World 'I want to study': Lebanon crisis cancels school for many
As poverty bites, Lebanese give up their pets
Ibrahim al-Dika had raised his Belgian shepherd Lexi since she was a tiny pup, but then Lebanon's economic crisis made him jobless and he had to sell her to repay a bank loan. "It got to the point where I was no longer able to feed her, the bank was pressuring me, and I hit a wall," said the 26-year-old, devastated beside her empty kennel outside his Beirut home. "I didn't sell a car or a telephone. I sold a soul. I sold a part of me." Can you"It got to the point where I was no longer able to feed her, the bank was pressuring me, and I hit a wall," said the 26-year-old, devastated beside her empty kennel outside his Beirut home.
In a camp for Syrian refugees in east Lebanon, Mohammad and his three sisters fear they will be out of school for a third consecutive year because remote learning is out of reach.
"Look at my phone. How do you expect my son to study on it?" asked his father Abdel Nasser, sitting cross-legged inside the family's tent in the Bekaa Valley.
"The screen is cracked... and I have no internet."
Eleven-year-old Mohammad and his siblings are among tens of thousands of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian children who have been left for months without schooling due to coronavirus restrictions.
Turkey’s Karpowership shuts down power to Lebanon
Shutdown threatens longer daily power cuts across the heavily indebted nation.The company, which supplies 370 megawatts (MW), or about one-quarter of Lebanon’s supply, told the government this week it would have to shut down in the absence of moves towards a settlement.
An accelerating economic crisis means they may never return to school in what rights groups are calling an "education catastrophe", especially affecting refugees who already struggled to access learning before the pandemic.
"We can't afford to buy a cellphone for everyone. We must first be able to feed our children," said their mother Shamaa.
Mohammad arrived in Lebanon from Syria in 2012 -- a year into an ongoing conflict that has killed 388,000 people and displaced millions.
But he wasn't enrolled in school until 2019 because Lebanon's public school system didn't open its doors to Syrian refugees until 2013, and even then only to a limited number.
Mohammad's first school year coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought all classes to a halt by the second term.
Lebanon mourns Hezbollah protester killed by Israeli fire
Hundreds of people brandishing Palestinian flags and the yellow colours of Hezbollah gathered in south Lebanon on Saturday for the funeral of a Lebanese protester killed by Israeli fire a day earlier. Mohamad Kassem Tahan, a member of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, had been protesting at the Lebanese border against the Jewish state's latest assault on the Gaza Strip when he was hit by Israeli shellfire. That came after a number of young demonstrators had tried to cross into the northern Israeli border town of Metulla, according to Lebanese state media.
"He doesn't even know how to multiply one by one," his father said.
- 'Hanging by a thread' -
Mohammad's older sisters Hind, Sarah and Amal -- aged 12 to 14 -- had already been in school for four years when the education ministry in March 2020 said it was shifting to online learning.
"I was happy before," 14-year-old Amal said, sobbing. "I was studying Arabic, English, science and geography.
"But now my parents can't afford to give me an online education."
More than 1.2 million children in Lebanon have been out of school since the country's coronavirus outbreak began last year, the UK-based charity Save the Children says.
It warned last month that a large number of children may never get back into a classroom, either because they have already missed so much school or because their families can't afford to enrol them.
Lead 1-Lebanon-Resignation of the Chief of Diplomacy after his remarks on the Gulf
Lebanon-crisis / Gulf (Lead 1, Photo): Lead 1-Lebanon-Resignation of the Chief of Diplomacy after his remarks on the Country of the Gulf (updated with the response of the Minister of Foreign Affairs) Beirut, May 18 (Reuters) - The Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs asked Wednesday to be noted of his duties, said the presidency of Lebanon, after his comments found to be problematic on allied gulf countries.
"Education for thousands of children in Lebanon is hanging by a thread," it said.
Lebanon's economic crisis is at its worst since the 1975-1990 civil war, with more than half the local population now living in poverty.
Poverty rates are even higher among Syrians, with 90 percent of families barely able to survive.
Lisa Abou Khaled of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says this is impacting education.
"Some Syrian children have had to give up their studies to work and help their families," she told AFP.
Citing data from Lebanon's education ministry, she said 25,000 Syrian students should have re-enrolled or entered grade one in 2020-2021 but did not.
"We think the real number is higher than that," she added, estimating that more than half of Syrian school-aged children were currently out of the classroom.
- 'Disgusted' -
The education catastrophe is also real for the tens of thousands of Lebanese who have lost jobs or seen their income slashed since the economic crisis accelerated in 2019.
Israel Strikes 'Number of Targets' in Lebanon Shortly After Biden Sets De-Escalation Expectation
The strike came after four rockets were launched into Israel from Lebanon.On Wednesday, Biden told Netanyahu that he expected Israel to engage in "significant de-escalation" that day in an effort to move toward a cease-fire. About 10 minutes after the White House announced the contents of the call, Israel conducted strikes on a "number of targets" in Lebanon.
Inside a cramped apartment in the eastern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, 11-year-old Pamela points to a keyboard -- the only thing that remains from a desktop computer destroyed during last summer's huge Beirut port explosion.
The August 4 blast, which killed more than 200 people and destroyed swaths of the capital, hit Pamela's home and piled new misery on a family already brought to its knees by the financial downturn.
The family couldn't afford to buy a replacement as it had become far too expensive due to the rapid devaluation of the Lebanese pound.
"So I started to follow lessons on my cellphone," Pamela said.
As she has impaired vision, a small screen was already a nuisance.
But then power outages lasting up to 18 hours a day also left her struggling to keep her phone alive and connected to the internet.
She decided to drop out.
"I was disgusted with online education, I couldn't take it anymore," she said.
Her father, an out-of-work taxi driver, said he had wanted Pamela to drop out months ago.
"I don't give a damn about education or this country," he said.
But Pamela hasn't entirely abandoned hopes of returning to school.
"I want to study so that I can get a decent job later and be able to help my parents."
Syrians abroad vote for their presidential election, incidents in Lebanon .
© supplied by the point d st thousands of Syrians hurryed Thursday in front of their embassy at the Lebanon to elect their president, a day of voting for Nationals living abroad enamelled of incidents, before the vote in Syria which should offer a fourth mandate to Bashar Al-Assad .