30 January 2007

Dominican Mamajuana liqueur launches in the US

From Bobby Gonzalez (Taino)

Dominican Today
January 30, 2007

Dominican Mamajuana liqueur launches in the US

New York.– Dominican herbal liqueur mix manufacturer Don Ramon Mamajuana announced the official United States pre-launch of its Dominican love drink: Don Ramon Mamajuana, beginning February 14th.

Considered a natural aphrodisiac, this special blend of 20 roots, herbs, and spices native to the Dominican Republic has been used for centuries as a powerful vitality drink. Tourists and natives of the islands have enjoyed this secret drink for years.

Typically, the only way one can get a hold of an authentic bottle of Mamajuana is by traveling to the Dominican Republic. For the first time, it will now be available in the US.

This herbal aphrodisiac beverage first came into existence hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Hispaniola. It was initially discovered by Taino Indians who inhabited the island of the Caribbean region and utilized it for its vitality and health advantages.

Today, Mamajuana is considered by Dominican Republic natives as a National drink. It is referred to as; "The Baby Maker" and "The Male Member Enhancer's Drink."

Many of the natural ingredients found in Mamajuana are widely used today in western herbal supplements such as Chamomile, Star Anis, Anamú, Brazilwood, Cat's Claw (Uña de Gato) among many others.

Unlike many other traditional Mamajuana found on the islands, Don Ramon Mamajuana is specially prepared to comply with USDA and FDA regulations set for safety and cleanliness of product. Each bottle is tamper-proof sealed and includes mixing and preparation directions.

The official product launch will start this February 27th to commemorate Dominican Republic's Independence day. "We are thrilled that finally American consumers will now have the opportunity to benefit from the ability to enjoy this traditional and long-awaited product," said Ray Payano, 26 year old Co-founder and V.P. of the company

26 January 2007

Freeing the Spirit of the Americas: Roberto Rodriguez

[Reproduced with the kind permission of the author. Please note that The CAC Review's Creative Commons license may not apply to this particular posting.]

JANUARY 15, 2006


The sacred count has begun.

Some might call what is happening on Turtle Island prophesy, whereas others will simply say that given the continent's demographics, it was only a matter of time that the centuries-old process of de-Indigenization would begin to be challenged and reversed, commencing a process of re-Indigenization or the Indigenization of the Americas. This process is envisioned as bringing about peace, dignity and justice for all the peoples of the continent – the earth, actually, as opposed to a demographic horse race.

One of those challenges is taking place in Colorado where Vivian Delgado has recently achieved a long overdue de-colonial blow to that de-Indigenization process. Up until a few weeks ago, her birth certificate had her listed as white. After successfully petitioning the state's Office of Vital Records, she is now listed as Indigenous Mexican Yaqui & Indigenous Mexican Puebloan.

For some, this is heresy. Yet, de-Indigenization has never been an accidental by-product of colonialism: On top of land theft, it is the historic project by Euro-Americans to destroy thousands of years of aboriginal thought, culture, history, memory, language and spirituality on this continent. Part of this has included treating Indigenous peoples as less than human, and wherever possible, defining, Hispanicizing, Anglocizing or Westernizing them out of existence.

Some began that sacred count in 1990 when Indigenous peoples gathered in Quito, Ecuador to press for the end of 500 years of dehumanization. Others began it when the Zapatistas rose up in 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico…or with the 2006 election of Evo Morales of Bolivia, becoming the continent's first Indigenous president since the 19th century. Others note that European colonization did not terminate that sacred count; it simply submerged it.

For Neanderthal bigots, Mexicans are either subhuman Indians or mongrels. For them, the mere presence of [brown] Mexicans is a reminder of a failed and unfinished Indigenous extermination project. For others, Mexicans reclaiming their indigeneity is a reminder of another unfinished project: Manifest Destiny; the irreversible civilization, modernization and Christianization of the Americas. (That's why for many, the only modern solution is deportation).

The significance of Delgado's victory is huge, with the potential to be emulated by millions, thus accelerating the re-Indigenization of Turtle Island (despite the historic U.S.-led effort at the UN to deny the ratification of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

In the past, due to a desire to escape segregation, forced removal, slavery or even extermination – millions of native peoples across the continent were forced to accept Western/Christian identities (non-Indigenous mestizo, and in some cases, white identities). While a different era, some of those discriminatory legacies remain. That's why many Mexicans (Central & South Americans also) here have begun to challenge the practice of automatically designating them as white, on both birth and death certificates, notes Rocky Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who sees these practices as ethnocide, helped organize a "Free the Spirit Day" forum in Denver recently that spurred on many others to also petition a change in their birth certificates (Two others have thus far been successful).

