Lebanon (MNN) — The World Bank says Lebanon’s financial disaster is the worst since 1850. The country, which many have begun calling a failed state, needs help from the International Monetary Fund. But the government must start meeting again before a deal can be struck.
The “failed state” label would categorize Lebanon with countries like Nigeria or Afghanistan. A big part of that has to do with last year’s Beirut explosion, one of the biggest man-made, non-nuclear explosions in history.
The ruling class
Pierre Houssney with Horizons International says the inaction and greed of the ruling class created this crisis in the first place. “For example, if a road project gets funding approved by the government for $2 million, they will spend $100,000 or less, filling potholes instead of doing the job. And then the rest of the money will disappear.”
Houssney explains how this ruling class first came to power after the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990. “Even going back to the early 1900s, there was a tramway in Beirut. There was great infrastructure. But in the war, there was a new ruling class that took power: these militia leaders. They took over everything, and they’re still the same guys who are running things today.”
The worst-case scenario for Lebanon? Houssney says if the armed Shia group Hezbollah takes power, the country could become a little Iran. “So far, we have not lost our religious freedom. Lebanon enjoys more religious freedom, I would say, than even the U.S. But if things do slide into a mini Iran scenario, there will are going to be more and more limitations on the free press, free thought, and free religious expression.”
As Horizons International visits homes across Lebanon, most have someone who is open to hearing about Jesus. Pray many would find hope in Him as their government fails them.