It is against this Christian background that one should read Che Guevara’s well-known statement on revolutionary love:“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think o a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”
There is a further step to be made here. Guevara’s statement that “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love” should be read together with his much more problematic statement on revolutionaries as “killing machines”: “Hatred is an element of struggle; relentless hatred of the enemy that impels us over and beyond the natural limitations of man and transforms us into effective, violent, selective, and cold killing machines. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.” These two apparently opposite stances are united in Che’s motto: ”Hay que endurecerse sin perder jamás la ternura. (One must endure – become hard, toughen oneself - without losing tenderness.)” I think Guevara is here basically paraphrasing Christ’s declaration of the unity of love and sword. In both cases, the underlying paradox is that what makes love angelic, what elevates it over mere unstable, pathetic sentimentality is its cruelty itself, its link with violence. So while Guevara certainly believed in the transformative power of love, he would have never been caught humming “all you need is love”, what you need is to love with hatred. Or as, another strange bedfellow, Soren Kierkegaard put it long ago, the necessary consequence, the truth of the Christian demand to love one’s enemy is “the demand to hate the beloved out of love and in love”. To such an extreme madness, humanly speaking, can Christianity drive its demand, if love is to be the fulfillment of the law. Therefore it teaches that the Christian must, if required, be capable of hating his father and mother and sister and the beloved.”
With regard to social order this means that the authentic Christian tradition rejects the wisdom that the hierarchic order is our faith, that all attempts to mess with it and to create another egalitarian order have to end up in destructive horror. Agape as political love, and following Terry Eagleton this is how I would propose to translate Agape, means that the unconditional, egalitarian love for one’s neighbor can serve as the foundation for a new social order.
After three days in the desert I asked the dream owl. It wasn’t a question so much as it was a prayer, so much as it was a song.
How long does our love need to wander, searching for water, until it finds itself an eternal spring. How lonely do we have to get before we realize we’ve never been alone?
It was high noon when the owl answered me in the middle of the casino. In front of everyone its black shadow glittered across me, tore me open and I sang an aria of bloody grief. The slot machines cried out in unison and everybody won, even the losers. Especially the losers. After all, they were the only ones who knew how to win.
Oaxaca desde adentro
La madrina de toros.
Era un lunes por la mañana, más no era un lunes cualquiera en Ixtepec, mientras el resto del mundo se disponía a comenzar sus labores cotidianas, por las calles del pueblo comenzaba un desfile único, los cohetes anunciaban al contingente, Tehuanas y toros marchaban rumbo al río de los perros mientras los hombres a caballo abrían paso, un lunes ordinario para el resto del mundo, pero no para mi.