Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Grand ambition


Electricity, or the lack of it, is something of an ongoing problem for Lebanon. For years the country’s providers have been unable to meet demand. The power stations are either blown up, people are leeching off the grid, or there’s no money to pay for the fuel.

Regardless, there’s never enough juice to go around.

Beirut by night

As a result, the vast majority of Lebanese homes and apartment blocks have generators to make up for the shortfall. Everyone pays a small fortune to some shady guy who hooks you up to the local machine.

It’s been going on for years.

But, after all this time, there’s suddenly a way to fix the problem inside of four years. Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil has rocked up and declared that all is well and that we’ll have 24/7 power inside of four years.

Ahem. Sure. This has been met with outright disbelief from many media sources. The Daily Star, Lebanon’s biggest English-language daily, called him a liar, pure and simple.

You’ll have to excuse the cynicism. Two nights ago I was putting the washing out to dry with the aid of a torch with a windable dynamo. Ah, the 21st Century, don’t you love it?
A Beiruti's best friend