Home » The Lebanese swing between anger and resignation – Pierre Haski

The Lebanese swing between anger and resignation – Pierre Haski

by admin
The Lebanese swing between anger and resignation – Pierre Haski

Usually when someone takes hostages inside a bank, they do so to steal the money stored in the coffers. But not in Lebanon. On 11 August, a man kidnapped some employees and customers at a Federal Bank office in the Hamra neighborhood of Beirut. The reason? He wanted to get his money back. More surprisingly, dozens of people flocked outside the bank to support him, necessitating the intervention of police in riot gear.

The incident ended in the best possible way, with the release of the hostages and an agreement with the man, desperate because he had to pay medical bills and could not access his savings, blocked like those of all Lebanese after the financial crisis of 2019. But this is just one of the examples of the collapse of a state that paradoxically, in the past, was called “the Switzerland of the Middle East”.

Appearances are deceiving. In summer, the country flourishes again thanks to the arrival of the Lebanese from the diaspora, who have returned for the holidays, bringing with them gifts and foreign currency (dollars and euros). The restaurants and bars are full and the economic crisis becomes less visible as a result. But it is still there, as the dizzying exchange rates show: to pay a bill at the restaurant, millions of Lebanese pounds are needed, in cash of course.

The art of getting by
At the beginning of the descent into hell, in 2019, 1,500 lire was enough for one dollar. This summer we need thirty thousand, which according to economists will become forty thousand by the end of the year, up to one hundred thousand if the trend is not contained. Today in Lebanon you have to juggle payments in real US dollars, those in “lollars” (lire-dollars, originating from limited bank withdrawals of currency and calculated at official rates) and those in Lebanese lira, exchanged openly at the parallel rate. To get by, you need to be skilled calculators.

See also  UN Secretary-General issues five warning messages on world situation_Guterres_Global_Governance

The other nightmare is that of electricity. Symbol of the crisis, the building of the Lebanese electric company Edl was devastated by the explosion of the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020 and subsequently abandoned. Today the state-owned company supplies just one hour of electricity a day, and private expenses for generators reach up to 300-500 euros per month. Solar panels are finally starting to spread. As always, the Lebanese get by without any assistance from the state.

The population oscillates between anger and resignation, clashing daily with the relentless reality of a political system based on clans and with the geopolitical context. Nothing changes because nobody really wants anything to change. Lebanon, today as yesterday, is hostage to mechanisms that dominate it. Beirut anxiously awaits the outcome of the Iranian nuclear negotiation in Vienna, which is nearing its conclusion and conditions the Israeli-Lebanese discussion on the sharing of Mediterranean waters under the aegis of the UN (possible cause of a new war between Israel and Hezbollah). But what is the connection between the two events? In Beirut, no one asks these questions anymore …

Regardless of the local and international situation, it is difficult not to share the anger of the Lebanese passing in front of the last remaining silos in the port of Beirut, where white smoke still rises two years after the explosion, still unpunished.

Amid endless discussions on the future of the country it is impossible not to understand the feeling of helplessness of a columnist of the French-speaking newspaper L’Orient-Le-Jour: “Allowing the saboteurs to make us a people of whiners means resigning ourselves to the idea that one day we will cry the whole of Lebanon “.

See also  Ukrainian Foreign Minister: Will request Israel to provide air defense systems, has advised Ukraine to cut off diplomacy with Iran – yqqlm

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy