Yesterday evening, one of Bambi’s dear friends from Ontario shared a moving news video with her. In it, we see a senior citizen with his eyes full of tears, looking at his bank branch, whilst explaining to a journalist that he made plans to leave his Lebanon. He reported that a bank employee told him that the capital control is not the bank’s fault, but rather the government’s problem. Regardless of his confiscated money, can you imagine yourself having to emigrate in order to start your life all over again, not at age 27… BUT at 72 years old? And we are in a pandemic, by the way!
This senior Lebanese resident, in as much as he made Bambi have tears in her eyes, is perhaps “lucky” in his misery: He has the papers that allow him to dream to leave/leave the chaos, contrary to many of his fellow citizens or residents who are literally “stuck” in a country with an economy in a free, harsh fall.
Usually in life, the economy and national security of a country go hand in hand. When you have faith in a secure place, you invest in it. When you have an economically stable (enough) country, there is an increased social security. In turn, social security contributes to stabilizing the economy, etc.
You can imagine the risks that Lebanon is facing now, whether from external or internal forces, pushing it here and there, and/or perhaps even from an expected and understandably increased crime rate, simply meant to eat. Yes, to eat to survive or to feed one’s family.
Indeed, many months ago, Bambi posted a story about people breaking into a house to… just steal food from the fridge. No, not even the iPads, phone, or laptop on the table… just FOOD!
Another older story was about a man who stole a supermarket shopping cart from a woman about to put her grocery bags in her car. The story is accurate. It happened in the neighbourhood of Bambi’s parents. Had this man not been desperate to feed his family, he would have not resorted to deceiving this woman by telling her that they are calling her in the store. He took advantage of this moment to steal her paid food.
Well, these real stories may be older. However, this morning, Bambi learned from a loved one and from L’Orient Le Jour that the Lebanese pound (or Lira) passed the LL15,000 to the US dollar mark. Remember, a couple or a few days ago: It was LL10,000:
French (followed by the Google translate English version):
English (thank you Google translate!):
And this is from yesterday’s edition of L’Orient Today (the English version of L’Orient Le Jour):
If Bambi understood well (Financial Times and chat with her loved one, etc.), it seems that the minimum monthly salary is worth US$42 now and the salary of the Prime Minister and/or President of this country is worth less than US$1000.
What’s next for tiny, bankrupt yet lucid and usually eternally resilient Lebanon?
Will the Phoenix bird (legend of Beirut, Lebanon…) still have the energy AND means to rise again from its ashes?