Adonis Diaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four years in the Syrian civil war: Repercussion on Unemployment in Lebanon

Former minister Charbel Nahas said:

“The Syrian crisis deepened inequalities in Lebanon society”

« La crise des réfugiés a rendu la société libanaise encore plus inégalitaire qu’elle ne l’était. »

Depuis le début du soulèvement en Syrie, l’économie libanaise, affectée par l’instabilité régionale et locale, tourne au ralenti.

Les taux de croissance annuels d’environ 2 % enregistrés ces quatre dernières années (contre 8 % en 2010) masquent une sombre réalité socio-économique dans les régions périphériques, où s’est installée la majorité des réfugiés syriens, en particulier dans le Akkar, Tripoli, la Békaa, et le Liban-Sud.

Car si l’économie a pu s’adapter à la baisse des exportations, du tourisme et des investissements, le marché de l’emploi absorbe très difficilement le choc démographique que représente l’accueil d’environ 1,2 million de refugiés.

Selon la Banque mondiale, la population active a augmenté de 15,4 % au Liban depuis le début de la crise syrienne. Photo Joseph Eid

Quatre ans après le soulèvement en Syrie, la guerre civil en Syrie a eu un impact globalement mitigé sur l’économie libanaise qui continue de résister tant bien que mal.
En revanche, le choc démographique que représente l’afflux des réfugiés syriens a bouleversé le marché de l’emploi.

La population du Liban a ainsi augmenté de près de 30 % en quatre ans.

Cet afflux s’est accompagné d’une aide humanitaire internationale, estimée à 800 millions de dollars par an.  (The minister of finance has no formal reliable data on any kinds of aids)

En soutenant la demande, les aides versées aux refugiés ont permis, à elles seules, de générer 1,3 % de croissance en 2014, souligne l’économiste Kamal Hamdan.
Ces aides sont insuffisantes pour permettre aux réfugiés de vivre décemment, ne serait-ce que pour payer des loyers qui ont flambé sous la pression de la demande.

Une enquête menée par l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT) en 2013 auprès de 2 000 réfugiés avait révélé que près de la moitié d’entre eux travaillent pour compléter leurs revenus.

Plus de main-d’œuvre pour autant d’emplois
La population active, c’est-à-dire l’ensemble des résidents en âge de travailler (employés ou chômeurs), a augmenté de 15,4 % en quatre ans, selon les estimations de la Banque mondiale.

Étant donné le contexte économique morose, il est admis que les créations d’emplois n’ont pas suivi, même si les statistiques manquent cruellement dans ce domaine.

« Le taux de chômage (toutes nationalités comprises), qui était estimé à environ 11 % avant la crise, est passé à 18 voire 20 % », affirme l’économiste Kamal Hamdan.

« Si l’on ne considère que les Libanais, le nombre de sans-emplois a sans doute doublé, avec au moins 150 000 chômeurs de plus en quatre ans. »

En cause : le marasme économique, mais surtout la concurrence de la main-d’œuvre syrienne, prête à accepter des salaires largement inférieurs à ceux des Libanais.
Contrairement aux idées reçues, les qualifications des travailleurs libanais et syriens ne sont pas très éloignées.

« Le chômage au Liban ne touche pas essentiellement les personnes qualifiées comme on le pense, puisque de nombreux jeunes diplômés trouvent du travail à l’étranger et émigrent. Les personnes non qualifiées en revanche n’ont pas d’alternatives. On estime que 48 % de la population active libanaise a un niveau d’études élémentaire », indique l’économiste et ancien ministre du Travail, Charbel Nahas.
Pour ces derniers, la concurrence syrienne n’est pas un phénomène nouveau.

Bien avant 2011, les ouvriers syriens avaient déjà largement remplacé les Libanais dans les emplois non qualifiés du secteur agricole et celui de la construction.

« Les Libanais non qualifiés s’étaient alors tournés vers le secteur des services qui représente 60 % de l’économie. Ils travaillaient essentiellement dans les petits commerces, en tant que vendeurs, serveurs, cuisiniers, coiffeurs, etc. Mais aujourd’hui on observe un effet de substitution aussi dans ce secteur », constate le directeur de l’Institut du Levant pour les affaires stratégiques (LISA), Sami Nader.

