Beiroshima, a latter-day Napoleon in Beirut10 August 2020, 11.06
The explosion in a densely populated area in Beirut, the biggest explosion after Hiroshima, was named in Arab media as Beiroshima. The scene and aftermath of the explosion could only be akin to Hiroshima. The physical and psychological trauma caused in Lebanon by this explosion, as a result of which the number of dead reached almost 200, more than 5,000 people have been injured, and tens of thousands of houses were completely destroyed, deserves to be titled Beiroshima.
However, one very significant difference between the two blasts is that Lebanon is currently not in a state of war with anybody, and the real cause of the explosion remains unknown. It could be the result of a bombing or, in fact, be the result of a fire caused by an accident that developed inside completely due to negligence. If it was an outside intervention via a missile, then there is no need to seek the perpetrator. The usual suspect is Israel, and Israel always more than deserves to be in this position.
However, whether the explosion happened by accident or it was Israel’s doing – even though it denied from the very beginning all accusations that it had any role – in any case, it was clear that it would draw attention to Iran’s role in Lebanon through Hezbollah, and most likely push Iran to evaluate its role in the Islamic world. This is due to the fact that even though Hezbollah said there was no ammonium nitrate reserves at the point where the explosion happened, the harbor is under its control, and it will not be able to provide an explanation for why such a massive amount of ammonium nitrate was being kept at that location for six years. Thus, in any case, it becomes the primary target of the Lebanese public’s anger.
It is due to this event that Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon has been questioned by the Lebanese people for the first time in such a strong manner. Beirut was one of the four Sunni capitals it was always proud of having under its control. It brought nothing but destruction, death, and continuous instability to the other three Sunni capitals. It is truly impossible to comprehend what there is about this to be proud. Thus, now, Iran can no longer find anybody to stand witness for it with good intentions against such an event in Lebanon.
Turkey mobilized its humanitarian aid organizations, civil society organizations such as the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Red Crescent, Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), and Sadakataşı the instant it heard about the event and ran to Lebanon’s aid. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the first leader to call Lebanese President Michel Aoun. When Erdoğan called Aoun to extend his condolences and wish a speedy recovery, the cargo aircraft transporting Turkey’s aids and crews had long departed for Lebanon and about to land in Beirut.
Erdoğan told Aoun that Turkey will support its sister country Lebanon in every way it can. The following day, a delegation including Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Beirut and presented their concrete support to Lebanon in person. It was announced that ambulance aircraft were mobilized for the wounded, and all hospitals in Turkey are open and ready to provide treatment. It was stated that Mersin harbor is temporarily open for Lebanon’s use to meet its needs in place of the destroyed Beirut harbor.
Turkey is making extremely critical preparations against the social or natural disasters within the country. It has set an exemplary performance worldwide with respect to dealing with the problems caused by the migration it has been receiving from Syria for years. As Turkey is also an earthquake country, it has gained significant, rapid and effective recovery and aid experience against natural disasters. The fact that the first help crews to reach Lebanon were from Turkey is a necessity of the deep historical and cultural ties between the countries.
Turkey did not make this aid with any expectation in mind. As Beirut burns, the people in Turkey burn. When the people in Damascus, Tripoli, Baghdad face an infliction, the pain is felt deeply by the people all the way in Istanbul, Gaziantep, Ankara, Mersin, Yozgat. Can the Napoleon-wannabe French president possibly feel this?
French President Emmanuel Macron was also in Lebanon a day before the Turkish delegation. We had the opportunity to listen to the comparison between these two visits from broadcasts reflecting the Arab people’s sentiments. One Arab journalist made the following comment, which has many similar versions:
“Macron came with his colonial brazenness and arrogance. He belittled our president, disrespected him, and wanted to use the people of Lebanon, who are occupied with their own pain, in his competition against Turkey. He seemed very hasty. Is there anybody who heard or knows what he offered the people of Lebanon at the end of this visit? He came like a colonial authority, gave instructions to the people of Lebanon, and left without giving anything. Though he has plans involving Maronites, during the press conference he held, he displayed the greatest insolence in history towards the Maronite president. Yet, the Turkish delegation that came in representation of Erdoğan had sent their aid even before they came to meet. During their visit, they were greeted by the people of Lebanon just as expected. With cheers expressing great joy and gratitude towards Erdoğan.”
Turkey’s sole concern during this event it to relieve its brothers, to help Lebanon recover. Yet, the plans Macron failed to hide got the better of him. Even during such a visit, he could not help himself from expressing his feelings towards Turkey through the wreck.
Whatever it is that he is seeking under and over the wreck in Libya, it is not going to be easy to find it from now on, because it is no longer the era of Napoleons – Macron would not make a Napoleon anyway.