LONDON: Lebanon, a country with crippling energy, economic and financial crises, has just crowned Miss Internet Lebanon 2021.
رغم كل مصايب لبنان، الحمدلله قدرنا نتوّج Miss Internet
إنجاز جديد للعام 2021 pic.twitter.com/h2IfPU8Kv0
— Mhmd (@dankar) November 8, 2021
The country, which is experiencing shortages of some of the most basic necessities, has found a reason to hold a pageant for the title of Miss Internet Lebanon, despite most people lacking the electricity to keep their internet on.
“I thought I saw the worst, but now I just saw that we have a miss Internet Lebanon for 2021,” one social media user, Lama Sleem, tweeted.
I thought I saw the worst, but now I just saw that we have a miss Internet Lebanon for 2021
— Lama (@LamaSleem) November 8, 2021
More than 200 businesses were forced to close their doors over the summer owing to prolonged blackouts.
World Bank data shows that Lebanon’s economy contracted by 20 percent over the course of 2020, with a further 9.5 percent contraction forecast this year. This makes the country’s economic crisis one of the world’s most severe — in relative terms — since the mid-19th century.
Coupled with the collapse of the Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the black market, households that could once afford an annual vacation to Turkey or Cyprus can now barely scrape together enough to put food on the table.
And, to make matters worse, Lebanon’s diplomatic ties with its Gulf neighbors have taken a turn for the worse because of drug smuggling operations from the Mediterranean nation and its information minister defending the Houthis in Yemen.
So, with the country’s chaotic downward trend, many found such a beauty pageant to be surreal.
“Given we now have Miss Internet Lebanon, who from the guys would like to be Mr. Benzine Lebanon?” social media user ssalimaa’ tweeted in Arabic.
مزال صار عنّا Miss Internet Lebanon
مين من الشباب بحب يصير Mr. Benzine Lebanon؟
— ssalimaa' (@ssysph) November 9, 2021