Showing posts with label Communist Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Communist Party. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Guerrillero Heroico: Michael Korda's famous 1960 photograph of Ernesto "Che" Guevara

by Jack Brummet, Travel Editor

Guerrillero Heroico: this image of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, by Cuban photographer Michael Korda was taken in Havana in 1960 at a memorial service for the victims of the Le Coubre explosion. By the end of the 1960s, Guevara's notoriety and revolutionary actions and execution (by CIA-hired assassins), solidified the leader and his image as an icon.

Korda once said that at the moment he shot the picture at the funeral, he was drawn to Guevara's facial expression, which showed "absolute implacability" as well as anger and pain.

Images of Che Guevara are ubiquitous in Cuba (and over much of the world). There are also, of course, many images of Fidel Castro, who survived Che by over 50 years. But it is Che you see *everywhere*, in many forms and mediums.

The image was the focus of a documentary "Chevolution," by Trisha Ziff, as well as a 2009 book "Che's Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image" by Michael Casey."

It is a stunning photograph 
and fascinating to see (in such a heavily controlled and monitored society) the degree of exploitation of this image, in memorials, photos, books, and posters. Here are some of the trash and trinkets we saw.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles

by Jack Brummet, Music Editor

I am assuming this pamphlet by David A. Noebel was written sometime after John Lennon's statement that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. I remember when this happened in 1966, and how the Tea Party forebears held Beatle burnings across the south and midwest--huge bonfires of LPs, 45s, Beatle wigs, posters, books, and souvenirs. Even then it was clear these people were the lunatic fringe; it wasn't us, listening to what turned out to be fairly innocent and beautiful music. But the religious right aside, I dig the communism angle. Like The Beatles were channeling messages from Nikita Kruschev to the Youth of America.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Photos and notes from Tiananmen Square, Beijing

By Jack Brummet, China Travel Editor

Tiananmen Square is El Centro of China; the very heart of the country.  The Communist Party began building the square after the 1949 revolution.  It was the parade ground upon which The Party would hold its massive parades of soldiers, tanks, and missiles.  Eventually, it would contain Mao Zedong's tomb, and many other museums, monuments, and memorials.  TS sits squarely in the center of BeijingChina, and is named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace--a phrase lifted from the I Ching) just across the street to its North, and a few hundred feet south of the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is one of the largest city squares in the world--roughly 100 acres.  It has enormous cultural significance as the site of numerous important events in post-revolution Chinese history.  

Almost every citizen I asked about the square didn't want to talk about what happened there in 1989. They didn't refuse to talk about it, but their answers were always a little muddy and vague.  To us, outside China, the square is known as the focal point of the protests of 1989, the pro-democracy movement which abruptly ended on June 4th, 1989, with a declaration of martial law in Beijing, the iconic images of a tank killing a protester, and the death of several hundred civilians.  It was a sobering visit for me, partly because no one really wants to discuss what happened with an obscure American blog site.  People seem aware of what happened, but no one was willing to open up on how it affected the citizens. In any case, this is one of the most popular tourist sites in China.  There were literally thousands of Chinese tourists the day I visited there, and maybe one or two dozen Europeans and Americans.  

Tiananmen Square is the biggest square I have ever seen (the biggest square I've seen prior to this was El Plaza Mayor in Madrid--a mere 129 by 94 metres).  There are many beautiful and culturally significant features, but for me it was impossible to be there without remembering the savage beatdown the Party put down on its citizens in  1989.  I was utterly unable to determine what the events of June 4th mean to the regular folk in China; I encountered the same reticence every time I asked people about membership in the Communist Party.

This photo captures maybe one third of the vastness of Tiananmen Square.  The building you see
directly in front, behind the red video screen on the right, is Mao Zedong's tomb.

A view of the Great People's Hall

 I didn't verify this, but these two video displays (this is just one--roughly 150 feet wide--may be the biggest have ever seem.  They mostly display scenes from various parts of China and messages for The People.  

The obelisk is a memorial for fallen soldiers.

The leading edge of a sculpture just to the left of Mao Zedong's temple 
(in which the taxidermied Mao Zedong is available for viewing three hours a day).

Another view of the sculpture outside Mao's memorial.  Someone just pointed out to me that they 
thought this sculpture resembled the famous photograph of Americans planting the flag on Iwo Jima. 

Mao Zedong's tomb, which closed at noon, frustrating hundreds of Chinese tourists

The next few shots are of the colorful topiaries on the west side of the square.

The flag

A six hundred year old lion sculpture