The Italian Antonio Gramsci, of several titles, in one of his most famous idea, defended that “when the old world is dying and the new one is slow to appear, there is the perfect half light through which monsters appear”. And such monsters, in the case presented here for your appreciation (there are thousands of them, by the way), can weigh 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, throw a thick red smoke into the skies and dig more than 40 kilometers of a huge hole in the sea, in addition to killing hundreds of civilians and mutilating many others. But make no mistake reader, monsters of the half light do not walk alone, before them there is misgovernment, unemployment, hunger and despair and after them, the complete disintegration of the people.
The monster I refer to, was born in my beloved Beirut, on August 4, 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, in a shocking spectacle watched by thousands of people around the world. The explosion of Lebanon’s main port did more than the figures mentioned above, it unveiled for the planet a corrupt and flawed system, generated by an old and tired government, in a model that no longer exists, but that persists, at the price of death of your people, to stay where they are.
A year after the accident, the apocalypse is tracing its bleak contours: the Lebanese currency has fallen more than 15 times in value, hyperinflation has put staple foods out of the population’s reach, vital medicines are not found and there is not enough fuel to supply the cars, nor the electricity sector. Lebanese central bank reserves are below the mandatory limit, heralding the end of subsidies to keep even the middle class. Other than that, there is no government, as the ministries are headless and there is no agreement on the names that are presented.
The old man still resists, despite being for days and night a manger of monsters.
And the new is not born. Where’s the new?
Perhaps not in the expected place, but in another Lebanon outside Lebanon.
I’m talking about the Lebanese diaspora, which has given the world thousands of citizens. The term diaspora comes from the Greek and can be understood as the sowing movement, starting from a dispersion. From this movement, approximately 10 million Brazilians originated. Yes, there are more Lebanese and their descendants in Brazil than in Lebanon itself, whose territory measures exactly 10,452 km2, smaller than the national Sergipe.
This lebanese outside Lebanon, planted in another political and economic reality than the one mentioned above, can be the support point that the country needs, the cedar tree to firm up the pillars of that nation. While global aid, solely for political reasons, is stuck, the planet’s lebanese are not. And we see the diaspora move. In 2018, a report by McKinsey, a global consultancy commissioned by the government itself, pointed to the diaspora as one of the main economic axes of the country, and at that time it manifested itself in the summer with tourism and in the monthly resources sent to families. Today, the lebanese around the world are ready in another way. In Brazil, a group of descendants, children and grandchildren, is leaning over the ways and scope of help. In addition to humanitarian aid, in addition to cash remittances. It takes subsistence. It is necessary to rebuild the Lebanese soul, glue its pieces together, appease its pain. Lebanon needs to hear about Lebanon.
Lebanese of this soil, rise up! May you be true cedar seeds, given to the construction and reconstruction of the country that is the door to the Universe. Lebanon needs to listen to you.
Renata Abalém is a lawyer, director of the Brazil Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and granddaughter of Lebanese.