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Past and future of iboga in France An interesting case of preprogrammed prohibition By Jacques De Schryver
Contents Iboga’s prohibition in France Normal french seminars progress The great Iboga initiation in Africa: –Edika, an iboga-boosting combustive agent The future of iboga in France, Gabon, Cameroun and Germany Conclusion : Overcoming the prohibition in France ?
Prohibition’s story Two persons died of iboga intake, allegedly, from 2005 to So the french government decided, allegedly without intervention of any pharmaceutical company, to prohibit it. This was done efficiently, in a quick careless biased way. Here are the details.
Juridical tenets Innocence presumption : in France, this basic concept slowed justice in different affairs, so it was thwarted by the intimate conviction of the judge in charge of the affair. Intimate conviction : it allows a judge to send someone to jail, waiting for a judgement that will come lately. This is called preventive jail. It may last several years. When this is done wrongly, the administration will apologize.
Administration decisions will prevail In France, it is a basic tenet that administration decisions will prevail. Be you right or wrong, should the european court of justice condemn France, french administration will maintain its decisions. It is France’s pride and joy to be independant, and to let its administration act according to its intimate conviction.
Philosophy French administration will act with sincerity, good will and in good faith. Public interest will prevail. Administration will not be responsible for its error. Consequently, it happens that its representatives will behave like people overwhelmed by too much work. However, they will remain honnest, even though detrimental.
The logic of appearance Dialectic is defined as being the logic of appearance. If you are wrongly sent to preventive jail, administrative dialectic will protect its own irresponsability by informing you that ‘appearances were against you’. This repetitive moto is a basic principle of the fact that, if administration is not guilty, then you are ! We will see how this applied to the iboga case.
Details of the french iboga affair Gérard Sestier created the first french iboga website in He created the Meyaya association in 2000, in order to fight drug, alcohol, overeating and smoking addictions. Meyaya treated around 700 persons through normal iboga seminars (detailed later), and specialized drug and alcohol seminars. Meyaya mainly used Mallendi (Herman Nzamba Boussouogou) and Jeanne Sestier services to lead the iboga seminars.
Jerry’s death Mid July 2006, Jerry G. tried to attend a Meyaya seminar for drug addicts. He was sent by his psychiatrist. He was refused for he was not on the seminar list, and had taken drugs recently. His behavior was agressive and he threatened the organizers with a knife for not letting him in.
Smothered by its vomit He nevertheless stayed, out of the seminar, and took breakfast the next day with the gangas, in the morning. Then he collapsed and was taken care of. Francis Mounier gave the first care, put him on his side, expelled part of the vomit, then gave mouth to mouth. Jerry could not breathe because he was throwing up. The firemen were called. They pushed Francis aside and asked him to leave. They put the breathing machine but apparently, didn’t clean the oesaphagus. Two hours later, Jerry was dead.
Controversial about the autopsy The autopsy showed Jerry had taken methadone and valium He had managed to get some iboga too : between two and three coffee spoons. At the autopsy moment, the iboga was still in his stomach. It was not digested. After the post mortem digestion, the dose was one twelvth of the lethal dose (1/12th). This was 8 hours after his death.
Biased conclusions The autopsy report concluded Jerry died from iboga uptake. The judge and the ‘Procureur de la republique’ (general attorney) confirmed it was their intimate conviction. No mention was issued about the part of valium and methadone in Jerry G. death. The process of prohibiting iboga was on.
Big TV show Six month later, the police and TV teams intruded at the end of a normal iboga seminar, end of january 2007, at the Château de Liviers, in Ardêche. They arrested Mallendi who was leading the seminar and provided iboga, Gerard Sestier who was the organizer, and his wife Jeanne. They were put in preventive jail for ‘endangering people’s life’. The attendees, ngangas and assistants were interviewed but remained free.
