He is Safe After the Deadly Explosions in Beirut. Thank Goodness.

No one expected the explosions which rocked the port of the city of Beirut on that otherwise peacefully clear afternoon of Tuesday, August 4, 2020; and that second explosion — which was substantially more powerful than the first explosion — caused at least 158 deaths, approximately 6,000 injuries, as much as $15 billion in property damage, and an estimated 300,000 people suddenly became homeless. Dozens of balconies had collapsed; countless windows were shattered; and bricks were torn away from buildings.

He is Safe After the Deadly Explosions in Beirut. Thank Goodness.

The explosions were so powerful that they emulated the detonation of a nuclear bomb — complete with a mushroom cloud — which were felt for miles from the epicenter.

This 14 seconds of video — which was posted on Twitter — is difficult to watch.

A beautiful city which I visited back in 2006, the capital city of Lebanon was suddenly devastated. The detonation of greater than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate — which had reportedly been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014 — suddenly caused people to be dazed as they were covered in blood; and streets to be littered with assorted debris.

That had me thinking about one Lebanese citizen whom I had met in person in the United States and who also imparted valuable advice to me prior to my trip to Lebanon: I will not reveal his real name in order to protect his identity for his safety; but he is known on FlyerTalk as BEYFlyer.

BEYFlyer is on the left; and Dovster is on the right. Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

He and FlyerTalk member Dovster — who resides in Israel — met for the first time in Boca Raton in Florida to break bread and be among friends; and the photograph shown above is the absolute first photograph ever taken of the two of them together. Even though the countries in which they live share a common border, it is fenced — and the two countries are technically at war with each other; so despite living in relatively close proximity to each other, meeting was virtually impossible…

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

…that is, until the weekend of Friday, October 26, 2007, where the two men brokered a symbolic peace deal between Lebanon and Israel in as few as seven minutes and 30 seconds — at a barbecue restaurant which served pork, which is neither Halal nor Kosher.

Fast forward almost 13 years later: “Has anyone heard from BEYFlyer recently?” a concerned Dovster asked after learning of the aforementioned explosions. “BEY has not posted since January, and Lebanon is in very bad straights right now. In addition to the coronavirus which all of us are at risk from, Lebanon’s economy is close to collapsing, there has been a lot of civil strife in recent months, and it seems to be bordering on another civil war. I sent him a PM a few days ago but received no answer. On top of all of that, today there was a major explosion in the port area (which is about 12 kilometers from where he lives and 6 kilometers from the center of the city, which is where I believe that he has his office). News reports are saying that hundreds of people were injured.”

Thankfully, BEYFlyer responded the next day, Wednesday, August 5, 2020: “Thank you both for checking in. Safe and sound. Beirut is a war zone; so much loss of life and destruction. Please safe everyone.”

Meanwhile, FlyerTalk member BA6501 — who resides just outside of Beirut — posted that he has “no words. A lot of material damage, but nothing in comparison to the human disaster – short term and medium term. Thankfully my family are all well, despite a close call. A close friend wasn’t so lucky.”

Summary

Beirut Lebanon

Photograph ©2006 by Brian Cohen.

Now is the time to come together and pray for the innocent people of Beirut, as they are going through some unimaginable hardship due to a confluence of problems and issues — no matter what are your beliefs, religion, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, age, gender, or any other classification with which you identify — as they are in my thoughts; and may that beautiful city once again be rebuilt…

…and — perhaps some day — may it also be welcoming to all visitors and once again be known as the Paris of the Middle East.

Most of us likely share the same sentiment as BA6501: “2020 can’t end soon enough.”

All photographs ©2006 and ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “He is Safe After the Deadly Explosions in Beirut. Thank Goodness.”

  1. Rich says:

    The world is just horribly broken right now. Glad your friend is ok.

    I’ve lost 2 people to the virus and 4 others were moderately sick. One death was my age which makes the pain even worse and I knew him for 30 years.

    I was chatting with a young, 31, lady who is just depressed at an age that should be no worries. She lost one job, and sleeps most days when not working. When she tries going out it isn’t fun and gets political.

    And then we have too many countries that are just war zones. A few get wealthy while many suffer and die. I am late 50s and never felt so demoralized in my life. It is like why did I save money for retirement when I don’t even know if I want to be alive.

    Best wishes.

  2. NB_ga says:

    @Rich, I am so sorry to hear of your losses.

    It is such a scary time for everyone. Your pain is evident. It is important that we are here for one another. Is there anything your fellow readers can do to help?

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