Americans are not alone in being forced to deal with an internal financial crisis and the high inflation, interest rates, and costs associated with it. In Lebanon, things are so dire for citizens that banks are closed throughout the country.
Why? In order to protect bank employees and customers from the “risks” associated with all the bank robberies taking place. Those holdups are being perpetuated by customers of those banks, trying to gain access to their own funds that have been frozen in the banking system.
There were five separate robberies on one day recently. The crisis in Lebanon is so severe that the local currency has lost 90% of its value, which has led to 75% of the country now being in poverty, unable to pay for daily essentials like food, gas, and medicine.
A man named Bassam Sheikh Hussein stormed into a bank in Beirut recently, armed with a gun, and threatened to kill hostages and himself if the bank would not let him withdraw his own money from a frozen account. Hussein claimed he needed his money for medical expenses for his father and eventually surrendered to police after the bank gave him some of his savings. The crowd outside the bank cheered Hussein, and on social media, he is referred to as a national hero.
The situation will worsen before it improves, as the country’s banking association said banks would remain closed indefinitely, making residents more desperate.
Deposits have been frozen for over two years, which is forcing Lebanese to do anything they can to leave the country. On Thursday, a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off the coast of Syria, and at least 34 people died.