World·Nothing is Foreign

She held up a Lebanese bank for her own money. Now, she's in hiding

Some people in Lebanon are resorting to holding bank heists to get their own money out of their accounts. Nothing is Foreign speaks to a woman who did just that, and explores how the ongoing economic crisis has forced some into dire situations with few options.

There have been limits on cash withdrawals in Lebanon since 2019

Sally Hafez, depositor and subject of the viral bank heist video in Lebanon, holds hands with Ibrahim Abdallah, a member of the Depositors Outcry Association, at a protest. (Ibrahim Abdallah)

A recent string of bank hold-ups in Lebanon have gone viral on social media. Desperate depositors storm into banks, sometimes with guns, and demand tellers hand over their own money. There have been limits on withdrawals since 2019 and frustration is mounting as the economic crisis there deepens. 

Sally Hafez, a woman who held up a bank with a toy gun in order to withdraw money for her sister's cancer treatment, has been in hiding since videos of her heist quickly spread last week. 

She tells us how she pulled it off — and then we speak with a member of the Depositors Outcry Association, a group that supports her and others like her, about how the financial meltdown is leaving people in dire situations with few options.

Featuring:

  • Sally Hafez, depositor and subject of the viral video.

  • Ibrahim Abdallah, member of the Depositors Outcry Association.

Nothing is Foreign is a podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts. A weekly trip to where the story is unfolding. Hosted by Tamara Khandaker.

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