At a summit organised in Bkerké by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï, the patriarchs and leaders of the Eastern Christian churches have insisted on the need to fix the financial and socio-economic crisis Lebanon is currently experiencing. The Greek Catholic, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Catholic patriarchs, together with the Armenian Catholicos and several bishops, took part in the discussions on January 28, 2020.
These religious leaders have expressed their support for the peaceful protestors who are calling for reform, but they have unequivocally condemned the chaos in the streets and in public places, especially Bayreuth.
French daily L’Orient-Le-Jour has reported that an ever-increasing number of “needy persons” have been coming “to ask for help in parishes,” which do not always have the means to help. In grocery stores the prices are climbing, while health care is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. The number of homeless is growing and people can’t pay their rent, especially in the poorer zones of Tripoli, the second-largest city of Lebanon, 85 km south of Bayreuth.
According to a study by the World Bank, poverty has increased by 60% in Lebanon over the last five years. Today, one in three Lebanese say that are having difficulty meeting their needs and those of their families. The State is looking for a loan of $4 to $5 billion to finance the purchase of basic necessities.
“The country is just about bankrupt,” economist Samir Aïta, president of the Circle of Arab Economists, said on TV5monde. Lebanon is crumpling under the weight of a national debt of over $86 billion, or a little over 150% of the gross national product.