Dispatches from the field: Our Destinies and Suffering are one - Jihad Banat's story

08 August 2020
Dispatches from the field: Our Destinies and Suffering are one - Jihad Banat's story

I was on Gemayzeh street in Mar Michail, Beirut around 6 p.m. preparing my carpentry tools when I heard the first explosion. I rushed inside the shop and heard the second explosion just a few seconds later. The blast tore the iron door of shop out and it hit me in the face and I passed out.

When I came to and opened my eyes, I thought the explosion was an assassination attempt and I became very distressed. I just wanted to get to my wife and kids safely. I didn’t know what happened. Everything felt blurred. My friend, who was hurt in the leg, carried me out of the shop. The pain in my head was immense and I was bleeding as we walked through the rubble and destruction. We reached the Mohamed al Ameen mosque and two people took us on their motorbikes to two separate hospitals. I lost contact with my friend. My family thought I was missing. Everything was terrifying. There was fire, blood and black smoke everywhere and people wounded.

I am a Palestine refugee who was born and raised in the southern Jiyyeh area of Beirut. I have never seen anything like this before. What happened to Lebanon touches me to the core and makes me very sad. Our blood mixes with that of the Lebanese in this catastrophe. We as Palestine refugees feel very much for Lebanon, the country that has hosted us for so long. In the beginning it was an economic crisis, then coronavirus and now this explosion! This is all so painful for us and we feel the pain of our Lebanese brothers and sisters.

My wish now? That Lebanon regains peace and stability. Beirut is the queen of the Arab capitals; it does not deserve this mutilation. I really wish that the countries of the world stand by Lebanon, a country that still hosts us despite all its suffering.