The forum, Delgado says, was an "historical attempt to address our sovereignty in this country….I believe as in the case of Indigenous Mexicans that our race was constructed by assimilation policy supported and enforced by the church and state. Race in this context can also be de-constructed and corrected."

For example, many Mexicans, due to de-Indigenization policies (reducciones), do not have tribal identities. Yet, that does not make them white, says Delgado, author of: "You're not Indian; You're Mexican." "To automatically assume that Mexicans are white, is a violation of their human rights at birth." They can still correct their certificates. Being part of maize-based cultures, they should [have the option to] identify as "Indigenous Mexican."

She believes that this issue is in part tied to [denial of] land grant rights. Aware of the contentiousness of such a claim, she is undaunted: "Our culture is land-based, and we retain our foods and traditional medicines. It's an inheritance that belongs to our children."

Then there's the U.S. Census. Due to de-Indigenization policies, racism and shame, it has in recent decades facilitated and counted people of Mexican, Central and South American origin as white. The bureau, however, supposedly no longer imposes identities – yet nowadays, it is nonsensically dividing up the entire nation into Hispanic and non-Hispanic categories. By design or default, Hispanics continue to be tallied as a white population. To be seen is if the bureau will stand in the way of that sacred count… in 2010.

* For info re Freeing the Spirit of the Americas -- on how to change your birth certificate, write to:Vivian Delgado at: yoemem334@aol.com or Rocky Rodriguez at: pejuta13@yahoo.com or Luis Torres at; torresl@mscd.edu; For info re the book, You're not Indian; You're Mexican write to Delgado at yoemem334@aol.com

© Column of the Americas 2007

Rodriguez can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com

Dialogue: Newest Issue

Dr. Roi Kwabena's latest issue of Dialogue is currently available, in PDF format, directly from him at roi.kwabena@gmail.com.

This latest issue as usual covers a broad range of very interesting topics, mostly centred on themes of resistance to slavery, African and indigenous cultures, contemporary politics in Africa and the Caribbean, poetry, short stories, biographies of Caribbean literary and artistic personalities, poetry, museum reviews, more poetry, and finally some very interesting photographs of Trinidad Amerindian artifacts. It is 140 pages long and reminds one of some of the classic locally published reviews one used to find more frequently in the Caribbean in the past. The signs of life of an anti-colonial intelligentsia are not altogether gone, but in some cases they have moved abroad and make their presence felt over the Internet.

New Book: Quest for Caribbean Unity

NEW Book Release

A new book, Quest For Caribbean Unity: Beyond Colonialism, edited by Dr. Kenneth John, Dr. Baldwin King and Cheryl L. A. King, published in November 2006 by KINGS-SVG Publishers, is now available and we received a notice from one of the editors, Cheryl King (claking@hotmail.com).

This volume is the second of a trilogy on the re-publication of essays and commentaries that appeared in the Flambeau magazine between 1965 and 1968 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The first volume entitled Search for Identity focused on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This volume focuses on the wider Caribbean as well as on philosophical and religious topics, among others. The authors are mostly Vincentian-born but there are a few invited contributors from other Caribbean countries as well from the U.S.A. and the former Yugoslavia. The editors believe that many of the essays still have such relevance to today’s Caribbean society that re-publication is very appropriate. For example, Kenneth John's "The Guyanese Situation” which put the whole Guyanese situation in its political, economic and social context in 1965 is, in some sense, prophetic when we look at what has happened to Guyana over the past forty years. Arnhim Eustace’s “Obstacles To Economic Growth” discussed the tremendous hurdles that small island states confront in the development process, hurdles still exist today. So, many of the essays provide a benchmark against which to judge the progress that has been made over the last forty years in Caribbean society.

The retail cost of the book (paperback, 198 pages, ISBN: 0-9778981-1-3) is US$24.95 plus US$3.50 for shipping in the US, US$4.50 for shipping to Canada and US $9.00 for shipping to the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, by airmail.

If you would like to have your book signed, just send the relevant information.

