Thursday, September 5, 2013

US tourists want mural of Che Guevara destroyed in Ireland

There’s something comforting about knowing idiocy is an international phenomenon not particular to the US. It’s not really a negative kind of solidarity so much as a helluva consolation in a crazy-assed world. Today we learn that an iconic, world-renowned 20-ft. mural of Che Guevara (whose full name is Ernesto Guevara Lynch with Irish ancestry traced to Galway) has been painted over by local authorities just weeks ahead of a Latin American cultural festival in Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland. The annual festival was established in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s visit in 1961 when he & his entourage were grounded at nearby Shannon Airport. Irish media reports that US tourists left Kilkee in a huff after seeing the mural though we aren’t told how many packed their bags & left. Was it just a couple of big tippers or were there caravans of them? Or was it just those Cuban politicians from Florida who made a similar flap last year about a proposed monument of Guevara in nearby Galway?

Now to be fair to the bozos on the Clare county council who made the cowardly decision, Kilkee’s main source of income is the tourist industry--though presumably many tourists come for the Latin American festival & to honor Guevara. Money tends to have a numbing affect on dull minds but it’s positively lethal for those with cash register mentalities like the local chamber of commerce who insisted the festival was cultural, not political.

The artist for both the mural & the monument is Jim Fitzpatrick from Dublin who had a chance encounter with Guevara in Kilkee during the 1961 visit. We leave it to our man to decide what to do next but protests to the county council might be in order.

Guevara was murdered in Bolivia in 1967 with strong evidence suggesting involvement of the CIA. In an interview two years later his father said, "The first thing to note is that in my son's veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels.” Ireland has produced many remarkable rebels (regrettably also quite a few rogues who migrated to the US) but every nationality has produced great fighters for social justice which is why freedom fighters around the world continue to honor Guevara for his immense humanity & commitment to the oppressed & why he will remain a beacon & inspiration--with or without the mural homage in Kilkee.

(Photo of destroyed mural on Alley Wall in Kilkee, Ireland)

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