“We live in suffering.” Facing the ruins of the port of Beirut, dozens of people on Sunday commemorated the two months of the deadly explosion with a symbolic release of balloons, shouting their anger at a stalled investigation and the passivity of the leaders.
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The August 4 explosion left more than 190 dead and 6,500 injured, devastating entire neighborhoods. Two months later, the investigation by the Lebanese authorities has still not been concluded and no results have been made public.
On Sunday, shortly after 6 p.m., at the exact time of the explosion that knocked Beirut into hell, dozens of white balloons on which were inscribed the names of the victims were released into the sky, from an avenue overlooking the port, reported an AFP photographer.
Several Lebanese songs were broadcast over loudspeakers, including Li Beirut (for Beirut), performed by the last living legend of Arab song, Fairuz.
Holding up portraits of the victims, their relatives and activists gathered, briefly blocking the road.
They expressed their anger at the leaders, held responsible for the tragedy because of their corruption and incompetence.
“Is it too much to ask them to know who committed this crime against humanity?” Samia said indignantly.
Mother of 9-year-old twins, she lost her husband who worked at the port.
“We live in suffering. My children have been deprived of the word “dad” for their entire lives, ”she adds.
Salwa has lost her uncle, also a port employee. “He was like a father to me,” says the young woman.
“I just want to say God forgive you. How can he forgive them … but may God forgive them “, she adds, before being interrupted by another woman, wishing for her” that God take revenge on them “, in reference to the leaders .
“We just want everyone involved, responsible for this explosion, this disaster, to be punished,” Salwa adds.
Authorities admit that the explosion took place in a warehouse that had stored a huge amount of ammonium nitrate “without precaution” for more than six years.
Refusing calls for an international investigation, the authorities launched their own investigation. About twenty people were arrested.
But the whole Republic was aware of the dangers posed by such a quantity of chemicals only a stone’s throw from residential neighborhoods in Beirut.
The president, Michel Aoun, the resigning prime minister, Hassan Diab, members of his government, but also officials of the security services had been warned.
Earlier Sunday, with the participation of famous cyclist Lance Armstrong, dozens of people cycled from the port to the waterfront, an initiative organized by several NGOs to raise funds to repair devastated housing, to provide food and drugs for the most deprived.