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I received the following from C-Realm guest Ayasmina:

Legislators in Peru chew coca to defy UN

Reuters
Published: Friday, March 14, 2008

LIMA -- Lawmakers defiantly chewed coca in Peru's Congress Thursday while
criticizing a UN recommendation to criminalize traditional uses of the
plant.

The coca leaf, the raw ingredient of cocaine, is used by millions of people
to stave off hunger and fight altitude sickness. It is also used in teas,
cooking and by fortune tellers.

"The coca leaf has existed for thousands and thousands of years. It's part
of our agriculture, our food and our medicine. It's sacred," Congresswoman
Hilaria Supa told Reuters before the start of Thursday's session.
"The United Nations doesn't know our culture. It doesn't understand our
values," she said.

Supa offered coca to colleagues on the Congress floor from small hats.


To which Ayasmina added:
i have been following this story for some time and am appalled! i think it's great for the peruvian legislators to take a stand, though i certainly hope that things don't descend into a state of civil chaos and 'anti-gringo' sentiment, the extreme likes of which peru has experienced in the past, largely due to the hypocrisy of US entanglement with the coca plant.

it just goes to show that there is not just one, but many medicines which are currently under attack and deserving of our attention, especially in the international arena, which is where these pressures stem from, not from the local cultures and people themselves. and i think it is fair to say that the global interests at play have precious little to do with the preservation of medicine, technology, culture, and overall well-being.

this is indeed a 'global era', one in which the UN (US?) seems poised to pick up the gauntlet of the war on plants. i believe in letting sleeping dogs lie -- that is, if traditional practice can soar under the radar, then good -- but clearly, this is not the case here, and so i believe one good turn deserves another. in other words, since there have been international proclamations & recommendations made, i do not believe it should be solely up to indigenous people to defend their practice on the world stage, which is not a level playing field to begin with.

since the allegations of the ills of coca belong to a paradigm that is utterly alien to their way of life and belief, and underscore a hidden agenda which is embarrassingly evident, i believe that those of us abroad who represent the "other side of the coin", as it were, have a certain responsibility to represent here, and to stand in the light of the truth that their practice is also ours, that their reverence for this unparalleled food, medicine, and sacrament is also our own.

in view of this, i plan to attend and document this year's International Forum on the Coca Leaf, which is slated to take place in lima in mid-june. it is my hope to be able to learn of ways in which we can be of use in this movement, and to be able to share these insights and strategies with our communities, both here and there. i also hope to be able to incorporate some new issues and perspectives into my presentations at the the first annual Convergence Conference, organized by sita and hosted by Espiritu de Anaconda, july 10 - 18 (http://www.amazonconvergence.com/), and at the 4th annual Conference on Amazonian Shamanism, july 19 - 27 (http://www.soga-del-alma.org/ConferenceSite/presenters.html).

then there is the Global Integrative Traditional Medicine Conference (whew!), scheduled for september 26 - 28 in vancouver (http://www.crish.org/documents/GITM_call_for_abstracts_final.pdf), during which, as most of you know, ken has received approval to hold a one-day seminar on traditional amazonian medicine in which many of us will be taking part.

i feel these forums can create an ideal opportunity for many voices and interests to come forward together in concert, conversation and communion to explore many of the aspects and angles so germane to the current debate on freedom & control, as pertains to our relationship with the plants in particular, and our global outlook in general.

i recognize there is so much to be learned on this subject, and hope to acquire more tools for understanding its intricate design. being so relatively new to this path, i am grateful for all that has been shared with and imparted upon me. i hope to reciprocate in kind, and, as always, welcome any and all comments and feedback from any and all sources, in furtherance and elucidation of this work.

in this spirit, i wish everyone my best, and look forward to more communication on these and other topics.

yours ever,
~yasmeen


Ayasmina sent this out to a variety of folks, including ethnobotanist Dr. James Duke, whose reply found its way to my inbox:
Coca, like cannabis, and poppy is a great medicinal plant, rarely if ever abused, but often used ,by the locals where it occurs, but often abused by us gringoes. We North Americanos spend as much money on illegal drugs as we spend licit pharmaceuticals, yet ironically the latter evidence-based medicines kill ten times more of us. Grass and coca leaf probably kill fewer people than peanuts (which I love). They force us to take Diamox when proscribing the better cheaper coca leaf.

All the profit for coke and grass and heroin sales goes to organized crime and puts N. America noteworthily highest in the world for incarceration with 1 % (maybe it's more) of our males incarcerated, too often for dealing in grass which is safer and probably a better medicine than many competing pharmaceuticals .

Marihuana seed, which I am eating as a snack right now are loaded with omega-3's whcih will help gringoes with over 50 ailemtns. yet it has to be grown in Canada, thatnks to an overprotective DEA putting all these petty criminals in jail while leaving the megacriminals (Big Pharma) off the hook. Read Greg Critser Generation Rx. To see who the real criminal "drug" dealers are.


And from Dennis McKenna, who has just arrived in Basel, Switzerland for the World Psychedelic Forum:
Yasmeen,

Thanks for sending this, though the message is discouraging and depressing. I'm glad you are going to attend that forum, it's important to stand with indigenous peoples on this issue. As I said in our little talk, these sacred plants are our bioweapons. Though it's unfortunate terminology, but if the Death Culture insists on making these organisms equivalent to WMD, then that makes those of us who are allies of the plants terrorists. So be it. But I would prefer, in a rational world, to have a dialog based on real concerns and not shot through with slogans and talk past each other rhetoric. In fact, maybe I should say that I would prefer a rational world, and leave it at that.

Just got to Basel yesterday; still recovering from jet lag, it is a brutal flight, and trying to get used to this German keyboard, as I am unable to get mY own mac on the Internet. Working on it...

Best,
Dennis




Further reading: http://www.narconews.com/Issue39/article1459.html

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
venusflytrap
Mar. 18th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
homeopathic coca has several uses too(as is homeopathic cannabis)..both of which are illegal for sale(not for use) in the united states while it is freely available pretty much everywhere else in the world.
victoriapandora
Mar. 18th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
I wonder what the deal is with coca cola shipping in hundreds of pounds of coca leaf and storing it in a warehouse in St. Louis? They say they use it for "flavour." It's fishy.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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