Beirut blast one year on

On 4 August 2020 a huge warehouse full of chemicals exploded in the port of Beirut in the largest non-nuclear blast in human history. The investigations so far points to the country's authorities and politicians sharing most of the responsibility for the disaster. However, they are the ones who are now blocking the investigations. A symptom of the dysfunctional state, writes the press.

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Il Manifesto (IT) /

Blocked justice

To this day the background to the explosion remains unclear, Il Manifesto laments:

“The clocks stopped at 6.08 p.m. Found in the rubble in the days following the blast in the port of Beirut, they are the symbol of an emotional and psychological blockade.... And of a blockade that is perhaps far more serious: that of justice. Because to date no steps have been taken to identify those who bear material and moral responsibility. ... On the fourth of every month, the families of the victims gather in front of the court dealing with the case to protest. ... They want justice.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Crime without punishment

The legal process threatens to fail due to the resistance of the corrupt elites, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung also fears:

“For over six years, up to 2,750 tonnes of explosive ammonium nitrate were stocked in a poorly ventilated hangar where fireworks, oil and paraffin were also stored at the time of the explosion. During this long period, there were countless moments when various officials could have done the right thing. ... Why no one felt responsible for the chemicals and why they ignited remains unclear. ... But the parliament and the government are blocking justice. It seems that only firm international pressure could get things moving.”

Le Monde (FR) /

This cancer will not heal itself

Lebanese entrepreneur Mounir Corm criticises in Le Monde the fact that Western countries are making financial aid contingent on a renewal of the political elite:

“Demanding reforms from this political class is like hoping that a terminal cancer will cure itself. These former warlords and feudal, predatory and mafia-like families who've ruled for over 30 years will never reform themselves. Secondly, this attitude is hypocritical. It pretends to forget that the fraudulent political and financial system put in place by the Central Bank and the banking sector, of which the Hariri family has been the cornerstone for 20 years, has been supported by these same Western governments since the early 1990s.”