According to an article published in The 961, Lebanon’s tourism sector has been hit very hard, first by the economic collapse since October 17, 2019, the covid-19 pandemic since February 2020, and finally the nightmare of the Beirut Port explosion on August 4, 2020. The latter only made the industry lose an estimated US$1 billion, according to Mr. Tony Ramy, the President of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Nightclubs, and Pastries (Carla, Bambi is thinking of you now… ). .
Mr. Ramy announced at a rally today that the tourism institutions decided to stop paying taxes to the government. They will not abide by the covid-19 current strict two-week lock down, as an act of civil disobedience.
As written in The 961 article above:
“One Lebanese company recently announced a similar act of defiance. Rather than paying taxes to the government, the Em Sherif restaurant, cafe, and sea café have been donating their tax money to NGOs helping Beirut.”
We also learn the following from this same article:
“The tourism sector is putting immense pressure on the county’s top civil servants to resign, echoing the demands of the October 17 Revolution.”
Upon Bambi’s return home from Beirut in early January, 2020, she watched an inspiring news documentary, featuring Mr. Tony Ramy speaking to the Lebanese Parliament. What a clever man. If those politicians had any conscience left then, he may have helped in awakening it, at least temporarily during his short speech. He shared with them the agony of this sector. Mr. Ramy was so clever. His words were straight to the point. They did not target anyone in particular yet they were directed at everyone. Bambi cannot recall his precise words but only the impact of his powerful message, especially that tourism is a key sector of the Lebanese economy.
Anyhow, if this man and his syndicate got to this point of civil disobedience in the spirit of the October 17’s revolution, in the middle of a pandemic and with his moderate attitude, it tells you something. Yes, It tells us how much the Lebanese people (including the creative and hard-working entrepreneurs) have been impacted by the surrealistic explosion, on top of all the other tragedies hitting their country.
As one of Bambi’s friends in Beirut put it today: “Make no mistake. I may sound alive to you and I am grateful…. but I am dead inside. We are all dead alive“…. Bambi can only imagine… her own heart literally exploded with Beirut’s explosion.
According to Naharnet, the Lebanese Caretaker Interior Minister warned against defying the lockdown due to increased coranavirus cases. However, from the picture and video above and according to AFP (as reported by Naharnet): some demonstrators held signs that read “Tourism is the pulse of Lebanon” and “For us, the state vanished with the blast.”
On this dramatic note, to conclude this post with more joyful news from Beirut, an injured lady woke up from her coma today, three weeks post-explosion. Thank Goodness… and thanks to journalist Roula Douglas for sharing.
When is the turn of Lebanon’s “top public servants” to wake up from their 30-long political coma? Perhaps it would be more accurate to call them “Lebanon’s top public corrupt torturers” instead. Sadly, they have literally killed both their constitution and their own people (with their criminal negligence)… after having stolen their savings. Of course, in the middle of all this, there is the covid-19 pandemic… There is also famine around the corner (hyperinflation and now costs of reparation, etc.). Is there also the ghost of a border conflict (tonight, worrisome incidents occurred)? Regardless, once again, whether in a conflict or in the Beirut port catastrophe, one must look in his/her own accountability mirror first before rushing to blame others, even enemies. Justice for the victims must be served and lessons learned to prevent similar catastrophes.