Families sell food and drinks to Lebanese Protesters to make minimum living
And they have bizarre things to say about the men in power.
These people have seen the revolution from day one, and they long-awaited hope for change.
Lebanese protests are mainly held in Martyr’s square in Beirut, its vast spaces helped emerge volunteer techno DJs and martyr square became a hub with different stages and open mics. They voice opinions of the oppressed or sing revolutionary chants. The festival-like nature of the protests did not stop there, a couple of stands emerged in the area to sell food and drinks to protesters. Most of these stands are held by families who work together, trying to sustain themselves. These sellers wanted to talk about the financial endure they go through, and their sometimes bizarre views on the men in power.
Mohammad owns a shop that doesn’t make much revenue. As a kid, he went to school until he dropped out at grade 4 because his parents couldn’t afford it anymore.
Mohammad tried to flee the country because of his inability to sustain his family. He has a wife, 2 boys, and one daughter.
“I have a young daughter, I made her stop going to school at grade 7 because I couldn’t afford it anymore.” — Mohammad.
Mohammad works with his wife, he sells the sandwiches while she sells water, one thousand Lira a bottle. Every day at around 5 p.m, Mohammad sets up his table, and his wife keeps ice around the water bottles, then they wait for crowds to build up.
“I don’t need to sell drinks, water, or sandwiches, you know? I'm supposed to have a project, an investment, or something.
The least of things to have is a place to stay, you have things to eat, to drink. you’d live the best of lives. Your family is safe, your children are in school.”
Next to Mohammad is also a family of 4, whose dad, Sami Fawze, also prepares and sells sandwiches to passers-by.
“Just like we open; we close. No revenue. Did [the government] leave us anything?” — Sami Fawze
Sami claims that Gebran Bassil, the current minister of foreign affairs and emigrants, was working on a stand making juices and selling them in 1948, “before the armenians came in.” He says he was selling one cup of juice for 10 sharks, “back when the shark was the currency. He was nothing. His dad was a taxi driver.” He says.
Sami also questioned his corruption rates: “He didn’t pay his taxes, he has millions of dollars worth of theft.”
Lebanon’s corruption index is 138, the same index as Mexico and Iran, while Ghana’s corruption index is 78. But Sami’s claims are not proven.
Just like Mohammad, Sami believes the $400 minimum wage is like “change”, they “barely get you a place to stay, food, or drinks.”
Although Lebanon is amongst the top 17% of countries when it comes to annual minimum wage, the local currency slipped against the dollar and the central bank reserves were plunging 30% this past year.
Another man, one that works with his sons selling sodas and water bottles, did not wish to be identified:
“I don’t want my name out there, I don’t associate with any religious party, so they might come and say something to me,”
But, he says: “I support the revolution, I don’t want religious parties anymore.”