This is the story of how a city is piecing itself back together after the explosion that struck Beirut on August 4. Everyone was affected by the blast, both Christian, Muslim, and other religious neighborhoods. The sectarian divisions are never far from the surface in Lebanon, which also dominated the way politics is run too. Therefore, the impact of the explosion is everywhere. Everyone Beirut has a story to tell. Everyone experienced the explosion impact in unique ways.
‘My Mission Was to Save My Newborn and Husband.’
Rita Samaha is a wife to one victim in the blast. She lost her husband Jad, and she is now forced to raise the newborn by herself. If the glass frame did not hit her husband, it might have hit Rita or the baby. The act of love took away his life, protecting his family. The glass frame killed Jad. Baby Thomas survived. Jad loved to play the piano.
“He said he was the most beautiful boy he had ever seen. My husband told me I made me the most beautiful family in the world,” said Rita Samaha
She had to carry the newborn as she saw her husband on a stretcher made of parts of the ceiling that had fallen. At that point, her mission was to save her newborn and her husband.
‘I Wish the Building Had Fallen on All of Us’
Karantina is right to the port. It’s mainly made up of Sunni Muslim families. And it’s one of Beirut’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Lebanon was in a deep crisis, financially, in terms of its currency well before the explosion. The point of places like this is, they were the hardest hit before the blast even happened.
The Husseins family has their own story about the blast too. Fadi sold all his taxi last year and paid people smugglers to get him and the family to Europe. They were turned back halfway across the sea. Times had been even tougher, then the explosion came.
“You know what I wished for at first? First, I was happy to see my kids alive and safe, but now I wish the building had collapsed on all of us. We would have fled this miserable life.” Said Fadi Hussein.
Their house is not in a safe condition, and they have no money to pay for an Engineer. No one is bothered by them. During the explosion, the children hid by the corner of the cupboard as it went off. The Husseins family want to leave the country as they feel the county is not for them anymore; they are better off at home. He asks for any well-wishers who could help transport the children back home where they could get an education.
Beirut: Waiting for Investigations
Talking about the explosion in Beirut adds to the tension among the people. Areas, where the Stronghold support for Hezbollah are the story, is the same. These are also the areas of an armed movement whose base of support is Lebanon’s Shia community. Here their heroes adorn the entire buildings. Qasem Soleimani was the Iranian general killed on the orders of President Trump this year.
Everyone is waiting for the investigation into the blast. Few residents trust the system. Theories about the causes are everywhere. Others throwing accusations such as Hezbollah’s are to blame, despite the martyrs of the explosion coming from all communities. Many have now been left fatherless, motherless, widows, widowers, and childless after the tragedy.
‘The Whole System is Rotten’
The militia backed by Iran and seen by much of the West as a terrorist group is a dominant force in Lebanese politics. Can the division be healed? So far the blast has out fuel on calls for change in a crisis-hit country. However, what unites those on the streets is they reject every one in charge. They say the whole system is rotten.
“We want to live in a nation that is secure, not run by thugs and sectarianism,” says Nassim, a survivor of the blast.
Amid the rage and uncertainty, many fears a collapse of bloodshed. However, there is a sense of glimmers of hope. This is because the world’s focus is now on Lebanon; therefore, there is a new expectation of reform that could help everyone.
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