beirut explosion jad shwery
Instagram @Jadshwery

“I always find myself feeling some sort of guilt telling my story of the 4th of August. I believe there is so much more pain that others went through, but maybe throughout this year, I learned that I might need to express it as well because the trauma is not going anywhere.

At the time of the explosion, I wasn’t home, but my apartment and office were blown away. I was between Geitawi and Mar Mikhael, which is the centre of it all. I was in my car where I thought it was an explosion above us in the very building we were next to.

But what followed was the worst 45 minutes of my life. I had no signal. I was seeing people around me coming out of homes without a hand or leg covered in blood…

Instantly I wanted to start taking people to the hospital, but I realised they were better off walking because we couldn’t move. The one thing that was important to me that very moment was telling my parents I was ok, but that was impossible. At some point, I found myself going up to a strangers house to call someone and tell them I’m fine. But I didn’t know what was happening.

All of this is important to know but what’s most important is that this explosion is the highest level of what’s been happening to Lebanese people for decades. People were being killed, and this time it was like a metaphor of what we’ve been going through and continue to go through.

I don’t think we can easily recover from that, but I think we can use it to maybe save Lebanon and the pain we have in us. The pain has turned into rage, and it should stay like that to clean the emotional mess we are in, especially the mess the country is in.”