Thursday, November 12, 2020

What happens when I believe Michel Hayek more than Riad Salameh?

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

Michel Hayek can be best described as "psychic". Usually he limits his presence to an audience-shattering once a year interview on New Year's eve. The man gives predictions related to the local and international scene and dips them in a very camouflage sauce - if he mentions that so and so politician will "fight till the last breath" and said politician dies, the media goes into a frenzy: See? Hayek was right. "Last breath" means death. Now, if said politician does not die, the media still goes into a frenzy: See? Hayek was right. Said politician did not budge from his opinions/positions. "Last breath" means he was the last man standing in the negotiations.

This year Michel Hayek broke his New Year's Eve rule by giving one interview to the L'Orient-Le Jour newspaper, and one for Neshan der Haroutounian. In both he made newer predictions. And by God, the man is optimistic. He still maintains that depositors' money in the bank will reappear, Dollar will go back to being available at an acceptable price, and that two miracles await Lebanon: One man-made one from heaven/the sky (all these are verbatim translations of things he said).

Now imagine where I stand: My money - everything I made - is stuck at the bank. Am trying not to flip my cash Dollars which I hoarded at home, am trying to still be able to insure my meds and those of mother are available, while every trip to the supermarket now costs me about triple what it used to, all while having had incredibly little work since the beginning of the year (I am not an economist for nothing though, am exceptionally good at money management so miraculously am still holding strong).

Now, Central Bank governor Riad Salameh is still saying we have gone through the worst but now the situation is improving all while refusing to answer the legal audit's questions (OK, not all questions, just 150 questions remain unanswered), issuing directives which definitely need clarifications (if anyone is reading this at the Central bank, am a communication consultant and an economist, so I can write clear directives that you do not need to clarify ten minutes down the line!), and generally engaging in something that suspiciously looks like a Ponzi scheme.

I mean honestly, who would you believe? In my case my mind is made up. Michel Hayek all the way!