Life Shattering Explosion Leaves Lebanon in Shambles

Laura Beth Lynch, Staff Writer

Devastated, destitute and defeated, the people of Beirut, Lebanon can now grievously add “life-shattering explosion” to their list of unforeseen and catastrophic events of 2020.

On August 4, Beirut’s world quite literally shattered when a port warehouse stocked with ammonium nitrate caught fire, causing a blast that could be felt from miles away. This traumatic surprise cost around 160 lives, injured nearly 6,000, destroyed the homes of hundreds of thousands of citizens, and cast the deciding vote in the corrupt government’s resignation.

Life in Beirut had been difficult enough before this disastrous event occurred. With a failing economy, the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and a corrupt government, Beirut was figuratively, and literally, on the verge of destruction. The warehouse explosion was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On Tuesday, August 4, that camel tumbled to the ground. The explosion shook the fragile country and spawned a series of protests against the Lebanese government.

Shortly after the blast, the Lebanese began violently protesting against their government, blaming the catastrophe on their negligence with the ammonium nitrate. The toxic chemicals had been abandoned for almost six years, with no interference from the government.

The protests’ initial cause was the blast and how the government was at fault, but it quickly turned into a rebellion against the corrupt cabinet. Fares Abdo, a native Beiruti and family friend, said, “Before the explosion and for decades, the country has been ruled by many corrupt politicians who have been increasing taxes and stealing most of the money collected from the citizens”.

Lebanon’s complicated political state has caused many natives to consider leaving the country or protesting for the resignation of the entire government. Mr. Abdo said, “Too many are looking for options to leave the country in search of a better life. The vast majority wants all career and corrupt politicians to be removed from office”.

The Labanese government’s villainy is evident in their reaction regarding their citizen’s accusations. No official stood up to take responsibility; everyone either denied that it was their own doing or blamed their peers.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said, “I am not responsible. I have no authority to deal with the port”.

After just a few short days of protesting and the government ignoring their responsibilities, the cabinet effectively resigned, leaving Beirut in physical and mental destruction.

The devastating aftermath of the explosion had already taken a toll on the people of Beirut, but now with only half a broken government to turn to, no one to provide aid, and no one to offer any hope, Beirut is in a place of serious destitute, “the vast majority of the Lebanese have lost hope,” said Mr. Abdo when asked about the post explosion culture.

Thankfully, some of that concern has been alleviated due to the international help of several countries and organizations such as the United States, Britain, and the Samaritan’s Purse. Items of relief including food and medical supplies with donations continuing to pour in.

The vast majority of the Lebanese have lost hope.”

— Fares Abdo

As high school students, it is often easy to dismiss current events because there is seemingly no connection between privileged high school students and the people in a third world country. Beirut is thousands of miles away from Charlotte and the atmospheres of the two cities are entirely opposite. So how can one relate to this hurting country in a time like this? Is there anything to do as a high school to help?

The answer is yes. Even though CCS may not have the resources to send generous donations or planes stocked with medical supplies, the student body still has the power of prayer.

Samaritan’s Purse’s President, Franklin Graham said, “The country and the people are devastated. Please pray for the families who lost loved ones and those who have been most impacted by this horrible incident.”

So take a moment to go to the Lord and ask for protection, provision, and guidance for the people of Beirut. For their safety and healing, and that God would provide his peace and encouragement during this political, economic, and cultural devastation.