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Permanent solutions in Lebanon require transformation

By June 24, 2020

Lebanon (MNN) — Protestors are back on Lebanon’s streets after months of pandemic restrictions kept people at home. The currency’s fallen to a new record low, making everyday essentials unaffordable. Read our previous coverage of Lebanon’s economic crisis here.

Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says it’s going to take more than leadership changes to fix the country’s problems. “[The] Lebanese people have ‘woken up’ to a large degree, and they see what’s going on,” he says.

“In the past, they felt powerless to do anything about it. Now, they’re feeling much more empowered to shake things up.”

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag flying over an abandoned artillery piece on the grounds of the former SLA prison in Khiam. (Photo, caption courtesy Paul Keller via Flickr)

While protests give Lebanese citizens a voice they didn’t have before, the movement also comes at a cost. “Unfortunately, the protests are really just driving the country into destitution, in hopes that it will ‘starve out’ this old guard of Hezbollah [and] Iranian-backed government that has been controlling Lebanon for the past two or three decades,” Houssney says.

“A lot of people believe things really have to get worse in Lebanon [before they see] real lasting change,” he adds.  “Like many other very small countries, they’ve suffered by being controlled and influenced by bigger countries that are around them.”

Confronting corruption

As described here, corruption and fraud go hand-in-hand with Hezbollah’s political influence in Lebanon. It’s why removing Hezbollah from power is one of the International Monetary Fund’s bailout requirements. According to Asia Times, Hezbollah’s primary leader is looking for alternative options.

More about Hezbollah here.

Political parties aside, Houssney says Lebanese citizens recognize corruption is one of their country’s biggest problems. Horizons International offers a solution.  “The best attack against corruption is the light of the Gospel and repentance of the human heart,” Houssney says.

“It’s never just the politicians [who] are the only ones that are corrupt. Corruption has its roots deep, deep, deep into society, so we need to shine the light of the Gospel into the culture.”

Next steps

Use your God-given talents to support their efforts. Connect with Horizons here. “If anybody has any teaching or ministry skills that they could offer to the Lebanese Church or the Church in the Middle East, we’ve been [opening] up those connections,” Houssney says.

“There’s a lot that can be done by ordinary Christians around the world to support their brothers and sisters that are in this region.”

Prayer is the most important way to help. Use the prompts listed alongside this article to guide your intercession, and pray for Muslims throughout the Middle East here.

 

 

Header image depicts 2019 protests in Beirut, Lebanon. (Photo courtesy Shahen books via Wikimedia Commons.)

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