| 26 October 2021, Tuesday |

The dollar, from Omar Karami to Najib Mikati

At the beginning of May 1992, when the monetary situation in Lebanon was deteriorating terribly, a meeting was held between President Elias Hrawi and Prime Minister Omar Karami at the temporary presidential headquarters in Ramlet al-Baida, that is, in the building presented by Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri to be used by the Presidency of the Republic as its headquarters to when the completion of the restoration of the Republican Palace in Baabda.

When President Karami left, a journalist asked him: “Mr. President, what do you think of the price of the dollar? Will it go down?”

President Karami replied, angrily: “Forget about the dollar!” and continued on his way.

This passive statement was enough to ignite the price of the dollar reaching three thousand pounds, which led to popular protests with burning tires in various Lebanese regions, which was called the “wheels revolution.” Days after this revolution, President Karami resigned.

Can we say: Today is so like yesterday?

Nearly thirty years after this incident, President Najib Mikati appears from Bkerke to say: “We are striving. We want to do a lot but can’t affirm things will be done”.

One of the repercussions of this statement was that the dollar exploded again and exceeded the 19 Lebanese thousand pounds, which is the number that the dollar was on when President Mikati formed his government, and dropped later to 13 thousand pounds.

The government of President Omar Karami was toppled by the dollar reaching three thousand pounds. What about the government of Prime Minister Mikati, after the dollar reached twenty thousand pounds?

It is said that President Mikati is different from President Karami, and that the circumstances of 1992 changed the circumstances of 2021, but the reality is that today is far worse than it was in 1992. At the time, people revolted against a dollar of three thousand pounds, today what can they do on a dollar that is nearly twenty thousand pounds?

The drop in the dollar to 13,000 pounds did not come out of nowhere, nor did it return to 19,000 pounds out of nowhere.

It decreased to 13,000 liras because the citizen saw good in the prime minister and members of his government. The citizen hoped for good in Prime Minister Mikati more than he had hoped for in President Hassan Diab, and even in Prime Minister Saad Hariri, especially as he set a record in the short period of forming his government and for the completion of the statement. Ministerial, but then nothing. The citizen could not give a grace period more than what he gave, and his impression was correct. He discovered that President Mikati is a revised version of those who preceded him: In his first statement, he was quick to say: We do not have a magic wand. Today he says: We want to do a lot but can’t affirm things will be done.