Scores of ordinary Lebanese citizens participated in a massive protest demonstration in the Lebanese capital, Beirut on Sunday, March 28, 2021 to express their disapproval and anger over the worsening socio-economic situation in the country. The situation has resulted in severe uncertainty about the future and extreme hardships in the lives of the common Lebanese people, a report by the Middle East Monitor stated yesterday. The demonstrations organized by the Lebanese Communist party also railed against the administrative vacuum existing in the country because of the dominant political parties not being able to reach an agreement on government formation. The interim government has been more or less powerless to make any significant governmental decisions towards improving the citizens’ lives and to rescue the failing economy.
Chinese peacekeepers will provide medical aid to Beirut following the deadly explosion on Tuesday that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others. Upon the request of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the 18th batch of Chinese peacekeeping troops to Lebanon organised an emergency team of nine medical personnel from fields including surgery, internal medicine, burns and anaesthesiology, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. The personnel and vehicles would head to Beirut, carrying medical supplies and protective equipment, the medical unit said.
On August 4, 2020, an explosion of tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at the port of Beirut Lebanon ripped through the city killing 0ver 170 people and injuring 6,000 people. This happened at a time when Beirut was already suffering an economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. We speak with Rania Khalek, a Lebanese-American independent journalist who was in Beirut, about what it was like during and after the explosion, the protests that followed and the complicated political situation in Lebanon. Khalek explains how the United States and other Western and Gulf States are interfering and causing more harm and why much of what we hear in the Western media about Lebanon is false.
The Lebanese economy crashed into the equivalent of a brick wall sometime in the last few months of 2019. The Lebanese pound (or lira), which was pegged to the dollar and appeared to be stable for well over two decades, started to decline at a rate that threatened the complete collapse of the economy. In the meantime, the Trump administration had been busy building a “Great Wall” of sanctions around Lebanon, even as the country as a whole was drowning in a mountain of debt. The first to be impacted was the powerful financial sector — the crown jewel of the Lebanese economy — which effectively shut down, fearing a run on the banks by panicked depositors seeking to withdraw their life savings, a large bulk of which was in U.S.
Nothing happens in Beirut and Lebanon that is transparent; plots of all kinds unravel against the ordinary hopes of the population. After the deadly explosion, it was impossible to imagine that the most reasonable explanation would be accepted. Rumors flew around, except the rumors did not have their impact. It was clear to the people that this time — unlike so many times previously — it was their own political system that had to be held accountable for the enormous explosion, which came in the midst of a pandemic, a currency and economic crisis, and a long-standing and unresolved political quagmire.
As the people of Lebanon suffer through one of the worst economic crises in their nation’s conflict-ridden history, the Donald Trump administration is exploiting the disaster to force regime change and weaken Lebanese resistance groups. A massive explosion on August 4 devastated Lebanon’s capital Beirut, killing more than 150 people, wounding thousands, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, and ravaging a sizable chunk of the city. The massive blast also destroyed Lebanon’s most important port, where 80 percent of food was imported into the country.
When I was a kid, "Beirut" became a cultural shorthand for any chaotic and violent urban setting. In the 1990s, my hometown rappers – the Wu Tang Clan – repeatedly shouted out the Lebanese city (plus one of its civil war antagonists, the P.L.O. – Palestinian Liberation Organization); but so did Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, and the Dead Kennedys. In the 2001 Hollywood blockbuster Spy Game, CIA agents played by Brad Pitt and Robert Redford sprint through rubble and gunfire along the Green Line dividing war-torn 1980s Beirut’s Christian East and Muslim West (all to eat at a specific restaurant – per Redford: “This better be the best damn breakfast I’ve ever had.")
A protest with the slogan "Bury the authorities first" was planned near the port, where highly explosive material stored for years exploded on August 4, killing at least 163 people, injuring 6,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Prime Minister Hassan Diab, announcing his cabinet's resignation, blamed endemic corruption for the explosion, the biggest in Beirut's history and which compounded a deep financial crisis that has collapsed the currency, paralysed the banking system and forced up prices.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed the nation to formally announce the government’s resignation Lebanon cabinet has resigned, AP reported the health minister saying today, amid mounting criticism over the government’s response to the explosion which rocked Beirut last week. The move comes after the Minister for the Environment Damianos Katter and Minister for Information Manal Abdel Samad submitted their resignations yesterday while Minister for Justice Marie-Claude Najm stepped down this morning. Later today local media reported Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni had arrived at the Grand Serail for today’s cabinet session with his letter of resignation.
Massive demonstrations rippled through Beirut on 8 August as protesters took to the streets calling for revenge on the politicians who bear collective responsibility for the huge explosion at the port on 4 August. Protesters stormed the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of the Environment and set the Association of Banks headquarters on fire. “This is the heart of corruption. The centre of fraud and plunder”, commented one of the demonstrators as he filmed inside the Ministry of Energy.
Mock gallows nooses tied to brooms: Lebanese protesters on Saturday clamored for bloody revenge against a leadership they blame for the massive blast that engulfed their capital. "There is hatred and there is blood between us and our authorities," said Najib Farah, a 35-year-old protester in central Beirut. "The people want revenge." On a street leading to parliament, young men lobbed stones at security forces who replied with tear gas, a familiar sight in Lebanon since last October. Thousands of young men and women earlier revived the main camp of a months-long protest movement, some of them carrying portraits of blast victims and a banner bearing the names of the dead. They pinned the blame for Tuesday's mega-blast at Beirut port on leaders they say deserve nothing less than the fate of the 158 people who died as a result.
After the first news and the stupor generated by the violent explosions in the port of Lebanon, all kinds of rumors and false news began to circulate, trying to further poison the atmosphere of pain in which had fallen on the people of that country. In addition to the very high number of deaths (around 100) and thousands of injured, a strategic port of the Lebanese nation was destroyed. To be able to monitor the situation and the consequences of what happened, we spoke with Wafica Ibrahim, a journalist for Al Mayadeen TV and correspondent for Resumen Latinoamericano, in the Middle East
To see Beirut and its port area with a huge mushroom cloud hanging above is a truly surreal sight. But what is not surreal in battered Lebanese capital? A big part of the downtown looks flattened, thoroughly ruined. One of my Japanese friends based in Beirut exclaimed: "It looks like Hiroshima!" It does. Who is behind the carnage? What really happened? Nobody is claiming responsibility. Was it sabotage, a direct attack against Lebanon, or a politically motivated terrorist act? What is certain is that the "earth moved." One of the explosions, equivalent to a 4.5-magnitude earthquake, ruined everything in its proximity.
The nature of Tuesday’s explosion in the port of Beirut and the extent of the damage across the city and beyond is not yet clear. There are plenty of unconfirmed reports and it is hard to take official statements as transparent. That being said, the effects of the explosion were felt across the city and beyond. For those familiar with the geography, nearby areas such Karantina and Gemmayzeh as well as further away areas such as Manara, Hamra, Burj Hammoud, Sin al-Fil, and Brummana felt the explosion.