• Prabhpreet Singh

The Beirut Blast; What does the future hold for Lebanon?

So, what happened?

On August 4, 2020, over 2,750 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate, seized six years ago, stored in a port warehouse, was set aflame in Beirut, the Capital City of Lebanon, and what followed was a massive explosion in the city, claiming 171 lives, leaving thousands injured and destroying the homes of almost 3,00,000 people.

This incident unfortunately comes at one of the worst times for the country, it is in economic and political upheaval. At the heart of the economic crisis is the rooted corruption of the government and a the drop in the value of Lebanese currency, this has caused large-scale closure of businesses and soaring prices of basic commodities resulting in social unrest and even widespread protests.

The government’s response to the explosion was anything but adequate, according to reports it failed to follow up on a large number of missing person reports related to the blast and the search was closed without providing any evidence of their fate.

A week after the blast, in lieu of its mismanagement and inadequacies, the Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced the resignation of the entire Cabinet.

What does this mean?

The Prime Minister noted that the government would stay on in a caretaker role until a new cabinet was appointed but following past example, the people are bracing themselves for a long period of political paralysis.

This resignation was but a ploy to shift blame and attention, because as the opposition notes, this move is insufficient to bring any real change, a new cabinet does not mean new elections, it is the President in consultation with the parliament that appoints the new cabinet, again taking the mantle away from the people who need it the most, the suffering population.

The ruling status quo is not willing to give up its power, thus the corruption will continue.

What can be done?

The damage done by the blast was valued at $10 Billion to $15 Billion, thus according to the Governor of Beirut, the rebuilding process could take years. All we can do is do for the mourning people of Beirut is donate through various sources to help them through this difficult time but as far as the long term political scenario is concerned, it doesn’t seem to be changing for the better anytime soon, all hope lies in the next Parliamentary elections of 2022.

~Prabhpreet Singh