In an exclusive interview, SyriacPress spoke with Leila Latti, Head of the Syriac Youth Union Association in Lebanon about the current situation in Lebanon and the needs of the Association.
SyriacPress: How would you describe the current situation in Lebanon?
Leila Latti: The situation in Lebanon, especially the economic situation, is dire. It began to deteriorate in the beginning of 2019 due to the ruling authority and its connection and subordination to the Iranian axis through Hezbollah, which worked hard to isolate Lebanon from its Arab and international supporters. Iran continues to interfere in other countries’ affairs, including militarily in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other countries, in an attempt to destabilize them in favor of the Iranian agenda. This is in addition to carrying out drug smuggling, money laundering, and terrorist acts internationally.
These actions were imposed on the free Lebanese people against their will and control and led to the destabilization of politics, security, and the economy. The instability laid by Iranian influence was then made worse by the coronavirus pandemic and the general quarantine, and the catastrophic explosion at Beirut Port, which is the artery of the national economy. The explosion also caused the destruction of a large part of the capital, where thousands of families lost their homes or loved ones.
These collapses were followed by popular demonstrations against the dire circumstances that afflicted the entire country and the governmental vacuum that led to the complete paralysis and impotency of the country which in turn caused the collapse of the banking sector and the plundering of depositors’ assets. Many companies declared bankruptcy and closed. Hospitals and Schools cannot function. There is a frightening emigration of doctors and professionals amidst the collapse of the national currency compared to the U.S. Dollar, which is smuggled into Syria, in addition to the daily smuggling of oil, flour, foodstuffs, and medicines subsidized from the funds of Lebanese citizens in support of the Syrian regime.
All these problems combined have brought the entire Lebanese people to the brink of starvation. The future of many generations is being destroyed.
Political life has been disrupted, and there is no longer a solution other than placing Lebanon under an international trusteeship to save what is left of the country and its people.
SP: How does the Syriac Youth Union Association help the needy?
Latti: The Syriac Youth Union Association has been continuously providing aid to displaced Syriac people from Iraq and Syria, in addition to some Lebanese families, since 2008. However, since the beginning of the economic collapse in Lebanon, especially starting in April of last year, the association started focusing its support by providing financial, food, and health aid to the Lebanese people since the international organizations are already providing assistance and supplies to refugees. The majority of Lebanese citizens are now unemployed and without any assistance from the state. Knowing that, the majority of our people are daily workers, have home rents, school fees, electricity, generator, water, internet, and medical bills to pay, in addition to taxes and other basic living matters.
We are trying to offer monthly aid in cooperation with the Syriac Cross and Shlomo organizations, and members of the Syriac diaspora who work hard to collect and send donations on a monthly basis.
SP: What does the Association need to continue helping needy families?
Latti: In the name of the Syriac Youth Union Association, and through your honorable website, I appeal to all international organizations, in all countries, to provide generous financial support to the Syriac Cross and Shlomo organizations so that these organizations, in turn, can offer this aid to our Association to perform its role in financially supporting our people in Lebanon. Especially since the economic and living situations has become frightening and cases of suicide have become frequent in our society due to the inability of families to secure and support their needs and livelihood.
I must conclude and express my deep appreciation to the support and the tremendous work done by the Syriac Cross and Shlomo organizations to collect donations from our people and international organizations and associations to help our people to stay in their land and live in dignity.
I hope that international organizations respond to this call in order to preserve human values.