Author of “Jose Marti: A Revolutionary Life” (dutifully) bashes Babalu blog and reaffirms his esteem for a Castro spy

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Lisandro Perez (above on right) was “accused of being a Castro spy” by none other than Chris Simmons.

“I am thus obliged to many who read parts or all of the earlier work, including…Lisandro Perez…. Perhaps both the totalitarian Castro regime and those who despise it most fervently are approaching the end of their shelf life, what my former colleague — to the hardliners, “accused Castro spy” — Lisandro Pérez would call their “expiration date.” (Professor Alfred J. Lopez, author of Jose Marti; A Revolutionary Life)

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(Last week Professor Tony “Disco” De la Cova warned us that Professor Alfred Lopez had some Castroite connections that made some of his work suspect. (Above we see “Disco” Tony asking Jeane “Dancing Queen” Kirkpatrick for a swing on the dance floor.)

From professor Tony “Disco” De la Cova in Babalu blog last week:

“I always read the book acknowledgements online and the bibliographical sources before I buy it. Alfred Lopez is grateful in the acknowledgements to accused Castro spy Lisandro Perez; Adriana Mendez Rodenas, an activist with the pro-Castro Areito magazine and Antonio Maceo Brigade and participant in the 1978 “dialogue” with the dictatorship; and Emilio Bejel Aguilera, another Areito collaborator…”

Well…turns out that Professor Antonio “Disco” De la Cova–though never insulted hereabouts with the title of a Cuba “expert”–nonetheless, and merely by reading the books acknowledgements, “expertly” sniffed out the political predelictions of Professor Alfred Lopez, author of the new “Jose Marti: A Revolutionary Life.” (a book whose purely academic and literary merits are not the issue of this post.)

Today in the Huffington Post Professor Lopez writes:

“It was only my discovery of a tiny, but very grumpy cyber-outpost of old-school Cubans (Babalu Blog) — hating on a book that I have written but they have not read — that gave me my thesis:

That the bad old days when a small, vociferous group of angry Cuban exiles could effectively dictate what could be said or done in Cuba-related matters are reaching their end. Their dwindling numbers are not yet reflected in any diminished influence in Washington or in the media; yet it is hard to avoid the creeping sense that Cuban-Americans — especially the hardline variety — are becoming just another U.S. minority, albeit a noisy one.

It is hard to explain to non-Cubans just why a Cuban-American author would take such obviously uninformed babble (Babalu Blog’s) seriously. But my so-far fleeting brush with the haters has reminded me why I hesitated for years to write a Martí biography that might challenge hardline views of their national idol.

For most Americans, the TV images of Cuban-Americans raging outside of Miami’s Versailles restaurant were little more than entertainment, perhaps minor irritation: There go those Cubans again, just like back with Elian (if in fact Americans even remember Elian). But for me, those images brought back memories of a more violent time. The 1970s brought a string of bombings against Castro-friendly embassies and consulates in the U.S. and abroad. Although hardliners had once limited their attacks to Cuban soil, they eventually targeted Cuban-Americans critical of their politics and tactics. Since 1970, hardline exile groups are believed responsible for nearly 100 terrorist acts in Miami alone, most of them bombings or attempted bombings. The most infamous of these cases was arguably the October 1976 bombing of a Jamaica-bound Cuban airliner that killed all 73 people aboard.”…Perhaps both the totalitarian Castro regime and those who despise it most fervently are approaching the end of their shelf life, what my former colleague — to the hardliners, “accused Castro spy” — Lisandro Pérez would call their “expiration date.”

The rest of Professor Alfred Lopez’ piece here.

36 thoughts on “Author of “Jose Marti: A Revolutionary Life” (dutifully) bashes Babalu blog and reaffirms his esteem for a Castro spy”

  1. “Very grumpy.” Gee, I suppose Jose Marti could qualify as “grumpy” too, along with Anne Frank, and Jesus of Nazareth (who was put to death for his constant grumpiness).
    Good one. Really good. As for “expiration date,” yeah, we all have one, including everyone who talks about the “expiration date” of those who disagree with them.

