia, the MILF with Malaysia, and now the participants in the Arab spring, the people sparking the revolutions are not the same people who end up in power because they would have been slaughtered if they did not seek the necessary help to get their aim to change the ruling-class in their countries. The price they must pay for their protection/ability to fight is the hi-jacking of their very Revolutions. So, if you look closely at the recent up-risings it was not the revolutionaries that screwed up the revolutions, it was the people who they had to get into bed with that did. The PI is different though as it could accomplish what needs to be done by a popular revolt with no help from anyone outside the country. The Military would just have to refrain from killing its own people.
The answer to your question might surprise YOU, certainly not me, it’s usually the United States of America or some other superpower depending on which country you are talking about.Sometimes operating through a third party they can not afford to be seen with, sometimes not. The CIA has been toppling gov’t.s for decades as well. In the case Of Jefferson, it was the French Army and Lafayette. But they did not get to control the USA afterwards.
To assume that something as widespread and complex as the various uprisings occurring in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and West Asia was caused by Mohammed Bouazizi’s self immolation is ludicrous. This kind of violent reaction does not happen overnight. It simmers over time and eventually boils over.
A more in-depth analysis of the so-called “Arab Spring” reveals a general dissatisfaction with the ruling governments as well as a deep resentment of the wide differences between rich and poor in those countries. There are numerous other factors as well. Just look up the Wikileaks postings. They run the gamut from human rights violations to corruption to extreme poverty and unemployment. The most often cited reason is the disparity between rich and poor. Like the Philippines, there exists an entrenched autocratic minority where the vast majority of the wealth is concentrated. On the opposite end of the scale: a large disenfranchised population composed primarily of uneducated, impressionable youths who have been influenced by snippets and notions from all over the world to challenge the status quo. This is what caused the unrest, not some street vendor who got beat up because he didn’t have the right permits.
Ever stop to think why it started in Tunisia and Libya?
The knee-jerk unthinking reaction is that the CIA did it and the revolutionaries were working with them. Another absurd notion. Barack Obama does not want to have anything to do with the Middle East. Or North Africa. From the very beginning of his presidency he has stated he will pull out of those areas regardless of the status of the region. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have all criticized his stupidity. In fact, the lead role in the Libyan crisis fell to France NOT the absentee US. The only significant thing Obama has accomplished in Libya is the MURDER of the US Ambassador.
The uprising started in Tunisia because it does not have the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The same goes for Libya. If they did, they would have oil revenues to pay for better soldiers, a more vicious internal security apparatus and a more comfortable life for their people the way the Saudis have been doing. Without those things in place, the peoples of Tunisia and Libya had a better opportunity and more encouragement to resort to civil war. Even if the only weapons they had were sticks and stones, Twitter and Facebook. And most of them were willing to do exactly that — sacrifice their lives for some vague notion that their lives will somehow get better if Ben Ali (Tunisia), Qadaffi (Libya) and Mubarak (Egypt) were removed from power. And contrary to your assertion, most of the participants in these civil wars were locals, NOT CIA or foreign private armies or whatever else Hollywood may have led you to imagine. Any foreign fighters on the ground were supplied by Muslim Brotherhood extremists who had for decades been trying to oust dictators like Mubarak.
You should also realize that in the aftermath of these events NOT ONE so-called revolutionary leader could articulate their platform for the new government or their new, egalitarian society. This created a vacuum throughout those Arab countries where the uprisings occurred. This space in turn was filled by hard-line ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS largely supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. Those are the conditions that these countries now face. From a nebulous idea of some vague notion of democracy that was never fleshed out, they have plunged into totalitarian states under the control of murderous extremists whose only intention is to kill anyone who is not like them.
I lay a lot of the blame on the Western Democracies. Neither America nor any European government provided an alternative infrastructure to replace the old regimes. Much of the blame also falls on the so-called revolutionaries. Even during the street protests there were signs that it was an uncivilized, undisciplined, chaotic, mindless mob that was gathering. They attacked anyone and anything, including sympathetic westerners and reporters who were merely covering the events.
