After several hundred posts with nary a comment among them, the Babalunians have arrived at an important conclusion. It is that dissent cannot be completely suppressed without silencing at the same time all commentary on their blog except from the "Hallelujah chorus" which is as well-rehearsed and redundant as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing carols in July.
Last night, a certain BoricuaEnLaLuna, a straw man if ever there was one, landed on Babalú and was welcomed with all the honors. Yes, they poured the usual abuse on him, which he received with perfect nonchalance while himself spouting more provocative nonsense than even Val could pack in ten of his "rants." But the Babalunians, led by George, also addressed and refuted, logically and methodologically, his ludicrous contention that it is possible to admire "Che" or Fidel for their putative "good intentions" while acknowledging (and dismissing) their actual deeds. But, as Martí said, a man's eloquence is in his deeds, not in his words (something to remember about Barack Obama, too). If deeds do not support the words, then the words are meaningless, or worse than meaningless, the smokescreen that facilitates the deeds.
There really is nothing to admire about "Che" Guevara. His words (BoricuaEnLaLuna is fond of bromides like "Hasta la victoria siempre") are barely intelligible except when he is rhapsodizing about man as a "killing machine." As for the myth of the "Heroic Guerrilla," it is impossible to reconcile it with the actual facts of Guevara's life. How "heroic" is a man who tried to commit suicide with his own rifle when he heard that the "Yankees had landed" in 1961 and begged for his life when captured in Bolivia as no prisoner that he executed ever did?
The Babalunians have too long been occupied with their Che-tee shirt fetish, fighting Guevara from department store to department store across this land, while ignoring the propaganda that is the basis of his legend. They argue (and it is true) that the pasty-faced fools who don them don't know for the most part who Guevara was and what he did. They don't realize, however, that the solution is not to take their tee-shirts away but to disabuse them of their illusions about Che's image. This requires, of course, acquainting them with the real Che, that is, replacing ignorance with knowledge.
On Friday, they showed that this is not beyond them. Or, at least, that it is not beyond most of them. We hold out no hope for Val, because, as we have seen in his recent exchanges with LittleGator, he considers calling a man an "asshole" to be a polemical coup de grace. Henry, who does have the debating skills, prefers to "refute" BoricuaEnLaLuna by offending all Puerto Ricans.
If BoricuaEnLaLuna will stick around and others of his ilk surface because of the tolerance shown to him, and if Val and Henry can control the urge to sabotage their own work, Babalú's "Comments" section may again be instinct with life and the blog itself recover some measure of respectability and relevance. If, however, the Babalunians continue to abuse but not refute others like BoricuaEnLaLuna, they will surrender the high ground to them and do the cause of Cuban freedom no service.