The other day, I posted on my Instagram account a picture of my daughter in a bikini, standing on a swing in the garden. A few hours later, the image was deleted from my profile. It seems that the folks at Instagram considered the content of the image, which simply showed the innocence of a child happily playing on a swing on a sunny summer afternoon, to be offensive or inappropriate. Recently, a friend of mine who works for the Spanish Cannabis seed bank, Buddha Seeds, was telling me how Facebook had censored a contest he had organized on social media because apparently it went against their policies or “community standards.”
Africa has been presented to us for decades as the continent of hunger, tribal wars, lions and elephants in the savannah, diamonds and explorers. These are all small categories that try to simplify a vast territory that contains 54 countries, around a thousand million inhabitants and exceeds the 30 million square kilometers, more or less 60 times the size of Spain. Africa, after the economic meltdown in the beginnings of this century, is living a slow but unstoppable transformation thanks to neoliberal globalization. What was once a big container of slave workforce and raw material during the early stages of capitalism is now becoming an emerging market for investors and companies who can reach new potential consumers and spaces to “develop”.
The title I chose for this article might seem somewhat harsh - like busting a door down - but while it may be unpleasantly true, it's necessary just the same. No possible effort should be spared at this point to alert the public to how they are being lied to and used -- in the worst meaning of the word -- as "cash cows" to be milked of their money.
The deterioration of rights in Latin America, particularly with regard to drug use, but also of civil rights in general, is a result of the triumph of right-wing politicians in the region. Recent setbacks should make us reflect on the cultural and legal gains of the past few decades that will begin to erode with the imposition of criminalization and repression.
For someone like me, who consumes industrial quantities of codeine (and by that I mean more than several grams a day), it's something that really shocks me. Why the hell is codeine suddenly appearing in rap songs by groups from all over the world in every language you can think of? To find out, I asked BertiMC -- a rapper from Salamanca -- what he thought and his answer was simply, "It's the fashion." And he's right. A fatal fashion started by a guy named Dj Screw, who died of an overdose of codeine mixed with other drugs, which seems to have started a trend, a kind of cult, if you will, within this musical genre.
All governments in the globe are about to tackle a very delicate problem, especially after the absolute and resounding failure of the war on drugs they declared a good few years ago. That war, as we have explained a number of times, has only achieved an increase of violence, the criminalization of consumers, hundreds of thousands of deaths for no reason and a brutal economic expense that has proven useless.
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