Monday, October 26, 2009


The jungles are quiet. No more Che Guevara, Mao Tse-Tung, Carlos Marighella and other revolutionists-cum-guerrilla warriors. But their legacy and spirit lives on. They represented the militant voice of the revolutionary age. They died for freedom: freedom from the imperialist west, for the peasants and for nationalism. They represented the youth then and continuously to do even today. Their portraits and pictures appear on T-shirts. The networking youth has online communities and fan clubs in their name. Even after their death they influence the society.

Mao’s portrait at the Tiananmen Square depicts his legacy and struggle, which he fought through the barrel of gun in jungles and with his poems and effective writings. While the 5 story steel outline of Che’s face in Havana, Cuba speaks for his armed struggle along side Fidel Castro and Raul Castro against the political penetration of the west.

Mao studied Han dynasty and examined past revolutions, but his main source of inspiration was Sun Tzu, a Taoist thinker and the author of The Art of War, a book on military strategy. He followed the theory of ‘deception and pretend incapacity’ given by Tzu. On the other hand Che travelled throughout Latin America and was transformed by the poverty, imperialism and capitalism in the region.

The guerrillas sell optimism and provide hope for liberation. Their movement uses mass demonstration, propaganda, strikes and weapons to arouse voice against the established rule. Mao puts is bluntly: “Arouse the greatest number of the masses in the shortest time by the best means possible….to deal with the enemy.” Che is explicit: Guerrilla warfare is a war of the masses….guerrilla is the social reformer who takes up the arms against the oppressor in order to change the social system.” Guerrilla warfare has its roots embedded in political and armed intervention of the foreign forces and the feeling of nationalism that are aroused by such interventions.

In China it was Mao’s struggle against Chiang Kai-shek and foreign intervention of Japan and American help to the later. He called for foreign aid from the west, but with a condition. The condition was, not to accept any aid that is given on the basis of imperialism and it had to come as per China’s condition. Che was a prolific writer and diarist. His writings include analysis of guerrilla warfare, his memoir The Motorcycle Diaries and have inspired a manual for the Green Berets, a book on counter guerrilla.

Many countries have freed themselves from the imperial clutches in the last century mostly by guerrilla warfare. Again the major cause for their armed revolution was the foreign intervention: political, military and economic. Even today there is intervention from the west in terms of multinational and transnational corporations, global economic opportunities, military support and advance technologies. Unfortunately no amount of Che and Mao can fight these different forms of imperialists.

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