LONDON: Empty supermarket shelves, hours-long queues for gasoline, and resorting to sleeping on the balcony to endure no electricity for fans or air-conditioning in the summer - such has become the routine for the everyday Lebanese.
“These scenes of humiliation, people should not bear,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech last month, waving his finger as he lambasted the long fuel lines in recent weeks.
“Those responsible for government formation need to listen to people’s voices and look with pain at the cars queueing up for fuel and the loss of electricity and medication,” Nasrallah said as he urged his supporters to be patient and to sacrifice.
Indeed, Lebanese people of all backgrounds should not have to bear with the consequences of years of government corruption and a financial meltdown - and yet, it appears that Nasrallah’s former representatives in government, or his party allies’ current parliamentarians do not fall into that category.
Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan and former Hezbollah MP Nawwar Al-Sahili both walked their elegantly-dressed daughters through fireworks-laden walkways and striking strobe lights this week - not two weeks after former Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down from attempting to form a government after 10 months.
Photos and videos of the luxurious weddings were widely shared across social media as they were heavily criticized, prompting Sahili to issue an apology online - claiming that it had not been on purpose.
“Hezbollah is proving yet again how aloof it is to the suffering of Lebanese people. This video of the lavish wedding of their MP Nawar Sahili's daughter, going viral in #Lebanon. No empathy whatsoever,” Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center Research Fellow Mohanad Hage Ali tweeted.
#Hezbollah is proving yet again how aloof it is to the suffering of Lebanese people. This video of the lavish wedding of their MP Nawar Sahili's daughter, going viral in #Lebanon. No empathy whatsoever pic.twitter.com/yrvRtOgnkB
— Mohanad Hage Ali (@MohanadHageAli) July 25, 2021
The photos and videos were promoted across the well-followed Instagram page “Thawramap” - a page created in the heat of the October 17 nationwide protests - that has become an online watchdog targeting politicians and their lifestyles.
“It shows once more that the political establishment is disconnected from the people. Nawwar Sahili posted an apology to the party’s partisans on Twitter, as if he needed the backlash to understand the weight of its actions,” one of the individuals behind the page told Arab News, speaking anonymously due to fear of repercussions for the critical content posted.
Photos of Lebanese sleeping on their balconies spread across social media this week as well as ever-growing lines at gas stations; showcasing an extreme contrast between the everyday lives of politicians and citizens.
Earlier this year, photos of the country’s political leaders wearing luxury watches worth thousands of dollars did the rounds on Twitter while the Lebanese pound’s value deteriorated heavily against the US dollar.
At the time of writing, $1 is equivalent to 22,500 Lebanese pounds (LBP) compared to 1 USD to 1,500 LBP in 2019.