Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ey, wie schmeckt der Coffee süße

The Italian conquest of Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, resulted in the espresso craze in Italy. During the Second World War, each Italian soldier carried an espresso maker in his mess kit. The Starbucks aesthetic__garish, fascistic murals combined with Futurist mechanization of the work force and absurdist shouting__can be traced to Mussolini.

America's love of coffee has always been tied to the affection for conquest. Coffee fueled the "winning of the West" and the usurpation of the former colonies of Spain at the turn of the century. Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia etc. have all been virtual colonies since then, with frequent US armed interventions etc to ensure servitude. These nations constitute the mainstay of our coffee supply, and much blood has been spilled to maintain it. Coffee was the blood of the Indian, and gave one the adrenal rush needed to achieve "manifest destiny". Coffee was "Joe", as in Joe Nobody or John Doe, as the racist dehumanization of the native people's refuted any necessity for their identification. This name was changed to "Java" in the 60's, when the US helped install the Dictator Suharto in Indonesia, who murdered so many of his subjects at the behest of insecure multi-nationals. Although this was a proxy war, not directly fought by us, coffee's taste still reflects the power imparted by the struggle. Its flavor was enriched and it grew in popularity. Whether Indian or Indonesian, coffee was the blood of the vanquished, and it tasted good.

Now, in the global economy, coffee is grown across the entire subjugated third world. When Starbucks sell a bag of beans it's always marked with the region from where it sprang, making the consumer an imperial cannibal connoisseur.

Ian Svenonius, The Bloody Latte

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