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Middle East

Lebanon’s desperate plight

A pharmacist in Beirut with a sign saying: “No gasoline = no ambulance.” Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

Revolution feels “inevitable” in Lebanon, says Nathalie Finan in Le Figaro. Petrol stations recently stopped selling fuel. “The car being the only means of getting around, everyone’s stuck at home.” The Lebanese, known for their joie de vivre and work ethic, are at their wits’ end. Last week a hospital in Beirut came within 48 hours of running out of power. Forty adults and 15 children on ventilators would have died. Desperate doctors asked the state for help and got “a few hundred litres of fuel” in return. Safe, “for now”.

The government, “high on its mountain”, is to blame for this “life of lack”. It ducks responsibility and buys itself time. Power cuts are widespread. Beirut is routinely plunged into darkness. There isn’t even television or Wi-Fi to forge links with the outside world. When I fly to see my parents in Beirut, I take two big bags, one stuffed with medicine, the other with “foods that have run out in Lebanese supermarkets”. Theft and hunger are rife. Famine looms. “Is this a 21st-century society?” Protests happen, but the people are too hungry to rise up. Or not hungry enough. Historically Lebanon has depended on France, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US, Russia and other dominant powers. All are silent. Let’s hope for the birth of a Lebanon “that all young people dream of”.