Lebanon is dealing with what the World Bank estimates is one of the world's worst financial crises since the mid-1800s. Long in the making, it was exacerbated recently by both the COVID-19 pandemic and a massive explosion that killed more than 200 people in Beirut one year ago.
Since the fall of 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value, and annual inflation in 2020 was 89.4 percent, The New York Times notes. More striking than the numbers, though, are the nationwide food and electricity shortages.
The situation has left Lebanese politician Mustafa Allouch, a former member of parliament who is now the deputy head of the prominent political party known as the Future Movement, fearful that the country may experience "blind violence," the Times reports. "Looting, shooting, assaults on homes and small shops," he said. "Why it hasn't happened by now, I don't know."
The solution ultimately will come down to government reform, Allouch said, though he's not sure what exactly that will look like. "I don't think it will work anymore," he told the Times, referring to the current political system, which he doesn't believe is capable of addressing Lebanon's issues. "We have to look for another system, but I don't know what it is." Read more at The New York Times.