So much for petty-minded bureaucracy. After Clare County Council erased a mural from the ball alley, which was based on Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic image, the good citizens of Kilkee didn’t take it lying down.
Two new murals have appeared on private property, giving the finger to the council official who justified removing the original mural by claiming it contravened legislation, as if the council’s limited resources were put to best use by painting over this well-executed image. It’s bullshit, of course. Somebody put pressure on someone, and a crew was sent to paint over the mural in order to appease whatever blowhard objected to it. That’s how local government works everywhere in the world.
Now it’s in the council’s hands. Will they, as a warden in Limerick ludicrously decided last year, claim that the wall paintings are litter and try to force the owners to have them removed, or will they accept that people are entitled to decorate their properties any way they like? I’m guessing that, having made an international laughing stock of themselves, Clare County Council will take the sensible option and stay well away from that one.
We’re told, though I don’t know how true it is, that the initial complaint came from a crowd of American tourists who objected to somebody they regarded as a mass murderer and even worse, a Communist, God bless the mark.
The American visceral hatred of Che is perplexing, given that he never had anything to do with the USA, apart from when his path crossed that of the American agents covertly operating in Cuba and South America, seeking to overthrow elected leaders and to keep friendly dictators like Batista in power, for the benefit of big business and the Mob.
And as for the mass murderer tag, I suppose you could call him that, but then you’d have to say the same about Michael Collins and deValera, who were responsible for roughly as many executions as Che.
Perhaps it would be a good idea if Irish Americans got together and drew up a list of images we’re not allowed to put on our walls for fear they might be offended.
They might start that list with Philip Sheridan, a son of Irish immigrants, who distinguished himself in the American Civil War, rose to the rank of general and famously defeated the legendary Robert E Lee at Appomatox. After the war, Sheridan starved and slaughtered the Plains Indians into submission, including facilitating the killing of over 4 million bison.
Little Phil, as he was known, is credited with the immortal quote, that the only good Indian is a dead Indian.
He’s just an example selected for the Irish connection, which Che Guevara also possessed, so there you have it.
One man fights invaders, mobsters and spooks. In the process of a dirty war, he’s complicit in executions, just as our own revolutionaries were, because in a war, nobody has clean hands. This man is characterised as a mass murderer and American tourists are outraged, seemingly unaware that he had no connection with the USA.
On the other hand, we have a man who was the invader, who ethnically cleansed, killed and starved the native people, and this man is a war hero because he wore the uniform of a US general.
How does that work?
If we made a mural of this great Irish-American hero, would the same busload of tourists object? Would some boody from Clare County Council insist on painting over it?