By Tamjid Alkohali
Many agree that Qat is a main reason for Yemen’s deteriorating situation in all sides, whether economic, political, social or intellectual. Chewing this tree is a wasting of time, money, and health. Recently, many efforts have been made and many campaigns launched to make people aware the harmful effects of chewing Qat, which continues to spread significantly among men, women, and children as well.
The most effective campaigns are those which are implemented by Yemeni women, and they really led to the reduction of Qat, especially among women. The best example for this is the Yemeni journalist and political and social activist, Hind Aleryani. She is considered to be one of the most prominent female faces who works hard to remove the phenomenon of chewing Qat from Yemeni society.
Although Aleryani knows well the difficulties that she faces from the Yemeni society, she has successfully led an anti-Qat campaign series, the last of which was a campaign calling for passing a legislation that bans chewing Qat in all Yemeni government facilities. This was the first campaign to receive notable support from several government officials.
The result of her campaigns against Qat is the spread of weddings without Qat. These have given Hind a hope to continue her campaigns in cooperation with many male and female activists.
From Hind’s point of view, women play a big role in changing society for the better. The proof of that is the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize win of the Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman. She also believes that Yemeni women have the ability to effect decision-makers in order to change the current situation and resolve the Qat problem.
After the beginning of Hind’s campaigns against Qat, there have been many campaigns were launched by Yemeni women from different governorates, especially from Taiz. These campaigns call on women to stop chewing Qat, especially mothers since it badly affects their health.
Fortunately, their campaigns continue to gain strength, making it more likely that they will achieve Aleryani’s dreams of a “happy Yemen.”