A top Lebanese energy official has come under fire for broadcasting a clip to fellow citizens with chandeliers burning brightly in the background urging them to save power and “maybe don’t go out so much”.
The ill considered advice from the energy official that has led to allegations of hypocrisy comes as the country goes through its worst economic crisis in history.
The tiny Mediterranean country is still reeling after seeing its capital Beirut devastated by an explosion a year ago. Even then it was struggling as it tried to recover from a 15 year civil war that ended three decades ago.
It is now going through a financial collapse that the World Bank has warned could be one of the worst in over a hundred years. The local currency has lost 90 per cent of its value, while prices for basic commodities including not only fuel but also food have gone through the roof.
The ill considered broadcast was made by the official in an interview with the TV channel LBC in the still devastated capital Beirut.
Minister of Energy official Aurore Feghali was offering advice as the country attempts to weather its worst economic crisis in history, with spiralling inflation, no food in the shops, and no fuel for cars.
With two chandeliers burning in the background, she called on the people of Lebanon to “not go out so much” and added that “Lebanese people always protest things at first before they get used to them”.
Netizens overwhelmingly slammed the official, arguing that there was an oversimplification of their plight and saying that the fuel crisis is currently putting people in danger, especially in hospitals, where electricity is in short supply as they are largely reliant on generators.
Some Netizens also said that even if Feghali is a government official with ties to Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s political party, the Free Patriotic Movement, which he founded in 2005, she was also freed from jail on bail in a corruption scandal allegedly involving fraud in May 2020.
Other netizens also focused on her chandeliers that still seem to have power, which appears to fly in the face of her advice to use less energy.
The crisis has worsened in the last month, with fuel filters threatening the country’s core services and with people forming cues from miles at petrol stations that are largely devoid of any fuel.
The authorities are reportedly finding it difficult to maintain order, and the terrorist organisation Hezbollah have added a new dimension to the crisis by deciding to unilaterally import Iranian fuel on their own initiative.