Where ceremonies take place
Lawyers’ efficiency The same night, Gérard Sestier and his wife Jeanne were freed, thanks to their lawyer who came from Paris to La Voulte (Ardêche) in a hurry. They today remain accused of endangering other people’s life. They may not leave the french territory. The trial and judgement will take place one day or never.
Mallend in jail Mallendi remained in preventive jail for 37 days. He is accused of illegal exercise of medicine, and of illegal exercise of chemist’s shop (exercice illégal de pharmacie). He may not leave the french territory. The trial and judgement will take place one day or never.
Presence or absence Mallendi was not in France when Jerry died. Iboga was by then authorized. The seminars were legal. He however stayed in jail for 37 days.
Correlation is not causality In march 2007, I (Jacques De Schryver) decided to pay for the lawyers fees of Gérard Sestier. We chosed a ‘star’, an ancient General Secretary of the Magistrature. Three days later, Mallendi was freed from jail. I had phoned his wife Jackie in Gabon to tell her that things would be speeding up. However, correlation is not causality. Maybe Mallendi would have been freed anyway. Mallendi had been attributed a free lawyer (commis d’office) he had refused ‘because he was not black’.
The reasons behind the case We may suppose this case was biased from start. Jerry G. did not die from iboga and Mallendi was in Gabon by that time. The french gendarmerie intruded the iboga seminar with a TV team and cameras. It was forecast at french news (journal télévisé) at 8pm was in France a pole year. The new president was to be elected in may. Iboga was accused of favoring a sect attitude, since Savoir d’Afrique, Mallendi’s association, was becoming famous and was receiving funds from people he had cured with african plants.
The seminars French normal seminars take place during three days. It begins with a self-presentation where every one talks about his goals and motivations. Most people here have had a real hard life, with histories of rape, drugs, homosexuality, violence or suicide attempts. For a group of 15 persons, it will last from 2 to 3 hours. People talk freely, and the group begins to coalesce. First night, attendees take from 5 to 12 spoons of iboga.
African ceremony The Nganga is accompanied by his assistants. They will dance and play music all night. The ceremony will begin around midnight, Gabonese time, and will end at dawn, as soon as the sun appears. Iboga is given with spoons. It is a bitter powder from the bark of the root of the iboga shrub. Everyone have one bottle of water to help swallow it. After the 3rd of 4th spoon, people begin to feel the iboga effects. They will also begin to throw up and this until the morning. The music will be helping them like a guide rope. They will keep it in their mind all their life through. Under iboga, it looks like millions of locust wildly dancing.
Losing control Some attendees will get out of their hinges and go on shouting, becoming hectic and reviving violent scenes from their past. I saw this and may testify the assistants do have to act efficiently and with calm, for one crisis in one person will raise crisis in other persons too. Most of the time, the crisis are beneficial. Subjectively, the night will be very, very long, and some attendees will give up, afraid that the second night might be the same.
Second day When the sun rises, attendees are brought back to their room by the assistants, because they have difficulties to walk. They will now sleep. Around three pm, a new meeting takes place and everyone will detail his experience. This will raise great moments of emotion. The second night will be like the first except that now, things will be much easier. The first night was the little death. The second is the rebirth. The iboga this time is mixed with honey. The third night will be mere dancing and chanting, with only two spoons of iboga. During the three days, car keys are locked. Attendees leave the fourth day before noon.
The great african ceremony in Gabon I went to Gabon for a month, april-may 2006, to attend the great iboga ceremony, where the edika preparation will be served. It is like a combustive agent. It will add its strength to the iboga transformational power. The ceremony took place in the bush : four nights without sleep. Unfortunately for people like me who are poor singers and awful dancers, we are on the equator. The night start à 6am and ends at 6am. And when at least you go to sleep, iboga will make it no more than two hours, so that you may fully profit from the rain season.
