What would Che Guevara do?

As there is a growing trend among the Left to sway away from openly supporting Resistance groups, leftists need to pause and ask themselves what the figures they cherish would do.

An illustration showing Ernesto Che Guevara, a Palestinian freedom fighter, and the destruction in Gaza caused by Israeli strikes. Illustration: Mahdi Rtail, Al Mayadeen English

To say that the Israeli genocide against Palestinians has been ongoing for six months is inaccurate, as it started in 1948, 76 years ago. Over the past 76 years, Palestinians have exhibited magnificent strength and determination in facing their oppressor, defending themselves against the Israeli occupation, and fighting for their own liberation and freedom. Their resistance has worn several shapes and forms, from a simple rock thrown at an Israeli Merkava to meticulous, groundbreaking operations carried out by Resistance groups.

Ever since local resistance movements emerged, many people have stood up against them for reasons that vary from pure Western propaganda to just simply being pro-imperialist. The saddening stance, however, is the one taken by several leftists around the world who do want a free Palestine but do not support resistance groups.

The very same people praise revolutionaries like Ernesto Che Guevera, who dedicated his life to fighting imperialism through armed struggle, making imperialists fear him even after it gruesomely killed him. Che Guevara showed the world the importance of fighting imperialism through guerilla warfare rather than mere protests. He spread important ideas through statements and actions that, to this day, inspire many people, most of whom are to the left of the political spectrum.

A very famous video for Che Guevara shows him giving a speech at the United Nations. He ends his speech by saying, “Homeland or death.” This has been embodied by Palestinians from the moment they are born to the moment they leave the world, often with their blood on the hands of Israeli occupation forces.

“Homeland or death,” if taken in the context of Palestine, strictly means that one should do everything they can to fight for a free Palestine, from the river to the sea. It means that leftists around the world should not promote or even accept a “two-state solution,” nor should they accept the demonization of Resistance groups by the Israeli occupation and its allies or even hesitate to support the Resistance.

Che Guevara is still alive

Following the Israeli attack that deliberately targeted and killed Al Mayadeen correspondent Farah Omar, videographer Rabih Me’mari, and Hussein Akil on November 20, Che Guevara’s daughter, Aleida, visited Lebanon to attend the memorial service of the martyrs.

Aleida Guevara also took a detour to Saida, a city in South Lebanon, and met with the Popular Democratic Party, a leftist group. As I was present in the meeting and had the honor to meet Che’s own flesh and blood, and heard her share many stories about her father and experiences from her own struggle against imperialism, I was curious to know what she believes Che would think amid the increasing leftist diversion from armed resistance.

So I asked, “We notice today that many people within the left, who raise pictures of Che and idolize him, have a negative stance toward several Resistance groups standing against Western imperialism, from Hamas to Hezbollah and the Yemeni Armed Forces. If Che was here today, what would his opinion be, and what can we do to unite fronts?”

She started her reply by saying that it was indeed a difficult mission to unite these fronts, but “I always say, based on my father’s thinking, we should always look for the common ground. We should begin by specifying our goals and then look for what unites us or what common goals we have.”

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