Long considered the Switzerland of the Middle East, Lebanon is now going through the worst economic crisis in its history. 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. In one year, food prices have jumped 500% due to galloping inflation.
For Riad, who runs a grocery store in the suburbs of Beirut, business has become hellish. Every morning, calculator in hand, he changes the labels of his products according to the day’s exchange rate. An operation all the more complex as his store is plunged into darkness, due to lack of electricity. The Lebanese government no longer provides more than two hours of electricity per day in the country. It is impossible for the population to heat, light or use their refrigerator. Taking advantage of the situation, a network of private generators has emerged.
The Lebanese pound, the local currency, has lost 90% of its value. The only ones to get away with it are those who are paid in dollars. The greenback, which is exchanged for a fortune against the local currency, has given birth to a new privileged social class in the country. A salesman in an international pharmaceutical company, Joseph lives like a king in a ruined Lebanon. Thanks to his new purchasing power, he repaid his house loan in two months, instead of… twenty years!
In a bankrupt state, plagued by corruption, six out of ten Lebanese citizens now dream of leaving the country. In Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, Mohammed and his son left by sea to reach Germany. Although their trip was cut short off the Turkish coast, the young father is still ready to take all the risks to reach the European El Dorado.
Lebanon, the former “Switzerland of the Middle East” , stands on the brink of becoming a failed state. Years of civil war, border conflicts and corrupt government has left the country bankrupt and spiralling into chaos. But in this deeply divided country, a young generation is ready to battle for reform.More info
We follow the lives of four members of the Lebanese Christian elite. In one of the world´s most politically unstable countries, they are a symbol of the former “Switzerland of the Middle East” – the last representatives of a golden age they are reluctant to give up.More info