The Lebanese government assumes that the number of Lebanese diasporas is 15.4 million, according to Arab News. However, that number can vary greatly as the last demographic study conducted in Lebanon was more than 87 years ago!
The situation in Lebanon is deteriorating more and more. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the light of the economic situation the country has been enduring since the past year.
It has resulted in increasingly tightening withdrawal limits since November 2019, with more implemented just this week, another cut down on interests announced yesterday, and banks calling for more strict measures.
According to two studies conducted by InfoPro, over 60,000 people have lost their jobs since the end of November. In total, more than 220,000 Lebanese citizens have lost their jobs in Lebanon since October.
Lebanese Diaspora is estimated to be between 12.4 million and 15.4 million, while Lebanese living in Lebanon are estimated to be a little more than 6 million.
In prospects of finding a better life and a better economic and financial situation, Lebanese have had to migrate and now the need has become more pressing.
According to Arabian Business: “Information International, an independent Lebanon-based research body, estimates that the number of Lebanese who left the country and did not return in 2019 was up by 42 percent compared to the previous year.”
Wars, economic decline, inadequate living conditions, and unemployment have pushed many Lebanese into leaving. Data Worldwide stated that, in the first three months of 2019, around 4,700 Lebanese residents migrated without intentions to return.
And then, the Revolution was born, reviving a strong hope in countless Lebanese across the world. Their longing to come back home was seen and loudly declared these past months since October 17th.
Hundreds of protests all over the world in support of the revolution reflected the Lebanese will in wanting a better Lebanon they can come back to, live in, work in, and invest their knowledge and skills in.
Let’s put it boldly: What the consecutive Ministries of Emigrants couldn’t achieve in decades for Lebanon when it comes to its diaspora and awakening their eagerness for the homeland, the Revolution did it in a few weeks, just by existing.
It has done the same for our youth in Lebanon who have been even more eager to see the much-needed changes.
While they were growing with no hope and with bitterness in their hearts, the Revolution ignited in them a tremendous hope that things will be all right for them.
However, the recent parliamentary vote of confidence appeared to have spoiled the hope of many of them, triggering their desire to immigrate.
Father Tony Khadra, the founder of Labora, a Lebanese NGO related to unemployment issues and solutions, revealed to Checkersaga, an online media with a focus on Science, Technology, and Local US regions: “This can be a new phenomenon.”
“7 out of 10 people say they need to migrate from Lebanon as a result of they’ve misplaced hope of their homeland,” he explained.
From his side, Jan Kubis, a UN official in Lebanon, warns that Europe will face a new migrant crisis if Lebanese politicians will not take immediate action.
“The next phase of the crisis, without being addressed by the reforms, will be much more difficult. The problems will deepen,” he said to News Sky.
After the confidence was given to the new cabinet this week, several tweets portrayed the disappointment of the Lebanese revolutionaries.
“Today more than ever I regret that I grasped so tightly onto what little hope there was for this country and I came back, instead of leaving and living life the way a normal human being should live,” a store owner in Hamra said.
Zein, a chemical engineer, tweeted: “It makes me so upset seeing my mom’s tears right now knowing that I’ll be leaving again later this year.”
“A dozen of my friends are leaving too and we’re all paying the price. Nothing is more heartbreaking than leaving your home and your loved ones behind.”
And yet, the Revolution hasn’t ended. Protests have resumed by large numbers right after the deceitful parliamentary vote of confidence. Sit-ins continue. Determined protesters are hanging on to their homeland.
They know that this is only a setback and that “the journey to victory is long” as they have been chanting on the streets and posting on social media.