This is exactly the problem I described previously. Without realizing a comprehensive plan for revolution, the idealists of the so-called “Arab Spring” were co-opted by the better established extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and their followers. Instead of “freedom,” there is a restrictive, uncompromising Islamic state sweeping across North Africa, West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. The exact opposite of a free, democratic civilization.
I did not state what you said I stated. Nor am I debating what the simmering problems in the coutries were prior to the guy who torched himself. What I stated is right on target, if you want to mis-interpret, mis-quote me as well as change the context of what I stated and then use it to bolster your position, as if I am in-correct about what is in fact true, why bother to even reply to what I said and just state it in another post? The revolutions I mentioned were hi-jacked, except the one in the USA,(but it happened, at Valley-Forge Pa. when ,just as I stated, Lafayette and his army showed up and saved the day for Gen. Washington). To further expound on why the USA revolt was not hi-jacked by the French, nah! forget it.
This is what you said:
“The most recent uprisings were termed ‘the Arab Spring’. They were started by the Tunisians who were outraged by a fellow citizen that committed suicide by pouring gasoline on himself in a public-squaren then lighting a match. The revolt spread from there. The Revolutionaries lacked the fire-power though, to overthrow the current regimes in Libya/Egypt and now Syria, and the USA/NATO helped the revolutionaries out by providing armaments. Somehow I do not think that this is what you are referring to, but the reason the same people ended up in power is because after getting help from the USA, the revolutions leaders were forced to deal with their benefactors, much to the peoplesâ€™ dismay.”
All I did was to put your “Arab Spring” in the proper context and lay out what happened in the aftermath of the dictatorships that were overthrown. The actual situation is contrary to the ill-informed belief that malevolent forces in America subverted the popular wave of demonstrations, protests and civil wars. The US being largely absent from the scene for most of the event, leaves a power vacuum which Islamic extremists have filled.
This situation is actually a good illustration of my original comment when I stated that a revolution can only be sustained by a complete ideology and platform of action along with a force of arms. Without this, the movement will likely be, as you said, “hijacked” by external forces.
It is only the pointing out that the people trying to effect the change lack the resources to effect that change and the simple pointing out of the fact that the people trying to effect the change are then forced to patronize the people who help them effect the change. I am not missing the underlying causes of certain named uprisings, I am simply making a larger point about the what and why the uprisings go wrong or do not effect the intended changes originally sought by the disgruntled people who wanted the change to begin with. It could be auto-workers in Germany, the jews in ancient Rome, who-ever, u kno?
For a simpler, maybe even better way to effect change see my 1st post in this thread.
I appreciate your zeal for the topics here, and recognize the intellect involved.
I have a view that is not-too-popular and that is that the country is a ‘failed state'( for quite a few reasons) and needs a drastic overhaul, and it is long overdue. Looking at the complete failure to control elements inside its own borders and the ‘peace accord’ recently made by a government that ,by making that deal, admits that it is powerless to control certain elements with in its sovereign jurisdiction can only be called a ‘failed state’, and that is only one reason for attaching the label. So, what is to be done? Vote?
Yes! Absolutely! Participate in the voting process. If you have no one to vote for, do not mark anything on your ballot. Let it be counted as spoiled.
What few people seem to comprehend is that voting in an election is the manner in which citizens in a democracy wield their considerable power. If the electorate is too lazy to vote the right people into the Senate, they deserve the cadre of cheats, crooks and cronies that they get.
The gun violence and civil unrest does not automatically secure the utopia you aspire to. That will only come if (1) there is a viable alternative to the status quo you want to replace; and (2) the perpetrators of the violence are willing to take their actions to its conclusion. Otherwise it is a moot point to be making noise, agitating for a violent civil war just because you are frustrated with the life you currently lead. That effort is selfish and ultimately futile. It won’t be able to refute the “advice” and “assistance” of so-called allies and assorted hangers on.
