Beirut: A heavily indebted Lebanese villager committed suicide, distraught over his failure to give his daughter 1,000 Lebanese pounds (Dh2.50) to buy breakfast.
On Sunday, the debt-ridden father, Naji Al Fulaiti, who was in his 40s, hanged himself from the top of his house in the village of Arsal, near the Syrian border. Ali Al Fulaiti, a cousin of the victim, told Gulf News: “Raneen, his 6-year-old daughter asked him in the morning for 1,000 Lebanese pounds to buy a manqoushe [a traditional flatbread] for breakfast. Abu Mohammad [Al Fulaiti] didn’t have money in his wallet to give her. She was sad, and walked away. Immediately, he is believed to have hanged himself in his house, which faces mine.”
Until three months ago, Al Fulaiti had been working as a construction worker in Arsal, which lies 124km outside Beirut in Bekaa Valley.
Ali was drinking coffee with his wife at 6am when he heard a loud noise coming from his cousin’s house.
“I rushed out and saw Naji’s father shouting. He had tangled the rope to the roof, tied it to his neck and jumped to his death. We untied him immediately, put him in my car and rushed him to Al Rahma Hospital. He was already dead,” said the cousin.
Since October 17, Lebanese citizens have taken to the streets in nationwide protests against widespread political corruption and mismanagement that has been worsening the country’s economic and financial crises.
Gulf News has learned that Al Fulaiti’s debt mounted up to LBP700,000.
A father of two children, Al Fulaiti was buried at 3pm on Sunday.
“He has been jobless for 3 months. A dignified person, Naji, never asked anyone for money. Like most Lebanese, the unmerciful economic woes forced him to borrow from neighbourhood vendors and grocers to feed his family. Most of his money was spent on his second wife’s battle with cancer,” said the cousin.
“I saw him Saturday. We discussed the economic situation … he was normal and didn’t sound suicidal. I guess he couldn’t stand the sad look on his daughter’s face when she asked him for money,” concluded Ali.