The Motorcycle Diaries Made Revolution a Pop Culture Product

The encounters Che describes become more than mere travel anecdotes; they
spark a fire within him, prompting him to critically analyze the social and
political structures that perpetuate the disparities that so shock him. After
reading the Diaries, the sensitive reader might be prompted to examine
his own surroundings. Who is being left behind today, and how have existing
institutions failed them? How should we gauge the quality of a democracy that
abides such needless suffering? The end of the diary distills Che’s urgent revelation
brought on by his odyssey alongside Granado:

I see myself, immolated in the genuine
revolution, the great equalizer of individual will, proclaiming the ultimate mea
. I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of
gunpowder and blood, the enemy’s death; I steel my body, ready to do battle,
and prepare myself to be a sacred space within which the bestial howl of the
triumphant proletariat can resound with new energy and new hope.

Through it all, that is what stands out from the Diaries today:
energy and hope—the adamant belief in a world remade.

In 2011, as the Arab Spring bloomed, a former Hillary Clinton adviser asserted that “the Che Guevara of the 21st
century is the network,” referring to the apparent power of the internet to
disrupt despotic regimes everywhere. But Che the armed insurrectionist was
eventually captured and executed, his final wish being only to “die with a full stomach.” The kind of online political organizing
that a decade ago struck fear into the powerful appears also to have been
brought to heel. The moment is one of political uncertainty, astronomical
wealth, and profound inequality. As he experienced such
circumstances seven decades ago, Ernesto
Guevara de la Serna possessed few of the certainties he would later espouse as
Che. More than for advice on guerrilla warfare, it is for humility, righteous
indignation, openness, curiosity, and, yes, solidarity that readers today should
examine Che’s early writings. They will find all that and more in The
Motorcycle Diaries.

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Kim browne

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