A detonation of 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate, left carelessly laying around for the past six years in an unsafe depot of the port of Beirut, devastated the city over a radius of 6 miles, leaving 200 dead, 7000 injured, dozens of missing, thousands of buildings and apartments destroyed, three hundred thousand homeless.
This calamity befalls the people of Lebanon already afflicted in their work, livelihood and future by a financial crisis, a typical product of the Ponzi schemes by a ruling class of cynical bankers, contractors and corrupt politicians. They already have been defending their dignity against the shameless ruling class for months and they now have to deal with the additional consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese have been in the streets since 17 October 2019 in protest against the devaluation of the Lebanese pound, the meteoric rise in the cost of living, massive unemployment, the rise in poverty levels, the collapse of the standard of living of the middle classes, and the collapse of public services in education, health, transport, etc.
They are back now to denounce the odious crime of 4 August, committed by a failed state against its own people, asking for accountability of all responsible for this crime.
We, members of the Progressive International, declare our solidarity with the people of Lebanon in the face of this catastrophe.
We call upon all progressive governments, political parties, trade unions, organizations of civil society, public persons and the international public opinion to contribute their share to the international humanitarian relief of which the people of Lebanon is in dire need.
We also wish to extend its solidarity with the struggle of the progressive forces of Lebanon for a just, egalitarian, open and democratic society.
We know that all beautiful things are fragile. Beirut will stay beautiful. We will keep it beautiful.
Julian Aguon is a human rights lawyer and founder of Blue Ocean Law, a progressive firm working across Oceania at the intersection of indigenous rights and environmental justice.
Renata Ávila is an international human rights lawyer. She is a 2020 Stanford Race and Technology Fellow at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization.
Srećko Horvat is a philosopher. He has been active in various movements for the past two decades. He co-founded the Subversive Festival in Zagreb and, together with Yanis Varoufakis, founded DiEM25.
Giorgio Jackson is a politician and activist. He started as an activist by being a national leader in the student mobilizations of 2011. He is founder and first congressman of the political party Democratic Revolution and the coalition “Frente Amplio” (Broad Front), achieving the highest number of votes in the last national elections.
Ertuğrul Kürkçü is the current Honorary President of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and Honorary Associate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He was the co-chair of the HDP in 2013-14 and the member of parliament for three successive terms between 2011-2018.
Harsh Mander is human rights and peace worker, writer, columnist, researcher, and teacher. He works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children.
Nanjala Nyabola is a writer, independent researcher, and political analyst. Her work focuses on conflict and post-conflict transitions, with a focus on refugees and migration, as well as East African politics generally. She is the author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics and the co-editor of Where Women Are.
John McDonnell is a Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington. From 2015 to 2020, he served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Aruna Roy is a Founder-Member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), the National Campaign to People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and the School for Democracy (SFD).
Ahdaf Soueif is the author of the bestselling novel The Map of Love. Her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in 2014. She is the Founder and Chair of the Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) and a widely published political and cultural commentator.
Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best- known novelists and political commentators, appearing in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman, and Der Spiegel. Her recent novel Women Who Blow on Knots won the 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. She is the recipient of the PEN Translate Award, the New Ambassador of Europe Prize, and “Honorary Citizenship” from the city of Palermo for her work on behalf of oppressed voices.
Photo: Gaetano Virgallito
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