  2. Yeah, I’m grumpy alright. But I’ve got news for Prof. Lopez: his expiration date was January 1, 1959.

  3. Interesting how Alfred Lopez makes no mention that he plagiarized two images from my website that he published in pages 199 and 200 of his book. Well, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I wonder what Silvio Canto, Jr. has to say about all of this, especially his relationship with Lopez, after avidly promoting his book, now that Lopez has trashed Babalu blog and its contributors. Please, Silvio, let’s hear you opinion.

  4. Hey Antonio! I thought that my rebuttal to your allegations would have sufficed and answered all of your questions. Nevertheless, let me try one more time. Professor Alfred López’ book was outstanding. It provides additional information for those interested in finding out more about Cuban Founding Father José Martí.

  5. Jorge: Let me try one more time. You still haven’t explained what your relationship with Alfred Lopez is that you are so fanatical in promoting his book. Can you please answer that? You obviously have never published a book review in an academic journal. If you knew anything about it you would understand that a book’s credibility is based on its primary sources. Lopez’s book is greatly lacking in archival material and is largely based on published secondary sources. Since Lopez is not a trained historian, but rather a literature professor, it is understandable that he is not skilled as a historian. There is also the issue that he plagiarized the two Mantilla documents from my website. That’s a lack of professionalism and honesty. Now that Lopez has openly defended accused Castro spy Lisandro Perez ans his pro-Castro buddies, has denounced the historic Cuban exile community and has trashed Babalu blog, you still haven’t expressed how you feel about that or why you continue to make common cause with this Cuban exile hater by claiming that his mediocre work is “outstanding.” You failed to address all these issues in your “rebuttal” and you continue to do so now.

  6. Antonio: I’m beginning to wonder whether you read the previous posts. I’ve read Professor López’ book on José Martí, and found it to be outstanding. I encourage you to read it.

  7. Jorge: You haven’t answered any of my questions, especially what is your personal relationship with Lopez or your opinion on his trashing the exile community, Babalu blog, or his making common cause with pro-Castro activists and accused Castro spies. I’m wondering if you understood what I said in my previous post: “Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres.” I am sure that you will continue dodging these pertinent questions to hide your relationship with Lopez.

  8. The author gets TWO Babalu posts PLUGGING his book! (along with ONE negative COMMENT to the posts.)So he devotes an entire article to BASHING Babalu blog as “dregs!” “haters!” etc..Then he claims WE here at Babalu are the “grumpy” ones?! Well, the guy teaches “comparative literature”–not logic, much less gratitude….Le RRRRONCA!

  9. Humberto, my favorite part is how Lopez describes Babalú as a “tiny outpost,” a right-wing one to boot, no doubt in an attempt to marginalize us and make us appear as an irrelevant and insignificant speck in the internet universe. But as insignificant and irrelevant as he purports our “tiny outpost” of hate to be, we are in his mind apparently significant and relevant enough to warrant more than a dozen paragraphs of vitriol and breathless rants. Funny how that works out.

  10. Humberto: If I was Lopez, I would demand that his adulator Ponce immediately remove the posts plugging his book from such a “grumpy” and hateful blog. Lopez’s tirade against the historic exile community can be likened to Darth Vader’s comment to Luke Skywalker: “Lisandro Perez has taught you well.”

  11. Antonio: You call me an adulator. Once again, I must remind you that “You don’t know what you are talking about.” The only persons in my inner circle who deserve my adulation are my wife and my son. On the other hand, if there is someone who merits the designation for being “grumpy,” that would be you.

    Now, let’s get down to Professor Alfred López. My first encounter with Professor López was when I purchased his book.

    After reading his book “José Martí: A Revolutionary Life,” which you can have delivered to your front door via, I found it outstanding. I learned quite a few things about this Cuban Founding Father, and other important figures who fought for Cuba’s independence from Spain. I found it very helpful that Professor López penned his book in English. In the past, I’ve read the definitive biography of Martí by Jorge Mañach, and I only retained 5% of its content because it is written in a Spanish that is way above my pay-grade.

    If you, Antonio, believe that Professor López plagiarized some of your work, there are legal avenues to challenge him in court. If I was able to track him down through the Internet, I’m certain that you can do the same. Babalublog is not the place for your rants.

