The slow but steady lifting of subsidies for essential products by the Central Bank is not meant to solve any strategic problems. Instead, it is just a masked attempt to prepare Lebanese for the eventual lifting of all subsidies. The state is bankrupt and is declaring its bankruptcy step by step in order to avoid the Tsunami that will be the uproar at the moment of its final declaration.
Even if subsidies can last until February, as the Governor of Banque du Liban Riad Salameh stated, chaos will ultimately ensue. Humanitarian assistance credit cards (Humiliation Cards) will not work, as they will be distributed to the cronies and loyalists instead of the truly needy—the people of Lebanon. It won’t make a difference whether the remaining reserves are $800 million or $17 billion.
Only a bit of fresh money from relatives abroad can relieve the Lebanese Family
In any case, reserves will be depleted. In the absence of new and sustainable sources of money inflows, Lebanese cannot survive without a bit of “fresh money” from family members and expatriates abroad.
The tragedy lies in the fact that many Lebanese are ignorant about the source of these subsidies. In fact, they are just little of what is left from depositors’ dollar accounts that have remained in the custody of the Central Bank. What will happen to the Lebanese once those run out? It will be the end!
The removal of flour subsidies for example, even a portion of it, will extend to basic foods such as the Man’ouche, tea biscuits, and some of the sweets consumed by the poorer population. All of this will drive Lebanese towards one of two things: Crime, or suicide!
To pile on to the suffering of the people, even if in incremental steps, is a death sentence! The Lebanese people will awaken from their illusions which will shatter along with their idols—their political leaders who will be unable to secure anything for them. Should this breaking point be reached for people to mobilize? Would they then? Or will they merely accept the death sentence they were given.
Under normal circumstances, subsidies should not exist. This is particularly important knowing that authorities are responsible for or turning a blind eye to the smuggling of subsidized products through Syria under the protection of Hezbollah. The lifting of subsidies must come with alternatives such as new employment opportunities. However, as it stands, any changes would be crucial to the fate of the Lebanese families. Lifting subsidies will cause their deaths.