Lebanon’s economy and currency crisis
Since the late civil war, Lebanon has been on a downward diving roller coaster. However, the global health crisis manifested in the coronavirus made things extra worse for the Lebanese citizens. Everyone is suffering as the economy continues to collapse. Yet, the corrupt government is still doing nothing but give empty promises. The final nail in the coffin was the devastating clash of currency that took place on 11 June.
The Lebanese pound
Ever since 1997, the Lebanese pound maintained a stable currency despite the economy facing many challenges over the years. However, 2020 was the year things started to change for the worse. The country states that the official peg of 1,507 L.L. is 1 USD. Despite that, the currency was collapsing slowly from the start of 2020 even before the pandemic. The local markets and currency cashiers started pegging 3000 LL to 1 USD, thus decreasing the currency value by half. This trend increased as the pandemic struck its vicious teeth in Lebanon. Every other day, the currency’s value would increase or decrease but never quite reach the official peg value. However, on June 11, the country witnessed the worst currency crisis as the exchange rate tumbled to 6,000 per dollar on the black market.
The citizen’s reaction
The incident ignited the flame to renew the nationwide protests. Thus, once again protestors filled the streets. However, unlike previous protests, they weren’t peaceful at all. People were rightfully angry, frustrated, hungry, and scared as they closed Lebanon’s roads and burned tires. They threw stones and fireworks at police which retaliated by using tear gas to disperse the angry crowd.
In central Beirut, people gathered while chanting against sectarianism. There, they started riots, defaced shop fronts, and set fire to stores.
Moreover, other riots took place in the northern city of Tripoli. Demonstrators threw stones and Molotov cocktails on the soldiers. They also succeeded in damaging the facades of several banks and shops. Thus, the army had to disperse hundreds of protesters and respond with tear gas.
Furthermore, The Operations Room of the Lebanese Emergency and Relief Agency announced on Saturday morning that at least 33 protestors were harmed during these clashes between them and the Lebanese army. Also, 2 soldiers were reported wounded. The army arrested many of the protesters.
In just some mere weeks, the local currency lost nearly 70 percent of its value. Moreover, Lebanon is not only suffering from a great dollar shortage, but also from negative economic growth. Thus, for a country that heavily relies on importing basic goods, this is very bad.
For the past decades, Lebanese citizens and foreign used the dollar and the Lebanese lira interchangeably. Therefore, with the abrupt currency drop, employees just witnessed their income and savings lose more than 60 percent in value in weeks.
Furthermore, over the course of this year, employment rates have soared to 35 percent. Hence, the Lebanese middle class is rapidly shrinking all while poverty is increasing.
On Friday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab held an emergency Cabinet meeting after hours of the protests. Then, President Aoun announced that the current currency plunge is due to “political manipulation,” which intentionally aimed to create chaos and undermine the government.
House Speaker Nabih Berri told reporters after meeting with Diab and President Michel Aoun that the government will take the needed steps to lower the pound’s exchange rate within the following weeks.
In brief, 2020 has crushed the Lebanese middle class. People are suffering, frustrated, and angry as poverty continues to prevail in the country. Moreover, it is going to be hard to get out of this currency crisis. Though the following weeks will determine if the government will deliver any real results.
For more Read
Wright, K., & Bitcoin-Friendly Top US Banking Regulator Aims to Solve Banks. (2020, May 04). Lebanese Currency Collapse: Failed Policies Led to Economic Meltdown: News Bitcoin News. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from https://news.bitcoin.com/lebanese-currency-collapse-economic-meltdown/
D. (2020). Lebanon Vows to Stabilize Currency After Night of Angry Protests. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-12/lebanon-protests-reignite-as-currency-plunges-on-black-market
Hundreds protest against the Lebanese pound devaluation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2020, from https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2020/Jun-13/507405-hundreds-march-in-beirut-ahead-of-diab-address.ashx
Al Jazeera. (2020, June 13). Lebanon currency crisis: Dozens hurt in the second night of clashes. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/lebanon-currency-crisis-dozens-hurt-night-clashes-200613054206453.html
In Palestine, no peace before the slate is clean
It seems that peace in Palestine will remain confined to the realm of wishful thinking. For the vast majority of people around the world, the racist apartheid entity known as Israel is probably the most gargantuan crime against humanity ever committed in the history of mankind.
