Alya Stafford

Rebuilding Beirut

On the 4th of August 2020, a massive explosion erupted on the port of Beirut, Lebanon, my hometown. This explosion was due to 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was left unattended for 7 years. The thawra (revolution) has been ongoing since October 2019 and we are yet to see some real changes or actions. The city is being rebuilt by its people since its ruling class has nothing better to do than sit around and pretend like they had nothing to do with it. These illustrations are to show the Lebanese people rebuilding their beloved city, instead of grieving and processing their trauma. We keep being told that we are a resilient people. None of us want to be resilient anymore. We are traumatised. Do not glorify our tragedy and say we are a phoenix rising from the ashes. We are tired.

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“Being Lebanese is a repetitive job that consists of switching constantly between hope and despair.

For some, it's loving Lebanon but being incapable of living there, for others it's cursing Lebanon but being incapable of leaving it.”

Roda Fawaz

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