Three days after the apocalyptic explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital, Ali Hammud gazed at the debris from the window of the plane that was taking him to Dubai, his « new Beirut », leaving behind his family and a life marked by disappointment.

Hammud, a 30-year-old computer engineer, resigned himself to moving to the Gulf emirate, which attracts thousands of young graduates from the Middle East and other parts of the world. The August 4 catastrophe killed more than 170 people and destroyed their last hopes of living in peace in their hometown.

« This is not easy at all. I have the impression of having betrayed the city that I love to die, but there is nothing for me there, except depression, » explains Ali Hammud to ., after his arrival in Dubai, a city ​​known for its skyscrapers, luxurious restaurants, and cultural ambitions.

An air of the Beirut of yesteryear, according to Ali Hammud. « Dubai will be my new Beirut. »

« Now I can start a professional career, live in peace and send money to my family, » says the young man, who spent a year trying to find work in Lebanon, a country hit by the worst economic crisis in its history.

Young Lebanese emigrants are part of the Dubai landscape and occupy positions in communication, finance and culture sectors, like other Middle Eastern graduates.

– « Frustrated » –

Galloping inflation, shortage of foreign exchange and rapid depreciation of the currency, increasing poverty, cuts in basic services such as water or electricity, anti-government demonstrations … Ali Hammud has left a Lebanon that is in tatters.

The street accuses the political class, made up of former war chiefs who represent the different confessional communities, of patronage, corruption and negligence. A set of factors that would be at the origin of the explosion but, also, of the current economic crisis, according to the protesters.

« I cannot explain how frustrated I am. I had to leave my country years ago because of the warlords, » Firas Rachid, head contamble at a large distribution company, told ..

« They robbed us, and now they kill us? » Criticizes this 31-year-old from Beirut, who has lived in Dubai since 2016.

The Lebanese capital once held a special position in the Middle East, with its prestigious universities, renowned doctors, a lively nightlife and a sparkling cultural and intellectual scene, in a region notoriously hostile to free speech.

Millions of Lebanese – doctors, engineers, teachers and others – have left the country over the years, seeking a better life in Europe, the United States and, now increasingly, in the wealthy Gulf countries. in oil but poor in human resources.

According to official Lebanese figures, some 350,000 nationals live in the six Gulf countries, about a third of which in the United Arab Emirates, mainly in Dubai.

– « Regional center » –

« Why Dubai? Here, we drive on highways, we are not afraid of armed militias, we have basic services and we are well paid, » Firas Rachid lists.

« My parents have always described Beirut as a regional hub in the 1960-1970s. That is exactly what Dubai is like today, » he says.

The leader of Dubai, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, recounts in his memoirs his first visit to Beirut, before the civil war tore apart the Lebanese capital.

« In the early 1960s, its streets were clean, its neighborhoods beautiful, its markets modern. It was a source of inspiration for me. I dreamed that Dubai would one day become like Beirut, » he wrote.

Decades later, Dubai has become a world center for finance, entertainment, air travel and tourism. A brilliant rise favored by the workforce coming from Asia but also by young Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian or Moroccan graduates.

Ali Hammud remembers a basketball game organized in Dubai last year between two Lebanese teams affiliated with different communities.

The confessional divisions encouraged by the country’s political system were replaced by a single slogan, he explains: « We all make one. » A cry that today is taken up by both the diaspora and the protesters in Beirut.

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The permit is for nationals of 36 countries who have a valid residence permit in the Asian country. The list includes the 27 member states of the European Union, as well as Albania, North Macedonia, Iceland, Bosnia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

The permit is for nationals of 36 countries who have a valid residence permit in the Asian country. The list includes the 27 member states of the European Union, as well as Albania, North Macedonia, Iceland, Bosnia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

The permit is for nationals of 36 countries who have a valid residence permit in the Asian country. The list includes the 27 member states of the European Union, as well as Albania, North Macedonia, Iceland, Bosnia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

The permit is for nationals of 36 countries who have a valid residence permit in the Asian country. The list includes the 27 member states of the European Union, as well as Albania, North Macedonia, Iceland, Bosnia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

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