In Beirut, the choice of exile is gaining ground

Audio 02:24

The damaged port after the explosion in Beirut on August 12, 2020 (illustrative image).

REUTERS / Alkis Konstantinidis

By: Chloé Domat

6 min

For almost a month, the Lebanese have been trying to rebuild their largely destroyed capital, Beirut.

The port explosion came on top of an economic and political crisis, the collapse of the currency, hyperinflation and the Covid-19.

An accumulation of misfortunes which pushes more and more Lebanese to the exodus.


In the neighborhoods affected by the explosion, the Lebanese are trying to get up.

Salwa has repaired her windows but she can no longer do her shopping as prices have increased in recent months.

So, with her two children, she comes to get a hot meal from an NGO: “ 

Listen, I'm not going to lie to you, I want to leave this country.

If it stays that way, we'll all end up on the streets with nothing to eat.

And after ?

Nothing changes !

People organize a lot of demonstrations but nobody listens to them.

So yes I am thinking of leaving, for myself and for my children.


Impossible to know how many, like Salwa, are packing their luggage.

But one thing is certain, more and more young people are joining the ranks of the Lebanese diaspora.

Among them, many engineers, professors and doctors like Pamela Farah, 30 years old.

Despite 12 years of studies and a specialization in France, she cannot find a job and seeks to return abroad: “ 

A diploma is like a weapon in life, but here I have a diploma that does not is useless in this country.


Hospitals hit hard by the recession are not recruiting and his practice is running empty because the Lebanese - 60% of whom have no health insurance - are saving on health costs.

Pamela: “ 

We didn't see that before.

People are calling, a patient is calling the doctor.

He asks her just before

"May I find out what your consultation fees are?"

so to see if he comes or not, if he is treated or not.

It's sad, yes it's sad.

Day by day, the situation worsens and month by month, we have new disasters in the country, the last was the explosion



Last October, tens of thousands of Lebanese took to the streets to denounce the corruption of the political class.

Elie Saliba, a 39-year-old orthopedist participated in all the demonstrations.

But now disappointed, he too is thinking of leaving the country: “ 

I'm torn.

When the revolution started on October 17th, for me it was my dream.

And I fought in the street, I was there all the time.

I think I want to keep fighting but I have three children and my wife is starting to lose hope.

And I understand it because we have a future to ensure for these children.

They have the right to live happily and not to fight.


With the brain drain, the Lebanese economy is in danger of further collapsing but the state seems incapable of undertaking reforms. 


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