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I was surprised to see an article on khat in the City Paper (“Khat Calls,” 11/13). Last year, I had an opportunity to travel to Yemen to give several poetry readings and lectures. On several occasions after my programs, male members of the audience invited me to join them at khat parties. They said they wanted to hear more poetry. Thanks to a hectic schedule I was able to decline and also keep my teeth clean. Wherever I went in Yemen, it seemed as if every man had some khat leaves of his own. Khat chewing was like something to be found in Huxley’s Brave New World.

One thing that was not mentioned in the article is the possible link between khat and throat cancer. Research should be done in this area. Meanwhile, let’s hope we understand the dynamics of other peoples culture before calling the police.


African American Resource Center

Howard University

via the Internet