Hassan Ahmed Abdullah
When the Lebanese citizen looks at his daily reality and compares it to the past, he feels a kind of wonder how he managed to survive until today, especially those who lived through the civil war between 1975 and 1991, and how they adapted to events and changes, whether geographical, social, or economic, while there. Those who are still running state institutions in the same manner that prevailed during the war, distributing spoils without batting an eyelid, and not hearing people’s moans.
In a simple calculation, one can discover the extent of the losses incurred by Lebanon during the past years, not only direct, but also indirect ones. If the announced deposits looted from citizens were estimated at 273 billion dollars until the year 2019, then the war losses amounted to 250 billion dollars, including 63 billion dollars were incurred by the Israeli attacks from 1971 until 2007, in addition to the cost of corruption over the course of 33 years, i.e. since the cessation of the war, amounting, according to estimates of financial experts, to about 380 billion dollars, paid by the Lebanese people over those years.
In addition to that, indirect losses from obstructing exports and the continuous collapse of the currency, amounting to about $600 million per month from the national product, in addition to indirect losses due to delays in development projects and infrastructure, estimated at about $13 billion annually, while economists expect future losses from output. The national budget ranged between 20 and 24 billion dollars over five years, as a result of the consequences of the financial and economic crisis that Lebanon is going through.
Despite this reality, there is also security chaos due to the inability of the security institutions to perform their role, either due to a lack of capabilities, or the absence of competencies after the resignation of a significant proportion of the security corps, in addition to political interference in the work of the judiciary and security, and the lack of sufficient budgets to serve the military.
Surprisingly, despite this bad situation, the Internal Security Forces (the police) announced at the end of last week remarkable statistics, which are the decrease in murders, theft, and misdemeanors, by about 25 percent, and if some attribute this matter to the protections that people provide for themselves, then there is Another thing is not to report violations.
I experienced this matter during the mid-eighties, if I conducted a study on criminal offenses and misdemeanors by comparing the official figures provided to me by the General Directorate of Internal Security, in the year 1988, which are numbers from 1974 to 1987, while they were low between the first years of the war, between 1975 and 1975. 1978, it increased after 1982 after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, but it receded in areas far from the war, and some officials in the internal security responded, at that time, to not reporting crimes and misdemeanours, or not knowing the police stations about them.
There is no doubt that the unprecedented crisis that Lebanon is experiencing has changed the social and behavioral patterns of people. If in a certain aspect it increased social solidarity, however, in several other aspects it imposed mistrust between people, and this matter applies to transactions, whether it was in official circles after the spread of bribery. Or at the level of economic relations, and of course the political, and each party entrenched itself in its position, for nothing but grievances, in contrast to what was happening during the war, when contacts were not interrupted between all the parties, and truces were concluded between them without the intervention of mediators from abroad.
In this regard, one of the leaders of the parties (1988) told me that during the war there was a meeting to be held between political figures in an area close to the lines of contact, and the shells were raining down on them, so he contacted the leader of a hostile party in the other area, and asked him to stop the bombing until the end The meeting, and so it was, because the warlords were sharing financial returns and interests.
Today, Lebanon is very different from what prevailed in the past decades. In the year 1989, during a conversation with the late Dr. Edmond Naim, who was governor of the Central Bank at that time, he said to me: “I pay the salaries of the military and employees in the eastern region as well as in the western region, and all of Lebanon.” And then I said jokingly: “As the ruler of the Central Bank, you rule Lebanon through the lira”? He replied: “We have a homeland that cannot die unless the warlords decide to annihilate it.”
In the year 2023, it seems that Dr. Naim’s prophecy has become a reality today, after the Lebanese political princes decided to slaughter the country, cover up criminals, and not implement the laws after they obtained what they wanted from wealth and influence.
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