Gebran Bassil will be attending the World Economic Forum as Lebanon’s representative. Last year he confidently declared to CNN, from Davos, that he can teach the United States and the United Kingdom a thing or two about managing a country without a budget while his own country is grappling with its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens are under the poverty line. Many families face a winter without heat while Mr Bassil will fly in a private jet paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the forum in a time where public funds are being stolen and wasted daily.
His political party and his allies have sanctioned brutal attacks against unarmed peaceful demonstrators, where only last night four hundred citizens were injured - some severely, some as they took shelter in houses of worship and first aid tents, some brutally beaten while in police custody (all documented in videos and by eyewitnesses) - in clear violation of international human rights laws.
His Ministry now in caretaker form – lacks legitimacy. As Minister and President of one of the biggest political parties he has shown no substantive willingness to reform, quite the contrary. Just last year his political party represented by the Minister of Economy levied an unjustifiable two percent (2%) tax on EU imports suspending the trade agreement with the European Union. Also for the past twelve years his political party has been in charge of the electricity portfolio - the biggest deficit, 40% of government debt -while services have gradually worsened with a drastic increase of power cuts from last year.
He should not be present at a prestigious international forum such as Davos in our name. He should not be given a legitimate platform to cement his power and to speak on behalf of a nation that has rejected him and accuses him of flagrant corruption.
We the People urge The World Economic Forum to rethink Mr Bassil’s invite and listen to the People of Lebanon, listen to their voice, the voice of truth, the voice of justice.