The Lebanese state is collapsing day by day, and the phenomenon continues to intensify. Meanwhile, the financial crisis the country is going through is considered by the World Bank to be one of the worst in the world since 1850.
In 2022, more than 80 percent of the population lived below the poverty line; the Lebanese pound lost 95 percent of its value in three years; GDP declined by 6.7 percent in 2019, 20.3 percent in 2020, and 9.5 percent in 2021. Moreover, the three factors that form the basis of the Lebanese model in the Middle East, namely the banking, health and education systems, are gradually failing. This state of affairs raises concerns about civil peace and increasingly pushes the Lebanese, especially the most educated, to emigrate in search of security, as well as political and socio-economic stability. Finally, relations with Israel are strained because of disputes over shipping routes in the Mediterranean. The disputed areas are rich in natural gas, which increases friction, with the danger of war breaking out in the region between Israel and Hezbollah. The future looks bleak indeed.
How did this country – once called “the Switzerland of the Middle East” – come to this predicament? Without claiming to offer exhaustive explanations, in this article we will first try to analyze the causes of the problems and their consequences for the Lebanese people, particularly the middle class, the main victim. Second, we offer some suggestions to try to get out of this impasse. These suggestions will be “anthropological” rather than economic or sociopolitical. They are not exhaustive and are based on our academic, pastoral and human experience.