The tweet that circulated and went viral in seconds among Lebanese residents as of Saturday, and picked up by the news, including us at The961, was in fact a big lie from the businessman.
Ahmed Al-Sarraf wrote on his social media account Twitter:
“I phoned nine of the biggest leaders of Lebanon, some of them ministers. I offered to donate 25 billion dollars to treat electricity 24/7 for all of Lebanon, repair roads, compensate the affected people, drinking water, and what follows? In exchange for their resignation and refusal… The majority rejected the offer!”
Ahmed Al Sarraf, a Kuwaiti former banker and businessman, mockingly clarified his tweet the next day.
He tweeted: “The people who believed I contacted 9 of the leaders of Lebanon and offered to resign, but they refused, are the same ones who believed that the Ottomans built wheat silos in Lebanon 200 years ago!”
Truth is, people believed him not because of the mentioned tale of the Ottomans, which is a first-heard to most in Lebanon, especially the youth. The people believed him for two main reasons:
One, until that tweet, he was a recognized businessman, hence deemed reliable (not anymore though).
Two, the Lebanese people have suffered so much and so long from the ruling officials that Al-Sarraf’s statement sounded unsurprising to them, knowing how many of the ruling officials are hanging on to their seats as if their lives depend on it.
In a time of national sorrow and anger, when the people got just hit by a horrific explosion and are living the nightmarish aftermath, when so many lost their lives and loved ones, and people are protesting in the streets, many not so calmly, Al-Sarraf fake announcement was not only insensitive but deceptive and inciting.
This isn’t the time for jokes when the nation is deeply ailing.
One thing for sure, any statement and/or story coming from the businessman now onward will be deemed unreliable.