Qat: Background information when reading Call Me American

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Call Me American

A Memoir

by Abdi Nor Iftin

Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin X
Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin
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  • Published:
    Jun 2018, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Cynthia C. Scott

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About this Book

Qat

This article relates to Call Me American

As a young boy growing up in war-torn Mogadishu, the capital of the East African country of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin and his brother Hassan often looked for enterprising ways to support their family. They stumbled onto a lucrative business when they started selling the qat leaves they gathered from the ground around market stalls or stole from trucks transporting the crop. But a nasty run-in with the local militiamen who were the main buyers of this crop, ended this enterprise.

So what is qat? It's a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. It is also known as khat, gat, and miraa. Qat (pronounced "cot") is a multibillion dollar industry and a public health epidemic. Its leaves, when chewed and stored in the cheek, are a stimulant similar to either caffeine or amphetamines, depending on whom you ask. Despite generally being considered a mild stimulant with moderate physiological addiction, qat is proven to be psychologically addictive as well. Though the leaves ...

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