close

policy

We would like to invite you to continue a survey you have started. ...

Do you trust your insurer ?

Strongly agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Insurance provides peace of mind
Insurance is purchased only when compulsory
Terms and Conditions (small print) are clear and easily accessible
Insurance jargon (language) stands in the way of fully understanding each policy
Insurance companies try their best to uphold the details of the policy without cutting corners
Reducing risk, cutting costs and profits are more important to an insurance company than the customer
Insurance companies in the region are as professional as in other more developed markets
Gender
Age group
Do you feel your insurance provider works in your interest?
Have you had a rejected claim that you feel was not justified?
Do you trust your insurance provider?
Our Network

Register for our free newsletter

 
 
Latest News

Qat’s out of the bag, Part II

Qat’s out of the bag, Part II

Yemen’s leafy stimulant is either destroying the country or saving it from disaster. Which is it? Part II of a series

0

October 26, 2008 8:40 by



Living like a sheikh

Another myth in need of debunking: Qat is an age-old Yemeni tradition. Yes, it’s been here for a while: Originating in Ethiopia, the plant is thought to have come to the peninsula in the 13th century by Sufis who used it as an aid in achieving a state of spiritual enlightenment. But until recent decades, it wasn’t commonly used. Farmers might have chewed a few leaves between prayers – after lunch, for instance, before going out into the field again, as many in the West might enjoy a cup of coffee – and tribal sheikhs chewed in the majlis, but it was hardly an everyday ritual that lasted hours, as it does today.

The qat craze seems to have kicked off in earnest in the 1970s. As the modern world crept in, a generation previously barred from the education system began getting university degrees. Qat became a study aid for them, rather than a postprandial pick-me-up. Returning migrant workers from the first Saudi oil boom, newly enriched and wanting to live like sheikhs, began hosting their own extended qat-chew sessions. And women began using qat for the first time.

“I call it the democratization of the qat session,” says Abdullah Azzalab, author of “Qat Culture in Yemen: A Sociological Approach” and the director of state radio and television. Qat has become the great equalizer of Yemeni society, he says. There’s an unwritten code: The door to the chew is always open. The butcher, in theory, can go to the house of a cabinet minister and discuss his concerns, calmly and at length, while chewing qat. The plant and its associated tafrita – a Sana’ani word for a female social gathering – also provide women with much-needed social space.

Azzalab is not a proponent of qat, but he argues that to reduce its centrality in Yemeni life, one first needs to understand the indispensible role it plays in binding Yemeni society together. “This habit, this phenomenon, is out of control,” he says. “Even those who chew qat say it’s bad. But we don’t have any alternatives.”

Other experts expressed a similar opinion: It’s not enough to discourage or ban qat. One has to come up with something to take its place, both economically and culturally.



Pages: 1 2 3 4

0

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment