5 August, 2020IndustriALL is shocked and saddened by the terrible destruction and loss of life in Beirut, Lebanon, after an explosion at the city’s port.
An explosion yesterday evening in the port of Beirut, close to the city centre, caused the loss of at least 100 lives. Buildings were damaged within a radius of four kilometres, and there is widespread destruction.
IndustriALL Global Union sends its condolences to the people of Beirut in their time of suffering, and expresses its solidarity as they stand together in dignity. As always, the people of Beirut have mobilized to support each other, donating blood and using social media to locate the missing.
The people of Lebanon have endured tremendous pressure over the past few years. War in neighbouring countries has led to instability and the influx of more than a million refugees. Covid-19 has stretched the health system to capacity, and the country has faced an economic crisis, with food shortages and frequent interruption to the electricity supply.
The explosion is an additional shock to an already vulnerable city. Hospitals and clinics were severely damaged, putting further pressure on already overwhelmed health workers. Grain supplies stored at the port were destroyed, adding to the food crisis.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
“IndustriALL is deeply saddened by the suffering and destruction to a city that has played host to many of our regional activities over the years. From Hamra to Achrafieh, from the Raouche rocks to Bourj Hammoud, the city of Beirut is much-loved by participants in IndustriALL activities.
“IndustriALL has three affiliates in Lebanon. One reports damage to their office building, but thankfully we have received no reports of injuries. We send our condolences and solidarity to you, and assure you of our support in this difficult time.
“The people will stand together. The wounds will heal. The city will be rebuilt. IndustriALL remains in solidarity with you.”
In the words of Lebanon’s great artist, Fairouz, in her anthem to the city, Li Beirut:
“To Beirut, my heart salutes Beirut
And kisses to the sea and houses
To the rock shaped like the face of an old sailor...
"...how did its taste become the taste of fire and smoke?
“You are mine, you are mine
Oh hold me, you are mine
You are my Beirut, you are mine,
Oh embrace me.”