Lebanese tend home gardens for food

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By Christiane Waked

Both Lebanese new government headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the population have to challenge themselves to get out of this unprecedented crisis.

Many campaigns have been launched recently by the Lebanese government, the media, the artists etc. to encourage the population to grow locally and have a sustainable resource.

Recently, the Lebanese National Energy (LNE) NGO started to offer seeds and technical support to people who are searching for alternative means to grow food in their houses.

Those who don’t have land to plant seeds are buying big pots and filling their balcony with all kinds of plants. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, basil, corn, barley etc. With inflation hitting the roof, many Lebanese are finding an alternative way to fight hunger by planting seeds wherever they can, on rooftops, on lands they own, balconies, etc. The idea is that everyone can be a farmer and bring food to their family table. This can also help local companies grow and reduce the demand of exports.

The Lebanese economy is experiencing its most severe phases as more than half of the Lebanese population is unemployed and 60 per cent live below the poverty line.

The International Monetary Fund expects the GDP to shrink by 12 per cent this year.

The shutdown due to coronavirus is costing Lebanon $2.5 billion every month, forcing the government to put strict restrictions on travel and mobility and ease them based on the number of new Covid-19 cases.

Necessity is the mother of invention is an old Lebanese proverb, and as we are experiencing now, we need to be more and more creative to survive.

Humour is also crucial in these hard times, and that is something the Lebanese are really good at.

Neighbours are exchanging seeds and advices and now more than ever they recall times of war where distress, austerity, and hardships brought them together.

Luckily Lebanon is a country with a strong sense of community and a culture of resilience, which is helping its citizens right now.

Mass unemployment and deterioration of economic conditions have propelled people to launch movements on social media. Many have become stronger with time. The Lebanese diaspora also has been very effective and has helped immensely.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese parliament approved a bill that legalises cultivation of cannabis for medical use in the country. The bill was approved despite objections raised by the Hezbollah bloc.

Come to think of it, this could help get the much needed revenue for the Lebanese government.

Both Lebanese new government headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the population have to challenge themselves to get out of this unprecedented crisis.

This is not the first time that Lebanon is going through a hard time but this serves as a lesson to the Lebanese to exercise their choices at the ballot.

There is no point giving votes to the same sectarian warlords who used political sectarian propaganda to keep the population busy while they stole the public’s money for decades. Now that the Lebanese are trying their hand at becoming self-reliant for food, it is worth quoting French philosopher Voltaire, who once said, it is important to cultivate one’s own garden as the work can spares us from three evils: boredom, need, and vice. —Khaleej Times

{Christiane Waked is a political analyst based in Beirut}

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