Beirut Blast: Death and Despair, Beyond Repair
The past 15 hours have completely upended life in Lebanon as we know it. I've been struggling to deal with the sheer magnitude of the brutality and the horrible aftermath it leaves in its wake. For those who haven't yet heard, nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut, at the heart of the capital, leveling the city with a radial arm of destruction of 10 km out. There are thousands of human casualties, and the death toll continues to rise as victims are unearthed from beneath the rubble.
If you see footage of the blast, you'd think it were a nuclear bomb. Its effects are nothing short of apocalyptic, taking away innocent lives and rendering immeasurable damage to the denizens and businesses of Beirut. Why such large quantities of ammonium nitrate, typically used as an agricultural fertilizer, were stored at a port warehouse for six years and neglected without adequate safety measures is criminal.
|Port of Beirut rocked by an explosion on August 4, 2020 (photo source: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
But what really makes this debilitating for the Lebanese is that the explosion is the culmination of so many heinous atrocities being suffered day in and day out for the past year (and well before that). Remember what catalyzed the people's revolution last October? Government corruption. Lack of accountability. Raging wildfires that could not be extinguished because of poor maintenance of the state's Sikorsky helicopters. Then banks shuttered for weeks. Depositors assets were frozen and continue to be so. And to boot, hyperinflation, stagnation, rampant poverty, unemployment and an inept government that is still dragging its feet.
The Lebanese have prided themselves for decades on their resilience. But honestly, aren't we tired of having to live up to that meaningless ideology? Of being forced to be heroes? Shouldn't we be entitled to lead normal lives and enjoy basic human rights and be ruled by the people, for the people? Why do we have to be resilient when we can just be? Leave us be.
|We're tired of picking up the pieces, of cleaning up their messes. Leave us be! (photo source: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
The amount of misery and despicable nonsense we have to put up with (e.g., electricity outages, poor air quality, limited water, exorbitantly priced internet consumption and phone usage...in fact, exorbitantly priced everything!) is UNACCEPTABLE by anyone's standards.
We groom some of the finest minds in the world, we reflect some of the kindest hospitality collectively as a people, and we offer one of the richest cultures with a deep-seated history dating back to the start of human civilization. We don't deserve the death and despair being dealt to us. We deserve life, liberty and unencumbered happiness.
I weep and pray for Lebanon, my country of heritage and my elected home for the past decade. Please join me in praying for this little piece of paradise. May it be untethered from the corrupt hands that violate it. May its people be avenged and may they know, in their lifetimes, what safety, security and prosperity taste like.
Lebanon needs us all. If you can find it in your heart to donate any sum, no matter how small, to help with the disaster relief, I invite you to visit this crowdfunding campaign.