Maria Obeid

Maria celebrated her 13th birthday on August 3, 2020, and little did she know August 4 would also mark her life, and that of all Lebanese people.

Rim describes her daughter’s life before the August 4 explosion: “Maria was a talented student and a brilliant child; she passionately loved painting and made bead bracelets to give to her friends.” However, after the blast, Maria became a different person, and she is always struggling to overcome what happened in order to stay strong, while her innocence is now but a distant memory.

On that fateful day, Maria was home in Mar Mikhael when she heard the first blast. She did not know where the sound came from, but she thought she was safe, until a second huge explosion was heard and she was completely shook. The blast shattered a glass cabinet near her and one of her eyes was injured by shards of glass. Maria’s mom accompanied her from one hospital to the next asking for help, until they arrived to the Eye and Ear Hospital in Naccache, where she underwent a first surgery sometimes after midnight.

Maria’s journey was one of patience and determination; it included seven surgeries. Her father’s social security covered most of the treatment expenses, while the Ministry of Health took care of the rest. However, all of it would not have been possible if it wasn’t for generous souls that decided to help her cover doctor visits fees. Maria’s family personally covered the costs of her eye drops.

Two years after the blast, Maria still suffers from the explosion’s aftermath, and she refuses to accept the extent of neglect and indifference officials continue to show regarding that matter. She says: “Is it reasonable that in a country like Lebanon, no one cares about the people who have been harmed?” She then adds: “I will never forgive them.”

Her mother Rim believes that it is her daughter’s right to receive compensation for the harm done to her and the impact it had on her life. She also calls on the state to cover different stages of her daughter’s treatment, no matter how long it takes. Yet, she doesn’t even know who to ask, or who would even listen. She also calls for justice and accountability even if it will not change what happened. She finishes saying: “I cannot forgive them. How can I forgive them? God is great.”