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Beirut's Face is Distorted, its People are Outraged by the 'Corrupt' Govt

Beirut's Face is Distorted, its People are Outraged by the 'Corrupt' Govt

Thursday, 6 August, 2020 - 12:00
Aerial view of the scale of the massive damage left by the Beirut Port explosion (AP).

Mixed emotions of sadness and anger were apparent on the faces of the people in the Achrafieh neighborhood of Beirut. Tariq shakes his head, looking at the broken glass that filled the alleys of Gemmayze without lifting his eyes.

"These are the marks of the state's corruption and complicity against the people."

The man in his forties lost his home because of the explosion that struck Beirut on Tuesday. Expressions of sympathy do not console him, nor do the congratulations on his safety and his family’s safety, one of whom was seriously injured.

He asks about the reason, and insists that the state and its recklessness and corruption are responsible: “We do not deserve all this pain and injustice. We are a people worthy of life, we do not need corrupt political officials who loathe us. ”

Tariq is one of dozens who went to the streets of Achrafieh to clear the rubble left by the blast of the biggest explosion in the history of Lebanon, when a warehouse filled with ammonium nitrate exploded in the Beirut port on Tuesday.

The landmarks of the street disappeared under broken glass, and the debris of the buildings. Cars shrank in due to the massive pressure, The buildings seemed bereaved, mourning their inhabitants, and wallowing in pain on their bodies.

Beirut appeared a faceless city Wednesday morning, hiding behind dust that covers large areas of the high-rise neighborhoods of Achrafieh, from there to Sodeco Square, and west to Basta, Verdun and Hamra, all the way down its skyline, whose facades fell to the ground, and were equal to the sidewalks.

“Corruption brought down Rafik Hariri’s dream to rock bottom,” said a young man at the Martyrs’s Square. He came from the Mazra’a area to witness the destruction first hand. Lamenting the state of a street where he had been working before the October 17 uprising, he adds: "The last we needed was an explosion to bring the curtain down on Hariri's dream of a city that competes with those of Europe."

Inside the buildings of the commercial center, rubble covers the halls of the parliament and its deputies’ offices. The explosion did not discriminate between people's property and public property. The damage is total, the scene a national disaster. And the damage extends westwards, afflicting markets and hotels.

"Almost 90 percent of Beirut hotels are damaged," according to Pierre Ashkar, President of the Lebanese Hotel Federation For Tourism Industries.

The damages are similar and the complaints are the same, while descriptions vary.

“Doesn't it look like a land burned by war? Doesn't it resemble a tsunami or earthquake-stricken cities?” A young man in downtown Beirut said, adding: "Who will fix the massive damages in a bankrupt, impotent, and corrupt country?" This is the big challenge that awaits Lebanon.

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