Rear View – Lebanon in review (21 March 2021)
15 March: Glimmer of hope for the blast victim’s families
The new judge appointed to take over the investigation into the port blast last August, has promised to undertake a thorough inquiry after meeting with the families of the victims a glimmer of hope. The families met with Judge Tarek Bitar where he declared his intentions to investigate the shipment of the ammonium nitrate and the Rhosus ship as well as the negligence within the port saying: “The investigation will tackle all aspects of the case, starting with the Rhosus ship, the ammonium nitrate shipment and its owners, who imported it, paid for it, and sorted it in the port for the past 7 years.”
16 March: No more bread?
Ali Ibrahim, head of the Union of Bakeries Syndicates said: “Today we are in a horrendous circle and we do not know where to begin to deal with it, at the current rate of the USD we might be forced to stop making bread”. This announcement comes in light of the Economy Ministry’s successive alterations to the cost and weight of a bundle of bread, the deterioration of the exchange rate and the cost of materials utilized within the creation of bread. The bakeries’ threat to halt making bread coincides with a few shops closing until the trade rate stabilizes, and fuel deficiencies at petrol stations in South Lebanon are eased.
16 March: Protests continue
Protesters in Tripoli attacked the home of Najib Mikati, a Member of Parliament and one of Lebanon’s richest Billionaires, because of his poor performance and attitude towards their suffering. The protesters damaged the entrance of Mikati’s house but were quashed by Lebanese army forces who were quick to repress the protests.
17 March: Lebanese activist jailed
Lebanese activist Kinda Al-Khatib has been sentenced to three years in prison for “collaborating with the enemy” – Israel – a military court announced. Al-Khatib, who is in her twenties, was arrested in June and charged with “collaborating with the enemy,” “entering the occupied Palestinian territories” and “collaborating with spies of the Israeli enemy.”
Prior to her arrest, Khatib on Twitter had criticized Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite movement that fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel. Her family and activists have denounced her arrest as “political” because of her tweets against those in power including President Michel Aoun.
17 March: Passengers scramble as blackout hits airport
A power outage on Tuesday at the Beirut International Airport left passengers searching for their luggage in the dark. A sad and sorry way to farewell your country for those leaving Lebanon and an indictment of what they are in for, for those entering the failed state. The occurrence coincided with a debate in the Parliament on a progress payment to secure the fuel required to supply electricity, after days of strict proportioning to avoid the blackout.
18 March: Hariri V Aoun Battle Rages
The political feud between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri continued last week as the President issued the PM with an ultimatum – “form a government” or “step down”.
Hariri replied immediately on Twitter saying: “stepping down will only happen if the President resigns”. The following day, Hariri met President Aoun to discuss the matter. Nothing was resolved and both went back to their corners to resume their fight the following week no doubt while the country continues to burn and the people starve.
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