On the second anniversary of the Beirut port explosion, calls for justice and accountability

BEIRUT — On the second anniversary of the Beirut port explosion, which killed 218 people, injured over 7,000 others, and caused billions of euros in damage on 4 August 2020, a part of one of the silos collapsed following a weekslong fire. The exposed, aflame grain silos served as a visceral reminder of the open wounds left by the disaster and the suspended investigation into its causes. Religious and political actors from around the world offered their condolences to those affected and called on Lebanese authorities to complete the investigation into the explosion. Syriac Catholic Patriarch Mar Ignatius Yusuf III Yunnan offered prayers for the souls of those killed in the blast and for strength to the many wounded and their families.

”A second year has passed and the conscience of the officials is still immersed in a deep slumber, ignoring the realization of truth and upholding the banner of justice by revealing the truth and revealing the perpetrators and perpetrators, whoever they are and whatever their affiliation and the huge damage that resulted from it,” Patriarch Yunnan said.

Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mar Bashara Boutros al-Rai held a divine service for the souls of those killed at the Cathedral of Mar Jarjis in Beirut.

In his homily, he said, “We pray today for the lives of the martyrs and for the intention of healing the wounded who have been permanently disabled, and we demand compensation for those affected whose homes, institutions, shops, and schools have been demolished.”

Patriarch al-Rai also expressed his solidarity with the statement made by Pope Francis in a public interview in which he wished for Lebanon’s rebirth and return to its former glory.

Patriarch al-Rai noted that what is required today is for the judicial investigation to be resumed to uncover the truth behind the explosion. The freeze of the investigation equates the innocent with the guilty, he stated, adding that it is unreasonable for the guilty to be free and the innocent to be arrested.

For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with L’Orient-Le Jour, called for justice for the victims and for the reasons behind the explosion to be revealed. He regretted that the investigation had been pending for several months and said an independent investigation without political interference must be completed.

Macron noted that Lebanon needed justice in order to rise, and France would continue to help Lebanon with its partners and will not let it collapse.