‘Tired of fight­ing’

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Decades of con­flict, slug­gish growth and cor­rup­tion have prompted many Le­banese to em­i­grate - a fact touted by Le­banese of­fi­cials who boast the suc­cess of the coun­try's ex­pa­tri­ates.

Al­though there are no of­fi­cial fig­ures, Le­banon's di­as­pora is es­ti­mated to be more than dou­ble the size of its do­mes­tic pop­u­la­tion of 4mn.

This chronic ex­o­dus has drawn the ire of demon­stra­tors, who ac­cuse politi­cians they view as cor­rupt of hi­jack­ing the coun­try and forc­ing its peo­ple out.

"I had been think­ing about leav­ing ever since I was 16 years old," said Fa­tima, an ar­chi­tect by train­ing who is now 28.

"When the rev­o­lu­tion started, that was the very first time I ever felt like I be­longed, the very first time I ever felt that Le­banon's flag meant some­thing to me."

But last month, Fa­tima lost a high-pay­ing job at an in­ter­na­tional NGO af­ter donors cut fund­ing due to the cri­sis.

"This is when ev­ery­thing changed for me," she told AFP.

She found an im­mi­gra­tion lawyer and is in the process of ap­ply­ing to em­i­grate to Canada - some­thing she is de­ter­mined to com­plete. "I'm tired of fight­ing all the time," she said. "I don't think I will be fail­ing my coun­try if I leave," she added.

"I will be fail­ing it if I stay and get more de­pressed and do noth­ing."

(AFP pho­tos)

Peo­ple check the de­par­tures board in­side the ter­mi­nal at Beirut In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Jan­uary 27, 2020

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