(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

The economic situation in Lebanon is in crisis with massive demonstrations, demands for the government to step down and demands for economic reform. CNEWA does not involve itself in the internal politics of the countries where we work. Nevertheless, the stability of Lebanon — especially its financial stability — is critical to our work. If Lebanon is not stable, the situation of Christians in the Middle East will become even worse and perhaps unsustainable. CNEWA is helping refugees prepare ultimately to return home and helping the people of Lebanon to maintain the health, educational and spiritual infrastructures so necessary to a healthy society. CNEWA needs your help in trying to address the new challenges facing Christians and others in Lebanon. We need your help to maintain and strengthen Lebanon so that it can remain a beacon of stability and religious tolerance in the Middle East.

The so-called Arab Spring unleashed chaos in the Middle East. Governments were overthrown; there were revolutions, counter-revolutions, military coups, civil wars and, not least of all, the rise of ISIS. In the entire Middle East, the only Arab countries that remained relatively untouched by the chaos were Lebanon and Jordan. Both countries are surprisingly small. Lebanon is less than half the size of New Jersey and, as of 2018, had 6.1 million people, considerably fewer than New York City.

Because it was a place of relative security in the midst of chaos and because it is a place where Christians, Muslims and others have lived in harmony, Lebanon has become what is called a target country for refugees. For decades Palestinians sought refuge in Lebanon and in recent years refugees from the wars in Iraq and the civil war in neighboring Syria have flowed into Lebanon.

At one point it was estimated that almost a quarter of the people living in Lebanon were refugees. As a comparison, 25 percent of the US population would be 82.5 million people. Lebanon has no oil and its resources are extremely limited. No country can sustain an influx of 25 percent to its population and Lebanon is no exception.

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