A Lebanese man known only as “Bassam” was praised as a hero after taking a local bank hostage. Onlookers cheered and applauded Bassam for what they thought was a righteous act. The reason for this is quite simple but also a little complicated. Bassam attempted to withdraw $210,000 of his own money but was denied.
Lebanon currently has restrictions on the amount of foreign currency and also Lebanese currency that can be withdrawn from accounts at once. These restrictions are so severe that it has left many countrymen in dire straits, unable to take care of basic things like food and shelter. What makes this more perplexing is that the restrictions are in place due to an economic downturn in Lebanon that began back in 2019.
There are supposed to be exceptions for humanitarian purposes for things such as medical procedures. The problem is that Bassam needed the money, in part, for his father’s surgery and he was denied. Failed promises and unfair restrictions from the Government in Lebanon caused Bassam to take the bank hostage in order to get access to his own money in his account. The hostage situation turned into an hours-long standoff.
The standoff did end peacefully. And although Bassam did go to jail, the bank ultimately gave him $30,000 of the $210,000 that he was trying to withdraw from his own account.
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