Israel was conceived in sin, misbegotten in evil when it was established nearly 75 years ago, remains completely evil today, and will always be irremediably evil, no matter how many people sing its praises.
The creation of Israel in Palestine may not be the most heinous genocidal act in history. But it is most certainly the biggest and most obscene theft ever. How else can any honest person describe the arrogation of an entire country by the British empire and surrendering it, as a (National home), on a silver platter to another people ( Zionist Jews) on the ground that these people were stateless and persecuted, especially following the tragic events of the World War II.
Indelible calamity for Palestinians
Indeed, the very creation of Israel and its malignant growth into a powerful evil entity has inflicted a huge indelible calamity to every Palestinian family.
Yes, thanks to Zionism’s triumph, thanks to overwhelming, unlimited and sustained backing by racist, anti-Islam Western powers such as UK and US, every Palestinian family had its share of the still ongoing agony, immense suffering and misery resulting from the establishment of the evil entity, which is nothing less than a protracted, unrelenting and unceasing crime against humanity.
It is probably impossible to find a single Palestinian who has escaped the impact of the Zionist Jewish crimes, still, continues unabated.
Israel: When will the Jews say Mea Culpa?
This writer’s family, for example, was forced to dwell in a cave for 20 years, following the near extermination of my father’s family in 1953. In that fateful year, Jewish terrorists massacred his three paternal uncles, Hussein, Mahmoud and Yousef not far from the village of, al-Burj, about 30 km southwest of the town of Hebron.
The three, along with other relatives, were totally innocent shepherds, grazing their folks of sheep near the armistice line. In addition to murdering my family, the Zionist murderers stole hundreds of sheep upon which our family depended on for living.
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Interestingly, up to this day, Israel, the so-called only democracy in the Middle East, has not said “Mea Culpa“! let alone paid compensations for their crimes When will the Zionist Jews say a simple sorry for their unwept victims? Perhaps when kosher pigs fly!
Yes, every single Palestinian has a story to tell about what happened to his or her immediate family, relatives, neighbours and fellow villagers.
The Zionists, notoriously selfish and narcissistic, calculated that old Palestinians who experienced the holocaust-like Nakba first-hand ( the brutal, violent extirpation of an entire people from its ancestral homeland does constitute a form of genocide), would die and the young would forget.
However, the Zionist calculations proved utterly faulty as the cause has been kept alive and living, strongly and firmly, in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, including in Palestine itself where close to eight million Palestinians continue to live as a thorn in the Zionists’ side despite all their nefarious designs, plots and exploits to consign our just cause to oblivion.
There are several reasons for this exemplary resilience and steadfastness on the part of the Palestinian people, including the following:
1-The colossal Nakba, was by no means a one-time event lasting for a few weeks or a few months, followed by peace or an end of hostility. The Palestinians actually never encountered circumstances or conditions conducive to making them or their descendants forget or overcome their pains. Indeed, ever since 1948, the collective Palestinian experience has been a sequence of atrocities, pogroms, repressive measures, mass internment and imprisonment, home -demolitions, land-grabbing, sporadic massacres, and similar acts of persecution and oppression. This would draw a conclusion that peace in Palestine belongs to the realm of fantasy.
The main purpose of these evil measures has always been to force the Palestinians, or significant numbers of them, to leave their homeland for good. Indeed, in many instances, the Zionist authorities offered attractive sums of money to “encourage” Palestinians to emigrate to countries such as Australia and Canada. However, very few Palestinians would swallow the Zionist bait.
