The Beirut Explosion – An Anti-Corruption Domino Effect
An anti-government demonstrator shows the flag on June 6 in Beirut. (Hussam Chbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Beirut Explosion – An Anti-Corruption Domino Effect

Al-Joumhouria, Lebanon, August 8

The investigation into what exactly occurred at the port of Beirut last week might be ongoing, but one thing has been clear from the very outset: The cause for the blast that shook Beirut is corruption. Like other catastrophes that struck our country in the past, the Beirut explosion is first and foremost a political disaster created by our leaders. Lebanon’s corrupt political system plundered our country’s wealth and deprived our people of their ability to live a dignified life. Corruption is what kept 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate in the middle of a bustling port that serves as the beating heart of our country’s economy.  Corruption is also what led to the death of more than 150 innocent people whose only sin was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in their country’s capital city. This crime will not go by uninvestigated, and the culprits will not evade judgement. We will require our elected officials to come out to the public and speak. Simply resigning from their positions will not suffice, since it means evading responsibility and deflecting attention onto someone else. And as soon as we get the answers we want, we will turn to parliamentary elections. In the case of Lebanon, these elections should have happened much sooner. The Beirut disaster will serve as a force majeure that will make our politicians reveal their secret practices and come clean about what they may or may not have done. Undoubtedly, one of our government’s greatest calamities has been its continuous inability to initiate the reforms requested by the international community and by international financial institutions that have offered to save Lebanon from collapse. This inability to act and accept the help of others during dire times raises suspicion about the motivations of our elected officials. We all know that reluctance to cooperate with international donors has stemmed primarily from the fear of revealing our nation’s persistent corruption and cronyism. Now that all screens have been lifted and all hurdles have been removed, our politicians have nowhere to hide. They will have to come clean and be held accountable. The disastrous explosion in Beirut symbolizes the collapse of the cornerstone of the Lebanese brick wall. With its fall, other stones will soon drop as well. And once momentum is gained, nothing will stop the truth from coming to light. The disaster has triggered an irreversible and unstoppable domino effect that will unveil the full extent of corruption in Lebanon. – Tariq Tarshishi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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