This is not an oriental version of it Stockholm syndrome. It is not the hostages who support (and sometimes fall in love with) their captor. It’s the ordinary citizens protesting outside bank to support the armed “robber” who is holding store staff and customers hostage!
The incident is not unprecedented for him Lebanonwhich was once the richest and most liberal country in the Middle East and Beirut was nicknamed the “Paris of the Middle East”.
Something similar had happened last January. And then the armed bank robber was vindicated. And last Thursday, Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein was vindicated, who stormed a Federal Bank store in the Hamra suburb of Beirut, holding hostage those who were there at the time with the request to be allowed to… withdraw from his account.
The armed depositor had about $210,000 in the bank. He had repeatedly asked to raise about $10,000 to pay for his ailing father’s hospitalization. The bank refused because for two years there has been a withdrawal limit of 70 dollars per month, in order to protect the banking sector and by extension the Lebanese economy from a collective capital flight.
This is of course a ruined economy and a ruined society as well, since 80% of the people live below the poverty line. It is enough to consider that since October 2019 the national currency of Lebanon has lost 90% of its value against the dollar and therefore many transactions are done in foreign exchange, mainly in dollars.
At any rate, as soon as it became known that someone had trespassed on the Federal Bank to withdraw not from foreign accounts but from his own, crowds of people gathered and shouted for the gunman’s vindication.
Citizens were reminding the police and soldiers clamoring to intervene that their salaries (and those of all civil servants) had been reduced to… one twentieth of what they were in 2020.
“Man is not a robber. He demands what belongs to him. Our beloved leaders have sent their billions to Swiss banks with the help of the Central Bank and they have left us to suffer. Everyone in Lebanon wants to do what this desperate man is doing now,” said Hassan Mullah, a fellow citizen of the “bandit”, who rushed to support him, to the British “Guardian” reporter.
Late in the afternoon and under the pressure of public outrage the bank agreed to give Hussein $30,000, after he had played his game very well and refused a bank “offer” of $10,000. It was of course a political decision and not of the Federal Bank…
Print version “TA NEA”