    And, finally, regarding Professor López’ uncomplimentary remarks about the Babalublog family, I strongly disagree with his assessment. For one, I am a contributor to the blog, and I think that the work that Alberto and others do are for a worthwhile cause. And, when it comes to issues dealing with Communist Cuba, I am also a hardliner.

  12. Jorge: Thank you for explaining that you personally know Alfred Lopez. I have read enough of Lopez’s book online to know that based on my standards as a trained Ph.D. historian with a 20-year history of academic publications and a dozen book reviews, that can be read here
    Lopez’s work is mediocre, based mostly on secondary sources and Google searches, instead of it being an archival tour de force.
    I noticed that Lopez cited six times my essay “Fernandina Filibuster Fiasco,” which is on the Internet. He also cites my website for a document that I transcribed from the U.S. National Archives. No matter what Lopez thinks of me personally, by citing my work he is acknowledging my credibility as a historian.
    I read enough of Lopez’s book online to know that he adds nothing new to Marti’s life and therefore is not worth investing in buying it.
    All pro-Castro apologists always include a positive quote from Fidel Castro in their work to use as a revolutionary badge that will allow them to visit Cuba. Lopez does this by citing Castro’s “History Will Absolve Me” in the last chapter of his book.
    Lopez has indeed plagiarized my work and I know how to deal with that. Stay tuned.
    My “rants” against pro-Castro activists and sympathizers like Lopez have been appearing on Babalu since 2003, long before you came on the scene. One of my most memorable “rants” was when I exposed Marifeli Perez-Stable as a Castro agent in 2006 and she had attorney John de Leon threaten to sue me, Babalu, and Henry Gomez, who responded here
    We had a lot of fun with that and even Humberto commented here
    Lisandro Perez likewise threatened to sue me in 1993, but nothing came of that either. Col. Chris Simmons outed Lisandro as a Castro agent, and he took no legal action.
    Likewise, Armando Valladares outed Perez-Stable as a Castro spy in the Washington Times in 2009 and to this day she never took legal action
    Unlike you, I do not enthusiastically promote, which is deemed adulation, whatever is produced by pro-Castro apologists and haters of the historic Cuban exile community.
    You also don’t seem to recall that Salvador Lew introduced you to my wife and I years ago, and that you gave me your government employee calling card which I have stashed in some box.
    I suggest that the next time you promote a book, research the author to find out if this is someone you want to make common cause with.
    So, you see, I do know what I am talking about.

  13. Since I do like to read I hope that Dr. Tony can provide us a list of approved and sanctioned works that his Ph.D. mind has determined won’t contaminate us. It is with a great deal of shame that I confess to having and even enjoyed books by authors that were less than ideologically pure. I am a big fan of Richard Wright’s “Black Boy” and “Native Son.” Stellar works that capture the racism of the period but books written by a one time communist. Henry Louis Gates is a knee jerk leftist but his memoir, “Colored People,” is draped in conservative values, even though he failed to recognize them – family, hard work and opportunities unique to our nation. “Team of Rivals” was written by a leftist, loved by a President more leftist than the writer but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great book that captures the essence of Lincoln and his remarkable talents. On the Cuba side I have read works such as “Secret Missions to Cuba” on Bernardo Benes and “Contesting Castro.” Both decidedly leftist works and neither of which I agreed with in the least. Nonetheless even those works, even though they had their own agenda, I learned a few things and provided me with a perspective that forced me to question and ultimately find a way to justify my beliefs. If you believe in something and you know your cause is true and just you should have no problem being confronted by an opposing point of view. You don’t have an issue in talking, learning and debating. I for one can’t stand anything ever penned by Louis A. Perez, Jr. His turgid prose is sleep inducing and find his knee jerk left wing academic claptrap nauseating. Yet, I still read him…well I try, just takes forever because he has to be the worst writer ever produced by the island. So why do I read him? I read him because if you want to defeat your enemy, sing his song. Know them from the inside out. Understand their arguments and where they are coming from. Putting your fingers in your ears and yelling out loud to not listen is no way to sway, persuade or educate. I plan to read Jose Marti, A Revolutionary Life and I won’t make a judgement on it until I am done. If it is a good and I agree with it then all the better. If it is something that is vile and filled with lies wouldn’t it be easier to dismiss it by pointing out its errors rather than bashing the author because he associated at one time with someone or because he downloaded a photo from your website? The only way you are going to learn whether something is good or bad/right or wrong/enlightening or ignorant is by reading it. If you choose not to perhaps our Ph.D. didn’t teach you as much as you thought.

