“We are not the Paris of the Middle East. We are the Beirut of the World,” read a viral tweet this week. With everything that has taken place over the course of the 12 months in Lebanon, it should come as no surprise that Lebanese citizens are no longer interested in the romanization of their native country.
We are not the Paris of the Middle East. We are the Beirut of the world.
— Danny Zahalan (@DannyZahalan) August 8, 2020
Last October, the nation erupted in protests that lasted several weeks after the government attempted to levy a tax on WhatsApp calls. The demonstrations were the largest since the Cedar revolution 20 years prior, with a new generation taking to the streets in demand of government reforms. For many people in Lebanon, a complete government rehaul has been long-overdue thanks to years of corruption within Lebanon’s political elite, which had left the nation essentially bankrupt. And then the pandemic came.
In a nation now ravaged by coronavirus, the Lebanese lira, which is pegged to the US dollar, took an 80 per cent tumble in value. 50 per cent of Lebanese people have found themselves living below the poverty line, and the nation’s national debt became the third highest in the world.
Last week, things took an even more dangerous turn when an explosion of over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate—which was located in the port—destroyed a significant part of Beirut, leaving 300,000 people homeless, with at least 200 killed by the blast, and 5,000 injured.
In spite of the dire situation, and in the midst of efforts to clean up and rebuild the city, Lebanese citizens still took to the streets—this time, with a clear demand of the resignation of the government, which was ultimately met on Monday.
As of now, the future of Lebanon remains unclear, but if you’re looking to keep up with what’s happening on the ground, these are the best Lebanese IG accounts to follow.
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This is a call for the whole world to join our fight. On the fourth of August, an enormous explosion reduced Beirut to rubble. We’ve had the attention of international media due to the calamity that killed 200 people and drove over 300,000 survivors to homelessness. We have been humbled by support for disaster relief from all around the world. However, not as much light has been shed on the deep corruption and government negligence that caused the blast, especially since that same corruption has been crippling the country for thirty years. On October 17th, 2019, a popular uprising began, and large numbers have been protesting against the corrupt, sectarian government that has driven the country to the brink. To this day, the Lebanese are still taking to the streets to peacefully fight for their rights, but they are met with gunfire, tear gas, police brutality and kidnappings by the politicians’ thugs. The Lebanese people have been enduring dire living conditions under the governance of the current political class. More than 50% of the Lebanese population lives under the poverty line. A hyperinflation has caused the Lebanese lira to lose 85% of its value in ten months. Unemployment rate is at 40%. Power cuts are daily and last up to 22 hours per day. The infrastructure is unsafe, and the water is unclean. The economy is collapsing, and the banking crisis has forbidden people to withdraw their own money from banks. There is no real access to a public healthcare system. Basic food items are becoming unaffordable to many. Not only did our government MASSACRE our people in the Beirut explosion, but they have deprived us of our most basic human rights for decades, in the interest of their personal financial gain. They’ve been stealing, lying, violating our rights and hiding crimes; and they still are until this day. We are calling everyone around the world who stands against injustice to give us their voice. Please #talkaboutlebanon Please unite with us against this humanitarian crime. Please read about the Lebanese revolution. Please talk about the Lebanese revolution. Please share about the Lebanese revolution. We need you more than ever.
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Fellow artists we ask you to donate any work to raise funds for Beirut. The aim is raise to as much money as possible for Impact Lebanon or Lebanese RedCross. If anyone interested in buying your work, please ask for a receipt of donation and you arrange shipping. Send a photo of your work and suggested donation so we can post it on here. Your help is needed!