Kevin Myers: Guevara reminds us that evil is not ugly, or repellent, or outwardly vile ... It is beguiling, beautiful and persuasive
Galway City Council is considering a proposal to raise a statue to Che Guevara. Excellent: a monument to a ruthless killer is just what our ailing tourism industry needs. However, I will say this for Guevara: he reminds us that evil is usually not ugly, or repellent, or outwardly vile. Quite the reverse. It is beguiling, beautiful and persuasive: these are its vital qualities. Stalin and Mao and Kim Il Sung were all personally loved.
They were at the very pinnacles of that diabolical thing, the human hierarchy, but they could only remain there by bewitching their courtiers. Just one man from the toxic era of communism is still globally revered. Yes, Che Guevara, who was such a nice fellow that he wanted to create Vietnams throughout both South America and Africa.
To be sure, like most of the 20th century despots who were addicted to violence, he was not a personally self-indulgent man. Mao -- the exception, and also the most evil -- was a serial rapist. The other great global murderers merely preferred imposing their ideas on millions. But Che Guevara, vagrant sociopath, murderer, fantasist and narcissist remains in a class of his own. In victory in Cuba, he was a cold-blooded murderer, but then could not settle to life in an adult society. So he pursued his real desires in the jungles of failure in two continents, in an endless quest for violence. He even went to the Congo, to start a violent revolution there. How insane and wicked is it to want to promote bloodshed in what was already the bloodiest place on the planet? Thus the Gulag meets the Heart of Darkness. His capacity for violence, his desire for hardship, his charisma: all in all, perfect material as an SS Oberstgruppenfuehrer.