Lebanese protests raise concerns for ASD students

Tala A.

H.+Rakab+%28%2720%29+and+R.+Azrieh+holding+the+Lebanese+flag+after+the+opening+ceremony+of+International+Week.+++++++++Photo+taken+by%3A+Z.+Al-Fardan

H. Rakab ('20) and R. Azrieh holding the Lebanese flag after the opening ceremony of International Week. Photo taken by: Z. Al-Fardan

Tala A., Reporter

Seniors in the American School of Doha, H. Rakab (‘20), K. Yamout  (‘20), and S. Inaty (‘20) share a common concern about the state of their home country, Lebanon. From annually spending their summers in the warm beaches of Lebanon with their distant families, they now fear for the state of their country amidst the violent rebellions against the government. Foreign Policy explains that just this week “security forces [began] using water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.”

This began through a  series of uprisings in downtown Beirut, Lebanon triggered by planned taxes on gasoline, tobacco and online phone calls through WhatsApp, which quickly escalated into a country-wide condemnation of sectarian rule, an inactive economy, unemployment, and failures from the government to provide basic services such as electricity, water, and sanitation.

“I was actually in Lebanon for the fall break in October,  and when the protests happened we were told to evacuate immediately before the airports shut down,”  said a source who chooses to remain anonymous because of her vulnerability as a Lebanese citizen.

While the anonymous source was physically in Lebanon to witness the beginning of these notorious protests, Rakab, Yamout, and Inaty all received the news through friends and family or through media outlets. H. Rakab (‘20) explains, “Social media plays a huge role in awareness… at home, my grandma would turn on the TV and I would always hear her screaming and nodding her head and that’s when I started to realize that it was getting intense.”

K. Yamout agrees, “ I first noticed when many news channels started to talk about it a lot.”

As a result of the ongoing protests, the Lebanese government has actually inflated the currency of the Lebanese Pound. This has caused the anonymous source to worry for their family, “ One dollar used to cost 1,500 Lebanese Pound, but now one Dollar is 2,000 Lebanese Pounds. Also, many products in supermarkets have expired, and here are no new products coming in to replace them. I am worried about my family and how they will survive.”

Safety is also a concern for S. Inaty, (‘20) who has family living in Lebanon. “I have a lot of family in Lebanon and the location that they are staying at is safe, as of now, but I’m afraid that if the revolution escalates, its gonna get worse.”

“I have, like, my uncles and aunts, and they’re safe because when you live there it’s different than what you see on the news, so it’s normal,” K. Yamout (‘20) rebuts.

As for what they hope to see as a result of these protests, all students share the common goal of uniting the people of Lebanon, yet H. Rakab explains, “ I hope to see a more stable government and a government that actually cares, protects and provides for its people, instead of robbing them of their money.”

 

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