SAT 15 - 8 - 2020
Jul 4, 2020
The Daily Star
Two commit suicide in Lebanon as poverty mounts
BEIRUT: Two men committed suicide in Lebanon Friday as the country maintains its catastrophic economic collapse with no bailout in sight.
A man from Hermel, 61, shot himself in Beirut’s Hamra in front of Dunkin' Donuts Friday morning. The man left a copy of his clean judicial record on his chest, demonstrating his innocence.
“I am not a heretic. But hunger is heresy,” said the note, a line from a Ziad Rahbani song.
A security source told The Daily Star that the man had been living on the street.
According to eyewitnesses, he had yelled out “a free and independent Lebanon,” before collapsing to the ground.
Four hours after the incident, video footage from local media reported that an ambulance had not yet arrived to collect the body, which was still on the ground.
Security forces arrived on the scene and cordoned the area. Investigations are ongoing.
Shortly after the incident dozens of protesters gathered around Dunkin' Donuts, calling for the overhaul of the current political system, which they see as responsible for plunging the country into poverty.
A woman carried a sign that read “This was not a suicide, this was murder in cold blood.”
“Where are the authorities now? We can’t pay for food. People are starving. They are dying. Where are they?” the woman said in televised interview to local media.
A 37-year-old father who was employed as a van driver also committed suicide by hanging in the Iqlim al-Kharroub region, south of Sidon.
The Lebanese pound has lost over 80 percent of its value against the dollar, resulting in nationwide price hikes that have rendered basic items and foodstuff unaffordable to many who are currently living below the poverty line.
Despite deteriorating economic and living standards in the country, critical bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund have been put on hold while politicians squabble over the implementation of necessary reforms.
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