It is certain that the Lebanese people have had enough of the politicians and high-ranked officials trying to trick them with twisted truths and lies of the obvious. If that used to work once upon a time, it is no longer the case.
There have been too many sufferings and too many injustices for anyone to swallow their pretense and denials, let alone nod and keep quiet. The reality has been too harsh to even tolerate claims of victory and achievements when there is none of such.
That is what happened with seasoned TV host Tony Khalifeh during his show on Thursday and the caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan claiming achievements of the vaccination rollout.
Khalifeh prompted to forcefully cut him off, “We are willing to hear you till the end, but spare us the word achievements,” Khalifeh retorted, his tone turning intense as he went on, repeatedly rebuking the official to stop using that word.
“From the beginning of the coronavirus, and we hear about achievements, please, enough with the word achievements. for God’s sake, enough with the word achievements,” he fretted.
“We have become the worst country in the world with the coronavirus, and you are still telling us about your achievements! Please, we are willing to hear you till the end, and cooperate with you till the end, but please spare us that word achievement,” Khalifeh went on angrily.
Instead of responding with a valid argument, the health ministry replied sarcastically saying: “We will satisfy ourselves with your media achievements.”
“My media achievements don’t kill people,” the TV host retorted twice, referring to the misgovernance of the pandemic by the health ministry all through, which has resulted in high casualties by the COVID-19.
He in fact pointed to the lack of firm strategy by the government with random openings between lockdowns for festivities, causing more infections.
The TV host’s anger was more than justified. Lebanon has been wrecked by the pandemic and not just because of the coronavirus but because of the mismanagement that favored its spread and has been killing dozens of people daily.
As for the mess in the vaccination rollout, the health minister claimed that it is impossible to control every vaccination center.
It is worth noting that there are only a very few medical centers authorized to conduct vaccination in the country, adding to the pledged monitoring by the World Bank and the IFRC on the ground, and the health ministry’s teams.
How could one claim achievements if some 20,000 doses and a few centers in a small country couldn’t be controlled? Or that thousands of people have already died from the pandemic, hospitals edged saturation and lacking ICU beds, the state not controlling its borders from infected arrivals, and on and on.
Fact is, preventive measures were loosely applied all through the pandemic, even the health minister breaking them on several celebratory occasions. It brought about another tragedy when, realizing they lost control, the officials went enforcing a brutal long lockdown without support to the people.
As a result, there are over 30 civilians today charged with alleged terrorism for protesting against hunger, and one of them initiating a hunger strike in jail.
So no wonder that Tony Khalifeh, like all Lebanese today, would snap at such an absurd claim of achievements that insults people’s minds and adds to their pain and frustrations.
We have a dedicated coronavirus section where you can find the latest news/updates about the pandemic in Lebanon, inform yourself with WHO-verified resources, and track the number of cases in Lebanon in real-time. Click here.