To order, please send your name, address and payment-check or money order payable to Baldwin King to:
Dr. B. King,
P.O.Box 702,
Madison, NJ 07940.
email:kingba@aol.com, website: www.kingsinn-svg.com.


Kenneth John received his B.Sc. in Government from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and his Ph.D. in Government from Manchester University. He is also trained as a barrister-at-law. He entered politics briefly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a candidate of the Democratic Freedom Movement. He writes a weekly column in the "Vincentian" newspaper. He also practices law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Baldwin King received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and his Ph.D. in physical/inorganic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught Applied Chemistry at U.W.I. Mona and currently teaches Physical Chemistry at Drew University, New Jersey, USA where he is Professor of Chemistry. His research interests include inorganic anti-cancer agents. He is the author of "Introduction to Chemistry and the Environment" as well as a number of peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals.

Cheryl King received her B.A. in Political Science from Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, her Diploma in Education (Teaching of English) from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and her M.A. in Political Science from the Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York, New York. She is the author of "Michael Manley and Democratic Socialism." She currently works in the Drew University Library, Madison, New Jersey, USA.

Abu Ghraib, Trinidad & Tobago

As if inspired by the colonial perversions meted out by American soldiers against their Iraqi wards in Abu Ghraib prison, Trinidadian police invaded the home and arrested a Muslim activist and businessman who had encouraged a rally against the ruling Peoples National Movement for its imposition of highly unpopular foreign aluminum smelters and its seeming acquiescence to rampant crime and kidnappings.

Inshan Ishmael, the activist who also directs the Islamic Broadcasting Network (IBN), was arrested under--of all things--the Anti-Terrorism Act. He was then stripped of his clothing and made to squat naked on the floor of the police station to which he was abducted.

His crime? Posting a handbill without indicating his name or address as the publisher (yet one can clearly see his name and three phone numbers on the handbill), an offence in Trinidad that can result in a maximum fine of $1,000 TT (about $180 US) or six months in prison. Moreover, he was arrested without the required warrant--a warrant is needed unless someone is caught by police in the very act of committing a crime. Ishmael was having a barbecue with his family when police goons in plain clothes came to seize him. Moreover, a rally he had legally organized was then cancelled, only to be reinstated later by the high court.

Ishmael had called for a two-day shutdown of the country in protest against the PNM's increasingly despotic hold on the country. Clearly the police are being used as personal pawns of an authoritarian Prime Minister who apparently believes that his latest act of high-handed stupidity will escape broader notice. Given the "wannabe" nature of the Afro-Trinidadian political elite in the PNM, which for so long has desperately craved to become like the colonial Anglo-Saxon master it replaced, the Americans provided a ready made formula for humiliating opponents and justifying all manner of criminality under the code of "anti-terrorism."

Nevertheless, recent polls suggest that the PNM would win easily again in national elections. This is not entirely surprising, as the PNM has been very effective at diverting state funds into personal patronage projects, so that even those who might otherwise balk at corruption and dictatorship are heeding the pleas of their empty bellies to remain silent.

08 January 2007

The Colonization Will be Televised

"For a long time -- at least six decades -- photographs have laid down the tracks of how important conflicts are judged and remembered. The Western memory museum is now mostly a visual one"--Susan Sontag

When a conservative British daily such as The Telegraph can feature a commentary ("Execution gives Saddam a martyr's crown") condemning the execution of Saddam Hussein, with such strong statements as: "grotesquely botched execution," that Saddam Hussein was "shown dying with dignity and no little courage at the hands of hooded thugs," and thus, "the martyr's crown surely beckons," then one can just begin to guess what the reactions would be in the colonized world. In fact, it's not so much a matter of guessing, when there have been protests in several nations, not just in the Middle East, plus countless caustic newspaper editorials from Malaysia to North Africa--and not because Saddam Hussein had a large and adoring following. Everything about the pursuit of Saddam Hussein has shown tremendous blood lust, fierce jingoism, and most of all, a desire to humiliate the vanquished.

Huge numbers of Americans hated Saddam Hussein without really knowing anything about this man who never attacked their nation, who never invaded their soil, and who at one time was the darling of their own elites and their many wealthy business partners who dominate the Gulf states. In North America we have been told countless times that we live in "the civilized world," by political leaders such as George W. Bush. These words should ring as loudly as they ring hollow, for they necessarily imply an other half: the uncivilized world. A war against the uncivilized world then, by force of history and custom, can easily be translated into a colonial war against "savages."

