People of Beirut Still Hide ‘Huge Scars’ After Deadly Blast

Year after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut port and surrounding neighborhoods, the physical and psychological damage it inflicted is staggering.

The art community in Beirut still trying to save and rebuild what is left following the dreadful explosion that decimated people’s homes and lives on August 4.

Photographer Tarek Moukaddem was in his apartment on that day. Documenting Beirut’s frenetic nightlife he found himself wandering the streets, literally dazed and confused, in the hours after the blast. He was trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Most of my friends and colleagues lost their homes and workspaces and or got displaced (more than 300,000 people got displaced), many of them got severely injured and lost family members and friends. More than half of the city population was directly affected by the catastrophe. It’s almost impossible to be living in Beirut without knowing people who are personally affected.

A year after the explosion, the photographer returns to a memorable day in a series of photos of the physical scars of August 4th.

I’m not gonna lie, for a while those scars were a constant reminder of that day, every time I had to look in the mirror. With time, it’s funny to say but they grew on me and taught me different meanings and values. Today, 1 year mourning day, I am constantly reminded and motivated for a better life. Some things need to be broken in order to be rebuilt.

Not all wounds are visible, whether to a body or a beloved city. On top of the horrific physical injuries that are being treated in hospitals, people still can’t forget what happened. The accounts of suffering caused by the explosion are harrowing.

The physical scars of the August 4th explosion tell the stories of how our city got destroyed by our own government, our houses stolen from us, our bodies disfigured and killed. Our emotional scars tell the stories of many sleepless nights worrying about and grieving our loved ones. Happy past memories were stolen forever, not knowing where to go next. One year later, no one is held accountable, the same people who scarred us are still in power. As long as our scars remains, we will never stop fighting for justice.
Marie-Thérèse. Fashion Model

Even people who appear relatively unscathed or who escaped with minor injuries feel a profound sense of loss or despair.

Moukaddem is a fashion photographer who graduated from ALBA in 2008 and went on to earn his master’s degree from the same school in 2010. He is now one of the big names in the Lebanese fashion industry. Moukaddem’s work has been exhibited in 12 countries, including France and England. He’s also been featured on CNN, BBC, and The Telegraph newspaper.

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