This week marked the anniversary of the explosion, which destroyed large parts of Beirut in August 2020. The subsequent demonstrations estimatetly brought up to 1,6 million people on the streets, about one quarter of the country´s population. Much violence wasn´t seen during the protests, the sorrow, pain and resignation overwhelmed.
When the music started, the stairs were already full of people. Under the evening heaven of Beirut, inbetween of candles, the audience listened to the sounds of music, played in memory of the victims from last year. This was on Tuesday, the 3rd August, the evening before the anniversary. Now the setting was ready for the next days, full of emotions for the country.
On Wednesday, the crowd was on their way to the harbour. At three different points, stretching from the bank area to Karantina, the demonstrations meet, and as the minute of silence began at 06:08, the coast highway was full of people. It was probably the biggest crowd this country had seen for years.
The explosion destoyed many buildings in the city, especially in the areas of Gemayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Karantina. 300.000 people lost their homes, thousends were injured, over 200 died. But the explosion was even more than that. For this little country, fighting with an almost infinite number of crises simultaneously, this catastrophe meant a change in psychology. The Lebanese are used to fight setbacks and build up again, but this times it seems as if many has lost hope for their country.
After the Revolution started in October 2019 and the Lebanese Lira was de facto disconnected from the US-Dollar, many fighted for a political change. But the old structures turned out to be far to strong, the economy and financial sector headed into a downward spiral, Corona made everything even worse. As in this situation the explosion hit the capital, many decided to look for a new life in another country. This concerns in particular the educated, networked and polyglot young people of the middle class with good chances in different countries in the world.
After the minute of silence was over, the call for revolution, thaura, rang out. The crowd went to the martyrs squere, close to the administrative district. The first fights started here, as protestants threw stones and burning devices into different buildings and the military answered with tear gas. But the fights weren´t too heavy. At the end there were 81 injured, of which 10 has to be brought to the hospital. At this evening, sorrow and resignation won over anger.
About the same time, there were also new disputes with Israel. After two rockets were shot into the territory of Israel, they answered with the first bombing on lebanese territory for years. The day after, Hezbollah reacted with rockets by themselves, the rhetoric is getting harsher.
After one minute of remembrance and mourning, Lebanese people find themselves back in a world full of crises, agony and an everlasting danger of war.