Dear UNC-Wilmington Board of Trustees:
I am writing to ask a favor of the Board – one I hope it will take seriously in light of our institution's desire to fight hatred and intolerance on all levels. My request is based on my concern that the rising number of Che Guevara t-shirts among UNCW students reflects a profound ignorance of his life and his true legacy. I think that building a Guevara Memorial in the center of campus would go a long way towards remedying this kind of ignorance.
Before I get into the details of what I want to include in the new Guevara Memorial I would like to address the reasons why he is so misunderstood. A lot of the confusion has to do with the press. Here are some examples of misleading statements made by columnists and authors, which might explain why some of our students regard him as a hero rather than a villain:
"Few doubt Che's sincerity." David Segal, Washington Post.
"[Che presented a] Christ-like image … with his mortuary gaze it is as if Guevara looks upon his killers and forgives them." Jorge Castaneda, Newsweek.
"Che's decency and nobility always led him to apologize." Jorge Castaneda, Newsweek.
"Bravery, fearlessness, honesty, austerity, and absolute conviction … he lived it – Che really lived it." Jon Lee Anderson, author.
"[Che's image] derives from a visual language … it also references a classical Christ-like demeanor." Trisha Ziff, Guggenheim Museum Curator.
"Che died a martyr's death in 1967." David Segal, Washington Post.
In order to help counteract some of the misleading statements authors, journalists, academics, and celebrities have made about Guevara, I would propose that we model his memorial after Thomas Jefferson's. Following that plan, we could carve some of his most revealing quotes into the walls of the memorial for all to see. Some suggestions follow:
"A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate." Che Guevara.
"If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City." Che Guevara.
"We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims... We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm." Che Guevara.
"Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial bowl." Che Guevara.
"Don't shoot! I'm Che, I'm worth more to you alive than dead." Che Guevara.
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