  14. Have we learned nothing from our Abuelos? I can pinpoint this whole Alfred Lopez thing in nine very wise, very Cuban words:

    Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres.”

  15. Cardinal: Louis Perez is not of “the island”. I remember him saying he was from New Mexico or thereabouts. If you find his “academic claptrap” nauseating, try being in the same room with him while he makes a presentation on the wonders of the “Cuban Revolution” to a gullible audience, while providing his own cassette deck and microphone to record himself-all the while looking and sounding like a Lou Reed impersonator on happy pills. Or dropping by his office to see posters of the leaders of said revolution adorning the walls-as well as a bag of sand labeled “Arena de Playa Girón-Primera derrota blah blah blah…” prominently sitting atop his desk! What a Phd’d freak!
    BTW in your shoutout to Dr. Tony, you didn’t mention if you read his “The Moncada Attack-Birth of the Cuban Revolution” I did. I’ll give it four and one half stars. He loses half a star for the book being so damn expensive.

  16. Cardinal,

    Perhaps I missed something, but I don’t remember anyone, especially Dr. de la Cova, promoting a “sanctioned” reading list for Cuban exiles. What Dr. de la Cova called into question was the implication that Lopez’s book on Martí was a definitive and groundbreaking tome on the life and history of Cuba’s Apostle. But there is a huge difference between reading the “other side’s” point of view on Cuba and its history and claiming that point of view is the definitive version of it.

  17. Thanks, Alberto, I couldn’t have said it better. I tell my students to read from the entire political spectrum to stay informed. I state that I have been reading Granma newspaper for 40 years and I am not a Communist. Likewise, I read Mein Kampf in college and I am not a Nazi. Regarding Bernardo Benes’ hagiography “Secret Missions to Cuba” written by his apologist Jewish friend Robert M. Levine, I informed Benes that the book would never have been accepted as a Ph.D. dissertation due to its predisposition, factual errors, lack of primary documentation, anonymous sources, questionable Internet citations, and lack of credibility. My six-page response to Benes can be read here
    The “Cardinal” insists that I should read and review Alfred Lopez’s book. I have read enough of it online to come to the conclusions that I have repeatedly outlined in Babalu, that it is a mediocre book based mostly on secondary sources. There are lots of other worthless books that I don’t buy or read.
    Here is my review of an inferior work by the 73-year-old inveterate bachelor LuisA Perez who was born in New York of mixed parentage, including a Puerto Rican grandfather.
    The only reason I read and reviewed it was because the editor of the Florida Historical Quarterly asked me to do so and sent me the book gratis. I have published two essays and three book reviews with the academic quarterly.
    OmarD: I don’t set the price on my book, the university press does that. While I did not pay anything for production or promotion, since the press runs with all the costs, of the $60 price I only received $5 per book sold. That’s how academic presses roll. I spent 30 years researching the Moncada book, traveling across the U.S., from Los Angeles to New York City and to Puerto Rico, to interview 115 direct participants. I made $5,000 in royalties, which doesn’t cover my expenses or amount to much for the work of three decades. However, I didn’t do it for profit but for the satisfaction of rescuing a slice of Cuban history that otherwise would have been lost and all we would have had is the propaganda of the dictatorship. My greatest satisfaction is that I was congratulated for my work by Cubans who fought against Batista but also by Batista’s son, Ruben, who likewise praised my impartiality. That’s what being a trained historian is all about.
    Ponce recommended that I track down Alfred Lopez via the Internet like he has done. If Lopez didn’t contact me while he was writing his book, citing my academic publication and website and stealing my online intellectual property, I am sure that he has no interest in hearing from me. I believe that Ponce is still in contact with Lopez and no doubt informed him of what was written about him in this blog, which provoked Lopez’s conniption fit in the Huffington blog. I just don’t understand how someone who defines himself as a “hardliner,” as Ponce does, feels the need to communicate with a Lisandro Perez minion and to ballyhoo his product.

