Beirut, Two Years After the Blast

As the fourth of August approaches and as a tribute to the victims of the Beirut port explosion. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) hosted a panel discussion entitled “Beirut, Two Years After the Blast” on July 28, 2022 as part of the “Beirut Debates” series.

Ms. Halima Tabiaa moderated the panel discussion. The panelists: Ms. Paula Yaakoubian, member of parliament representing the most affected area in Beirut, Mr. Firas Hatoum – Investigative Journalist, Mr. William Noun – Representative of the family of the victims- Fire fighters and Ms. Layal Bou Moussa – investigative journalist conducted a reality check on the status of the investigation and tackled recent developments of the Beirut port explosion case.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Michael Bauer, KAS representative to Lebanon and director, welcomed the panelist and the audience and expressed his respects to the families of the victims of the Beirut Port explosion. Mr. Bauer stated:Today, two years after the blast, the investigations are still obstructed, families of the victims haven’t reach peace and many of the about 300,000 people who were initially left homeless after the blast are still struggling to rebuild their homes.”

William Noun who started the discussion, affirmed that all attempts to intimidate the public will not work and would not stop the people from continuing their movement on August 4. He urged the Lebanese to participate massively in the second anniversary of the explosion.

He added that the reason people are holding on to the silos is not out of admiration for its appearance, but rather to serve as a reminder of the August 4, 2020 tragedy that left 230 people dead and thousands injured.

As for Mr. Firas Hatoum, he revealed that he was in the process of broadcasting the new season of the documentary "Babur Al-mawt " after his visit to Georgia and the RUSTAVI AZOT factory, from which the shipment of ammonium nitrates was launched, after obtaining a set of data.

Hatoum confirmed that there were other suspicious shipments that were initiated from Georgia during the same period, i.e. in 2013.

Hatoum believed that the political power that barred Judge Tariq Al-Bitar from the case file, owe an explanation to the families of the victims and those detained in connection with it.

As for Ms. Layal Bou Moussa, she emphasized that it was difficult to follow up on the port explosion issue through investigative journalism, particularly because many documents and official records, according to the testimony of people involved, contained fraudulent and wrong numbers and information.

She laid down several scenarios and hypothesis to explain the reasons behind the tragic event without adopting any of them.

According to Bou Moussa, no amount of intimidation has and will be able to stop her from carrying out her journalistic duties, unlike the judges who conducted the investigation's follow-up.

As for Ms. Paula Yaakoubian, she renewed her assertion that there is no confidence in the Lebanese Parliament and reiterated her claim that fraud occurred during the vote on the legislation to preserve silos. She added; "What frightens me more is the dust of misinformation, not the dust of silos."

Yaakoubian stated that the internal inquiry into the port case was unable to draw any findings in any of the crimes that occurred due to "state terrorism," so she supports an international investigation into the matter, at least to learn some of the truth.

Yaakoubian stressed that she does not trust the Supreme Council for the Trial of Presidents and Ministers, because it represents the ruling class, stressing the need to demand the independence of the judiciary law.


Nour Alwan


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