I have decided to go on a mission. This mission will be a simultaneous statement of both fashion and politics. If you think my name made it to Mr. Blackwell’s “10 Worst Dressed List” you’re wrong. Even if it did, a rat’s ass I could care. Mr. Blackwell is a pompous, arrogant old fart with too much time on his hands and with just as bad a taste in fashion as those he critiques.
What made me to go on this fashion mission are all those ridiculous red and black Che Guevarra T-shirts people wear. The funniest part of it is that most people wearing them don’t know who Che was. The saddest part is that all of them don’t know what Che did as Fidel Castro’s right hand man.
Personally speaking, support for such a murderer is a proclamation of ignorance. When it came to human rights, Che would have none of that. All that mattered was his image as an icon of “La Revolucion.”
While charismatic, Che was a cold-blooded murderer. He signed a multitude of death warrants that put many Cubans, even those who were loyal to Castro during the overthrow of Fulgencio Batistato, to death by firing squad.
In the end, Che got a dose of his own brand of justice in the jungles of Bolivia at the business end of a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. So much for the Argentine revolutionary. Too bad being charismatic does not make one bulletproof. It only makes you a target, and later a picture on a T-shirt.
To a Cuban, someone wearing a Che T-shirt is the equivalent of someone wearing a Hitler T-shirt in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood like Skokie, Ill. The American Nazi Party chose to march through the streets of Skokie back in the summer of 1976, but that’s another story for another time.
Another amusing thing about the people who wear those ridiculous Che T-shirts is that they preach peace and tolerance, both qualities Che did not posses during his reign of terror on the island of Cuba. I would tell you to ask some of his victims, but as I stated earlier, they’re all dead.
In America, we do have the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and it guarantees that our freedom of expression cannot and will not be thwarted. While the Che T-shirts are freedom of expression, I’m sure some of my fellow Cubans would probably get a little violent at the sight of one of these gems.
While I am Cuban, I’m not a violent person. In fact, many consider me to be quite tolerant, even of the most stupid antics. After all, to err is human and humans we all are. If we weren’t, then there would be no Che T-shirts for some to wear.
I’ve decided to take a different approach. This approach is one that will test the tolerance of those who wear the Che T-shirts and be a test of my belief in the First Amendment.
My decision is to start wearing my red and black “Viva la revolucion de Reagan” T-shirt. My other favorite is my black with white lettering “Fry Mumia” T-shirt. The other one is a “Not Fonda Kerry in 2004. Let the French have him” T-shirt. I like the clever play on words with that one.
I figure that if people can wear a T-shirt that portrays a ruthless butcher that terrorized my country of birth as a hero, then I can wear a shirt proclaiming my views. All said, fair is fair.
Fret not, for these shirts are 100% cotton and are made here in the good old U.S. of A. As a skater, I always go for the baggy look so XL will do just fine. Also, with XL, the artwork is bigger so it is more pronounced.
I’m sure some people will take issue with my attire, but so what? I’m well within my rights as an American citizen, just as you’re within yours. That’s the beauty of our rights: They work both ways.
Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident.