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Poisonous weed traps ancient civilization

  June 26, the annual International Anti-Drug Day. Like many drug-ridden places, Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, also held a centralized drug destruction on this day. The flames and black smoke soaring into the sky obscured the original sky.
  But both Yemeni authorities and citizens may be well aware of the effectiveness of this scene: here, drugs will always exist, and those destroyed are only the tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s grown, smoked or sold, drugs are always with you.
  Why are they willing to surrender to drugs?
“Arabic Tea”

  It looks like a very ordinary handful of green leaves, some with fresh branches, bundled in a small bunch and placed on a banquet for relatives and friends, which is the most popular “dessert” after a full meal. On ordinary days, people walking on the street can take out a small packet of these green leaves from their pockets and chew them in their mouths at any time. After the initial bitterness in the mouth, there is a slightly sweet taste, followed by an inexplicable excitement and pleasure.
  This plant named “Qat” contains a large amount of natural amphetamine in its stems and leaves. After entering the human body through chewing, it will stimulate the human nervous system and produce short-term pleasure. When the amphetamine-induced happiness is lost, the person who comes back to his senses will feel a strong sense of “being taken out” and can’t wait to continue chewing and rejuvenating.
  In the alternation of repeated excitement and malaise, the body functions are gradually corroded, and it will also cause health problems such as gastritis, esophagitis, periodontal disease, insomnia, etc., until the cheeks that are often chewed qat bulge. From face to spirit, Qat gradually disintegrates healthy people, turning them into walking dead who only think about how to obtain Qat.
  As a tree species native to the mountains of Ethiopia, Qat was introduced to the Middle East 1,000 years ago and was once popular in many countries including Yemen. The ancient Arabs also used a lot of qat leaves as a substitute for alcohol, and named it “Karat tea”, which sounds harmless to humans and animals. So far, Qat is not an internationally recognized drug that is on the books and is strictly cracked down, but only counted as a “Class II soft drug”.
  However, the addiction and great harm of Qat have gradually aroused the vigilance of most Middle Eastern countries. Many countries list it as a stimulant or a controlled drug, and strictly prevent travelers from bringing it or mailing it into the country. Yemen’s neighbor Saudi Arabia, in order to prevent the popularity of qat, has made eating and trading qat a felony. As long as they are related to qat, they will be sentenced to life imprisonment in light of life, and death in serious case.
  But in Yemen, Qat is another much-loved sight. Abdul Karim Razhi, a native Yemeni writer, once made such an “affectionate confession” about Qat: “Qat is our opium, the green leader who rules us, and the center of our social activities. It’s the key to everything, you can’t explain it – it explains everything.”
universal drug use

  Abdul’s words are not an exaggeration. In fact, many Yemeni government officials who have the right to speak in politics and law often reiterate: Qat is the soul of Yemenis, and Yemen without Qat will no longer be Yemen.
  In Yemen, “universal drug use” is a breeze: parents feed qat to crying children to make them more obedient and smarter. Snacks are generally sold in shopping malls and streets. In addition, there are places such as “Cate Hall”, which provide thoughtful “chew” service like the well-known cafes and pubs. If it is a friend, share Qat together, chew it dizzy, and then reveal some truth – it is the absolute C position in social situations; if you feel tired, even the police and the army will “chew a bite at any time and place.” Chew”, as if doing the job better.

  Parents feed qat to crying children to make them better-behaved and look smarter.

People who often chew caffeine

  A lot of time and money were swallowed up with Qat. According to research statistics, more than 80% of Yemenis aged 16 to 50 frequently chew qat. These prime laborers spend a total of 14.6 million hours a day chewing qat and sinking into the hallucinations it creates.
  On the streets of Yemen, it is common to see such a scene: the elderly who have just received the meager relief money, immediately buy a bag of light qat, and chew it like a treasure; the poor who have no money and become addicted to drugs, Directly dragging the vendor’s car, and quickly chewing a few mouthfuls of qat; children and teenagers, exchange the money given by their mothers to buy food for qat… Yemenis use 17% of their income to support the qat addiction.
  The qat that can be seen everywhere is not cheap, and correspondingly, it is a high profit. Growing one hectare of qat can generate at least $2,000 a year—yet Yemen’s per capita GDP is only $1,871. The “universal drug use” has made many growers see business opportunities, giving up the cultivation of ordinary crops and switching to long-term cultivation of Qat. So, abundant supply, easy acquisition, sweet illusion… The two joys of supply and demand, again and again.

In June 2022, people face water shortages in Hajj province, northern Yemen
The old days that can’t go back

  Surrounded by drugs, wars and poverty, people almost forget that Yemen had such a glorious past.
  Yemen is one of the cradles of the ancient civilizations in the Arab world. It has a rich history and culture, and its geographical location is in a golden “strategic battleground”. It is also blessed with rich oil resources and has excellent congenital conditions. Yemen entered the ranks of oil exporters early in the 1980s. Since then, Yemen has found natural gas, metal mines and other resources on its own rich land. These innate conditions could have made it a member of those rich countries.
  Even if you put aside these wealthy resources that can be sold, and just pursue an ordinary life that is indisputable in the world, Yemen should be able to satisfy the needs of its citizens. It used to be known as the “Gulf’s Granary”, where crops such as barley, wheat, and corn flourish. Before the 1960s, when no oil was exported here, Yemen was called the “Happy Arabian Land” by the Greeks.

  The land that has been planted with Qat can hardly be replaced with other plants.

  With the help of good land conditions and systematic agricultural development, the grain output here is sufficient, filling the stomach, and supporting the sack – until the qat becomes popular and the whole people become addicted, the food crops are increasingly survived for a longer period, with fewer pests and diseases. The more profitable the qat tree occupation.
  As a “poisonous weed”, Qat can not only erode the human body and spirit for a long time, but also has a strong monopoly on the cultivated land. The land that has been planted with Qat can hardly be replaced with other plants. This makes the scourge of Qat on the entire country’s agricultural layout indefinitely.
  At the same time, growing qat requires a lot of water. For the same hectare, Qat consumes more than twice as much water as food crops. Yemen has a tropical desert climate, and water resources are precious. Planting a “poisonous weed” like qat will cost 60% of the country’s water resources. Naturally, growers have no time to take care of food crops that can really fill their stomachs.
  Today, Yemeni farmers who grow qat feed “poisonous weeds” by exploiting groundwater indiscriminately, and then sell it to citizens who cannot eat enough, troops and police who are helpless. People sink into hallucinations, and the land goes further and further down the road of desertification.
  How can we change this endless cycle of sliding into the abyss? At one point in Yemen, a number of political parties advocating banning Qat emerged, but all of them failed in the election and were defeated by candidates who upheld “Qat is Yemeni culture”. Qat has trapped Yemen, an ancient civilization, and may be bound more and more tightly until the delusional people are no longer conscious.

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