On 4 August 2020, Lebanon woke up to an explosion that took the sky roof off. Scrolling down the internet on the picture and videos of the explosion, I was thinking that this can never be real; this is just a scene from a movie, and this should not be happening in the real world. After a long moment of shock and denial, I started searching for the reasons behind it; the newspapers said the explosion was a result of a small fire in large storage of ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port. The explosion caused around 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries, and US$15 billion in property damage, and leaving almost 300,000 people homeless.
Lebanon is already suffering from the corruption of the government, collapsed economic situation, and a cracked education system. This event just made the doors of hell suddenly open on Lebanese people even more widely.
This explosion has opened the old memories of Israeli wars on Gaza in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The sound of bombs and rockets starts ringing in my ears, the painful photos, and videos of ambulances, injuries, explosions, mysteries, and more. I can feel what all the Lebanese had to go through in this catastrophe, what it means to lose loved ones, never being able to feel safe or protected and to live under fire. It brings all the painful feelings and tears back. Lebanon has always been a home for many Palestinian and it has always felt like home. This was heartbreaking.
The only good thing this catastrophe highlighted is that indeed, we are all human. Despite all the walls, borders, and obstacles, we all connect with each other through humanity. Whenever Gaza was under fire, Lebanon was always supporting and standing there with us in solidarity, and it was time for Gaza to stand back.
Many Gazans launched blood donation campaigns for Lebanon despite the difficult political and economic circumstances in Gazan.
We might be able to heal the wounds of the injured, rebuild the houses, condolence the families who lost a loved one, but nothing will ever heal the wounds of the explosion in the hearts and memories of Lebanese people. At the end of the day, the only thing we can do is to be humans and to stand with each other in solidarity to help build better communities and hopefully a better world. If you want to learn more about how WYA emphasizes solidarity and human dignity understanding, then I invite you to apply to the Certified Training Program.
Published: Feb. 11, 2021
Written by Zainab AlRamlawi, WYAMENA Certified member