On Tuesday, Beirut saw a massive explosion on its sea port. The shockwaves were horrific, and the consequences, even more so.
A report claims that the Prime Minister of Lebanon has promised he will hold the perpetrators responsible. But when apparently the cause of the explosion is 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate – a deadly, explosive chemical – that was sitting unchecked for seven years in a warehouse a stone’s throw away from the bustling city centre, one has to wonder whether the ‘perpetrator’ is head of government himself.
Moreover, CNN has cited experts who suggest that it was not just ammonium nitrate that caused the blast. A retired CIA operative has said the “orange ball of fire” that was seen is indicative of the presence of “military grade explosives”. If this speculation is indeed true, it could mean disastrous things for Lebanon, especially considering the fact that the nation hosts Hezbollah – an organisation understood to be a terrorism outfit – that is known for storing ammunition in miscellaneous locations throughout the country and has instigated terror activities in Lebanon before.
But even if such speculation is untrue, just the presence of a destructive chemical at a city port is an extremely troublesome controversy Lebanon’s leadership will have to face head on. Unfortunately, it possesses neither the funds nor the motivation to do so; the Human Rights Watch, in a report submitted to the UN, has talked about how politicians in Lebanon fail to listen to what the people want. In fact, Lebanese leadership and the authorities under its command have outright denied citizens their rights. Citizens are denied free speech and the right to protest. Horrifically, they are even tortured in police custody when they fail to obey the government’s autocratic laws.
Lebanon is in the grips of a crisis on all fronts. Due to the inclusion of the highly controversial Hezbollah organisation in Lebanese politics, many who would be willing to extend their help hesitate. What is most unfortunate is that Lebanon’s leadership is not only too stubborn to make real concessions to the citizens, it is also too weak to shake off the shadow of menace that is deeply entrenched in the nation’s political fabric.
Click here to find out what you can do to alleviate Lebanon’s economic crisis.