BEIRUT—In recent decades Lebanon has been a place of relative calm in a turbulent region. Now it is living through a once-in-a-century economic meltdown.
The collapse, rippling through all levels of society, has been accelerated by the lasting effects of the explosion in the Port of Beirut one year ago today.
Power outages have become so frequent that restaurants time their hours to the schedule of electricity from private generators. Brawls have erupted in supermarkets as shoppers rush to buy bread, sugar, and cooking oil before they run out or hyperinflation topping 400% for food puts the prices out of reach. Medical professionals have fled just as the pandemic hammers the country with a new wave of infections. Thefts are up 62% and murder rates are rising fast.
In May, Gaith Masri, a 24-year-old law student and gas-station attendant from northern Lebanon, was shot dead after a scuffle with a customer when he…