Effet de substitution à tous les niveaux
Étant donné l’abondance de l’offre, la concurrence s’étend également aux emplois semi-qualifiés. Selon l’enquête de l’OIT, 45 % des réfugiés occupent un emploi non qualifié (agriculture, construction, concierge, chauffeurs…) et 43 % occupent un emploi semi-qualifié (menuisier, forgeron, industries agroalimentaires..), à des salaires imbattables.

Le revenu mensuel moyen d’un ouvrier syrien était de 418 000 livres par mois en 2013, la moitié de celui d’un Libanais non qualifié.
Cette forte concurrence a tiré le niveau des rémunérations à la baisse.

Toujours selon l’OIT, le salaire moyen d’un travailleur non qualifié a reculé de 30 % à Baalbeck et de 50 % à Wadi Khaled.

Près de 90 % des ouvriers libanais interrogés par l’OIT dans la Békaa ont constaté une baisse de leurs revenus. En moyenne, la Banque mondiale parle d’une baisse de la richesse par habitant au Liban d’environ 11 % depuis le début de la guerre en Syrie. Mais tous les habitants ne sont pas logés à la même enseigne.
En réduisant les coûts de production, la baisse des salaires a bénéficié aux entreprises.

En l’absence d’investissements, « cela s’est traduit par une hausse des profits du capital », souligne Kamal Hamdan.

L’OIT conclut dans son rapport que « les propriétaires de terrains et d’entreprises, et les autres membres de la classe moyenne et aisée profitent de la crise des réfugiés, tandis que les ménages libanais les plus pauvres et les plus vulnérables sont les plus menacés ». Charbel Nahas dresse le même constat : « La crise des réfugiés a rendu la société libanaise encore plus inégalitaire qu’elle ne l’était. »

4 000 nouveaux agents des FSI
Par manque d’opportunités de travail, les Libanais les plus défavorisés se dirigent donc vers le seul secteur qui leur est encore réservé : la fonction publique.

Et le gouvernement n’hésite pas à utiliser ce levier pour absorber le choc. Au début de l’année, les Forces de sécurité intérieure (FSI) ont embauché 4 000 nouveaux éléments et s’apprêtent à en recruter 4 000 autres.

« Par rapport à un million d’actifs libanais ce chiffre est énorme, souligne Charbel Nahas. C’est comme si la France, qui compte 30 millions d’actifs, recrutait 120 000 policiers d’un coup. » Selon lui, 120 000 Libanais travaillent aujourd’hui dans les services de sécurité de l’État (armée, FSI, Sûreté générale).

Proportionnellement, cela représente 7 fois les effectifs actuels de la France.

Pistes de réflexion
Pour le moment, c’est l’une des deux seules solutions qu’a trouvées le gouvernement pour réguler le marché de l’emploi.

La deuxième  solution étant de limiter l’octroi de permis de travail à la main-d’œuvre étrangère.

Le ministre du Travail a fait de la régularisation des travailleurs syriens son cheval de bataille. Mais ses ambitions sont limitées par les moyens dont il dispose, sachant que près de 90 % des refugiés interrogés par le BIT en 2013 travaillaient sans contrat, et que le ministère du Travail compte une dizaine d’inspecteurs sur le terrain.
« Il faut faire pression sur les entreprises, les menacer de sanctions », estime Kamal Hamdan.
Le directeur de LISA, Sami Nader, plaide, lui, pour des « solutions créatives » en considérant qu’il faut canaliser la main-d’œuvre syrienne dans le secteur de la construction et dans l’agriculture. « Pourquoi ne pas employer les réfugiés dans des unités de production offshore financées par des bailleurs internationaux et destinées à l’export vers les pays du Golfe par exemple? »
De son côté, Charbel Nahas propose une politique de relance de l’emploi à l’échelle nationale. « Il faut un sursaut à la hauteur du choc.
Le Liban doit se tourner vers la communauté internationale pour financer un mécanisme de subventions à l’investissement au lieu de se contenter des aides humanitaires. » Mais pour cela, ajoute-t-il, « il faut sortir du déni et reconnaître que le pays est au bord de l’implosion ».

 

 

What Sweden’s foreign minister dared tell?  The truth about Saudi Arabia human rights?

If the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallström affair. It has all the ingredients for a clash-of-civilisations confrontation.

A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia.

As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and

as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men,

Margot  was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech.

These were ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’.

And once again, who can argue with that?

The backlash followed the pattern set by Rushdie, the Danish cartoons and Hebdo.

Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen.

The United Arab Emirates joined it.