Is there anyone left who will still protest that the world of 2007 is fundamentally different from the world of 1492, or the imperial "scramble for Africa" of the late 1800s? Would anyone still like to argue that the act of putting conquered natives on display, as part of a gory freak show, is something of the distant past? Does any scholar still use the term "post-colonial" as if it actually meant something?

Not in my lifetime have I seen the overthrow of a leader of a foreign nation resemble, in such a macabre manner, a vulgar Mafia "hit" (killing his family, blowing up his home). What I dreaded and expected from the beginning, knowing the extent to which Western culture lionizes imagery, not to mention electronic images, was for the humiliation to be televised. The act of "embedding" journalists with invading forces mandated this outcome from the outset. We were, once again, to be given a front row seat in the conquest of another nation, and this was presumably being done for our benefit. As in recent times, where spectators could see a bombing, from the point of view of the bomb, audiences would be socialized and trained to identify with the conqueror, and damn it, they were to enjoy it.

When, in the early weeks of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Iraqis broadcast video segments on television of four American soldiers who had been taken prisoner, the American forces howled about "the Geneva Convention," which they had, to their convenience, suddenly rediscovered. Was their response more humane, more civilized?

  1. Claiming to show "thousands" of Iraqi soldiers being held as prisoners in southern Iraq, Western media outlets sprayed their front pages with gigantic images of the captives in the early weeks of the invasion, being marched with their hands on their heads.
  2. Saddam Hussein's two sons were photographed, dead, after they had fallen to American gunfire, and these images were published worldwide.
  3. Saddam Hussein's "spider hole" (terminology meant to add to the dehumanization) was photographed, as was his medical examination by American captors, like a wild animal caught by White big game hunters, as if undergoing delousing before being put on public display.
  4. Saddam Hussein's days in what was indisputably a Kangaroo Court, televised, also gave many pleasure, to see this man made to fight when the outcome had been predetermined, to allow him an appeal when his sentence was already made certain, and to watch his furor grow at the lynching that was inevitably in store for him; all of this would give some the same perverse joy that wicked children show in pulling the wings off of a fly or burning a caterpillar under a magnifying lens.
  5. Saddam Hussein's execution, on government television no less, with complete footage released by two government officials who were permitted to openly record the proceedings with their cell phones, to the accompaniment of sectarian insults, and distributed across the Internet.
  6. And, I do not need to remind anyone of the countless Abu Ghraib photographs.

[I would like to refer readers to Susan Sontag's critique, "Regarding the Torture of Others," which appeared in The New York Times on May 23, 2004.]

Is all of this just an accident? Obviously not, it is done by design. So what is the design?

Whether it is Pirates of the Caribbean 2 or Apocalypto or the murder of Saddam Hussein, we are being treated to a ghoulish feast of images of the supposed barbarity of others, yet displaying our own in greater abundance. In an effort to stem the tide of photographs and videos which show the extreme vulnerability of coalition forces in Iraq (whether it is the famed series of "Juba the Sniper" videos showing an Iraqi sniper at work against US troops, filmed from the perspective of the barrel of his rifle, or the collage of roadside bomb clips where the trajectories of American bodies up through the tank and into the air is traced by an illuminated red circle added by a video editor--my, how the uncivilized learn the arts of civilization so quickly), clearly the "civilizers" have done no better than the "uncivilized." That is also not an accident, not a stumbling into a situation of contradiction.

What I find most disturbing (as if all of this was not disturbing enough) is that these images are shown to us...as if we were expected to enjoy them. And that, I think, is the answer to what appears, superficially, to be a contradiction we enjoy (the civilized gawking at the uncivilized in what is after all a very uncivilized manner). When our political leadership and the media establishment treat us to these spectacles, they expect us to gaze at these pictures of conquest without seeing ourselves at work in the gazing. To put it bluntly, the one who takes pleasure at the sight of the conquest of the other avoids seeing himself as the demented, drooling savage he claims to abhor. These photos and films permit viewers to watch, themselves unseen, but even worse than that: barring them from seeing themselves in the act of looking. This is what the deliberate, studied, and regulated display of these images is meant to accomplish: our own colonization as we are emotionally and unconsciously recruited into celebrating the oppressor. The fact that this does not work nearly so well, so smoothly, in reality is something that gives one some hope.