"Coca for happiness, prosperity and peace"
Searching for some sites to write another hub, I came across some interesting links with unexpected information! To start with I found a very creative site that was against drugs in general and it was called Drug Strat, or Drugs and Strategy and it included books, articles, images, jokes and even exhibitions, all related to the drug problem and all very interesting!
What I enjoyed most was something entitled: Coca, cabeza y corazón! (Coca, head and heart), written especially for Drug Strait by Laurent Laniel. Laniel is a French sociologist, specialized in geopolitical themes, that is, with topics that have to do with the war against the production, commerce and consumption of illicit substances and with the policies to control them, especially in America. After travelling to Bolivia in 2006 he was asked to write something explaining what coca meant for him and this is what he wrote:
I include here only the last paragraph, which I have translated into English: “But, and the coca itself? I think the coca does not care at all about wars, but it can’t help people fighting for it. I also think that it would prefer that people didn’t fight and that they used it instead for happiness, prosperity and peace. But the coca doesn’t say anything. It just grows there, for thousands of years, against winds and tides. The coca continues there, quiet, green and beautiful."
On a more serious note, I also found a picture painted by Colombian Farid de la Ossa Arrieta entitled Broken by Drugs and the mood there was different, though a reality.
Farid says that he uses the mandala format (a circle) as the framework for his artwork. This time, however, he was asked by Laurent Laniel (from Drug Strat) to make a painting about drugs in Latin America, so he could not use the same format, as drugs is an issue that has upset the lives of many Latin American families, much like a broken glass. Because of that he had to find a new framework for his artwork, which he called 'broken mandala' (pieces of a circle spread out) by using color pencils, color pastels and black ink. With this new framework he made the Broken by Drugs art piece. In this work he included the map of Latin America, pieces of green glass, representing the broken hopes of people from Latin America because of the effects of drugs. He also added other drug related issues. Amid this collection of elements he placed the figures of a man and a woman, with no faces a very sad posture, to symbolize all the Latin Americans whose lives have been disturbed or damaged by the drugs. All these elements were then embedded in a red background, to appear like rivers of blood, which represents the blood of the innocent people that have died because of the confrontations between drug dealers and government forces in the whole continent.
As a Peruvian I can’t help being torn by the two sides of this conflict, as coca leaves are not considered a drug in my country, as they have been consumed by the inhabitants for hundreds of years.