Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The scourge of Yemen

Yemenis love khat: green leaves which they chew by the fistful for hours which they say give them clarity of thought and good humour. Khat cultivation has risen dramatically in recent years, is the second largest source of jobs and uses 30% of the country's water supply, so much so that the capital Sanaa is predicted to run out of water in the not too distant future.. Yemen's alternative crop production suffers as a result and it imports 95% of its wheat, meaning that inflation is running at around 15%. Police are not allowed to chew the drug, yet it is permitted for army use. Presumably the Government thinks the troops need inspiration and cheer for their main daily duty: ferreting out al-Quaeda militants.

4 Comments:

Blogger Winchester Man said...

“Presumably the Government thinks the troops need inspiration and cheer for their main daily duty: ferreting out al-Quaeda militants.”

I hope I am not being overly precious or sensitive but perhaps the Govt’s logic is that the soldier’s chewed khat prior to enlistment and therefore to ban them from using it now would result in enlistment numbers falling. The use of khat is akin to alcohol within our culture, if the MoD were to ban the drinking of alcohol across all the services there would be significant recruitment and retention issues (yes – on top of the significant recruiting challenges faced already).

11:13 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi WM - yes, there was an outcry when the RN stopped free gin rations but as far as I know our troops don't drink on duty.

3:50 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Perhaps our politicians could do with a fistful of khat, it sounds wonderful. I know only too well about the global problems of drought stress and food security, they could certainly have problems with future wheat imports.

12:46 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Interesting as ever, WW. I, too, wonder about the logic behind these rules.

7:56 pm  

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