The unrelenting suffering and the protracted oppression and savagery kept alight the torch of resistance even to this day as most Palestinians came to realize that they were facing two main alternatives: continued resistance even at a high price, or going into oblivion and repeating the experiment of the “American Indians” of the Middle East.
2-The second reason which enabled the Palestinians to keep their struggle alive is their strong Islamic faith. Islam encourages its followers to resist oppression and not succumb or give in to oppressors. True, Palestinian nationalism played and continues to play an important role in sustaining the resistance. However, it is amply clear that Islam is more able to provide an inexhaustible source of motivations for the increasingly religious showdown with Israel. More to the point, Palestinians feel they have a paramount religious duty to protect, defend, and liberate al-Aqsa Mosque from the claws of Zionism. Indeed, most Palestinians realize there can be no Palestine without Jerusalem and no Jerusalem without the Aqsa Mosque. Hence, their resolve to sacrifice body and soul for the liberation of Islam’s third holiest sanctuary.
No Peace without Justice, but Justice is more than impossible
Since there can be no lasting peace in Palestine without true justice that leaves the slate thoroughly clean, it would be safe to argue that reaching a genuine peace between Muslims and Zionist Jews would be as unlikely as Satan the devil entering the Garden of Eden in the company of prophets, saints, martyrs and righteous people on the Day of Judgment.
But since Satan will go to hell rather than paradise, peace in Palestine will remain confined to the realm of wishful thinking.
And even if Zionist Jews were to reach the conclusion that enough was enough, they still would have to agree to a system of redress for the egregious injustices inflicted on their victims from the very inception of the gargantuan crime against humanity.
For justice, even a semblance of justice to materialize, the Jews of the world would have to pay the Palestinians adequate and prompt reparations for the purpose of promoting justice and redressing the horrible and still ongoing crimes against the victims and their descendants up to the 10th generation. I cannot determine the exact amount of reparations and indemnification which Jews would have to pay for the victims. But an initial amount of 30-50 trillion dollars would probably suffice for a final rapprochement. Am I undergoing day-dreaming. Definitely. That is why even invoking the possibility of a real durable peace between Palestine and Israel belongs to the realm of fantasy and wishful thinking. (end)
26 Million People Affected By Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Powerful earthquakes and aftershocks struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on the 6th and 20th of February, 2023.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 26 million people need humanitarian assistance. The death toll is climbing above 50,000 and is expected to rise as many victims remain missing.
Furthermore, the WHO calls the Turkey-Syria earthquakes the “worst natural disaster” in the region in 100 years.
Turkey-Syria Earthquake: What Happened?
On February 6th 2023, the first earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and the northern Syrian border, measuring a magnitude of 7.7. Within minutes entire cities turned into rubble. Following this, a second earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.6 hit the same region a little later.
Two weeks later, on February 20th, another earthquake of 6.4 magnitudes struck the same border area previously hit. Moreover, there have been more than 9,000 aftershocks recorded since.
The Aftermath of the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
These earthquakes caused immeasurable devastation for an estimated 26 million people damaging and destroying homes and infrastructure, including approximately 214,000 buildings across both countries.
An estimated 240,000 rescue workers continued working in quake-hit provinces in Turkey. They persevered for weeks to find survivors trapped under rubble despite no survivors found for long periods of time. An estimated 1.9 million people are in temporary shelters, hotels, and public facilities.
As of February 25th 2023, in Turkey alone, 44,218 people died due to the earthquakes, while the announced death toll in Syria was 5,914 people.
Selective Humanitarianism During Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
The international response to the Turkey-Syria earthquake has disproportionately overlooked the Syrian people’s suffering. Syria has faced 12 years of civil war, and with international borders blocked, many Syrians received no help in the first few days after the earthquakes.
Read more: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria 2023: A Forgotten War.
It took over a week after the earthquakes for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to issue a three-month authorization for United Nations (UN) aid deliveries to pass through two more border crossings. These significant aid delays resulted from the regime’s influence over affected regions.
