Friday marked the passing of the 100th day after the tragic Beirut Port explosion of August 4th. Since then, Lebanese are still left with many unanswered questions. And justice is yet to be served.
After 100 days, no Lebanese leader was held accountable for the horrendous tragedy, despite them knowing of the existence of the dangerous material at the port.
Around 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate were stockpiled at the port for the good part of a decade – a ticking time bomb that couldn’t but ended erupting in a massive catastrophe, which it did on August 4th, killing over 200, injuring thousands, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
The unfathomable truth is that Lebanon’s leaders, including consecutive Prime Ministers and the President, were aware of the highly dangerous substance stored in the capital, and could have prevented such a devastating event.
They could have but they didn’t for reasons that could remain a mystery in Lebanon’s history. Is it negligence, pressure, indifference, corruption, or misgovernance? What could have been more important than saving Beirut, the people, and the port from such calamity?
The prime minister at the time resigned in the wake of the disaster, but that’s not enough for retribution by a long shot nor is it justice by any means. On his side, the country’s president is still in office, unable to deal with the mounting crises nor to help facilitate the formation of a new government.
One hundred days, and no justice and no government for reforms, only a continuous collapse into a dark abyss.
People gathered on Thursday to protest in front of the Palace of Justice in Beirut, carrying banners of politicians and officials that read “they knew,” and demanding justice.
100 days later, and Beirut is still in shambles, and too many of its residents in ravaged homes or no home at all.
100 days later, and Beirut’s residents still collectively shudder in fear at the sound of the sky during a thunderstorm.
100 days later, and Lebanon has seen more clouds of smoke in the sky, and fires and explosions caused by ‘welders’ during this period than ever before.
Recently, the state decided to remove the grain silos from the port. The grain silos that were severely damaged protecting a portion of Beirut from the blast stand as a shaming reminder of the tragic event, and a reminder that someone is yet to be held accountable.
Removing the silos won’t erase the event from their memory and hearts, it won’t heal the wounds, it won’t bring back the innocent people we lost, and it won’t either erase the shame Lebanon’s history has already recorded on the ruling body.
As of yet, investigations have led nowhere and offered no closure.
Judge Fadi Sawan, leading the probe into the blast, received foreign investigations from the FBI and French explosives experts. However, 100 days later, he’s yet to determine what caused the blast and who are those responsible for this horrific mass murder.
Accusing a welder won’t cut it. People demand to know the full truth and nothing but the truth. Who stored that ticking-bomb and why, who allowed it and why? The criminals and the partners in crime, all means all, must be duly punished by the law; if law and justice have still any honest purpose in this country.