Lebanon’s economic crisis is the worst since the end of the civil war, which took place between 1975 and 1990.
Social media users in Qatar and beyond took to social media to express their solidarity with Lebanon after Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al-Shami declared the country as bankrupt on Monday.
The announcement came amid an ongoing socio-economic crisis caused by decades of corruption and has worsened over the past three years with the Covid-19 outbreak and the tragic blast on 5th August, 2020.
“The state has gone bankrupt as did the Banque du Liban, the loss has occurred, and we will seek to reduce the losses for the people,” Al-Shami told the local Al-Jadeed channel.
The announcement took social media by storm, with “Lebanon” topping Twitter trends in Qatar as journalists and the general public spoke about the latest development.
“The Lebanese government declares Lebanon’s bankruptcy and this is a result of a chronic bankruptcy and the state’s clinical death,” tweeted Al Jazeera presenter Ahmed Mansour.
In another tweet, Alaraby TV anchor Majed Al-Zeyara said that “the people alone will pay the price of the politicians’ struggle internally and externally”, whilst stating fears over the potential collapse of economies in other countries in the region.
Others have called on the Arab world to provide Lebanon with much-needed assistance.
“Why don’t the Arab countries and the prestigious Arab League provide assitance to Lebanon after it declared bankruptcy? Trillions of Arab governments in Western banks transfer part of them to investment in Lebanon to revive its economy,” said a Twitter user.
Statements over Lebanon going bankrupt were dismissed on the same day by the country’s Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, saying that the bank is working under its duties as per article 70 of the money and credit law.
The law stipulates that the bank must preserve Lebanon’s currency as well as its integrity whilst maintaining its economic stability.
Lebanon’s currency has lost 90% of its value to the US dollar since 2019, with the population unable to access their savings from local banks. The World Bank has described the situation in Lebanon as one of the worst financial crises in modern times.
On Monday, the Regional Director for the Middle East at the World Bank, Saroj Kumar Gah, said that Lebanon’s economic crisis is also the worst since the end of the civil war, which took place between 1975 and 1990.
The International Monetary Fund has been holding talks with the Lebanese government over a financial recovery plan.
The situation in Lebanon has been widely attributed to corruption, with most of the population demanding reform. This was seen in the 2019 revolution, which lead to the resignation of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The country has been living under a political division for decades, a burden that officials from the international community believe is an obstacle towards addressing the country’s situation.
Qatar had repeatedly stressed the need to address Lebanon’s political divide to resolve its decades-long crises. The Gulf state has previously pledged to assist the country once it forms a government.
“The only solution for Lebanon is to have a real political reform and to form a system that is a national system, that doesn’t qualify people based on their sect or based on their background. But based on their real work qualifications,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said in February.
Lebanon is set to host the parliamentary elections on 15 May, the first since the 2019 revolution.