The image of Che Guevara is very widely known worldwide, but especially in his native Argentina. His image is used to symbolise a lot of things (see quote below). Even people who are vehemently not communist use his image. I bet if Che Guevara knew that his image would get put on non-communist-related items, he would be very pissed off.

The discovery of Che's remains metonymically activated a series of interlinked associations—rebel, martyr, rogue figure from a picaresque adventure, savior, renegade, extremist—in which there was no fixed divide among them. The current court of opinion places Che on a continuum that teeters between viewing him as a misguided rebel, a coruscatingly brilliant guerrilla philosopher, a poet-warrior jousting at windmills, a brazen warrior who threw down the gauntlet to the bourgeoisie, the object of fervent paeans to his sainthood, or a mass murderer clothed in the guise of an avenging angel whose every action is imbricated in violence—the archetypal Fanatical Terrorist.

Dr. Peter McLaren, author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution<260>

If Che Guevara became such an iconic figure because of his rebellion and martyrdom, why did it specifically have to be him? Perhaps the only more iconic martyr figure is literally Jesus Christ himself.

Why didn't, say, the Scholl siblings, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohamed_Bouazizi, Boris Nemtsov or José Rizal become as iconic worldwide as Che Guevara? Like Che Guevara, these people were all martyred by unjust societies for their resistance, but unlike him, they could not be blamed for any atrocities. Also, these people aren't communists, so their legacy shouldn't be tarnished by association with communism.

Speaking of "rebellion" and "martyrdom", does this mean that a few decades down the line, t-shirts and posters using Osama bin Laden's image could become common? To me, Osama bin Laden's story sounds somewhat similar to that of Che Guevara, so could this phenomenon repeat and turn the perpetrator of 9/11 into a globally-revered icon of rebellion and martyrdom?

Source: reddit post


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