Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai accused on Sunday officials of obstructing solutions to the country’s deteriorating social and political crises and hindering the formation of a new government.
“We have heard of the scorched earth policy, but we have never heard of the scorched people policy,” he said during Sunday Mass service at Bkirki.
Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun have been at loggerheads over cabinet positions since October, preventing the formation of a government that is much needed to enact reforms and unlock foreign aid.
“The country is not a private property that you can bankrupt and destroy,” the patriarch said, accusing the politicians are practicing “infernal politics” with miscalculations and misjudgment.
Rai also called on the state to turn towards brotherly and friendly countries and negotiate with them to urgently help Lebanon, saying that the people cannot tolerate more injustice and humiliation.
“The time has come for the state to quit the game of regional axes and reconsider its choices, which have proven harmful to the country’s interest, independence, stability, unity and prosperity and Arab and international relations,” he stressed.
Rai added this political class has ruined Lebanon's international reputation, when the country was synonymous with innovation, renaissance and prosperity.
Furthermore, he called on the caretaker government to carry out its duties in line with the constitution, law and its conscience and to provide food, medicine and fuel to the people.
Lebanon has been without a government since Hassan Diab's cabinet resigned in the aftermath of the Beirut port blast last August. Diab's government has carried on in a caretaker capacity.
Also on Sunday, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audeh lambasted the political elite, calling on them to head to the streets of the capital, Beirut, to witness firsthand the suffering and misery of the Lebanese people.
Addressing President Michel Aoun, Audeh said: “I adjure you by your grandchildren, to go down to the streets, listen to your people and observe the humiliation that they are living.”
He also asked the president: “Do you accept the death of a human from hunger or sickness during your tenure? Do you accept the suffering of a child during your tenure? Do you accept insults against citizens during your tenure? Do you accept the diminishing of Lebanon during your tenure?”
Addressing Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, without naming him, he said: “Where is the state regarding the unilateral decision of a party leader that implicated the entire state? What will the state do should every party leader decide to take unilateral decisions and insult the state’s dignity?”
“Isn’t it time for the state to reclaim its voice and impose its authority over everyone?” he asked.
Last week, Nasrallah suggested importing fuel from Iran, in defiance of the state and drawing widespread criticism in Lebanon.