Thursday 5th October 2017.
PostCrossing. One stamp at “international rate). Ireland joins the list of nations that has issued a PostCrossing stamp. And indirectly, PostCrossing, the organised exchange of postcards has re-vitalised Stamp Collecting.
I was briefly involved in PostCrossing and while there is a facility for direct exchange, the problem for me was that a large percentage of members tend to come from just a few countries. Two postcards were also issued. One in the same design as the stamp.
The 50th Anniversary of the Death of Che Guevara. Many people around the world will be surprised by this issue but Che Guevara (thru his father) is “Irish” and he spent time in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The icomic image of Che Guevara is by Irish artist, Jim Fitzpatrick who met Che in 1961.
The image has been a poster on bedroom walls and a Tshirt. Indeed I am now wearing the fourth or possibly fifth Che Guevara Tshirt that I have bought in forty odd years.
Yes I am a socialist. Unashamedly left of centre. A democratic socialist. I am the type of person that FOX News and NASCAR rednecks hate. To be totally honest, I exaggerate my socialist credentials because it antagonises fascists and quasi-fascists.
A few years ago images of Che Guevara were removed from an exhibiton of Irish art at Miami Airport in Florida as it understandably upset many in Florida’s Cuban community. And more recently images of Che were removed from an exhibition in County Clare in Ireland. Seemingly some American redneck tourist objected.
So it is fitting that Ireland issues a stamp for Che. Actually 122,000 stamps so the potential to outrage the easily outraged like Shaun Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Bill O’Reilly is high….and if they and people like them are outraged, then I am happy.
As a historian of sorts, I don’t agree that in any conflict “one side is as bad as the other”. That analysis is NOT History. The Poles were “not as bad” as the Germans in the Second World War, the North was “not as bad” as the South in the American Civil War and the Cuban revolutionaries were “not as bad” as the Cuban government in the 1950s.
I suppose the commemoration of Che Guevara on an Irish stamp can be justified on more than one reason. He is “one of our own”, as Irish as President John F Kennedy. He is an image of 1960s/1970s “counter culture” like Carnaby Street in London and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.
The publicity for the issue describes Che Guevara as a “revolutionary, physician, author and diplomat” and goes on to say that he wrote a “seminal manual on guerrilla warfare”. It pulls no punches. And the words of Che’s father (Ernesto Guevara Lynch) “in my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels” underscores that Irish people identify with him.
Below is the First Day Cover and a photograph I recently took of a mural in Derry City.