In January 2020, the Lebanese judiciary requested legal aid from Switzerland concerning ‘suspicious’ money transfers. In January 2021, it was the turn of the Swiss justice system to apply to Lebanon concerning a possible embezzlement of funds “to the detriment of the Central Bank of Lebanon”.
The French should be proud. Their values – secularism, citizenship, equality – are today being waved in bruised and divided countries, where we didn’t expect it. In Lebanon, huge crowds, young, colorful, united beyond their differences, demand that an end is being put to the old confessional system. Born after the civil war, hostile to the manipulation of their small country by rival and predatory powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, these demonstrators reinvent, in Levant, the beautiful “fatherland” word. Hezbollah, contested for the first time in its own strongholds, vainly sends its soldiers to attempt to crush the movement.
While the country, whose public debt amounts to 166% of GDP, is at risk of defaulting at any time, the money of the Lebanese wealthy is evaporating on the shores of Lake Geneva and Zurich. An international letter rogatory has been sent to Switzerland.
No one could predict the new Lebanese insurgency. Anger against a new tax has turned into a general challenge to the old caste system run by large denominational families, in the context of a widespread economic crisis.