Sunday, April 23, 2006

Qat and other weekend news from Yemen

(A Qat chew in Yemen - from al-Arabiyya)

A busy weekend in Yemen, much of which I have yet to have time to digest. However, I have focused my attention on two stories. The first, is from al-Arabiyya on an explosion in the Shumaila qat market in Sana'a which, according to the story, killed 2 (not three as some outlets had it) and wounded 16. For one, I don't believe violence should ever be a part of buying qat. Sure there is a certain degree of pushing and cursing as one attempts to get the best price from some top-notch Hamdani qat (if one is in Sana'a) but still a hand grenade into a market that is just wrong. I remember once, during the petrol riots of 2005, when I braved burning cars and fighting in the street to make it to my favorite qat market. Of course, it was open and full - and I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon chewing in the old city as reports of the fighting came in. The point being: nothing should interrupt an afternoon chew. (Al-Arabiyya also has a longer story about qat, which I hope to read over the coming week - in my spare time, of course.)

Also, the 8th of the escaped suspects that escaped in February has now turned himself back into authorities. The trickle has been slow, but bit by bit the escapees are being returned. Here is a report from the AP (I assume written by al-Hajj, who usually does a good job.)


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