Kivorek Paul Talyan
As if it was not enough for poor people to survive the economic crisis and its repercussions, as well as their inability to access their basic needs as a result to financial inflation, they had to go through the explosion on August 4, which turned the lives of thousands of people into a never-ending nightmare. Kevork, a taxi driver, was one of those affected by the blast; Kevork lived alone in Bourj Hammoud, after his wife and daughter left him.
Kevork’s injury had a different impact, as he was alone in a strange building while he feared for his life. He recalls that fateful August 4 afternoon; he was helping out his nephew by delivering clothes to his clients in exchange for money. As he walked up a strange building to deliver an order, the explosion happened. Kevork thought a missile hit the building: “it was so strong, it pushed me off the ground, I thought I died.” He lived those moments in terror and fear, his life turned upside down and his car was completely destroyed.
The loneliness Kevork experienced during those moments felt terrible, but he overcame his pain and walked to his brother who lived nearby. He was then evacuated to the hospital and underwent several medical tests. The doctor told him he sustained an injury to his shoulder, and that he had to rest at home as he won’t be able to return to work for a while. Kevork who was already struggling financially, battled depression after the injury that lost him his job and destroyed his car. He did not have any other means of earning money, which put him in a spiral of fear of poverty and sickness, when he could not even afford to repair his car.
Kevork lost 20 kilograms, and he says that the Lebanese government and international organizations helped cover his treatment costs. Despite his frustration, he did not lose hope. A year after the blast, he found a job as a security guard, and he proudly says: “there is no shame in honest work,” and he is determined to move on and continue to live although his salary is not enough to improve his drastic financial situation.
Kevork insists that the whole government is responsible for what happened to him, and it must be held accountable for the explosion the Lebanese authorities and officials caused with their corruption and negligence. He calls for justice, accountability, and compensation for what happened to him as a result of the Beirut port explosion.