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Lebanese youth leave the country “without return” away from a dilapidated economy

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — With the popular movement against the political class started months ago, many Lebanese youths who once dreamed of immigration thought that they could build their future in their country, but the dream did not last long after it was overthrown by the acceleration of the economic collapse.

After participating in the demonstrations that have plagued all Lebanese territory since 17 October, raising their voice against a ruling class accusing them of corruption, students and youth today fill immigration applications to work or complete their education abroad.

And the mothers who once shouted accusing the political class of pushing their children to emigrate, are preparing themselves to see them off, in a country witnessing an accelerated economic collapse that is the worst since the civil war (1975-1990), and there are no clear solutions on the horizon, except promises of a new government that put the crisis on the scale of “its priorities” “.

“I will go irreversibly,” says Youssef Nassar, a 29-year-old cinematographer, after booking his ticket to Canada.

“Nothing is going well in this country to stay in.”

For months, Lebanon has faced a liquidity squeeze with a continuous rise in the prices of basic materials, banks imposing tight measures on cash operations and withdrawing the dollar.

And the rate of inflation doubled between October and November, according to the report of BLOM Investment Bank, in conjunction with the loss of the Lebanese pound about a third of its value against the dollar in the parallel market.

The crisis threatens the Lebanese in their jobs and livelihoods, and many shops and companies have closed their doors, and the Ministry of Labor has received dozens of requests for collective disbursement, leading to a rise in the unemployment rate.

A third of the Lebanese live mainly under the poverty line, while the unemployment rate is thirty percent among the youth. The World Bank warns that these rates will rise as a result of the current collapse.

“I hate this country,” says Nassar because of the political class that refuses to leave power and does not find a way out of the crisis at the same time.

– “I want my future” –

Nassar used to earn enough money to film campaigns for fashion companies, advertisements, etc. But for months he only worked once. Still awaiting payment of $ 25,000 in fees from seven clients, including a member of parliament, but they are unable to pay it.

“I want to work on developing my career and for the sake of my future,” says Nassar, who also holds Canadian citizenship.

“I am not prepared to wait in my entire life for the country to improve.”

The State Information Foundation for Research and Statistics estimates that the number of Lebanese who left the country without return in 2019 reached 61,924 compared to 41,766 the previous year, an increase of 42 percent.

According to Google’s research identifiers, the average search rate for the word “migration” in Lebanon between November and December reached its maximum in five years.

Lawyers working on immigration files no longer have free time, as they are asked to go to Canada, Australia, or others.

“The demand for immigration has increased by 75 percent,” says one of the lawyers, as well as not be named, noting that he is currently working on 25 applications, the majority of them to Canada.

The majority of the clients of the lawyer are educated and specialized young men, including those working in pharmacy, information technology or financial affairs.

“They are all leaving because of the economic and political situation,” the lawyer added.

– “I have no strength” –

With the impact of a worn out economy and successive political crises, Lebanon has, over the years, transformed into a country that is a supplier of migrants. Although no official statistics are available, it is estimated that their number equals more than twice the country’s population of more than four million.

Fatima, a 28-year-old engineer, has been participating in demonstrations against the ruling class since its inception.

“When the revolution started, I felt for the first time in my life a sense of belonging, and for the first time I felt that the Lebanese flag means a lot to me,” says the young woman who dreamed of immigrating since I was 16.

But this hope did not last long after Fatima lost her job last month in an international NGO due to declining funding.

“At this very moment, everything has changed for me, and I am only thinking about immigrating to Canada,” she says.

Fatima found herself as a lawyer and is collecting the necessary documents to start immigration treatment.

And she says, “I can’t fight more” for a better country.

“I don’t think I will let my country down by leaving, but of course I will fail if I stay here.”

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