Ritta Baaklini

A housewife and a mother who provides for her children, Rita has taken on many responsibilities over the years without ever complaining. She worked as a valet, sold newspapers, and ran her own small shop. Yet, as if her hardships were not enough, the August 4 explosion increased the challenges she faces on a daily basis.

At 6:00 PM on August 4, 2020, Rita was home in Dawra with her family after a routine day at work starting at 2:00 AM and wrapping up well after 2:00 PM. She went down to the shop under her house to follow up on a lottery ticket, but she could not leave before 6:07 PM when the glass storefront shattered, falling all over her body. Rita tried to protect her head with her hands, which sustained a severe injury causing torn tendons to her thumb.

With the help of her daughter, Rita went to Saint Joseph Hospital, where her wound was stitched to stop the bleeding. She then went to Notre Dame Des Secours Hospital in Jbeil, where she underwent surgery the next morning. Despite her successful operation, Rita needed 15 physical therapy sessions. Unfortunately, she could not afford those sessions, but instead, she tried to exercise on her own.

Until today, Rita still cannot mover her fingers like she used to, and she cannot exert any kind of pressure on her hand. She still feels pain and numbness from her finger to her elbow. She says, talking about her thumb, but also about the aftermath of the explosion, “it will never be the same again.”

“They have to be held accountable for what happened. This is how we make sure it doesn’t happen again,” and then she adds, “the government must compensate for all damages incurred in the explosion’s aftermath. Those rulers need to wake up. We are tired. But a conscience cannot be bought. This will probably never happen. Hopefully justice will prevail one day.”