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It Begins with the Bean and Ends with the Blade.

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Häagen Dazs, the fake Swiss-like name given to one of Nestle's products (they also own Icescreamers, Drumstick, Dole, Carnation, Extreme, Gervais, Miko, and Maxibon) now has a specially crafted insult to anyone with Mayan ancestry. It's a new "Mayan Chocolate" flavor, for which Haagen Dazs/Nestle/Dole/Drumstick "went back to explore the history" of Mayan civilization. "It begins with the bean," they tell us. And if you travel the slick, little Flash animation to "Explore" the ice cream's advertisement (is this intended to imply that the Mayans were, perhaps, "Explored" earlier?) you read of the wonderful, creamy, Nestli-fied history of the Mayan People.

Gift from the Gods. The Maya believed the cocoa tree was created by the gods and that the pods holding the cocoa beans were an ofering from the gods to mankind.
...
The Mystical Drink. The Maya believed this drinkable concoction, which was strictly reserved for religious ceremonies and the nobility, brought universal wisdom and knowledge to anyone who consumed it.
...
Cinnamon Spices Things Up. When the Maya first created chocolate, they realized their original recipe was too bitter to be consumed as cocoa beans alone. So they began experimenting with different spices to help balance the bitterness. Cinnamon was later added to this ancient Mayan recipe by the Europeans in the 16th century."

Häagen Dazs Mayan Chocolate Advertisement


Oh, really? They realized it was too bitter, hunh? And lo and behold, they were rescued from this nasty, primitive drink by whom? The "Europeans."

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This is highly offensive, and rather disgusting an implication.

Let's consider what happened in the 16th century to the Maya, at the hands of the "Europeans." I assume you know. However, you may not, as we aren't taught in school about such things. And I know Haagen Dazs/Nestle/Dole ain't puttin' it in their spot. After all, it's not important to our school system, nor to any corporate entitity, that the world citizenry be educated about Imperial greed and the slaughter of the innocent. If the proles caught on to this type of recurring pattern, we might recognize it when it dons its jackboots, yellow ribbons, and declares once more that it must (once again) save the Indigenous Brown Backward People from their wicked, barbaric, unholy ways.

The Spaniards slaughtered the Mayan Indians in the 16th century. They did it for dreams of gold, which Hernán Cortés claimed was the only cure for the Spaniards, who "suffer from a disease of the heart." The Spaniards attacked the unsuspecting Indians, destroyed their idols, spat upon their dearest beliefs, stole their land, tortured them under the guise of their "Holy Religion," murdered countless innocents and deceived whomever they could in order to gain a better slicing and stabbing stance, but really it was all in the name of what Christopher Columbus called "the most excellent" goal, gold. There is your ancient recipe. A substance that rights all wrongs, and erases all torture and genocide, for when it comes to this yellow rock, "whoever has it may do what he wishes in this world," according to our hero, Cristopher Columbus.

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So while Häagen Dazs/Dole/Drumstick/Nestle writes up cute little ads that claim how special, royal, sacred, and reserved the Indians' recipe was, they say nothing about how it was gained in the first place. Is this too sticky a revelation for the masses of ice-cream gobbling consumers? They say nothing about how "the gods" might feel if they knew that the drink "strictly reserved for religious ceremonies and the nobility" was not only being slurped up by ignorant and commonplace folks (assuming this recipe has anything to do with the Maya, which I'm betting it does not), but is being used to distort the history of those who created it--before they were invaded, tortured, humiliated, enslaved to anothers' "Holy Religion," and ultimately ruined.

What I want to know is this:

Was it Fray Diego de Landa, perhaps, who added the cinnamon? Did he slip in a pinch after he burned the Mayan's sacred writings on all those matters we now wish we understood? Did the Spaniards convince the Maya people to add something sweeter while they had them on the garrucha, perhaps when they were flogging the poor Indians, or pouring burning wax on their skin? Did the Spaniards decide the Mayans' ancient cocoa recipe needed a touch of the European flavor after the Mayans poisoned their own wells, destroyed the sacred maize crop in order to drive the relentless conquerors away? When the Maya people began committing suicide rather than give up their gods and be tortured on the way, did the Spaniards think of this as a failure to bring Cinnamon to the hearts and minds of the Indians?

When was it, exactly, that the Spaniards decided to bestow yet one more gift upon these wicked Indians by sweetening their ungodly treat? And who should I, as a descendent of these people, thank for this? Is it Häagen Dazs? Nestle? Dole?

There was no sin; in the holy faith their lives were passed. There was then no sickness, they had then no aching bones; they had then no high fever; they had then no smallpox...they had then no headache. At that time the course of humanity was orderly. The foreigners made it otherwise when they arrived here. They brought shameful things when they came. ...it was only that these priests of ours were to come to an end when misery was introduced, when Christianity as introduced by the real Christians. Then with the true God, the true Dios, came the beginning of our misery. It was the beginning of tribute, the beginning of church dues...the beginning of robbery with violence, the beginning of forced debts, the beginning of debts enforcd by false testimony...."

The Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel


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I looked through all my books for "...the beginning of sweet chocolate" but I couldn't find it. Perhaps the Maya, themselves, never got to benefit from the Europeans' gift. Shame. But who knows if they would have appreciated it anyway, what with their primitive taste buds, and all.

 

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Nezua is an author and illustrator by trade, a rebel at heart, and a fugitive from the iron claw of ennui. You can find more of his writing at http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org , his videos at http://think.mtv.com/profile/Nezua , (more...)
 

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