Lebanon the ‘angriest’ nation on Earth, Afghanistan the ‘saddest’

12 August 2022 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read
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In the wake of a decade-long war, and the return of Taliban rule, polling has discovered that Afghanistan is the ‘saddest’ and ‘most stressful’ country in the world. Almost as obviously, following a historic economic collapse, systemic government corruption, and a devastating explosion in its capital, Lebanon’s people are the ‘angriest’ of all.

A new survey from US research and consulting firm Gallup has assessed the emotional state of people in more than 100 countries, finding that Afghanis are quantifiably the ‘saddest’ and ‘most stressed’ people in the world, while the Lebanese are the ‘angriest’ of any nation on the planet.

In Afghanistan’s case, a decade-long war that left every aspect of the country’s economy except its poppy-farming sector in ruins failed to yield any long-term social or political stability.

Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day Yesterday? How about sadness?

As US troops exited their extended occupation of the country, the infrastructure they had installed was instantly seized by the Taliban.

In the year since, the group’s resumption of power in Afghanistan has seen the reintroduction of extreme conservative diktats, including the suspension of secondary education for most teenage girls, and restricting the free movement of women unaccompanied by a man.

With flogging, amputation and executions returning as mechanisms to re-enforce such policies, it is little wonder that 61% of Afghans told Gallup they experienced sadness the day before, or that 74% felt stressed.

Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day Yesterday? How about anger?

In both cases, the second country on Gallup’s ranking was Lebanon. Respondents from the country have endured historic hardship in recent years. Once known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, the country has been closely allied to France and the United States, with a US military intervention even helping President Camille Chamoun suppress a communist uprising in 1958.

In recent years, the alliance became an economic one – with the Middle Eastern country pegging its lira to the dollar. But on the back of what the World Bank recently described as the ‘world’s largest ponzi scheme’ and a ‘deliberate state bankruptcy to enrich the establishment’, the Lebanese has over the past years crumbled.

With the deepest financial crisis in the country’s history already triggered, the crisis deepened with the onset of Covid-19 and the Port of Beirut explosion in 2020. Meanwhile, political deadlock and corruption allegations at every level of institutional life have led to almost total inaction from the state to alleviate people’s suffering.

How about stress

As a result, the same number of Lebanese respondents – 74% – felt sadness the day before they spoke to Gallup (and fewer said they did not – begging the question why the country did not top the ranking), while 56% said they had been stressed. What differed with Lebanon, however, is that without the organised threats of violence that Afghan respondents face, and having experienced a degree of perceived optimism in the years before, many more feel empowered to show anger at the scenario.

Gallup found that 49% of Lebanon’s public are angry, making the country the world’s ‘angriest’.

Close behind in terms of anger was Turkey, at 48% of respondents feeling feelings associated with the emotions the day before polling. The AKP-led government limits freedom of expression and has been regularly criticised for undermining Turkey's secular tradition, exacerbating social divisions. Meanwhile, it has also been facing mounting pressure better respond to wild fires across the country, as well as a flagging economy, and rising unemployment.