Lebanese prelates are concerned about Christian emigration
—Doreen Abi Raad
AS ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS continue in Lebanon, the country’s economic crisis has worsened. Banks have imposed restrictions on withdrawals and transfers, the currency has devalued and many people are losing jobs. Financial despair has driven at least three Lebanese to commit suicide.
A growing number of Christians are contemplating emigration, just as happened during Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990), when thousands of Lebanese Christians left for the West.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai said Dec. 6: “Some embassies, which I will not name now, are facilitating the issue of emigration, as if it is a second war to empty Lebanon of its people and Christians.” Aid to the Church in Need spoke about the situation in Lebanon with Melkite Archbishop Georges Bacouni of Beirut. He said:
“We are living like in an earthquake. We’re facing enormous economic problems, including a failing banking system. Since the protests begun, many more people have lost their jobs, and now some are getting only half of their salary. This has a huge impact on families.
Archbishop Georges Bacouni of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Beirut and Jbeil in Lebanon