Lebanon has known several days with just 5 new cases of covid-19 (0 cases in many of its regions). However, as described in earlier posts, these numbers have increased to 13 and even 36 per day due to lack of discipline of some citizens.
Too bad. Good luck! One must say that what is MUCH more worrisome than the coronavirus is this country’s economic tragedy. The pandemic is the icing on the cake.
Indeed, in addition to hearing stories of food prices literally spiking (e.g., bags of rice over 6.5 times more expensive), Bambi chatted with a friend who broke her heart with the following story: Her spouse went to shop for the groceries. He witnessed a sad incident where a man stole a woman’s grocery bags, after tricking her into thinking that they made a mistake by taking each others’ bags. To use the word of her friend, “such a sad incident would have never occurred had the man not been desperate to feed his family. Who can blame him for that?” (mind you, the incident happened in a typical, middle-class, Beirut neighbourhood). Citizens have been brought to their knees, so to speak… How sad. How unfair.
To conclude this post with her friends’ own description: “our confinement in Lebanon actually began on October 17, 2019” (the day the revolt started following a massive financial crisis). Since then, people cannot have access to their savings, many lost their jobs, and schools stopped for a long period. When people manage to get money out of banks, it is still a small amount per week and the Lebanese “Lira” lost much of its value, lately reaching 4,500 to the US dollar.
Although Bambi is usually an optimistic deer in life, she has trouble seeing the rainbow of hope for Lebanon, not the one related to the pandemic. She can see the latter more easily. It is the one related to the metastatic cancer of systemic corruption that is harder to envision. Of course, Lebanon will re-invent itself and rise again in the end, as always throughout history. However, getting rid of corruption is the true battle here.
Luckily, despite the misery and even if people may perhaps not be able to have access to their savings, they still have their sense of humour. Indeed, below the France 24 news documentary, you can see a picture with a joke that has recently circulated on Whats’App. Thanks Joëlle for sharing it :).