August 5, 2020

My Heart Cries for Beirut Today.

My heart is heavy.

I’m writing in the hope of feeling a little better, or maybe making sense of what happened last night in Lebanon.

At 6:00 p.m., I heard there was an explosion in Beirut. I thought to myself, “Ugh, not again.” To be honest, I thought the series of assassinations that lasted around 10 years in Lebanon have returned.

I didn’t know I was about to see a heartbreaking and horrifying scene, which I possibly won’t be able to forget.

As we heard on the news, tons of ammonium nitrate were unsafely stored in a warehouse at the port since 2014. It is said that six months ago, the government was warned that if these explosive materials catch fire, there will be a massive explosion that could demolish the entire city.

Unfortunately, the worst has happened.

Videos show a fire, then smoke, then a massive blast that caused a mushroom cloud to form over Beirut.

Thousands have been injured, and the death toll has doubled since yesterday. The shockwaves were too great that they demolished the entire city’s buildings and houses, leaving thousands homeless and jobless.

I sobbed as I saw unidentified dead bodies covered in blood in Beirut’s streets. The hospitals that did survive the explosion were overwhelmed with patients, and doctors and nurses went to the sidewalks to treat the injured.

People I know have lost their lives. Places that I call home in Beirut have turned to ashes now. And sadly, my social media is filled with people’s faces who are missing and dogs who have escaped upon hearing the blast.

It’s ironic that it takes one second to lose everything, one second to die, and one second to become homeless. We never know who we might be seeing for the last time or which place will suddenly cease to exist.

As if what we’re already enduring in Lebanon is not enough. We’ve been having the worst economical crisis since last year: our currency has collapsed, food and medicine prices have risen by 55 percent, and tens of thousands of people were left unemployed as the majority of businesses have shut their doors. Protestors took to the streets back in October 2019 against the corrupt government and called politicians to step down.

Then COVID-19 hit the world, and while we’re in lockdown, a blast takes place. I’m not sure what to mourn as we handle four major crises: a pandemic, a financial crisis, an explosion, or a weak government that should have resigned years ago.

We’ve had enough.

Enough with theft, indifference, and neglect. Beirut deserves better—we deserve better. We deserve safety, and a better future. We deserve an end to the sectarian political system. We want to hold the corrupt accountable and build a country with better living conditions.

However, yesterday’s events caused us to reach breaking point. We’re all torn: do we stay in Lebanon and fight for our rights? Or do we look for another country to call home?

Beirut, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry they take you for granted knowing that you are among the most beautiful cities in the world.

I’m sorry you’re destined to be ruled by people who will never know empathy—blood is your fate, and smoke is your ally.

Beirut, I’m sorry you lost your people and buildings that have embellished your streets with history and stories.

Beirut, my heart cries for you.



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