The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Lebanese fear ending up like Egypt

The economic side of Lebanon's current crisis is examined at the Nation:

But in most conversations with people at the sit-in and protests, economic concerns quickly emerge: Siniora's government is corrupt, has failed to reduce Lebanon's crippling $41 billion public debt and has done little to improve people's lives. Shiites are especially forgotten in the country's economic planning. Many at the sit-in have been out of work for years, or lost their jobs after the recent war.

"Our country is getting poorer, and Siniora's government is not talking about it," says Hadi Mawla, a 22-year-old graphic design student who came from the dahiyeh on the protest's first day, which drew hundreds of thousands to downtown. "Our standard of living is falling, while other Arab countries are improving. We Lebanese used to make fun of other Arab countries. Now they have great big cities like Dubai. And we're going to end up like Egypt--with a very poor class, a very rich class and nothing in between."
Nice to see the crisis being covered beyond the political element -- at that dig at Egypt is rather amusing considering that the Egyptian government is always warning that it is afraid it will end up like Lebanon!

Also see: U.S. Readies Security Aid Package To Help Lebanon Counter Hezbollah