Maronite Catholics Demand Justice as Beirut Explosion Investigation Reveals Government Negligence

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By Jessica Easthope

At Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral parishioners are praying for justice.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has been charged with negligence, more than four months after an explosion rocked the country’s capital. An investigation uncovered the blast was preventable had it not been for government mismanagement of a stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored at the Port of Beirut.

“At this point the Lebanese people are tired of the back and forth plus the economic situation and the COVID on top of that it’s making everyone really tired, they want an end of it,” said Father Dominique Hanna, the director at Our Lady of Lebanon.

Father Hanna said he’s been waiting for this day after decades of government corruption.

“The people who have been held liable or charged or indicted can defend themselves and we will be able to find out who is in charge and who was responsible,” he told Currents News.

In the wake of the explosion, the 45 churches in the Eparchy of St. Maron rallied around their loved ones back home. They sent nearly $2 million and a shipping container of supplies back to Lebanon.

“It is important for us to give something just to put a little bit of healing on that deep wound,” said Joseph Elkallassy, a parishioner at Our Lady of Lebanon who donated money back in August.

Joseph hopes this will be a turning point for his country and a new, transparent government will form.

“May God guide these politicians to do right by the people because they’re here to serve the people not to serve their own interests and unfortunately that’s not what’s happening in Lebanon,” Joseph said.

Formal indictments in the explosion will not be announced until the investigation is ready to go to trial. If Prime Minister Hassan Diab is convicted he could face up to seven years in prison.