  18. Hey Antonio. I don’t see the problem with considering myself a hardliner on Cuban matters, and reading Professor López’ excellent book on Martí. Like I indicated in a previous post, I have been a prolific writer penning articles and letters-to-the-editor championing the restoration of freedom and democracy to Cuba. I will continue doing so. As long as I’m engaged in “lawful” activities, I follow the famous adage of novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” I agree with the post from The Cardinal that if you are grounded in your beliefs, you have “nothing to fear but fear itself” by reading the other side of the argument. Regarding whether we learned anything from “our abuelos,” I hope we did. Reading as much as possible — the good, the bad, and the ugly — will liberate the mind to acquire new knowledge. Antonio’s claim that López’ book is mediocre in nature simply because he has read a few excerpts online is not a fair assessment of it. He should know that online excerpts are limited. To be more objective, I encourage him to read the entire book. I encourage others to do the same and not be influenced by De La Cova or my opinions. Professor López’ book is available on and can be delivered to your front doors. Think for yourselves, as “our abuelos” would say, and never allow others to do the thinking for you. Just to show you that Antonio is not a good source for assessing the merits of Professor López’ book, just look at the following exchange between him and me. After stating that my first encounter with Professor López was when I purchased his book, Antonio came back with the following rebuttal: ” Thank you for explaining that you personally know Alfred Lopez.” ??? Alberto takes issue with the “implication that Lopez’s book on Martí was a definitive and groundbreaking tome on the life and history of Cuba’s Apostle.” Well, it is — as it is the first book on the Cuban Founding Father that is written in English and the first to assess the man with all his foibles and contributions. Finally, regarding Antonio’s claim that Professor López’ has no interest in hearing from him, I think that he is been presumptuous. It is obvious that Antonio and Professor López have some disagreement on the citations used in the book. Rather than bombard us with his rants on this matter, he should reach out to Professor López and deal with this disagreement man-to-man — or like our abuelos would remind us, “macho-a-macho.”

  19. Jorge: You are obviously not a trained historian and have never written an academic book review. That’s why you don’t understand that writing a history book has to be based on substantial primary sources, archival material and not mostly on secondary sources. If you want to learn about this, I recommend that you read the dozen book reviews that I have published, my academic essays, encyclopedia articles, book chapters and history books, that you can find here
    I would afterward like to hear your opinion by email, if you think that you are capable of doing so, especially comparing my work to that of your friend Lopez.
    As I have repeatedly said, and you don’t seem to comprehend, I read the entire bibliography and all the endnotes of Lopez’s book online, on which I based my scholarly opinion of how mediocre the book is.
    I am grateful to you for fanatically promoting your friend’s work, which is how I discovered that he stole my intellectual property from my website and he has been unmasked in Babalu for his camaraderie with pro-Castro activists and accused spies.
    It appears that you have been so busy writing “hardline” letters to the editor about Cuba that you had no time to be a “macho-a-macho” militant activist against Cuban Communists. I have never seen you at any anti-Castro protests or in the ranks of any militant anti-Castro organizations. Have you ever wondered why I never contacted you after Salvador Lew introduced us years ago and you gave me your government calling card?
    You favor and promote befriending pro-Castro dialogueros and Cuba fellow travelers like your comrade Lopez and are a propagandist for his product. Just how many times have you been in email and telephone contact with him? Are you going to travel to Cuba with him the next time that he goes? You obviously informed Lopez about his being unmasked in Babalu blog, which made him hysterical and expanded the expose of him.
    Why are you so interested that I “reach out” to your friend Lopez? That would be like reaching out to Lisandro Perez and his pro-Castro comrades. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have also reached out to them and they are your circle of friends. If you are attempting to figure out my intentions, you will learn in due time. As for now, you can have the last word, as I am sure that you will consider that some kind of blogging “victory.” I have more important projects to work on than to try to reason with someone who lacks the intellectual capacity to know the value of a good history book and challenges me purely on emotion rather than on my academic record. To your satisfaction, I will not return to this page. I have already said all I needed to say.

  20. After reading the above post by Antonio, I think that you’ll understand why he can’t provide an “objective” review of Professor López’ book. Get the book, read it, and be your own judge. For once, I agree with Antonio that he should get back to his projects. We can do without his rants on this matter. And, I have to admit something for the record. I never spent one second of my time trying to figure out why Antonio never contacted me after we did a radio interview in the past. I have more important, intellectual work to do with my time.