Che Guevara is probably the most successful Marxist revolutionary of the modern age. Wannabe activists and arm chair revolutionaries would do well to study his life. As early as 1958, the CIA recognized him as having a wide range of academic interests and possessing a high intellect.
Che is, in many respects, the pivotal character in the guerrilla campaign that ousted US-backed Fulgencio Batista from Cuba. What is even more significant is his work AFTER the revolution. He performed quite a number of key roles in the post-Batista government. From Wikipedia:
“Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism.”
He denounced both the US and his Soviet allies, saying they merely saw Cuba as a pawn in their Cold War strategies. Speaking at the United Nations in 1964, he denounced the body’s inaction on South African Apartheid policies. He condemned the US for its prevailing attitudes of racial discrimination.
That Che was a profound influence on Cuba and the global communist effort towards a world proletariat revolution. The fact that Socialist Cuba persists today is a testament to this. Che literally crafted the “Socialist utopia,” based on the philosophy of the “collective good” that would be the repudiation of the excesses of Batista and the US. Without him, Socialist Cuba might have ended with the Bay of Pigs.
It is this kind of moral certainty that ensured the success of Che’s revolution. Even more than brutal militarism. As a result, his life has become an icon of the leftist movement and has caused Time magazine to name him as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Like I said, my view of what is wrong and the change, and how to effect it, are not too popular. Would I take it upon myself? not without an army, and anyone who tries will have a difficult life.
But voting in rigged elections? That is to milk a dead cow, nothing comes out. I mean, nothing comes out at all.
as for Che, he was a rare guy. But he ended up getting set-up and died in a mosquito infested swamp. True, he did not play ball with those who wanted to be his master, and look how easy it was to set the guy up. He should have stayed in Havana, where he was #1a (did not want to call him #2, u kno?) and just because he/they were successful once, he obviously thought he could do it again. Look how wrong you can be.
It is a different world that we live in today.
Try to cut the best deal you can with the hand that you are dealt. and maybe, ONLY just maybe, one day the chance to do something rare comes along. But usually not.
#’s. #’s. #’s.
Che had more in common in this regard to Thomas Paine. You want him around as an ideologue and for his political activism but you’d probably need to arrest (and execute) him to create a lasting peace especially if the parties involved need to compromise.
Your point of view isn’t unpopular. A lot of people are sympathetic to the idea of civil unrest, even violent revolt. If anything, armed action is pretty easy to foment. It’s actually more difficult to convince an armed mob to stand down once it gets started. That’s always been my position. And that’s the problem I keep pointing out.
Che is unique among revolutionaries in that he appreciated non-violence as a medical student and was wide read in literature and at the same time did not hesitate to execute dissenters. Unlike most revolutionaries, he had a complete platform of government and actually went through with its implementation.
Again, contrary to the notion that he was “set up” Che was never going to succeed in Bolivia. He was too confrontational with the Bolivian communists, calling them disloyal and stupid. Not the best kind of working relationship. His revolutionary zeal also probably made him blind to the presence of US special forces advising the Bolivian military. Quite a different situation from Cuba where he had complete logistical support and the Castro brothers to temper his abrasive attitude.
Good article. As usual, you hit the nail right on the head…
FYI: The photo at the top of the page (showing a group of Filipinos brandishing AK47s) is NOT a “Private Army”. If I’m not mistaken, that picture was taken in Iraq circa 2004 before or after a “range day”. The men shown were under contract with either DynCorp or Crucible.
Thank you for pointing that out. Got it from Asianews which is linked in the opening quote. Thanks to you Jetlag and all the others giving their feedback.
Similar levels of violence, if not worse, can be seen in many parts of the world.
“I have body odor, but other people have body odor, too, so there’s no need to be more hygienic.”
So since life is cheaper in some other places relatively speaking Monk we should be OK with it. No need to aspire to be like societies on this Earth where life is more precious and cared for. OK. Chuerry Blossom thanks. Only noticed now there was some “life” here.