Bassem Sheikh Hussein continues to be the talk of the town in Lebanon and also on the internet, ever since he took a drastic decision in a bank in Beirut, desperate for his own money to pay for his father in the hospital.
For some 7 hours or so, Hussein held hostage the bank and all people inside it, demanding his money as negotiations were ongoing. The hostage situation ended with Hussein accepting a partial payment of $35,000 from his own deposit amounting to $209,000.
Hussein also agreed to release the hostages and walk out on the condition that he will be allowed to walk free. However, he is still in custody ever since, leading him to another drastic decision: He declared a hunger strike.
For many in Lebanon, who have been also suffering from the banks’ capital control for some 3 years now, unable to access their own money in banks, Hussein stands as a hero.
The public reactions have been majorly in his favor. Here are some of them, with the hashtag of his name trending on Twitter, and people rooting for him.
The hashtag #Down_With_The_Bank_Ruling is trending along with his name.
“To me, it doesn’t matter whether his father is in the hospital or not, I support Bassem Sheikh Hussein either way,” Pauline Querault tweeted, and warned, “Prepare yourselves for the trap within a few days.”
People are also raging on Twitter over Hussein’s detainment in custody, calling for his release.
Twitter User Radwan Al Mokdad, in a retweet, expressed his fury over the situation:
“With all cunning and treachery, the oppression tools affiliated with the Lebanese Regime are still holding the depositor Bassem Sheikh Hussein despite the agreement. What is worse is that he didn’t even recover a quarter of the value of his deposited money.”
Twitter user Jad Lezeik expressed what most in Lebanon are thinking:
Hashtagging his tweet “Freedom For Bassem Sheikh Hussein, he commented that it is not Hussein that should be in prison but “the Bank’s owner who stole his money.”
Similarly, Lebanese journalist Catherine Daher tweeted out that “the [man who should be] free is behind bars.” She added that his family blocked out the Ouzai road this morning in protest against his arrest:
Jad Lezeik tweeted again hours later, stating that if Hussein was politically supported, “the judge wouldn’t have dared to arrest him and the bank wouldn’t have dared filed a personal lawsuit against him.”
He added in what is meant to be a bitter irony that “bias for the truth remains what matters, far from any considerations,” calling for the release of Hussein and “the imprisonment of the owner of the bank and every official involved in seizing Bassam’s money and the rest of the depositors.”
A Redditor comment stood out by summarizing the Lebanese state in a sentence.