Major Backlash Against “Galway Che” Monument Ignites Controversy

Major Backlash Against “Galway Che” Monument Ignites Controversy

Columnist Kevin Myers Leads Backlash Against Proposed Statue

Not too long ago on this very website, we talked about Che Guevara’s Irish roots and the plan for a new monument to stand near his ancestral home in Galway, Republic of Ireland. The plan seemed to be going forward after a long period of debate, but it’s that very progress that seems to have summoned up more voices of dissent. Major Irish newspapers have come out with opinion pieces against the move, though it remains to be seen what decision the Galway City Council will eventually take.

Respected columnist Kevin Myers has appeared in at least two outlets over the last few days to raise alarm over the idea of a Che monument. “Who really wants to see the sun go down on Galway Che?” he asks in the title of a new Belfast Telegraph editorial. Myers’ argument is detailed and cogent, tracing the history of political conflict and mass murder in the twentieth century. He largely repeats the argument in The Irish Independent, saying that it shows that Che, who he describes as evil, shares in common the quality of “beauty” and “guile” common to his conception of evil forces.

It’s interesting to note that Myers’ impassioned pleas have provoked a range of responses on the sites where his work is posted, from wholehearted agreement to scorn. Some voices seem to suggest that Myers’ take on Che’s legacy and the real situation in Cuba is propagandistic and lacks first-hand experience. Of course, it’s also difficult to take serious anonymous postings on the internet -- Mr. Myers definitely has a better platform in this debate. No telling, as of yet, if his argument has been heard in Galway, but we may know soon.