Saturday, May 23, 2020

Lebanon: Jusqu'ici tout va bien.

Today, I read this statement by Mathieu Kassovitz, the man who graced cinema with La Haine (whose subtitle was "jusqu'ici tout va bien" or "until now, all is well"): “You don’t change society in 25 years, [y]ou need society to go all the way and collapse, and then you change it. You can’t change a machine that is perfect: capitalism. It’s not good, but it’s perfect. It’s working.”
And I keep asking - has Lebanon collapsed?
Judging by the line in front of Zara, which my taxi driver today compared to "the line in front of bakeries during the war to get bread", I am really not sure. Has our currency lost around 60% of its value? Have people been working on half-salaries? Where are people getting their spending money from? In the words of the same taxi driver Lebanon is a place where people "btedayyan ta tetzayyan" (it borrows money to appear nice).
Theoretically - make that practically - Lebanon is a free fall. Yet, there was a pseudo traffic jam today. Politicians are still taking their time, banks still have not declared bankruptcy though there is insolvency, people - oddly - keep existing and continue shopping at Zara.
Oh, on the background there are still Syrian refugees, I am not going to talk about the Palestinians, there is still the COVID-19 (which has been spiking in the last few days with people not taking precautions), unemployment is soaring (I read the number of 65% which could be correct), people rummage in dumpsters in broad daylight (lately a video of an elderly man and a pregnant woman looking for food emerged).
At times I think this is it, the bottom, the place of no return, but then it turns out we could sink deeper and lower and discover new bottoms (or dig for them). I can quote any economic and financial indicator and they all spell doom, in a parallel universe, the Lebanese keep thinking the fuse is not lit on the ticking bomb, not realizing they are the fuse themselves because...
... Lebanon: Jusqu'ici tout va bien.