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’ — standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Co-operation Council condemned her ‘unaccept-able interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, and I wouldn’t bet against anti-Swedish riots following soon.

Yet there is no ‘Wallström affair’.

Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her.

A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.

It is a sign of how upside-down modern politics has become that one assumes that a politician who defends freedom of speech and women’s rights in the Arab world must be some kind of muscular liberal, or neocon, or perhaps a supporter of one of Scandinavia’s new populist right-wing parties whose commitment to human rights is merely a cover for anti-Muslim hatred.

But Margot Wallström is that modern rarity: a left-wing politician who goes where her principles take her.

She is foreign minister in Sweden’s weak coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, and took office promising a feminist foreign policy.

She recognised Palestine in October last year — and, no, the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and Gulf Co-operation Council did not condemn her ‘unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Israel’.

I confess that her gesture struck me as counterproductive at the time. But after Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a Palestinian state as he used every dirty trick he could think of to secure his re-election, she can claim with justice that history has vindicated her.

She moved on to the Saudi version of sharia law.

Margot criticism was not just rhetorical.

She said that it was unethical for Sweden to continue with its military co-operation agreement with Saudi Arabia. In other words, she threatened Swedish arms companies’ ability to make money.

Saudi Arabia’s denial of business visas to Swedes threatened to hurt other companies’ profits too. You might think of Swedes as upright social democrats, who have never let worries of appearing tedious stand in the way of their righteousness.

But that has never been wholly true, and is certainly not true when there is money at stake.

Sweden is the world’s 12th largest arms exporter — quite an achievement for a country of just nine million people.

Its exports to Saudi Arabia total $1.3 billion. Business leaders and civil servants are also aware that other Muslim-majority countries may follow Saudi Arabia’s lead.

During the ‘cartoon crisis’ — a phrase I still can’t write without snorting with incredulity — Danish companies faced global attacks and the French supermarket chain Carrefour took Danish goods off the shelves to appease Muslim customers.

A co-ordinated campaign by Muslim nations against Sweden is not a fanciful notion. There is talk that Sweden may lose its chance to gain a seat on the UN Security Council in 2017 because of Wallström.

To put it as mildly as I can, the Swedish establishment has gone wild. Thirty chief executives signed a letter saying that breaking the arms trade agreement ‘would jeopardise Sweden’s reputation as a trade and co-operation partner’.

No less a figure than His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf himself hauled Wallström in at the weekend to tell her that he wanted a compromise.

Saudi Arabia has successfully turned criticism of its brutal version of Islam into an attack on all Muslims, regardless of whether they are Wahhabis or not, and Wallström and her colleagues are clearly unnerved by accusations of Islamophobia. The signs are that she will fold under the pressure, particularly when the rest of liberal Europe shows no interest in supporting her.

Sins of omission are as telling as sins of commission.

The Wallström non-affair tells us three things.

1. It is easier to instruct small countries such as Sweden and Israel on what they can and cannot do than America, China or a Saudi Arabia that can call on global Muslim support when criticised.

2.  a Europe that is getting older and poorer is starting to find that moral stands in foreign policy are luxuries it can no longer afford. Saudi Arabia has been confident throughout that Sweden needs its money more than it needs Swedish imports.

3.  most revealingly in my opinion, the non-affair shows us that the rights of women always come last.

To be sure, there are Twitter storms about sexist men and media feeding frenzies whenever a public figure uses ‘inappropriate language’.

But when a politician tries to campaign for the rights of women suffering under a brutally misogynistic clerical culture she isn’t cheered on but met with an embarrassed and hugely revealing silence.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated

If the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallström affair. It has all the ingredients for a……
SPECC.IE

 

42 Reasons The Netherlands Is The Worst Place On Earth

It’s just too flat.

This is maybe the only country where people did better than what nature could to embellish life and nature.

smile emoticon

It’s just too flat.
BUZZFEED.COM

1. The Netherlands? There’s really not much going on there.

The Netherlands? There's really not much going on there.

2. The scenery is pretty average.

The scenery is pretty average.

3. Amsterdam is nothing special.

Amsterdam is nothing special.

4. There is no culture; you’ll be bored out of your mind if you go.

There is no culture; you'll be bored out of your mind if you go.

5. The dunes aren’t pretty at all.

The dunes aren't pretty at all.

6. Summers are just a pain in the ass.

Summers are just a pain in the ass.

