The crisis isn’t just limited to Beirut but is affecting all Lebanese regions. Half the country has slipped under poverty line. We’re facing a triple crisis, what with the pandemic, the economic collapse, and the political showdown between the pro-West and pro-Iran political camps.
Lebanese were already struggling before the pandemic but the lockdown has made everything worse. Lebanon’s government cannot be relied on to enact any semblance of reform since they are a clique of former warlords from the Civil War (1975-1990) that have been ruling Lebanon for the past thirty years. They’ve run the country almost like a private enterprise-billions of taxpayer dollars have been siphoned into politicians’ pockets and investments in infrastructure and development are non-existent. The Lebanese government isn’t raising a finger to save their own country because that would require dismantling the complex system of corruption and patronage that they’ve built up over the past thirty years and which analysts have been warning is untenable and will lead to eventual collapse for years. The upheaval wrought by the pandemic merely sped things up, but it was inevitable.
The IMF, the West and the Gulf have pledged huge aid packages to not only save but develop Lebanon, but are rightly refraining from sending them now before the Lebanese government enacts reforms and curtails Iran’s influence. That won’t be happening as the current Lebanese government is mostly pro-Iran. They were installed a few months ago against the will of the Lebanese people, who blocked roads and demonstrated in the capital (I was there) to prevent Parliament from meeting to install them. We failed because they, to use the colloquial expression, beat the cr*p out of demonstrators and forced their way to the Parliament in heavily armored military vehicles.
The situation is untenable and there doesn’t seem to be any way out without some major development in the region. Lebanese are living on a day-by-day basis-any long term planning is currently impossible and many of the youth have no idea how we’re going to afford college tuition next semester. This is another crisis in the making; the majority of Lebanese students attend private schools since the public schools are garbage and with the crisis many can no longer afford to do so. Public schools are underdeveloped and underfunded and cannot absorb all the students transferring from private to public education.