Deadly Debts & Foreign Loyalties
By Elias Bejjani

It is no secret anymore that the economic decay, which was forced on Lebanon since 1990, is a frightening situation for anyone who tries to understand it and
come up with a solution. According to James Wilfinson, the head of the international bank, Lebanon's economy is heading toward a complete disaster like a sinking ship, while the so-called officials grow numb and unconsciously blind to any human suffering or values whatsoever.

The irony of the whole thing is that PM Hariri's government was suppose to reform the whole system and get rid of all the corruption. The "Taef Agreement" calls for  new policies of reform and prosperity, but unfortunately the opposite has happened. The country owes more than ever before, the economy is on the verge of collapse, and Mafia-style operations and thievery  are occurring at all level. The Hariri's problem lies in his refusal to admit that economical recovery will not happen unless the Syrian hegemony has been seized and removed. The Syrians must be stopped from dictating on the Lebanese their destiny with complete disregard for human suffering and their livelihoods. As a result of a dysfunctional system the national debt has reached 27 billion dollars or 168% of the GNP, which means every Lebanese citizen and newborn has a $7000 debt to be paid.

If  Lebanon's  foreign debt is compared to other countries' debts, it would be fully recognized what a disastrous situation the Syrian hegemony has inflicted on Lebanon and its people.  The other disaster lies in the muscle flexing routine by Lebanon's puppet officials.  If the forecasted debt is accurate then Lebanon is in debtor trap for a long time. It is expected for the debt to rise up to 32 billion dollars next year, which would be equivalent to 200% of the GNP. This kind of debt makes the people of Lebanon wonder how the Taef regime has raised the debt from one billion dollars during General Michel Aoun's reign in 1989 to 32 billion dollars by the end of 2001. These figures simply mean that Lebanon is on the verge of financial collapse.

The performance of the so-called official is characterized by lies and deception to the public. They are fabricating false stories to hide the true reality and blocking any true authentic discussion in a bid to allow the people to understand the country's disastrous economical status. All  rescue attempts carried out by the Hariri government are nothing but cheap means for procrastination. Lowering the exporting tax was done in favor of merchants loyal to the big sister, Syria. Its negative impact has been very obvious in three different sectors:
1- More pressure on the production sector without any consideration for economic or social impacts.
2- Decreased imports by 16% higher than the broadcaster official figures which in turn increased the amount of foreign debt.
3- Increased commercial consumption by 16%, while keeping the export at its lowest figures increasing annually the national debt from 6 billion to 7 billion dollars.

Local as well as international reports and studies that showed these effects were no surprise to anyone. As a matter of fact, their disastrous outcome was expected, considering the agony Beirut has been encountering. A high percentage of the people have reached poverty level anyway. A recent study that was conducted for Beirut residents, showed that 39% are barely making it,   19%  living below poverty,  33% middle class,  and 9% well off.  According to another study the average annual income of five member family does not exceed $ 650.00 dollars  (35 to 40 % of the total population), while the middle class family income ranges between 2.2 to 2.4 million Lebanese pounds. these represents about 15% of the total population. Adding all this up we find over 56% of Beirut’s population live under extremely hard economical conditions. Such results are frightening since 80% of Beirut’s population was in good shape before 1990.

The decreased level of poverty is not found only in Beirut, but it has reached every corner of Lebanon. It is believed that more then half of the Lebanese population live under the line of poverty.  Meanwhile more than 1.350,000 Lebanese citizens,  mainly young men and women have left the country since 1990 seeking a better life else were ( 16.000 leave every month). Another scary phenomenon is the decreased number of students going to schools. Many of the young are crying out for help to make a living, while many others are turning to theft or murder for money.

Lebanon has reached the point of complete decay and the status will get worse unless an end is put to the devastating Syrian occupation. The country will know no recovery as long as Syria inflicts its deadly hegemony and keeps on destroying any thing and every thing that is Lebanon. Also the country will know no stability or peace as long as many Lebanese discard their true Lebanese identity and refuse to resist the Syrian occupation .  Lebanon will not go back to its previous prosperity as long some Lebanese are not loyal to their country, but to outsiders and foreign powers.
Hopefully the above vital concerns will not fall on deaf ears and dead national affiliations.

Long Live Free Lebanon