Controversial Statue at Che Guevara sparks debate of Racism

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Dec 5, 2022 @ 10:37 pm

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A statue, depicting a dark-skinned person, wearing mid 18th-century attire, similar to that worn by black “servants” was placed outside the popular Che Guevara Pub in the centre of Cluj has triggered a reaction from the International Community in Cluj-Napoca.

Statue photographed by customer visiting Che Guevara Social Pub.
Statue photographed by customer visiting Che Guevara Social Pub.

The pub, which describes itself as being “a place for those who appreciate a friendly atmosphere more than a fancy club.”, explains that their venue got their name.

“We chose to name the club “Che Guevara Social Pub” starting from the idea that, in the conscious and subconscious of many, Che Guevara is not necessarily connected with a certain political orientation or with the “Latino” space, but rather with a state of mind , an attitude against conformism, falsehood, and everything that represents outdated norms in a society.”. However, it's clear that their current choice of decor certainly represents the outdated norms of society.

The statue was photographed by a local expat and posted to their Facebook account with the caption, Che Guevara Social Pub do you really think this is acceptable?”

Since the original post, it was also picked up by other local media websites, such as Stiri de Cluj and Adevarul, where conversations in the comments soon spilled over to the original Facebook post,.

Some of the comments on the Romanian article read:

It's acceptable, we didn't have colonies, and we were slaves too until serfdom was abolished. Sing at another table!

– “Alexi”

I see him as a waiter! Everyone judges according to their own person!

– “What thoughts”

“You westerners are no longer civilized, just brain-dead politically correct sheep”

– “Revelation”

The comments on the original Facebook post itself were also indicative of divided opinions as to whether the statue was representative of an African Slave / Servant and distastefully used by a modern business, in the centre of Cluj-Napoca, a city which prides itself in “western mentality and quality of life”.

Another individual, who’s social media indicated that they were an employee of another local bar, responded with “Shut the fu×k up and go where u're from”, and then proceeded to express that they was pleased that they doesn't need to serve the publisher of the original Facebook post after they informed that they would never go for a drink at Bardot Cluj.

UPDATE: The comment has since been deleted and the individual removed references to their employment.

The Wider Issue

So this particular photograph has clearly generated discussion and devision around what is and what isn't acceptable for public venues in 2022 and has triggered claims that Cluj-Napoca or Romania as a whole still has a way to go with regards to being ethnically aware of what is acceptable and what is considered racist or offensive.

We would like to understand how our readers feel about this topic, and would appreciate it if you could take part in the poll below!

We will share the results of this survey, which will be open until January 1st, 2023, with the local administration.

This poll has ended (since 1 month).

Do you feel that racism is an issue in Cluj-Napoca?

No
57.73%
Yes
42.27%

Do you feel that racism is an issue in Romania?

Yes
54.64%
No
45.36%

Have you personally experienced racism?

No
68.04%
Yes
31.96%

What do you feel can help prevent racism?

Better Education
38.30%
Cultural Exchange Events
23.40%
Media Awareness
17.55%
Threat of Legal Action
9.57%
Nothing can be done
6.91%
Marches / Public Demonstrations
4.26%
Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai din Cluj-Napoca (UBB) has announced that “Oncological Institute “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuţă” Cluj-Napoca in partnership with our university and the UBB Union organizes the free Pap smear test campaign for all women aged 24-29 or HPV for all women aged 30-64.”
The cost of purchasing an apartment in Cluj-Napoca has reached an all-time high as prices increased year-on-year.
Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai din Cluj-Napoca (UBB) has announced that “Oncological Institute “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuţă” Cluj-Napoca in partnership with our university and the UBB Union organizes the free Pap smear test campaign for all women aged 24-29 or HPV for all women aged 30-64.”
The cost of purchasing an apartment in Cluj-Napoca has reached an all-time high as prices increased year-on-year.
Total
18
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