Banning Khat Turns Black Immigrants Into Criminals
WE need to talk abut Khat. We’ll begin with Khat the cat, the three and a year-and-a-half-old pet who attacked his human hosts. He clawed the face of its owner’s sister, tore into the arms and legs of its owner’s mother and gashed the legs of its owner’s young brother.
The owner says: “He’s never been an aggressive cat, he’s never been mean, he just flipped.”
The British State would argue that Khat is a product of nominative determinism, the process by which your name explains your actions. It would argue that Khat has been driven mad by the drug that last month UK home secretary Theresa May said would be banned.
Why ban it? What is khat?
It’s a natural stimulant gown in Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. Khat users (let’s employ the language of drug abuse) extract the buzz by chewing the leaves. It’s a popular habit in east Africa and Yemen – much like drinking a strong pick-me-up coffee or a ‘builder’s tea’ with sugar is popular in Westminster.
The difference is that one stimulant creates a Greet British buzz, whilst the other is a dangerous and foreign narcotic worthy of Class C status, down there with anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), ketamine and piperazines (BZP). If May has her way, anyone caught chewing khat will be liable to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Caught supplying the dread leaves and you can go to prison for 14 years and be fined an unlimited sum of cash.
Being that dusky foreigners are most likely to enjoy khat – which is cheap to buy at grocery stores and meeting places known as mafrishes - this is a new way of criminalising immigrants. The east African looking for a traditional chew will have to buy khat on the black market. Police will be able to stop and search Somali immigrants for signs of illicit vegetation.
Is that reason for the ban – to find a reason to question The Others and treat them as suspects? In April, the Independent asked:
KHAT FIGHT: HARMLESS RECREATIONAL DRUG OR A RECRUITMENT TOOL FOR TERRORISTS?
Never mind the theories, what about the effects on health?
In 2013, the Home Office commissioned the official drugs advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to investigate kaht. It found “insufficient evidence” that khat caused health problems.
So. Why ban it?
May says banning khat will “protect vulnerable members of our communities”. From what – green teeth and a tendency to chat? It’s a vegetable, Theresa. It’s one of their five a day.
But May has allies. In 2006, Labour MP for Ilford South Mike Gapes said khat was “causing havoc in the Somali community… It used to be chewed mainly by old men but it is now being used by young boys who are in a state of permanent intoxication. There is evidence of serious psychotic consequences from long-term use and also a suggestion that it is carcinogenic.”
So. It’s like, alcohol, say, or cigarettes, which are both legal.
And did these “psychotic” old men start chewing khat when living in East Africa? Do Gapes and May think the old men’s British-born and British-raised heirs should just say ‘no’ to khat and adapt to the Great British pint of alcopop?
“The Somali community has high levels of unemployment and non-engagement with the rest of society. Although there are many successful Somalis, it is a community which is under-achieving and I believe khat is partly to blame.”
Stop khat and what those poor, black immigrants soar. Nothing will stand in their way.