The Lebanese Civil War broke out 46 years ago and spanned over the course of a violent and dreadful 15-year period. Today, however, survivors of that war deem the dark reality of today’s Lebanon even more terrifying.
Speaking to the global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), 53-year-old civil war survivor Abla Barotta opened up about renewed worries, ones that overshadow those from the tragic and terrible time of armed conflicts.
Like many elders have pointed out, Barotta said that even “the worst days of the war weren’t this tough,” AFP reported. Lebanese have never seen an economic crisis so severe.
She noted that while one can run and hide from shelling and violence, one cannot escape from hunger, economic collapse, a global health crisis, and Lebanon’s politicians.
“We used to fear death from bombardment or sniper fire, but now we fear everything: illness, poverty, and hunger,” she was reported as saying. “To die from shelling is better, at least there is no suffering… while today, we suffer and die slowly every day.”
In Hamra, 77-year-old barbershop owner Victor Abu Kheir also opened up about the situation, calling the days of civil war more “merciful” than today. It is a grim sentiment held by many who had lived the civil war.
According to AFP, Abu Kheir was even kidnapped at one point during the war and also survived gunfire hitting his shop.
“No one prefers war, but those days were better. There was money and the people were comfortable,” he said.
With money in their pockets, people were able to live and provide for themselves. The country was divided but within their areas, people were able to go on, work, generate funds, and feed themselves and their families.
They had normal access to their money in banks, the living cost was very affordable, and the value of the local currency was even better than in Lebanon of today.
With money in their banks, people were able to thrive after the war. But where does one go from being driven to poverty, hunger, and humiliation?
The situation in Lebanon has been so unbearable that it has even driven people to be somewhat nostalgic to those past days that the Lebanese worked hard to heal from and forget.
On Sunday, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi expressed fear of the intentional obstruction of a government formation aimed at worsening the crises and increasing suffering with the goal of exploiting desperate Lebanese to settle for the conditions of a benefiting party.