7. Even the birds can’t wait to leave.

Even the birds can't wait to leave.

8. Nothing of interest happens on a Dutch beach.

Nothing of interest happens on a Dutch beach.

9. I bet this guy is SUPER bored.

I bet this guy is SUPER bored.

10. You won’t find anything tasty to eat in The Netherlands.

You won't find anything tasty to eat in The Netherlands.

11. Seriously, YUCK.

12. Dutch people do strange things to their fries.

Dutch people do strange things to their fries.

13. And look at this crap they call breakfast.

And look at this crap they call breakfast.

14. You won’t be able to find a decent cup of coffee.

You won't be able to find a decent cup of coffee.

15. And there’s too much cheese everywhere.

And there's too much cheese everywhere.

Get your cheese away from me!

16. You can’t do anything fun in The Netherlands.

You can't do anything fun in The Netherlands.

17. All the cities are SUPER dull.

All the cities are SUPER dull.

18. There’s no sense of national pride.

There's no sense of national pride.

19. People love to just sit on terraces and chat to one another – WHY!?!

People love to just sit on terraces and chat to one another – WHY!?!

20. Cycling everywhere is such a hassle.

Cycling everywhere is such a hassle.

21. Children clearly hate it.

Children clearly hate it.

22. Parents even transport their kids in these weird crates – how cruel!

Parents even transport their kids in these weird crates – how cruel!

23. The way the Dutch like to celebrate is pretty boring.

The way the Dutch like to celebrate is pretty boring.

Their New Year’s Eve fireworks will send you to sleep.

24. And on New Year’s Day they all run into the icy North Sea. Show-offs.

And on New Year's Day they all run into the icy North Sea. Show-offs.

25. Amsterdam Pride? One of the dullest parties out there.

Amsterdam Pride? One of the dullest parties out there.

26. Dutch people don’t give a crap about their footballers.

Dutch people don't give a crap about their footballers.

27. The queen is just such an average woman.

The queen is just such an average woman.

28. And the royals travel around in ugly carriages like this.

And the royals travel around in ugly carriages like this.

29. The entire place is just TOO flat.

The entire place is just TOO flat.

30. And annoyingly colourful.

And annoyingly colourful.

31. You’re not cute, goat. Sorry.

You're not cute, goat. Sorry.

32. Dutch people are SO plain looking.

Dutch people are SO plain looking.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

33. Yawn, go back to Westeros, Michiel Huisman.

Yawn, go back to Westeros, Michiel Huisman.

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

34. And the country is way too small. There’s no room for anyone.

And the country is way too small. There's no room for anyone.

35. Where the hell are you supposed to go and collect your thoughts?

Where the hell are you supposed to go and collect your thoughts?

36. You just feel so claustrophobic everywhere you go.

You just feel so claustrophobic everywhere you go.

37. And it’s such a hideous country at night.

And it's such a hideous country at night.

38. The houses are too cute; it’s irritating.

The houses are too cute; it's irritating.

39. How on earth could you live in one of these?

How on earth could you live in one of these?

40. So don’t ever go to The Netherlands.

So don't ever go to The Netherlands.

41. Don’t even think about it.

Don't even think about it.

42. You’d have to be out of your mind.

You'd have to be out of your mind.

 

Lebanon’s patchwork of personal status laws: Failing the women citizens. Unhappy ever after?

All couples hope their marriages will work out and they will live happily ever after.

The truth is that many relationships end in divorce and Lebanese couples are no exception.

According to a 2012 study by the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics, there were almost 6,000 divorces in 2010. The issue for these couples and for society at large is how to ensure a fair separation that guarantees the rights of each spouse and protects their children.

Nadim Houry , deputy MENA director at Human Rights Watch, posted this March 13, 2015

(Un)happily ever after

Lebanon’s patchwork of personal status laws is failing women

On that front, Lebanon is failing miserably to ensure fair treatment of women.

It is widely known that Lebanon does not have a civil code regulating personal status matters.

Instead, there are 15 separate personal status laws for the different recognized religious communities, which are administered by separate religious courts.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently reviewed 447 legal judgments issued by these religious courts to examine how they handle divorce, child custody and financial issues emanating from separations or divorce.

The cases, dating from 2009–2012, were selected at random.

Lebanon’s religion-based laws discriminate against women across the religious spectrum

The findings were troubling. Lebanon’s religion-based laws discriminate against women across the religious spectrum. Women had lesser rights than men to ask for divorce.