These unacceptable delays entirely defy the principles of humanitarian law. As a result, Syrians have limited access to search-and-rescue reinforcements and lifesaving aid, unnecessarily costing many precious lives. The UN has failed the people of northwest Syria, highlighting inadequacies within the current system.
The slow humanitarian response to the earthquakes severely affecting northwest Syria illustrates the inadequacy of the UN Security Council-mandated cross-border aid mechanism in Syria. Thus, this crisis highlights the urgent need for alternatives to be put in place.
Read more: The Repatriation of ISIS Children Detained in Camps in Northeast Syria 2022.
The UN Pledges a $1 Billion Appeal For Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
The UN launched a $1 billion fundraising appeal to support the humanitarian needs of those affected. This appeal fund will support Turkey’s “once in a generation disaster” for three months and a $397 million appeal to help 4.9 million people in Syria.
So far, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has donated $11.7 million. The UN held that so far, Denmark is the only country recorded to donate aid worth $1.5 million.
Human Rights Concerns Following Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
Health infrastructure was destroyed in many places, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid. In Gaziantep, a major city in south-central Turkey, hundreds of people are sleeping in tents in different parts of town, and trash has begun to pile up in public parks where some of these tents are located.
Therefore, hygiene problems, as well as inadequate housing, are some of the biggest problems in the region. In addition, the inadequacy of public toilets and the lack of infrastructure to use these toilets increases the risk of epidemics in the region.
Children’s Rights in the Aftermath of the Earthquakes
According to UNICEF, the recent earthquakes have affected an estimated 5 million children. Natural disasters such as earthquakes have severe consequences for vulnerable groups in society, such as children.
As the recovery efforts in Syria and Turkey continue, children’s rights must be a priority. All children must have access to fundamental rights such as food, clean water, and housing. Furthermore, children’s access to education and protection from exploitation and abuse is imperative. Many children in the region are unidentifiable as they are too young to know their full names, while hundreds of children’s parents remain missing.
Implementing the general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is of fundamental importance, especially in times of crisis.
Syrian refugees in Turkey Face Forced Return to Earthquake-Strikken Regions
An estimated 1.7 million Syrian refugees lived in the ten southern Turkish provinces devastated by the earthquakes. Unfortunately, these refugees rely on temporary or international protection status. Without prior authorization, these refugees cannot travel to other provinces.
However, following the earthquakes, Turkish authorities issued a directive allowing refugees in these ten provinces to travel to other regions, except Istanbul, for up to 90 days if they could secure their accommodation.
However, in the first few days following the disaster, many fled to Istanbul, resulting in the Directorate General of Migration Management revising its decision to a case-by-case basis due to Turkey’s economic difficulties. There has been a growing anti-Syrian sentiment in Turkey which has become the host of the world’s largest refugee population.
Following this, a second directive provided refugees with a 60-day exemption to travel to other provinces without prior authorization. The question remains as to where these Syrian refugees will return to following the expiration of the directive.
A Committed and Sustained Global Humanitarian Response is Needed
The aftermath of these devastating earthquakes requires a committed and sustained international humanitarian response. Thousands are missing, and 1.5 million are homeless without shelter, food, clean water, and access to healthcare.
The true impact of this disaster will not be fully understood for decades. The international community must step up and provide aid and relief to the earthquake victims. Most importantly, human rights protections must be at the heart of the response.
Expect a Srebrenica-like massacre anytime by Jewish Settlers in the West Bank
Encouraged by the Israeli government’s acquiescence, millenarian Jewish settlers in the West Bank seem to miss no chance to emulate “Hitler youth,” the para-military Nazi gangs that murdered, and terrorized Jews prior and during the Second World War.
“Hitler Youth” carried out some of the most outrageous acts of mass terror against Jews throughout Germany and Austria prior to the outbreak of the World War II.
During their rampages, they murdered people, vandalized property and torched businesses. They took an active part in Kristallnacht’s “Night of Broken Glass” on 9-10 November, 1938, burning down numerous synagogues.
