March 21, 2023

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One year after the Beirut port explosion, Lebanon is trying to recover. The world

This Wednesday, August 4, marks one year Beirut port explosion. The disaster has claimed the lives of more than 200 people and injured more than 6,000, and people are still shocked by a tragedy that adds to the pre-existing political and economic crisis. The international community is trying to help the Lebanese people.

“When I went to the hospital’s emergency department, there were injuries everywhere, doctors everywhere, blood everywhere. Glass pieces everywhere, because the hospital was hit,” says Dr. Naji Hayek, who recalls August 4, 2020 as it is today. “I was like a war doctor, on the way to the hospital, examining people on the street. It was scary, it was scary, ”he leaves.

Like him, a good portion of the Lebanese people remember the moment of the explosion, but also the relatives and friends who were killed in the tragedy. “Everyone lost one. We lost everything that day,” said militant Marum Karam.

Sadly, residents also have a sense of injustice. The largest explosion was caused by a fire at a warehouse that stored hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, mainly since 2014, but so far no one has been prosecuted.

In art, look before and after the eruption at the waterfront of Beirut

NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses Lebanese authorities of criminal negligence. In a 126-page report released this week, the organization documented numerous violations by politicians and the country’s security authorities in managing this dangerous material deposit.

“Under international law, this is a violation of the right to life. Also, under Lebanese law, this attitude can be considered a murder, which can be viewed as voluntary,” he insists.

Watch the explosion in the Beirut port of Lebanon in slow motion

Slowly watch the explosion in the Lebanese port of Beirut

According to her, the recession in the trial is “due to the fact that the Lebanese political class is not used to being held accountable” and that the country is ruled by a culture of impunity. Politicians will not be persecuted by justice as long as the appointment of judges is in politics. The state has more weight in selecting judges, ”he explains.

In the past, we have detected many cases of political interference, which high officials have tried to prevent from being brought to justice. We are now seeing the same incident in the investigation into the explosion at the port, ”he analyzes.

Map identifies the port area of ​​Beirut, a large eruption occurred this Tuesday (4) – Photo: G1

On the people side, irritability increases. “We want justice,” Marum Karam begins, taking part in a demonstration scheduled for this Wednesday. “We are going to a peaceful demonstration. It will leave three places and arrive at the port at 18:00. Then we will go to the parliament. I do not know what will happen when we get there,” he warns.

Authorities fear the mobilization could end in violence.

The bride was doing a photo shoot at the time of the explosion in Beirut

The bride was doing a photo shoot at the time of the explosion in Beirut

Reconstruction of the affected areas is progressing slowly, mainly organized with the help of associations and diaspora people. Two days after the explosion, French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Beirut, after meeting with local politicians to try to pressure leaders to expedite work and investigations.

However, domestic disputes prevented any intervention because the international community called for a change in political stability in exchange for possible assistance.

Oh Lebanon It has been without government since Hassan Diab and his group resigned on August 10, 2020. President Michael Aun has appointed billionaire Najib Mikadi as prime minister. But the third candidate, whom he had already tried to form the government, failed.

International mobilization

France is hosting a new international conference in support of Lebanon this Wednesday. The event, mediated by Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, will bring together representatives from about 40 states and international organizations via video conferencing.

They include President of the United States Joe Biden, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, King of Jordan, Abdullah II and President of Lebanon Michael Aun.

Organizers plan to raise at least $ 350 million in emergency aid. “The goal is to help the Lebanese people again,” the Elysee Palace, the seat of the French president, was announced on Monday (2) after the first conference, which raised 28 280 million in August 2020.

After the August 9, 2020 and December 2, 2020 meetings, this third international conference will deal only with emergency assistance, not the structural assistance the country needs. The latter is conditional on the formation of a government that can make fundamental reforms.

The French president stressed that participants in the conference would “reaffirm the need to quickly form a government that can implement the structural reforms that Lebanon expects.” “We will continue to increase pressure, along with our European partners, and if the political siege continues, we will take the most important steps,” Ellis assured the palace.