On August 4, 2020, a new tragedy struck Lebanon. An explosion of unprecedented magnitude in the country’s history occurred in the port of Beirut and left more than 180 dead (Lebanese, Syrians and other nationalities), more than 6,500 injured and 300,000 homeless. Dozens of people also remain missing and entire districts of Beirut have been devastated. The explosion flattened large sectors of the port of Beirut, which received more than 70 percent of the value of country’s imported goods in 2019, and also destroyed Lebanon’s strategic grain reserve.
This catastrophe, on top of the pandemic and deep recession, is the product of the country’s neoliberal political system and the different fractions of the bourgeois parties that rule it. It is thus not an accident, but a crime. The parties place their sectarian ambition for political power and narrow pursuit of profit before all else, even to the point of neglecting the very lives of those they exploit and oppress.
If there is a saving grace amidst this disaster, it is the revival of the struggle that had swept the country over the last year, part of the regional revolutionary process that had reemerged in 2019. The challenge for the movement is building popular organizations of struggle and political parties to provide an alternative to the neoliberal and sectarian system. If it is unable to do so, it runs the risk of being trapped in new elections that change nothing.
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