Abyssinia Culture Shop / Che Guevara

Abyssinia Culture Shop - Che Guevara

In the age of malls and strip malls, South Street in Philadelphia is one of the few remaining stretches with diverse mom-and-pop stores. The pictured storefront is that of the Abyssinia Culture Shop. The store sells, Rasta and African souvenirs, t-shirts, clothing, books, and musical instruments. Abyssinia is the historic name of the present day Ethiopia. Located on the Horn of Africa, Abyssinia is one of the oldest known areas of human existence. We're all African!

The T-shirt pictured on the right is the portrait of Che Guevara. The high-contrast, monochrome graphic was created in 1968 by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick based on the 1960 photograph of Che by the Cuban photographer Alberto Korda. It has become one of the world's most universally merchandized and objectified images.

Che Guevara was one of the most influential and polarizing figures of the 20th Century. After traveling throughout Latin America while a young medical student, Che was transformed by the poverty and suffering he witnessed. He concluded that the suffering was a result of capitalism, monopolism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. He became politically active, and after seeing the overthrow of reformist leaders, he took a hard line and became an insurgent, participating in many revolutions. He played a pivotal role in the Cuban Revolution. While he was lauded as a hero by some, others accused him of being a "cold-blooded killing machine". He was eventually captured by the CIA assisted Bolivian forces and executed. As they say, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

Nonviolent resistance versus violent action, is a very complicated topic. A review of history holds true that violence begets violence. On the other hand, we have the right of self-defense in protecting ourselves, our property, or the well-being of others. Whenever collateral damage is a possibility, our right to self-defense can no longer be truly justified. Nonviolent resistance is a long-term struggle that begins with educating and persuading others. But, unfortunately, the misinformation machine is also hard at work...

Song of the Day: Get Up Stand Up - Bob Marley (1973)
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