Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Surly Egyptians and Stoned Jordanians, Banning Hashish and Humor………

“But amid all this deprivation, one commodity that is consumed by more than seven million Egyptians has all but disappeared from Egypt’s back alleys and dark corners. Thanks to a renewed law enforcement effort, hashish smokers – nearly 10 per cent of the population, according to official statistics – must now face their worst bout of cognitive clarity and short-term memory gain in more than a decade. But even as law enforcement officials suddenly have something to celebrate, drug users and crime analysts say Egypt’s addicts are beginning to turn toward more corrosive and addictive drugs, such as alcohol, cocaine and heroin, to fill hashish’s void. “This is reflected in the prices on the street. There are very high prices for hashish and low prices for psychotropic drugs,” said Enas Gafarawi, a professor in narcotics research at the national centre for social and criminological research, who added that the price of heroin appears to have dropped to 100 Egyptian pounds (Dh67) per taskara – equivalent to a few milligrams – from 360 pounds several months ago. ……….”

Egyptians have a long history with hashish. Now, just as the population reaches a new low in economic and psychological conditions after 30 years of the current dictatorship, the regime pulls the plug. No more hashish. Since other ‘diversions’ are also restricted or too expensive for Egypt’s increasingly impoverished middle class, what is there? Religious extremism is one outlet for some. Many others naturally seek cheaper, and more dangerous, alternatives- hard drugs. Then there is, of course, that other diversion of begetting and begatting which has pushed the population well beyond what the country can house and feed.

As they said, and still say: let there be light in Egypt, let them light up. It may do them some good, and I would advice Texans to do the same. I almost forgot Jordanians: the banned Egyptian social habit may be just the solution for the severe lack of humor that has bedeviled Jordan since the British created that country more than seventy years ago. A stoned Jordanian can’t be a surly one now, can he? Can he?


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