Lovely Beirut. It is you again: sad, and gorgeous. Trying to get you out of your critical crisis, over your sadness, and all other reasons to cry. My lovely Beirut.
By Pascale Sawma
In a way, it feels weird to write about you, as if you are a real human, with a heart and feelings. Cities like you can’t be treated as stones and towers, not even when you are forced to celebrate the holidays this year, without lights and colours.
But it is okay I guess. You are still our home… no one can steal you from our memories and our dreams, no matter how difficult those dreams may seem under the current circumstances.
The country’s rulers wanted you to be kept in the dark. A darkened capital, leading the way for the rest of the country.
It is a daunting matter to live in a city of complexity, at the mercy of electrical rationing, with ruthless and criminal electricity generator owners. Even heating is problematic: as it requires a large sum of money, as fuel’s prices are beyond people’s economic capabilities. And at a moment where the value of our money has vaporised. Thanks to the mismanagement of our ruling elite.
The Lebanese welcome 2022 with very dangerous economic indicators. Poverty has worsened dramatically in just one year, reaching approximately 74% of the total population.
If broader dimensions of income are taken into account, such as health, education and public services, the proportion of people living in multidimensional poverty reaches 82% of the population.
A sad highlight of a recent study issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) under the title:’ Multidimensional poverty in Lebanon: a painful reality and ambiguous prospects‘.
This goes in parallel with demands from the World Bank in terms of reform and combating corruption to inject the country with aid. Badly needed reforms, which are again on hold by our lovely ruling elite.
Postponed yet for another day.
The new year is dawning on the Lebanese, heralding more poverty, unemployment, corruption and oppression. As for the politicians in charge, they are more preoccupied with the upcoming elections. They are eagerly looking for ways to buy votes from the angry people whose relatives were killed in the explosion of the Beirut port.
People who are killed over and over again, with the lack of a proper investigation to the atrocities and harsh policies of impoverishment and theft of bank deposits.
“What do you want for Christmas?” a friend in France asked me. He was serious, but I was shocked again after a visit to the supermarket, where the prices of basic goods are now sky-high. Unbelievable.
After a few minutes, my answer was: “how about just a cup of tea”.
Pascale Sawma is a Lebanese journalist and writer, with over ten years of experience. She worked for various Lebanese and Arab media platforms, like As-Safir, Al-Hayat, and Murr-tv. She currently a senior editor for Daraj media, and freelance journalist for radio Rozana and CFI- France. She holds a bachelor degree in Journalism, and Arabic literature.