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After the blast: how Beirut’s clean-up operation is exposing Lebanon’s wider state dysfunction

Instead of clearing up the Lebanese state is cracking down

By Lizzie Porter   October 2020

A worker collects shattered glass in Beirut Photo: PA/Xinhua News Agency

In the gathering darkness, three men are bending to the pavement on Pasteur Street in east Beirut, sorting rubber tubing from shattered glass from splintered wood. These are what remains of once-cherished belongings after an enormous explosion tore through the Lebanese capital’s seaport on 4th August. “I feel dead inside,” said one of the men, shaking his arms and glove-clad hands, as if trying to force energy back into his body. “It will take 15 years to repair this area, I reckon. But the effort of me doing this kind of work is nothing compared with the pain of…

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