"It is no more disheartening than to see the world of blogs devoted to Cuba where there is often too little exchange of ideas and too much clash of personalities, where one-upmanship often takes the place of enlightenment, where some prefer to assert their own superiority rather than instruct their more information challenged confreres. It is a world rife with mine fields, where the most innocent of comments or even lack of commentary can start a verbal conflagration. Who needs it?" — RSNLK, "The Anguish of a Cuban-American Blogger," Ninety Miles Away... In Another Country, April 5, 2008 [reprinted in Babalú, April 7].
Who needs it?
We all do, especially Cubans on the island. It's called democracy. A messy piece of work, but indispensable for the growth of man and survival of civilization. An echo chamber is not democracy. A Greek chorus is not democracy. The synchronized march of cadres is not democracy. Open discussion and dissent, the unhampered clash of opinions and personalities, the right of you to be you and of me to be me, that is democracy.
And democracy is what can save us, not conformity.
This has been long in coming and is a most welcome development at Babalú: a call for renewed conformity brings instead a plea for diversity from Marc R. Másferrer, which all contributors to Babalú would be wise to heed if they wish not to be mistaken for the very thing they decry. Unity is a cohesion of wills, not a melding of minds. When debate threatens unity then unity never really existed. In fact, without debate, real unity is impossible:
Well said, I guess, but I'm not sure anyone cares with the "anguish" we CA bloggers might or might not feel as we do our thing. If it's so hard, just do something else. To whine in public like this is just a wasteful self-indulgence and does nothing to serve our cause.
I don't begrudge your sentiment, but don't lose perspective. Whatever anguish or discomfort or frustration you are feeling is nothing — absolutely nothing — like that felt by people, i.e. Cubans on the island, suffering each day because of the dictatorship. Making the story about us, the bloggers, does nothing to help them, the Cuban people.
We really have no right to complain.
Posted by: Marc R. Masferrer at April 7, 2008 02:29 PM
I disagree, Marc. While you are correct in stating that our lives as compared to those Cubans on the island are vastly different and much, much easier, the frustrations we feel are just as real. the pain we feel is just as real. And, I can tell you from my own personal experience that when one of your own - a fellow Cuban exile - states in no uncertain terms that he or she wishes you to be dead, the pain is twofold.
So youll forgive that, in a blog with 7704 posts primarily highlighting the injustcies that Cubans in Cuba live with on a daily basis, that one post is written to express how we on the fortunate side of the Gulfstream sometimes feel.
Posted by: Val Prieto at April 7, 2008 03:15 PM
Val — I am not denying the pain and frustration are not as real. I have felt plenty of it. But so what? I deal with it and get back to what's really important.
I don't think that's why readers come here or any other Cuban blog. Our "anguish" may help inspire our work, I just don't think people don't want to read about how or why we are torn up personally. I just think it is distracting and as I said above, a bit self-indulgent.
Posted by: Marc R. Masferrer at April 7, 2008 04:15 PM
Val - As for the threats that were made against you, I don't think people come here to read about that either. That's even more reason to not engage with folks who would do something so vile.
Posted by: Marc R. Masferrer at April 7, 2008 04:17 PM
The very last thing I intended was to create diviseness here, nor did I intend it as bellyaching. If that is the way it comes across, I failed in my original intent which was in a roundabout way to plead for more civility among ourselves and a reminder to keep our eyes on the prize.
Posted by: rsnlk at April 7, 2008 04:40 PM
Civility is fine and in fact, preferred, as long as it is not confused with unquestioned conformity. These are difficult issues we deal with, and there is not always unanimity, nor should there be. Revel in the back and forth, for in the end it makes the debate and its conclusions, stronger.
Posted by: Marc R. Masferrer at April 7, 2008 04:52 PM