Under Lebanon’s Shia, Sunni and Druze laws, men can demand a divorce at any time — unilaterally, and without cause — while a woman’s ability to access divorce is limited, and often at great cost and after lengthy court proceedings.

In principle, Islamic laws allow women to have an explicit clause inserted into the marriage contract stating that the wife can also have an equal right to unilateral divorce, but this right is rarely exercised due to social customs.

Only 3 of the 150 divorce judgments before Islamic courts that HRW reviewed included such clauses.

While divorce is difficult for both men and women under Christian laws, Christian men find it easier to circumvent these restrictions, including by converting to Islam and remarrying without divorcing.

As a practical matter, many women who spoke to HRW said these restrictions meant that they were forced to stay in abusive marriages — at great risk to themselves and their children, and that in some cases they had to give up their financial or custody rights in exchange for a divorce.

Some women even had to pay their husbands to seek the divorce.

Women also face discrimination in relation to distribution of marital property after a marriage ends.

Lebanese law does not recognize noneconomic contributions to a marriage or the concept of marital property, so after a separation property reverts to the spouse in whose name it is registered — typically the husband — regardless of who has contributed to it or what role a wife may have played in supporting her husband throughout their marriage.

In addition, even though the Druze and Christian confessions require the spouse responsible for the termination of the marriage to compensate the other, in practice these amounts are usually not enough to allow women to support themselves.

In Lebanon’s Islamic courts, after a divorce, a woman is left with only the deferred mahr (dowry) stipulated in the marriage contract, but this is often just a symbolic figure such as one lira or one gold coin.

Discrimination also extends to one of the most difficult aspects of any separation: child custody.

The HRW review of court cases found that in many cases, judges removed children from their mothers, but not their fathers, on grounds of fitness due to ‘questionable’ social behaviors because of the mother’s supposed religious affiliation, or because she remarried instead of making these decisions based on the best interest of the child.

The fear of losing their children was so great that some women HRW interviewed stayed in abusive marriages, gave up their monetary rights, or did not remarry so they could keep custody.

“I forced myself to bear beyond what a human being can take, all the injustices and violence,” said a Maronite woman who endured years of physical abuse but only sought a divorce after her children became adults because she feared losing them.

The current system is not only unfair. It is broken.

Some couples are converting to different confessions to be able to get married while others are converting to get a divorce. And many couples are simply voting with their feet, getting on a plane to get a civil marriage abroad.

Ending a marriage or determining who a child should live with after a divorce are difficult enough decisions. The least Lebanon can do is ensure that the laws are fair.

It is time for the country to adopt an optional civil code that would ensure equal rights for all Lebanese who wish to marry under it. But it is also time to get the Lebanese state to exercise oversight over religious courts. Not all marriages last, but at least we should have laws that help to give them a happy ending.

 

What happened in village of Afouleh (Palestine) in 1920?

The Zionist World Fund purchased 5 villages around Afouleh from the Sursock family living in Beirut (Achrafiyeh).

These Palestinian peasants cultivated the lands and sent the yearly rent to the Sursock family.

Now the Jewish colons wanted to immediately evacuate the Palestinian families who worked the land and lived there for many centuries.

The two parties clashed and a Palestinian was killed. A battle ensued.

The Jews received rescue from Jerusalem strong with British sub-machine guns. A bloodshed was averted.

The Palestinians were allowed to remain in the land as salaried peasants.

The Jewish colony in Afouleh occupied the plain of Esdrelon, stretching from Mount Tabor to the Carmel.

They had new European tools and new ploughing machinery and lived in houses that were easily dismantled.

Note: Most of the land purchased by the Zionist Fund in Palestine, particularly in Galilee, were owned by rich and feudal Lebanese families from all religious sects.

The Palestinians barely sold their lands and were evacuated from their villages and towns by brute force and frequent genocide in 1948 and a few years after the recognition of Israel as a State.

I am asking all the French educated Jews…

Why a nationalist in France is considered by the French Jews as a criminal, while a nationalist Jews of the worst kind in Israel merit all the respect?

Why a French patriot is considered an ugly fascist by the French Jews, but a respectable Zionist in Israel?

Why the most secular educated jews in Europe are transformed fanatic mystics when they step in Israel?

In what way the Wall of Lamentation in Jerusalem denotes a race freed from the yoke of superstitions?

All these spectacles reminiscent of the Middle Age.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2015
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