Navia Al Ghawee

Beirut… A city full of life; noise, traffic, and music playing in every corner… A tourist destination, it is often a preferred choice to explore historical landmarks.

The pace of life in Beirut is fast, diverse, and exciting, with a soaring nightlife, despite the many crises Lebanon had to go through. Hope remains the driving force for a people that refuses to give up.

However, August 4 changed everything about beautiful lively Beirut. It transformed it into a city of sorrow after the explosion at the port of Beirut, which broke the hearts of many around the world but failed to shake the conscience of the Lebanese political elite. The people’s blood stained mosques and churches in one of humanity’s biggest explosions.

Who would have thought that a normal day could turn into mass murder, instilling fear in the hearts of people who sought safety and peace? Who would erase the memory of bloodied streets, deaths, and injuries caused by one horrible blast?

26-year-old Navia, a university student majoring in public health and nutrition, recalls the events of that day with deep sorrow and grief, knowing that she sought safety away from her homeland. She remembers:

“On August 4, 2020, as I was helping my mom with lunch, I went out to the balcony of our home in Achrafieh to feed my turtle…”

Suddenly, she was thrown off the floor into the living room, and all of the furniture fell over her body. Twenty minutes later, Navia was still trapped under the rubble not knowing what had happened. She doesn’t remember she heard the sound of the explosion. However, she was shocked she survived, while she could have been thrown down from the balcony instead of inside the house. Navia suffered from multiple injuries including injuries to her hip, pelvis, and back, in addition to torn muscles in her hands, feet, and even shoulders.

Navia spent the next six months in bed, recovering from her injuries. Many times she wished she had died rather than having to endure such physical and emotional pain. She hopelessly questioned the meaning of her life: “Is there still any purpose to my life? Why am I still alive, and what for?”

Time passed slowly as she stayed in her bed through a long treatment journey she had to afford on her own in drastic economic conditions, without any assistance from the government.

After more than two years since the tragic explosion at the port of Beirut, Navia thanks God for a new opportunity at a life where she can make her dreams come true. She refuses to address the state of Lebanon, but only wishes mercy on the people fighting for a normal life on a daily basis.