On August 4, 2020, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, causing one of the biggest non-nuclear tragedies in the country’s history. More than 220 people lost their lives, and more than 6,500 were injured as the blast leveled entire neighborhoods. The tragedy was caused by a fire in a warehouse that contained tons of ammonium nitrate without proper precautions, despite previous warnings.
On the third anniversary of this devastating explosion, the collective of families of victims, who have been tirelessly fighting for justice, organized a demonstration to honor their loved ones and protest against the Lebanese state. The families dress in black and head to the port, where the explosion took place, expressing their grief and frustration at the lack of progress in the judicial process.
The Lebanese authorities have been criticized for their handling of the investigation, and the families have called for an international investigation, which has so far been rejected. Local justice has faced political obstacles and divisions in a country mired in a deep economic crisis.
The judge in charge of the case, Tarek Bitar, has faced intense pressure and has had to deal with obstacles and accusations of insubordination. Despite the difficulties, Bitar is determined to press ahead with his investigation and file indictments.
The families of the victims and more than 300 non-governmental organizations continue to demand an international commission of inquiry to break the culture of impunity in Lebanon. The lack of accountability and the delay in obtaining justice have led to a clamor for international action to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
The situation remains complex and challenging, but the families of the victims remain steadfast in their search for truth and justice. The memory of the victims has not faded, and the hope of reaching the truth prevails in the midst of adversity.