Economic crisis and Covid-19: the Lebanese Church offers land to citizens

The Maronite patriarch's announcement yesterday during the Sunday mass homily. The cardinal denounced the rise in unemployment, the "unacceptable" levels of inflation and a "terrible" drop in the lira. Today agriculture is "a primary necessity". Criticisms of a "vengeful" justice system and a political class that does not care about the well-being of the people.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Lebanese Church puts its land "at the disposal of society", to help revive a country that is facing the worst economic and financial crisis in its history. This was announced yesterday, during Sunday mass, the Maronite patriarch Card Beshara Raï, stressing that in the country "unemployment has increased", poverty and inflation have reached "unacceptable levels" and the drop in the lira is "terrible".

For the cardinal, agriculture today "is a primary necessity" and, for this reason, the Church "makes its lands available to citizens, so that they can utilize them and guarantee food" also and above all because Lebanon “imports 70% of its food needs ". The Maronite primate therefore assured that "in this way we will bring the Lebanese back to their lands", "limit their sale" and, in doing so, " curb emigration".

For months the country has been in a deep economic and political crisis, aggravated by the war in Syria, and more recently the novel coronavirus outbreak. The prevailing chaos  has increasingly worried Church leaders about a "plot to change the face of Lebanon.” In response to the economic crisis, to which Covid-19 has also added, the Church has already intervened in recent weeks by offering two religious institutes to host non-serious patients in the recovery phase.

Card Raï also criticized a justice system he calls "vindictive" and spared no criticism of the judges, even without mentioning them while arrests are continuing. "Certain magistrates - he underlines - issue their sentences on the basis of political motivations or out of revenge", without any care "for the dignity of the people". "Has our democratic system - he asks - been transformed into a police state and dictatorial system?".

In conclusion, he addressed the citizen who does not even have a representative to whom he can turn: “To whom can the citizen complain? Why do you protect your political leaders? And if you don't have a political contact, should you suffer injustice in silence? What does this vindictive justice mean? - concluded the cardinal

Latest data confirms 911 coronavirus cases and 26 victims in Lebanon. Public debt has reached 170% of GDP and foreign debt amounts to $ 83 billion, unemployment has continued to rise, especially among young people, and the local currency has been in constant collapse for some time. 45% of the population lives in conditions of poverty and 22% in a reality of "extreme" poverty.