With Beirut airport reopening on the 1st of July, Lebanese expats living in France are sharing a call under the hashtag: #Menni_Wbel_Jorr مني_وبالجر to all Lebanese preparing to return. It practically means: Starting with me.
Hassan Ali Jaber, who launched the initiative, considers that “every day 1,500 expatriates will come back home, this is the usual number of people that come back home to see their families every summer.”
He calculated that every one of these expats will be carrying about $3,000 to $10,000, which is the maximum allowed.
At an average of $5,000 per person, the total amount of dollars that will enter Lebanon with the expats, according to him, would be $7,500,000 daily.
That’s an estimated total of $225 million in July, up to $450 million by the end of August, “and more if they increase 10% of the air traffic,” he explained.
“This is what they [the politicians] are counting on,” Jaber said in his post. “This is their plan to pump the dollar into the Lebanese market to save their policy, and even steal the money again through money changers, etc.”
Taking all this information into consideration, Jaber decided to launch this initiative that calls the expats to support all (and only) small shops and family businesses.
If I come back to Lebanon,” he wrote, “I will search for small restaurants and support them.”
He said that he will refrain from going to international chains, including restaurants, coffee shops, etc, and “even swimming pools that belong to a party or an official.”
“When I want to exchange dollars or euro, I won’t go to money changers. I will go to my neighbor who is dying to get $100 to pay a loan, or to a Lebanese student who is planning to go study abroad and needs euro bills. It might be a small loss for me but it makes a difference in society.”
Jaber went on to explain why the initiative will work.
“For those of you who think that this idea is too good to be true or that it is impossible to execute; this idea came to me from many of my customers who come to the restaurant to support us and to keep us going. People in France have been following this policy ever since lockdown ended.”
“Imagine the power that we, the expatriates, have. It is our duty to do the same initiative in our country and help it recover away from politics and banks,” he concluded.
It is worth mentioning here that some expats are currently facing issues with their booking of non-MEA flights. There have been several sudden cancellations of flights, forcing them to book with the MEA, which is more expensive.