As for the new minister of social affairs, Hector Hajjar, he faces a catastrophic social and economic situation in a country where poverty has jumped to 82%, according to the United Nations, and shortages of food, water, medicine, fuel and other necessities have reduced life for most to a matter of survival.
Yet Hajjar seems to come with unconventional plans. In a recent interview, the minister suggested that parents struggling to find nappies for their children simply use and reuse napkins. Hajjar said he had “just come back from China”, where “To this day, the Chinese people do not use diapers”.
The minister clearly failed to notice the 1.45 million tonnes of nappies China uses every year. But he also failed to explain to parents in Lebanon how exactly they will be able to wash said napkins when there is no electricity and no water, and the price of soap is soaring.
Lebanon’s new government clearly does not signal a break with the political establishment that brought the country to its knees. The government has yet to declare any concrete plan to address the multilayered crisis. But seeing as it represents almost all of the same major parties who have been ruling for decades, it is unlikely that it will enact any real reform or change to the corruption and mismanagement that has been characteristic of the country’s governance.
However, the sheer fact of its formation after more than a year of deadlock indicates some sort of agreement among the…