An Exemplary LIFE

He believed that destiny can be achieved by willpower…

MOHAMMAD KAMRAN SHAMSHAD

BOOK REVIEW
Book:   Che Guevara-A Revolutionary Life
Author:  Jon Lee Anderson

Born to an affluent old Argentine family, Ernesto Guevara nom de Guerre ‘Che Guevara’ became an inspirational figure almost to the whole world. Physician by profession what made him at the age of 28 leave his wife and a child and then at the age of 36 give up his ministerial position in revolutionary Cuba?
Jon Lee Anderson in his bestselling biography “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life’ explores the reasons behind Ernesto to fight for the world’s downtrodden. He has divided his book into three parts: Unquiet youth, Becoming Che and Making of the new man. The book shows the dedication, firm belief, and the will power of Che Guevara.
Che was born on 14 June, 1928. He soon developed a severe lifelong asthma. He didn’t let his physical disability overcome his goals instead he worked harder than others to overcome such obstacles. He as a medical student would not read only medicine but authors like Freud, Bertrand Russell, Benito Mussolini, and then finally showed special interest in Karl Marx.
While studying medicine, he could have thought of getting a good job, leading a luxurious life, but his real feelings were concealed ‘on (his) four pages of small notepaper,’ when he was just 18 year old:
…The bullets, what can the bullets do to me if
My destiny is to die by drowning. But I am
Going to overcome destiny. Destiny can be
Achieved by willpower…
A memory more lasting than my name
Is to fight, to die fighting.
After watching the exploitations made by capitalists on his trip to Latin America, he takes vow to fight against it, fight against the social injustice. One of the examples of the capitalist exploitations he witnesses was Chile’s Chuquicamata copper mine run by American mining monopolies. Needless to say, Ernesto saw while these companies reaped huge profits, Chile’s own economy was hugely dependent on the revenues it received from them.
In July 1955 Che meets Fidel Castro and joins the July 26th movement. Che soon throws his energies into the Cuban revolutionary enterprise, doesn’t train himself only physically but politically.
To overthrow the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, the Fidel’s small army of 82 men including Che on 24 November 1956 heads for Cuba in a battered motor yacht, Granma. In 1958, 45 organizations like lawyers, architects, dentist, and accountants sign an open letter supporting the July 26 movement. Batista in order to legitimize his de facto rule holds elections. Over 75 percent voters boycotted the elections.
After a long struggle and tough guerilla war, on January 1, 1959, the guerrilla armies make their triumphal entry into Havana as Batista flees the country on New Year Day.
Guevara serves as Minister of Industries and additional position of Finance Minister and President of National bank in Cuba but later resigns only to bring a revolution in another country Bolivia.
Guevara’s unit wins several skirmishes against Bolivian troops before he is wounded and taken prisoner and executed on November 9, 1967 at the young age of 39. His body minus hands is buried in a secret grave in the death of the night.
Reading Jon Lee Anderson’s ‘Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life,’ elegantly written and an enjoyable read, makes you learn many things. Keeping his severe asthma in mind, Che tells the world that it is the motivation, dedication, firm belief that drives people. His life also teaches us that education is very important. Che would teach new guerilla recruits economics and many other things. Che used to carry his books even into jungle. He himself when in doubt would read books on that topic.
Final words: While watching so much of oppression in Latin America he writes the worst form of suppression he witnessed was in the city of Bogotá where:
“… the police patrol the streets with their rifles on their shoulders and constantly demanded one’s passport…”
Reviewer is a student of Asian College of Journalism and can be reached at skamranmuhammad@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST




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