Lebanon protests resume as financial crisis worsens

By May 14, 2020

Lebanon (MNN) — As protests resume, Lebanese Christians help those in need and join the Global Church in prayer and unity.

We reported yesterday that Lebanon has reinstituted a national lockdown to contain COVID-19 cases after a recent spike.

But economic troubles have also plagued the country, and citizens have been protesting since last year. Protestors disappeared briefly when COVID-19 first emerged, but they have returned in force during the last two weeks.

Protestors gathering in Beirut in January 2020. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Wissam Nasrallah of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) says these protests began in October 2019 when people took to the streets to express their anger over Lebanon’s economic situation. “This has led to the resignation of the government. We have a new Reform government, but at the same time uprisings and the coronavirus have exacerbated the structural deficiencies of our economic system, and things have been spiraling downwards since then.”

The COVID-19 lockdowns, Nasrallah says, represented the final nail in the coffin for Lebanon’s struggling economy. “We do not have any social safety net or unemployment mechanism that protects poor families or daily workers. During this phase, we are witnessing a rise in the poverty level. According to the World Bank, this rate is expected to surpass 50% in the coming weeks.”

Effect on the Church

The Church in Lebanon isn’t isolated from this, Nasrallah says. Many Christians have lost jobs and suffered huge expenses as currency erodes. “Many churches have responded by reaching out to their own members, but also to the wider community, and to help in any way they can.”

Lebanese Christians wrestle with the same questions as Christians around the world. “How can we be faithful witnesses during this time? And how can we have contentment and still love God for who He is and not for the circumstances that we have?”

Many churches have distributed hygiene kits and food packs to vulnerable populations, especially refugees.

A church in Lebanon. (Photo courtesy of Sony Dsc-T90 on Pixabay)

LSESD’s response

LSESD has assisted with this work. Nasrallah says, “We’re distributing face masks and gel soap, and just creating awareness and sharing best practices on how to stay safe. Also, because of the severe economic and financial crisis that we’re witnessing, we’ve distributed food boxes and food vouchers to different churches across Lebanon.” LSESD will continue until things get better.

Nasrallah asks Christians to pray that LSESD would have the courage to remain faithful in the midst of the difficulties they face. But you can also help financially to help feed families in Lebanon.

Christians around the world form one Body, Nasrallah says. “We want to pray for other countries and people suffering all over. And we would appreciate also to be supported in prayer back. Just feeling this unity has been has been great and very encouraging in such a time.”



Remember that Christians in Lebanon pray for you. (Photo courtesy of LSESD on Facebook)

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