Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï on Beirut explosion: “If the Lebanese authorities refuse an international investigation, then it is the duty of the U.N. to impose”

HARISSA, Lebanon — On the eve of Holy Cross Day, Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï commemorated the forty-day anniversary of Beirut port explosion during a Divine Liturgy that he held in the Basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa in the presence of the Papal Ambassador in Lebanon, Monsignor Joseph Spiteri, and several clergymen. During his sermon, the Patriarch consoled the families of the victims, the wounded, and the missing, and called for an international investigation to hold those responsible for the neglect which led to the blast to account.

“Today we commemorate the forty-day anniversary of the victims of Beirut port explosion, the dead, wounded, missing, homeless, and afflicted,” the Patriarch declared during his sermon. “For all of them, we offer this divine sacrifice.”

“We mention, in our prayer, all those who lent a helping hand, whether with financial, food, or medical aid, as well as everyone who contributed to the search for the missing,” the Patriarch continued.

The Patriarch stated that an impartial and international investigation is needed because of the confusion in the local investigation, the conflicting information, the disunity of the state, the increasing doubts about the causes behind the explosion, and the continued neglect of officials which has resulted in a second fire at the port.

“If the Lebanese authorities refuse an international investigation, then it is the duty of the U.N. to impose it, because what happened is close to a crime against humanity,” stated the Patriarch. “The hour has come with us, the hour proclaimed by the Lord Jesus. It is the hour to put an end to conspiracy against Beirut and the Lebanese people.”

The Patriarch confirmed that it is no longer possible to accept a government like the former ones, which brought the state to its collapse.

Patriarch al-Raï concluded, “Oh, political officials pay attention. The wounded people and the angry youth are stronger than you, because their power is derived from the victims who were slaughtered due to your negligence and your interests.”