International & Antiwar News


Originally published in the Summer 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 62, printed August 14. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Summer 2020 issue or download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

Photo by Adeeb Abed.

Around 100 people attended a Candlelight Vigil for Lebanon Aug. 8 at Richmond’s Monroe Park in a show of solidarity with the people of Beirut.

On Aug. 4, a massive explosion rocked Lebanon’s capital city’s port, taking the lives of at least 220 people, with another 7,000 injured and $10-15 billion in property damage, a huge disaster for a country already experiencing a severe economic crisis and the effects of the coroavirus pandemic.

While most of those at the vigil were Lebanese ex-pats, many of whom had relatives affected by the explosion, they were joined by other Arab-Americans and members of the Black community.

The disaster was reportedly the result of the unsafe storage of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer widely used in agriculture, but which is highly volatile when placed under the stress of heat and pressure. Vigil organizers called on people to make donations through the Lebanese Red Cross.

There also was a local drive on Aug. 9th and 10th to send material aid to the devastated city.

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