Get rid of the guns and qat [Archives:2002/48/Culture]

November 25 2002

Undoubtedly, every nation in the world has traditions and customs. Similarly, Yemen does also. But our traditions and customs hurt our economy and progress.
For example, look at qat and weapons, especially in the major cities. As far as chewing qat is concerned, it maligns the image of Yemen in the front of the whole world. It also affects Yemen’s economy and agricultural system.
What if the spacious lands we have were used, instead of for qat, for useful crops and vegetables or grains? That would boost the personal income of Yemen’s citizens. From the medical point of view, qat tree owner use poisonous chemicals to make their trees grow fast, and these chemicals cause the deaths of many innocent people.
Economically speaking, the chewers of qat spent many valuable hours chattering to each in idle gossip, without doing anything useful. If such hours were used for useful things, it would be a great benefit for Yemen.
The custom of carrying weapons is as dangerous and harmful as chewing qat. Tourism and investment, two important sources of revenue, are hindered by such a custom. Tourists and investors or even visitors of Yemen dare not to come here, because Yemenis are armed people, especially in the Northern governorates, namely, the tribesmen of Sana’a, Sadah, Haja, Mareb, and al-Jawf.
In our day-to-day life, many examples can be seen of the harm of guns. One is of the accident involving the German engineer, who was kidnapped by a number of armed tribesmen of Marib governorate under the pretext they wanted the government to fulfill a number of promises for projects for their governorate. It is this custom of carrying weapons and kidnapping which slows the progress of Yemen. Furthermore, from social and international sides, it gives a bad image about Yemenis: that they are uncivilized, aggressive and tough people.
Another consequence of carrying guns is that victims, especially, during wedding parties, are killed accidentally by people showing off.
The need to control these two traditions must not be ignored by our government.