Countless reports will tell you the country is facing an unprecedented multifaceted crisis. The United Nations says so. The World Bank. Other NGOs. The people. Living here, you don’t need to read the reports nor follow the news. Rising poverty is obvious, and it has been for well over a year.
You can tell from the anxiety people reflect into their driving, parking, walking, talking. Hanging in the air. Increased people in the streets begging, at least it seems. More children going through the trash too. It seems, or do is it my own exaggeration? Doing groceries means discussing and cursing the situation too. No escape.
Ramadan started. Ads and talks reminding all of how scarce the iftar tables will be this year. Help a family have a decent dinner, fulfill your zakat. The weather isn’t helping either: towards the 28 degrees celsius with minimal electricity.
By the way, what happened to traffic lights in Beirut? Is the municipality just not going to fix it again, ever? In any case traffic lights are where poverty is visible to all most. There, between roads and in between begging and selling, people enjoy iftar in little groups women, men, children and babies on the ground. Ragged clothes, dark-tanned from being in the sun all day and with greasy hair or unshaved beards.