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Once known as the “Paris of the East “Beirut proudly boasted that it was the only city in the world where you could swim in the Mediterranean in the morning and drive to the mountains to skiing. It was until 1970s that the country prospered. LEBANON with time has been crippled by a Haunted long running 15 year long civil War and has been stuck in the crossfire of regional conflicts. Lebanon has been on its knees since!
LEBANON POLITICAL MACHINE
Starting 2014, Lebanon was without any President for 2 and a half years & the government was dysfunctional . As presidential elections stalled so did the parliament’s work which left the parliament paralyzed for more than a year. Not only this, a system which was supposed to create equality has also unconstitutionally renewed its own mandate twice already.
State institutions have been failing the people of Lebanon from within its very own roots. Lebanon which was supposed to be a conclusive democratic country , but rather since its inception have been monopolised by powerful and corrupt sectarian elites , who have only contributed by giving disproportionate share of the economic pie and with that their inability to address the challenges of the people.
Lebanon has become a "Confessional Democracy" a form of government in which the highest offices are reserved from the different religion. The Presidency is reserved for Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister is a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shia Muslim. Further to complicate the situation is HEZBOLLA. Hezbollah is both an armed resistance and a political party in Lebanon. It is a dangerous regional proxy operated by IRAN, and is accused of running a state within a state and of having an aim to abolish Lebanon’s sectarian political system. It is the strongest member of Lebanon's pro-Syrian opposition bloc who pitted against the pro-Western government led by Saad Hariri.
Today the Lebanese suffer from many afflictions : an insufficient voice in government , a lack of government transparency , limited economic opportunities, corruption , nepotism , and poor quality of life. Lebanon’s economic structure is crumbling with every passing year and the people experience Electricity cut-outs daily, with garbage piled up in the streets . With this I should also enlighten that in 2015 Lebanon was drowning in its own pile of waste. Streets public spaces and shores were covered with garbage and then again it was the people of Lebanon who had to suffer they couldn’t breathe without a mask there were colossal heap of rubbish everywhere. In
which there was no action by the government as both parliament and cabinet remained paralyzed and Presidency was vacant; and Environment ministry shut their ears . It was people of Lebanon who took this upon themselves because they believe in Unity with social action and it was them who was suffering. Let’s not forget the Environment degradation!
LEBANON could have no more fitting symbol for its raucous history than its National flag, Flounced with Green cedar tree against a white background , framed between two red bands. Here white represents PEACE, the red which mean that blood has been spilled in the name of liberation and The tree ,Survival
To worsen this, on the morning of August 7th, a haunting juxtaposition of the soul and beauty of Lebanon and its people shattered in a split second. Reality was vividly rendered in a Mushroom cloud over Beirut. The detonation of some 2,750 tonnes of improperly stored AMMONIUM NITRATE in Beirut ‘s port was the last straw! This incident killed over 200 people, injured thousands and left many families displaced. This incident was foreseeable and had been the subject of repeated warnings.
Ammonium nitrate is commonly used as a fertilizer, in agricultural sector. This compound is not easily combustible, it does not typically detonate on its own, but it can explode if it comes in contact with another ignition source, or under intense heat. Critically, when its confined in large amounts it starts to decompose, and it decomposes generating its own heat. So, you get a rolling reaction, it gets hotter and hotter and if combined can have a transition into a detonation.
This amount of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut Port was a ticking time bomb.
Impact of the Blast
The blast has economically impacted Lebanon as the country is an import dependent country. The Beirut Port which is damaged is Lebanon’s biggest maritime gateway vis-à-vis making essential goods expensive, menacing food security in the country. Lebanon has already been suffering with a huge financial meltdown, with the fast devaluation of the neighborhood currency and a risky trade charge at the black market is further fueling inflation, shuttering businesses, unemployment and poverty. The blast will pose an additional economic burden of reconstructing the city.
Politically, Lebanon faced national protests against corruption, financial mismanagement and sectarian politics in October 2019, which pressured the resignation of then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.This blast along with the developing financial disaster can once more reason social unrest.
The country’s health infrastructure is already burdened with Covid cases, the victims of the blast has added more to it. The blast has further increased covid cases in the country due to mismanagement by the authorities.
Who is responsible for It?
Signs that Lebanon was a failing state was everywhere. Moreover, as the country went into lockdown over the pandemic of novel coronavirus diseases, making living conditions difficult, Lebanon was suffering from what was likely its worst Financial crisis. The new government elected 7 months prior, Led by Prime minister Hassan Diab had done little to respond to the debt and currency crisis Even before being hit by coronavirus.
The blast was one of the largest accidental ammonium nitrate explosions ever recorded, so powerful that it was heard more than 200 kilometres away in
Cyprus . It is claimed that in 2014 a Russian – Owned vessel carrying 2750-tonne of chemical compound was impounded at Beirut’s port , after making emergency stops in the city and being denied permission to leave by customs authorities because it deemed unseaworthy. Further the owner of the ship had to abandon the ship because he owed the port $100,000 in unpaid bills. In the years that followed, the Director General of Lebanese customs had sent 6 documents to the judiciary warning that the material posed a danger.
In another Report, several committees and Judges were warned Six months prior the blast that if it is not moved it would “blow up all of Beirut” But nothing was done to dispose it. The Government of Lebanon and the Ministry of Justice were given Repeated warnings about the nature and consequences of brewing this chemical compound for almost 6 years in port of Beirut. I’m convinced more than ever that “NEGLECT” is a far too soft a diagnosis.
Who do you think is responsible?Abuse of power ALWAYS leaves a mark, just this time it wasn’t only a mark. The government took away their dreams, their strength and their hope of survival, which the Lebanese people had after enduring a byword for destruction and chaos in the past Decades.
The Global Response
Globally, the USA, Germany, France, Iran, EU etc has offered aid to Lebanon in the face of blast, economic crises and the pandemic. Along with the aid, France Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has visited Lebanon twice after the Beirut disaster. This is a clear message from France of fraternity and solidarity. US undersecretary of State David Hale, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other High level representatives from UK, Turkey, and various EU paid a visit to Lebanon. Humanitarian aid has also been provided by Israel which has bitter relations with Lebanon.
This tragedy piles but some other layer of trouble onLebanon already reeling from its worst economic disaster in many years in conjunction with an exasperating political turbulence and suffering to include a burgeoning coronavirus outbreak. Lebanon can't do with out containing politically extremist agencies functioning within the country and keeping wholesome relationships with the worldwide community. It is time that worldwide unity comes into motion and extends a assisting hand toward Lebanon.
Lebanon as we know has been Physically and emotionally scarred! This homeland, which is forced to race Heritage, blood of history and the struggle of man has become the land of tragedies and horrors. But Lebanon never falls, it breaks a thousand times but it rises stronger .
People in Lebanon do not "just live", they survive!
THEY WILL NOT FORGIVE !
THEY WILL NOT FORGET!