Initiatic ceremony First we are cleaned in an initiatic ceremony, with water and herbs. We will be nude for the symbolic cleansing that will prepare a new life through iboga, then through edika, the sacred mixing that is said to multiply the iboga’s effect. After purification, we are rubed with white kaolin As four me, this was a difficult time for I hate singing, dancing, eating very little and staying without sleep. Moreover, I had paid for this !!!
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Edika preparation The recipe is secret. However it is a mixing of herbs that will be put inside a rooster, killed in a precise way, and stay in a rudimentary oven for 24 hours. During the quest for herbs, on of the black assistants mistook one plant for another, and the Nganga had to berate him : ‘This one is deadly !’ So it was taken out. Glad he noticed.
Edika is said to be the top of the top for boosting the iboga’s effects
Edika is supposed to be a unique experience Africa being a continent of oral tradition, you will not find this much on the internet. Knowledge is power, and remain a well kept secret. Edika is said to be the topmost experience, above iboga. We ingested it during a special ceremony, during day, where we lay on the ground like worms. The result depends and varies according to people. I may just say I was not particularly gifted. But my friend Sylvain had an ecstatic experience.
The future of iboga in France Iboga is now forbiden in France since march There will not be any more seminars in France. However two solutions appear. I live in Strasbourg, Germany is 5 kms away. Healers and herbalist are most welcome there. They are officialy recognized. Their fees are reinbursed by the national health services. This should be a sound place to start iboga seminars again. A second solution will be to use 18- methoxycoronaridine, an iboga metabolite which is not forbiden. It is less toxic and has the same effexts.
Avoiding the sect efffect but preserving a ritual In my opinion, one of the two main reasons for prohibiting iboga was the sect threat. It was emphazised in several official texts and by newspapers and magazines. The ceremonies use an african ritual, which the french authorities did not welcome. So we are thinking of replacing it with sacred chants and music from all over the world. The merit of the african ceremony is to use the metaphor of a boat and that of death and rebirth. Even though maybe it should be replaced and adjusted to european mentality, the need for a structure remains. And the attendees profit by sharing their needs and experiences in common. Sharing stimulates catharsis, since the sharing will emotianaly free people who involve themselves through speaking up in public. People who do not believe in psycho-analysis should attend a traditional iboga seminar. Long repressed memories and emotions gush out like from a petrol well in wild psychological landscapes.
Forthcoming seminars in Gabon and Cameroun By now, people who wish to attend a ritual african ceremony with fresh iboga will have to attend seminars in Africa. They may go to Gabon, where different ngangas organize seminars. Among them : –Mallendi : ; –Tatayo, the white nganga : They may go to Cameroun where Gérard Sestier ( ) plans to organize ten days ceremonies, in the local tradition. Jeanne Sestier, his wife, is an official certified healer and mabundi. From France, the flight ticket is about 700 euros.
Conclusion : overcoming the interdiction We have seen that iboga’s prohibition was due to two main reasons : –It cures when methadon and subutex only treat. Pharmaceutical group dont like unpatentable molecules. –There is a sect threat, when people begin to fund an association like Savoir d’Afrique (African Knowledge). Iboga allegedly killed twice in two years, on of these accusation being obviously biased. Alcohol officially kills over persons in France every year. Medical misdiagnosis officially kill persons in France every year.
18-methoxycoronaridine : a potential wildcard The official text states that are now prohibited : –Iboga –Its derivative like salts, isomeres, esthers and ethers. As Howard Lotsof wrote me : « You might consider another alternative to noribogaine to be 18-methoxycoronaridine, a synthetic congener of ibogaine that was specifically designed to overcome the issues of cardiac and neurotoxic effects of ibogaine. While there is preclinical evidence that noribogaine is less neurotoxic than ibogaine it appears from unpublished data that noribogaine may actually be the metabolite of ibogaine that causes adverse cardiac effects. » The question is : 18-methoxycoronaridine being a non-toxic synthetic product, may it be legally authorized ? If so, seminars might resume in France, with no more african ceremony.