Two years and zero accountability for the Beirut blast

Our readers have their say on Lebanon, the Kabul attack, Myanmar's executions and the UAE's heroic nurses

A wounded man waits for aid at Beirut's port following the massive explosion that hit the heart of the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020. AFP
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It has been two years since the Beirut Port explosion, and the Lebanese people are still looking for justice and accountability.

The blast was the largest non-nuclear explosion recorded in history, yet some high-placed politicians succeeded in halting the investigation for two years to avoid holding accountable officials found to be suspects in this horrible crime.

Judge Fadi Sawan, who led the investigation, was removed in December 2020 due to pressure from former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeitar. When Judge Tarek Bitar, who took over the probe, sought to question senior government officials, including Mr Khalil, Mr Zeitar and Maj Gen Abbas Ibrahim, he was threatened and the investigation came to a halt.

I condemn the constant suppression of the truth by the Hezbollah-backed government. I call on the UN to look into who was responsible for the explosion and hold these individuals responsible. Lives were lost, people were injured, and houses were destroyed.

With respect to the victims, I call for accountability.

Zoya Fakhoury, New Hampshire, US

Is Kabul sheltering Al Qaeda operatives?

I write in reference to Sulaiman Hakemy's report Afghans stunned to learn terror leader Al Zawahiri was living in central Kabul (August 2): I am not surprised to read that ordinary Afghans have reacted to the news of Al Zawahiri's killing with "uncertainty" and "trepidation". After all, authorities in Kabul have been tight-lipped about the US government's attack. Ever since the Taliban takeover almost a year ago, there have been fears that Afghanistan will once again become a terrorist haven. People will wonder whether the regime is providing sanctuary to Al Qaeda leaders and operatives, like it did when it was previously in power. They will be nervous about the fallout of the assassination. In these circumstances, it's hard to expect peace and stability to return to Afghanistan anytime soon.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru, India

Stop executions in Myanmar

With regard to the article Myanmar junta executes four pro-democracy activists (July 25): it broke my heart to learn about the executions. These activists were not terrorists; they were freedom fighters. Organisations such as the UN and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, and the international community more broadly, need to act quickly to prevent more such executions.

Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, Kuala Lumpur

Recognising the UAE's nurses

I write in reference to Ramola Talwar Badam's article UAE nurses and frontline workers 'thrilled' over surprise golden visa upgrade (July 8): my mother is due to retire soon. After having worked as a nurse in the UAE for four decades, her expected return to India had left us all feeling bittersweet. She had wanted to stay on in Al Ain, particularly after some of her colleagues had received the Golden Visa in April. Not having received one at the time, however, she had mentally prepared herself to bid goodbye to the Emirates.

But last month, on her 61st birthday no less, she received the Golden Visa. "It is the best gift one can get upon a painful retirement," she told me. She was overwhelmed. And I understood straightaway how much this meant to her. As authorities in the UAE have often said, "nurses are the health sector heroes". I couldn't agree more, although I would add that my mother is to some of us a "family hero", too.

The UAE government's move to reward these heroes is truly laudable.

Daniel Varghese, Konigswinter, Germany

Published: August 05, 2022, 2:45 AM