Community//

Beirut – The Crimson Aftermath

The city after the explosion, a painting in words

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The gentle Mediterranean waters tend to the wounds where Warehouse 12 once stood. Her salts bathe the crater, and she too weeps for the city.

Beirut rebuilt, now a tangled wreck of metal and windows blown. Injured and hopeless in the streets, the Paris of the Middle East is no more.

Smoky tendrils drift through the crumbled abyss and wrap their arms around the bereft. A port, a neighbourhood gone. Firefighters fight on, in memory of lost crew, and a nurse crawls over the fallen to gather up newborns.

Trails of sweat cut through the sirens and dust as rescuers sift first for the living, and alarms drown out the music left playing when the terrace restaurants emptied.

The city watched the first explosion, not knowing the second would shred their lives. Walls stripped from apartment blocks, doors splintered and no windows for miles.

In the crimson aftermath, people start to move. Screaming torrents flood from buildings. Families search. Misshapen cars plough through the confusion, highway-bound. No destination but out-of-town.

Some have returned with dustpans and brooms to shuffle the debris. But their neighbours won’t be back. Three hundred thousand people’s homes gone. Just as the country’s grain that cushioned the blast.

This is a land already on its knees. A currency in crisis, water and electricity turned on once a day and even food out of reach for many.

In the small of a stairwell a man comes across a woman.

“Are you ok?” he said. Silence and acrid air hung low in the shadows. She was huddled in a corner, two children in lap. Blood and tears coloured her drawn face, while a safety pin lay in the shattered glass.

“I can’t take any more,” she said.

Across the city despair reigns hard.

Screams pierce as motorcycles deliver the injured to makeshift wards in hospital car parks, while the brave drag staff and patients from the rubble.

Nurses sob. The lash of pressure that demolished a city took out the back-up power. They watched patients bleed out and gasp their last breaths.

They don’t yet know the country’s medicine is gone.

Sending love to the people of Lebanon.

@Liz_Newton_

Image: Pixabay

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