The political and economic crisis in Lebanon started long before the devastating explosion on August 4, 2020. But since then, the country has been in freefall. Young people in particular are asking whether they have a future there at all.
For months, the Lebanese people have been calling for regime change. The government resigned at the end of 2019 after months of sometimes violent protests, but the economic situation is still deteriorating. The Lebanese currency is in freefall, the price of food is rocketing and to make matters worse, the number of coronavirus infections is rising dramatically. The people saw the explosion in Beirut’s port area on August 4 as another symbol of political failure. More than 170 people were killed and around 6,000 people injured, and an estimated $15 billion worth of damage done. Documents show that the authorities were aware of the improper storage of the highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which is why Nour Bassam and her fiancé Hussein Achi are not giving up. The young couple have been fighting for political change since last fall. Immediately after the explosion, Hussein and his organization, “Min Tishreen” set up an emergency aid center in the ruins of the Mar Michael district. But Hussein is concerned with more than distributing food and medicines and rebuilding the destroyed city. While many of his friends are deserting their country, he wants to establish a new political culture in his homeland. Hussein senses the people’s anger at the country’s old political elite. Will they succeed in asserting themselves against their corrupt rulers?”