After his month-long summer vacation, Pope Francis made a public appearance on Wednesday, the eve of the second anniversary of the deadly Beirut blast. “My thoughts go to the families of the victims of that disastrous event and to the dear Lebanese people. I pray so that each one can be consoled by faith and comforted by justice and by truth, which can never be hidden,” said Pope Francis in his weekly statement.
He added that he sincerely hopes international communities will aid Lebanon in this strenuous time, making for the rebirth of the soulful city of Beirut once again. The Pope concluded his speech by saying that with external help, he hopes to see a “renaissance” in the land of Lebanon, where people from all surroundings and religions will be able to live together in harmony.
The tragedy happened two years ago today, on August 4, 2020, when an abundance of ammonium nitrate stored at the Beirut port detonated, leading to the death of hundreds. While the disaster led to the loss of lives, it also caused the country billions worth of property loss while leaving over 300,000 people homeless. As the loss of lives and capital piled on, this deadly blast holds a record for one of the biggest nuclear explosions in world history.
As the Lebanese authorities investigated further into the explosion, while many have been accused, no real suspects or evidence have yet been found. This judicial investigation has been on hold for over eight months, while those charged have refused to attend hearings. As time progresses, the families of those afflicted are still waiting for justice and closure. The political situation appears to have gathered concern, as the Pope was scheduled to visit Lebanon in June but withheld his trip due to the conditions in the country.
Read next: Amani Al-Khatahtbeh’s New Political Podcast Will Change How Gen Z View Politics