(Full text of the speech made by Comrade Somawansa Amarasinghe’s at the ‘Che’ Commemoration organized by Socialist Youth Union (SYU) will be held at Viharamahadevi Open Air theater today (22nd) at 4.30 p.m.)
The open Air theater at Viharamahadevi Park is full of both male and female young comrades. The wind here too brings the fragrance of the youth today. (or has the wind become youthful seeing the energetic youth assembled here?) Despite the heavy rain you have assembled here to pay homage to Comrade Che Guevara. This rain is fine as it is a youthful rain. We would be very glad to get wet in this youthful rain!
In the latter part of the 60s we, members of the JVP, were called ‘Che Guevarists’ by our class enemies. As such, without any doubt, we belonged to the first generation of ‘Che Guevarists’ of Sri Lanka. We have no tradition of thanking our class enemies. However, we believe they should be passively thanked at this point. Those who called us ‘Che Guevarists’ didn’t know who Che Guevara was and what his vision was and mission. They gave us the highest value due to their ignorance. What was their intention in calling us ‘Che Guavarists’ then? They wanted to create a gap between us and the masses by branding us as murderers, terrorists and people’s enemies. During that time too our class enemies were directed by their imperialist masters and their forceful tool of pro-imperialist media.
When Socialist Revolution in Cuba triumphed in 1959 opportunism still reigned in international communist movement. It is no doubt that imperialists would have been jubilant because opportunism reigned in the International Communist Movement. However, Comrades Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara, Raul Castro, the giants of little Cuba and the heroic masses of Cuba took the international Communist Movement forward not in one leap but in several leaps upsetting the ecstasy of the imperialists. As such, Fidel, Che, Raul and all revolutionaries became number one enemies of the imperialists. It is no surprise that not only Fidel, Che and Raul but also Rohana Wijeweera appeared as terrorists and murderers to those lackeys of imperialists in Sri Lanka. What is surprising is that it has come to a state that all class enemies, not only in Sri Lanka but also throughout the world, have made Comrade Che Guevara a ‘rosary’ and venerate him now. The working masses in Sri Lanka, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America need not be deceived by this play acting. These enemies have weapons of imperialists and blood of revolutionaries in their right hands while displaying socialism, patriotism, democracy, humanitarianism and environmentalism in their left hands. Don’t forget, these enemies considered and is still considering Fidel as an enemy; Raul is an enemy for them so is Rohana Wijeweera. Hugo Chavez is an enemy for imperialists. Those leaders and masses who struggle for the triumph of Socialism, to make proletarian internationalism a reality, those who sacrifice their lives, shed blood and sweat, spend their labour and time to achieve these noble ideals are enemies for those imperialists and their henchmen.
Murdered Che is more powerful than when he was living. Che has possessed hearts and minds of masses. All humanitarians all over the world love and respect Che. Che’s photograph is the most displayed photograph in the world today. Fidel and Che are not only revolutionaries, militants, anti-imperialist internationalists but they are also virtuous men. Che’s dedication and sacrificial qualities were boundless. His renunciation is the best example. He was born in Argentina, launched revolutionary liberation struggle with Fidel, Raul and other comrades in Cuba. He met with his death while fighting to emancipate the people in Bolivia.
The discipline he always maintained throughout his life was incomparable. He was a colossal rock that did not shake before injustice and unfairness. He became as soft as butter when it was necessary to be soft but was tough when the need arose.
Revolutionaries are not saboteurs. Che never deceived people and his comrades. When combatants take the gun or the pen they do not become bloodthirsty murderers or anarchists. Che was a great model for this. He had a heart full of compassion. As such, even when he was a guerrilla fighting the enemy he took time to treat those poor farmers in Sirra Maestra. Che was one of the best organizers. He was also an agitator. He was an unwavering internationalist. Hence, for him not only Cuba or Latin America or Africa but the whole world was a combat area. Che was in a mighty hurry to create and see a world in which imperialism is completely wiped out.
All patriots, progressives and socialists who have understood well the brutality of imperialism should possess this haste and hurry. This is why Che once said, “Create Two, Three, Many Vietnams.- Crear dos, tres, Muchos Vietnames ”
You are young. You are fresh. You respect and love Che. You have absorbed Che’s militancy. In that you have gone far forward than other youths. However, we repeat that Che was not only a combatant. He was a complete man full of qualities that we have mentioned here and many other qualities we have not mentioned here. This is an era the world needs millions of youths with such qualities. Imperialism and capitalism are more vicious and barbaric now than during the time Che lived. Neo-liberal globalization has become the main enemy of mankind and the environment. Imperialist Globalization has thrown millions of workers out of jobs. Unemployment among young men and women in the world has reached 50% in some countries in Europe. Billions of people throughout the world are being pushed into abject poverty. Hence, socialist globalization should be brought to billions of masses in the world after defeating imperialist globalization.
We need thousands like Che during this era. Take Che as your model. Absorb all the noble qualities of Che. Organize yourselves. Fight against injustice and inequality. Wipe away imperialism from this Earth. Achieve victories.
Long live the name of Ernesto Che Guevara!
Long live Internationalism!
Destruction for imperialism – Liberation for masses!
Destruction for capitalism – Victory for Socialism!