According to historical sources, the pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew living in Paris.
Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by some historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the holocaust.
Jewish Settlers in the West Bank: Judeo-Nazis
Today, more or less the same scene is being replayed by the Nazi-like Jewish settlers in full collusion and coordination with the Israeli government and security forces in the West Bank.
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The settlers play the role of Hitler Youths and other Nazi paramilitary gangs while the Israeli security forces play the role of Gestapo and SS.
I know there are differences between the two cases. However, one must be faithful to one’s rectitude, which compels us to recognize the immense similarities.
In both cases, we are talking about a nefarious racist ideology (Aryan Supremacy -the Master Race) in the German case, and (Jewish supremacy or chosen people) in Israel’s case.
Indeed, when subjecting the two movements to cool examination and analysis, the two terror groups (Jewish settlers and Hitler Youth) look as two sides of the same coin, notwithstanding some secondary differences.
Most of the Jewish settlers now marauding through the West Bank and Jerusalem are graduates or students at Talmudic schools known as Yeshivot. They are thoroughly indoctrinated in the Talmudic ideology which views non-Jews as virtual animals. This means that the life of any goy (non-Jew) has absolutely no sanctity. This is far worse than the Nazi concept of the lower classes or Untermenschen.
The Jewish Settlers’ terror : Never forget
On 13 July, 2014, Jewish settlers in the West Bank kidnapped and burned alive a Palestinian child, after pumping gasoline into his body. Typically, when hair-raising incidents like this occur, the perpetrators often blame Torah sages and Talmud teachers in their communities for okaying the hideous crime.
I don’t know why these Jewish settlers in the West Bank chose this particular gruesome method to end the innocent child’s life. Did they want to vicariously punish the Nazis, on the ground that all goyem are the same, irrespective whether they are Germans, or Palestinians or Chinese?
What was even more outrageous was the behavior of the Israeli government. The Israeli security officials spread disinformation alleging that Abu Khdeir was murdered by his own family.
Israeli Offilcals: Lying like breathing
Indeed, only when there was no room for denying the obvious did Israeli leaders admit the occurrence of the crime. The reluctant admission was not due to concern about the monstrosity of the crime. It was rather imputed to concerns about the public relation damage that Israel would incur as a result of the crime.
The Jewish settlers’ terror against the Palestinian people in the West Bank occurs with the knowledge, acquiescence and direct or indirect encouragement of the Israeli government. Claiming otherwise would be like committing an act of lewdness with truth.
In fact, it is well known that some Israeli security officers often teach Jewish settlers how to conceal evidence of murder just as the Israeli justice system easily exonerates Jewish murder suspects accused of murdering Palestinians. A few weeks ago, I asked a Jewish lawyer from Haifa to explain the chances of a Palestinian receiving true justice in a Jewish court.
The lawyer, a lady, told me this: “No non-Jew can hope for true justice in a Jewish court, period.”
Jewish settlers and their supporters from within the army and Shin Bet security agency have burnt and vandalized dozens of mosques in the West Bank. However, so far, not a single perpetrator has been apprehended let alone punished. This amounts to a green light that encourages the terrorist settlers to “keep up the good work.”
Jewish Settlers in the West Bank: Expect the worse
Today, the Israeli government is using these genocidal fanatic Jewish Settlers to murder and terrorize unarmed and unprotected Palestinians for the purpose of driving them away from their homeland in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The criminal Jewish settlers pray for a miracle to empty the land, the West Bank and Jerusalem, of its indigenous inhabitants, the Palestinians. They invoke the 1948-Nakba, saying “if we did it once, we could do it again.”
This is why these evil people are willing and ready to embark on the unthinkable, including carrying out a Srebrenica-like massacre of Palestinian villagers.
The settlers believe they could do such heinous act with minimal or no impunity. They cite Jewish domination of the American government and Congress as well as the settlers’ domination within the Israeli army.
Yes, they could embark on the unthinkable. Don’t say “we didn’t know.”
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