Lebanon, Mayor Tiro: “Corruption has ruined the country, without international aid we won’t get out” – Video

(From the correspondent Silvia Mancinelli) – “This is the situation. And it is serious. Once we were the Switzerland of the Middle East, today corruption has led us to a crisis that leaves families in the dark and forces the most promising young people to go away. Just think that here we are four million, abroad three times as many “. Lapidary, crude, is the analysis made by the mayor of the municipality of Tire, Hassan Dabouk, two weeks before the elections that will renew the political class.

To the journalists he has gathered in the hall of the town hall, he tells without discount the conditions of a people caught between pride and poverty. “Each family spends almost half of their salary to enjoy a few hours a day of electricity. In the town hall we have electricity thanks to the work of the Italian contingent – he explains – but my citizens have to use private generators, expensive in terms bills (we are talking about 200 euros per month) and, likewise, pollution, considering that the same generators are placed between the houses. Tire is no exception, but all of Lebanon pays the price of a wrong political system that needs to be changed “.

Called to the polls, what do the Lebanese expect? “In reality – he says – not much will change here in the south, and the responsibility also lies with the citizens themselves who always vote for the same people, the usual ones in power. The yellows on one side, the greens on the other: they cannot be overcome these parties, which deserve credit for having managed to defend Lebanon from our neighbors (the Israelis, ed). Naturally, the international political conflict has also increased the Lebanese crisis “.

“State electricity arrives one hour a day, the light we have here in the room is thanks to the Italian contingent. This – explains Dabouk – because Lebanon is also left alone by our Arab brothers like the Gulf countries that are trying to make peace with Israel. I’ll give you an example: we could use Jordan’s electricity and Egypt’s gas: both of them must necessarily pass through Syrian territory. The Americans and the others prevent us from doing so because they are against Syria and we are losing out. we, who remain in the dark. Likewise, we were not allowed to accept the offer of the Iranians, who could have built large power plants for free to power all of Lebanon. They do not want us to take aid either from Syria or from ‘ Iran and meanwhile we pay unreachable bills for the majority of the population, forced to run out of energy “. So what will the new management class be called upon to do? “It is a very serious crisis, we need to make a medium and a long-term plan to get out of it, make many sacrifices – replies the mayor – and without help from the international community we can’t get out of it. The new government will have to work hard to lower prices of food, improve health and schools “.

For the past 15 years, the energy ministry has been in the hands of President Michel Aoun’s party: they have only done business, they have not worked to solve the energy problem, but to make money. For example, they bought two ships that produce electricity from Turkey, paying 2 billion dollars. With the money of these two ships that gave power to Lebanon for 4 hours a day, they would have built 4 power plants. But this was a business: it is Lebanon’s policy. It works like this. When a government session is held, instead of finding a solution, they argue among themselves and the energy problem is not resolved because they do not agree. Suffice it to say that our country, which has existed for over 5,000 years, does not have a single history book: each community has its own because they do not agree “.

Hence the diaspora of the new generations. “Young Lebanese who study go abroad to have a job and a future: we have more compatriots in Europe, Argentina, Brazil and America, more than those left in Lebanon – continues the mayor of Tiro – 600 graduate every year doctors, how do they get a job here? They are forced to go out. Also in my family we are four brothers, only I am here, the other three are in America. So the women, many graduates, eventually choose to devote themselves to the family . And it is not an imposition, it is a choice that belongs only to them: my daughter is a civil engineer, she tried to be a mother and to work, only to give in. For us, daughters are essential, we care more for them than for boys , soon they are in charge here “.

The residence of the Greek Orthodox archbishop dominated by a cross silently stands out in front of the town hall, while the intoned Koran enters through the windows of the houses open to overcome the heat. Tire, where Adnkronos met with Mayor Hassan Dabouk today, is an example of peaceful coexistence between different religions. “In the end we are all brothers, all equal before God – he says in the press section organized by the Italian contingent of Unifil in the town hall – and we pray each in his own way. Personally I have both the Bible and the Koran. All the citizens of Tire celebrate together the Christian holidays and the end of Ramadan “.

“In Lebanon we live like this, in peace with people of different religions. Tire was destroyed by the Ottomans and rebuilt after 400 years – he continues – At that time two mosques and seven churches were built by a Shiite emir, four Christian schools and a Shiite. My children studied in the schools of the sisters. This is why coexistence is very strong and felt here “. And on the upcoming, albeit still unofficial, visit of the Pope to Lebanon, he says: “We can’t wait, we hope he will come to visit the caves of Qana, which John Paul II was prevented for political reasons”.