On July 3rd, in broad daylight, Ali Al Haq decided to leave home to go to Hamra street, in the commercial heart of Beirut west. Arriving near a vase, he stopped and placed a document on the soil inside it. Then he pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head.
The document was proof of his clean criminal record, just released by the authorities, to whom Al Haq, at the bottom, he had added with a felt tip pen rosso: “I’m not a heretic.” A self-certification, almost a justification: for a Muslim like But suicide is a sin, under any circumstances. But “I’m not a heretic” – in Arabic ana mish kafir – is also the verse of a famous song by the Lebanese singer Ziad Rahbani, which then continues with “… hunger is a heresy”. Ali Al Haq he died of desperation and hunger, his and that of a family he could no longer support.
According to a recent report by Save the Children, only in the area of Greater Beirut – 2.2 million inhabitants – the people who do not have enough food are around 910 thousand, half of whom childrenwho are likely to die of starvation later in the year. Last week a Tripoli, Walid al Manna, a 2 year old, died due to one pneumonia, after all hospitals in the city have had to decline – for lack of beds e resources – the request for hospitalization from his parents, who had seen him cyanotic for days.
Lebanon is in deep coma, perhaps irreversible, after falling into one crisis economic Without precedents. The Lebanese middle class, until a few years ago renowned for living standards comparable to those of their European counterparts, has practically disappeared, pulverized together with its bank savings denominated in Lebanese pound (often the mortgages to be paid are in dollars), which in the last 8 months has lost80% of its value. Since last October it has gone from an exchange rate of 1500 for a dollar – artificially maintained by the central bank – to 8000 on the black market. Local police reported The mirror the spread of a new type of robberies: those in Pharmacy, because also i diapers and the milk powder They have reached exorbitant figures. Police data also speak of an increase in the 50% of car thefts in the first months of 2020 compared to the previous year, and 20% for robberies.
Maher, which has an oven in the neighborhood of Dawra, he almost resigned himself to the idea of closing: “how do I do it? Two months ago a kilo of chicken cost me 12 thousand lire, today it costs 58 thousand. We can no longer go on. ” It is perhaps no coincidence that the authorities seized the region of July 20 Metn a total of 40 tons of chicken expired between 2016 and 2017. The Red meat has become in all respects a luxury good, even eliminated by the ration of the Armed Forces. Sui Internet sites of solidarity trade the Lebanese exchange jewelry e clothes with strollers, baby bottle, Cribs for children.
The Lebanon has a dollarized economy but i Lebanese they have no longer had access to dollars for two hundred days, since they were first disposed of limits to their removal and then completely prohibited, against the background of a default technical declared by the government in early March, due to the non-payment of a Eurobond from 1.2 billion euros. The same executive led by the premier Hassan Diab he estimated the losses at around $ 70 billion, in a country that has one of the highest public debt in the world. In “hard” currency, Lebanon imports almost everything, and the price of food goods has grown by over two thirds. Dozens of businesses have had to shut down, helping to bring the rate up unemployment 33%, youth 45%.
The last, disturbing news is the dark on the streets: half of the traffic lights in Beirut have stopped working, and the same goes for most lampposts, due to a feud (on who the receipts from the parking meters should be recipient) between the municipality of the capital and theTraffic regulation authority, which led last May to no longer be able to renew the contract with the Lebanese-American company Duncan-Nead, who took care of it. In June, 33 people were killed in road accidents, more than 120% more than in April.
From the end of the civil war (1975-1990) the Lebanon has come to terms with the occupation by armies foreigners; with a reconstruction post war schizophrenic and profoundly unequal, if it is true that according to United Nations 1% of the population holds 25% of the wealth, and 20% of total bank deposits, in 2017, were concentrated in approximately 1600 current accounts (approximately 0.1% of the total accounts), many of which owned by local politicians. He lived two wars with Israel, the years of the attacks and finally the spillovers of the war in Syria (and the war between the Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al tabbeneh e Jabal mohsen, a Syrian conflict on a smaller scale), with the consequent influx of an incredible number of Syrian refugees – 1.5 million, in addition to the 500 thousand Palestinians, in a country that has 5 million inhabitants and is extended exactly like theAbruzzo -, the lack of an efficient electricity network, with planned blackouts of about 12 hours a day in the best of cases, and an internet network that just got stuck throughout the center of yesterday Beirut for overloading private gasoline powered generators.
However, never has it reached this point, in addition with a strong pandemic worsening – there are almost 5000 cases, which grow at a rate of 200 per day, with a new one lockdown partial just announced – and a people who no longer even have the strength to go out to the streets to protest, as they did a few months ago. Also manifestation costa. And it makes you even hungrier.