If it were up to me, I would never shop at Target.
In fact, if it were up to me, I’d probably just close down the chain.
I came to that conclusion two years ago when the giant retailer banned Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmastime, because of its no-soliciting policy. Coincidentally, if you believe in coincidences, homosexual activist groups had lobbied Target to shut down the Salvation Army displays because of the group’s position, based on the Bible, that homosexual behavior is sin.
But while Target doesn’t like solicitations for Christian charities outside its stores, it has no problem with the celebration of a cold, calculating, communist killing machine inside its stores.
Just in time for Christmas 2006, Target is selling Che Guevara CD cases.
You’ve seen the murdering revolutionary’s visage on T-shirts for years. But Target has taken the merchandising of this villainous monster to new heights.
Most of the kids who buy the T-shirts and the CD cases probably have no idea who Che is — or what he was. They probably don’t know he ordered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocents to the firing squads of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. They probably don’t know he came very close to triggering a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
What’s the definition of irony? How about a terrorist leader who died fighting for anti-capitalist ideals fueling multimillion-dollar profits for U.S. department stores and other retailers?
How many of the purchasers of those products know the real Guevara? How many of them care?
Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928 and originally trained to become a doctor at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1952, he embarked on the trip dramatized in "The Motorcycle Diaries" across South America. After returning to Buenos Aires to complete his medical degree, Guevara set off again to travel through the Americas. He participated in leftist movements in Guatemala and Mexico and became acquainted with Cuban expatriates in those countries. He joined Castro’s revolutionary Cuban army in 1956 as a top commander and Castro’s personal physician. He helped Castro topple the regime in Havana in 1959.
As Castro’s right-hand man in the new regime, Guevara ordered the execution of hundreds of people while in charge of the notorious La Cabana prison in Havana. He was unapologetic about the mass killings of innocent people, explaining in his diaries, "To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."
Pure hate. It wasn’t the first time Guevara used the expression, nor the last. He explained how it must be a tool in the arsenal of revolutionary terrorists — permitting them to do things they would otherwise never be able to accomplish.
"Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine — this is what our soldiers must become," Guevara said.
During the Cuban missile crisis, Guevara was in favor of a nuclear war with the United States because he believed that a better world could be built from the ashes, regardless of the cost in millions of lives. He was overruled by cooler heads in the Kremlin and in Cuba. The nuclear missiles headed for Cuba, 90 miles from the United States, were returned to Russia.
Disgraced by the slight, Guevara went to create new revolutionary movements and to wage armed struggle in Africa and Latin America. He was killed in the jungles of Bolivia in 1967.
Guevara was proud of the fact that he personally put bullets in the backs of the heads of many he considered counter-revolutionary.
Once again, in rallying his guerrillas in Angola, he wrote: "Blind hate against the enemy creates a forceful impulse that cracks the boundaries of natural human limitations, transforming the soldier in an effective, selective and cold killing machine. A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary."
Che Guevara CD cases, indeed.
No, you won’t catch me in Target this year or any other year. I just wish more Americans knew their history — and cared a little more.