  21. I’m sorry, Jorge, but I am pretty sure that most everyone who has been following this thread (including myself) is having a difficult time coming to the same conclusion you have come to. You are actually asking us to place more credibility on the work of a non-historian with dubious ties to Castro agents who has relied solely on secondary sources than on an established historian with a Ph.D. and a long record of academic achievements in Cuban and Latin American history. Perhaps Lopez’s prose is good enough for you to overlook his vile disdain for people like you and me and everything our parents fought and died for, but for me personally, it can never be good enough to turn a blind eye to his hateful vitriol.

    Furthermore, being the first book to recycle and regurgitate the hard work of others (some recognized, some not) in English does not a definitive and groundbreaking book make. Translations of other people’s work is nice, handy, and even helpful, but it is not a literary milestone.

    And in conclusion, let me tell you what we can all really do without: The disrespectful and hateful tirades of Lopez and his cadre of Castro sympathizers and agents. Lopez has a serious character problem that not only manifests itself in his book, but also in the way he so easily and viciously attacks an entire community that has suffered decades of misery.

  22. TWFKAP, I’m LMAO with your post. Great sense of humor!

    I’m sorry, Alberto, that you feel the way you do. I disagree with your assessment. This discussion started with my review of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from it. Whether the author is a historian or a creature from outer space is immaterial to me. It is inconceivable that anyone could assess the value of Professor López’ book without having first read it. Reading the few online excerpts, which are limited by nature, is not enough to critique a book. Now, Antonio has questioned the fact that Professor López did not give him credit for some citations used in the book. This is purely a matter between Antonio and Professor López to address. It is unfair to take Antonio’s side on this matter without giving Professor López an opportunity to rebut. I’m a faithful follower of providing individuals with their due-process rights. To not do so is the equivalent of the kangaroo trials that are common in totalitarian regimes.

  23. Jorge, it appears to me that not only the lack of credentials and questionable ethics of an author passing himself off as a historian are immaterial to you, but also immaterial is the author’s despicable behavior and hatred for everything you stand for. It is inconceivable to me that you would devote so much of your time, your integrity, and your credibility to defend a reprehensible and unethical character. But hey, you are free to do what you want.

    In regards to giving Lopez the opportunity to rebut, you know very well he is free to defend his book and behavior and post a comment here and no one will stop him from doing so. I would actually like to see him try it, although I seriously doubt he would. However, since I know you are fully aware Lopez is free to comment here, your veiled reference to Castro’s kangaroo trials to imply we restrict freedom of speech here is not only disingenuous, but borders on insulting. I don’t know if you made that ill-advised reference because you are upset or to score rhetorical points, but I suggest you leave the demagoguing and false accusations to Lopez and his Castro agent cohorts.

  24. Thank you, Jorge. It’s a gift.

    So, Jorge, using your logic, should I take the writings on Nazi Germany of historian David Irving — a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier — as seriously as I take those of, say, Ian Kershaw or Martin Gilbert? Should I lend this piece-of-shit communist son-of-a-bitch Alfred Lopez any credence in spite of his being butt buddies with a Cuban spy?

    I think not.

    Val said it best: tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are…

  25. 1. You can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a castroite that was a member of the Venceremos Brigade, Areito magazine, etc.

    2. The appropriate response when you learn that your friend or acquaintance is such a castroite is disassociate yourself from that person, unless of course, you are a castroite yourself.

    3. This blog does not have to provide “equal time” to opposing points of view. This blog IS EQUAL TIME against all the castroite lefty propaganda.

    4. The insinuation that this blog is no better than castro’s Cuba because we don’t provide the above mentioned equal time is ludicrous as we are not the government and have no power of coercion that a repressive regime has.

    5. The person in question already made his rebuttal in a much larger forum.

    6. If you disagree with any of this, you can suck my balls.


    Henry Gomez
    Editor Emeritus, Babalu Blog

  26. Nice to hear from you, Henry. And yes, like your rapper friend said earlier, that’s why we’re in exile: too much miseria humana (which does not mean human misery, but certainly causes it).

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