The ‘propagandist’ attempt by Hezbollah of claiming they have solved the food crisis in the Shiite community by securing the needed nutritional products, foods, and medicine has not succeeded. This attempt has been revealed to be no more than a temporary anesthetic used to contain the despair within the Shiite communities of South Lebanon.
Almost one month ago, Hezbollah opened a chain of stores and cooperatives called “Al-Nour Stores” in order to absorb the effects of shortages in food and essential products within the Shiite communities. These shortages have been caused by the removal of subsidies as well as the drop in the dollar supply in the market.
Sources have revealed to Janoubia that this Hezbollah program is only available through the provision of a card called the “Nour Card”. This card is available exclusively to members of Hezbollah, and through it individuals can purchase all their needs in terms of food and medicine at low rates.
One woman told Janoubia that she visited one of the branches of “Nour Stores” in the Southern Suburb of Beirut, and that she was denied from purchasing any products because she did not have the “Nour Card”. One of the supervisors of the store then explained to her that she cannot get this card since it is exclusive for Hezbollah members.
This goes against all claims by Hezbollah that they are resolving the crisis within the Shiite community, and it goes on to further prove that they are dividing Shiites into two groups: A group that is affiliated with or employed by them who can obtain the benefits they are providing as relief from the crisis; and another group bearing the brunt of the economic crisis due to their exclusion from the “Shiite Duo” political alliance.
As a result, and with the announcement of the preparations to lift subsidies, dozens of Shiites unaffiliated with the “Shiite Duo” have begun preparing the necessary documents to apply to and benefit from the “Nour Card”; Sources have told Janoubia. The card is reported to soon expand its benefits to include fuel and other food products that will be affected by the lifting of subsidies. These reports confirm that trust in the “Shiite Duo” to guarantee the socio-economic conditions of the Shiite community is all but gone.
Flour Shipments Cause Commotions in the South
On Wednesday Evening, photographs of large trucks loaded with subsidized flour were being shared by activists on social media. These trucks were offloading the flour containers into large warehouses in the town of Doueir, South Lebanon. The comments exclaimed how in the midst of a flour shortage crisis affecting all local bakeries, we see traders transporting these containers openly and under the knowledge and supervision of security agencies!
Immediately following the spread of the photographs of the trucks on social media, Rammal Trading Company issued a statement denying any monopolization of subsidized flour. The statement was brief and limited to disputing the information as inaccurate. Meanwhile, many on social media confirmed that the subsidized flour was being used to produce non-essential pastries instead of bread.
Security issues remain at the forefront of societal concerns in the Beqaa. Security conditions continue to worsen as the rise of theft, burglary, and crime persists. Throughout the Beqaa region, there are increasing calls for self-security, as the situation continues to go out of control. In addition to the increase in drug trafficking, money counterfeiting, and prostitution; these criminal activities have been making their way out of the shadows and becoming more overt that ever. Meanwhile, local security forces are evading their responsibilities under the pretext that these cases are the responsibility of central agencies and not local authorities.