Compound Crises: Ziad Abu-Rish Reports on the Chemical Explosion In Beirut


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On Tuesday, August 4th, a massive explosion rocked Beirut and sent a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. The blast, which struck the city with a force comparable to a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, destroyed much of the country’s main port, flattened and damaged hundreds of buildings, including three hospitals, and a huge number of businesses and homes. So far, 135 fatalities have been counted, 300,000 have been displaced and over 5000 have been injured. Hundreds of people are still trying to know the whereabouts of their loved ones who went missing.

To get a better picture of what happened in Beirut and the economic and political crisis compounded by the covid-19 pandemic that is pushing the country to the brink of economic collapse, Shahram Aghamir spoke with Ziad Abu Rish the Co-Director of the MA Program in Human Rights and the Arts, and Visiting Associate Professor of Human Rights, at Bard College. Ziad is a 2020–21 Research Fellow in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. His research explores state formation, economic development, and popular mobilizations in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Lebanon and Jordan. He serves as Co-Editor of Arab Studies Journal and Jadaliyya. He is also a Research Fellow at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS).

Photo by Hiba Al Kallas

312 episodes