Monday, 5 January 2009

The revolutionary power of reading

On Friday I watched the latest film about Che Guevara (Che: part one, produced by Steven Soderbergh). I suspect that his role was glamorised for dramatic purposes, and it was based on his own recollections, so the feeling I got of him being a great hero, good man, reformer and someone who cared deeply for humanity and all round good egg, may have been a ploy of the film maker. However, there is a scene which shows Che in the middle of the Cuban jungle, at the end of a days march, sitting down away from the rest of the other men, reading a book. Another man comes up to him, one of the recruited peasants, and Che tells him to do his maths homework.

At the revolutionaries' camp a school is set up to teach peasants to read and write, because the revolution is not won just by the sword. the reforms that Castro and Che wanted included giving the working people of Cuba the power of knowledge, the revolutionary power of reading. if you can read, you can overthrow the establishment. This part of the film should be shown in schools all over the country.

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