A year ago, we woke up to confusion. A giant blast in the heart of Beirut was heard all the way in Cyprus. It was the Beirut Port Explosion. Was Beirut attacked? Everyone thought in horror as the explosion’s mushroom cloud rose high over the rubble, the sirens, and the screams.
Reality was worse than what any could have imagined. Those who lost their lives and those who were injured were the victims of their own government’s corruption and negligence. A catastrophe on all fronts at an already devastating time for Lebanon, and the culprits whose carelessness resulted in the explosion of a stockpile of ammonium nitrate are still running free with no consequences.
So that we don’t forget Lebanon, so that we allow the horror to sink in, so that we hold those in charge accountable, and so that we heal, here is what Beirut Looked like on that gruesome day.
Who was held accountable?
The Beirut Port explosion killed over 200 people, left thousands injured, with many losing their jobs, businesses, or loved ones.
Some warehouse officials were placed on house arrest, after it was exposed that the warehouse which caused the explosion was holding ammonium nitrate for six years under precarious conditions.
As many as 300,000 people were left homeless.
Hospitals were already overwhelmed due to the pandemic and were pushed to the brim, and medical staff were brought to their knees.
Lebanese president Michel Aoun said the negligence was “unacceptable,” a weak statement from one of the biggest political heads in Lebanon. The government resigned, people protested and were suppressed, but nothing changed. Till this day, no solid legal ramification was taken against this criminal negligence, but community efforts are shaping up to appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Families of the victims, alongside with multiple NGOs, issued a letter demanding an independent and unbiased investigation under international jurisdiction as government investigations are lagging behind..
“Today hurts,” wrote Instagram user OhMyHappiness, one year after the blast. He continued, “Today hurts. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to stay in bed. I want to burn down parliament. I want to pretend it didn’t happen. I want to hug everyone, comfort everyone, cry with everyone. I want to believe that there’s hope, that things will get better, that justice will be served. That justice will come and set things right. I want to believe that. I want to believe I can believe that. I want to close my eyes and imagine that none of this happened: that the port didn’t blow up, that homes didn’t blow up, that people didn’t blow up. Today sucks.”
Let’s not forget Lebanon. Let’s hope they find their way out of calamity stronger than ever. Remember the destruction and know their pain, our pain. Pray for Lebanon.