My Port of Beirut by Lamia Ziadé, Translated by Emma Ramadan
"Magical...Lamia Ziadé tells the story of the explosion as she experienced it: from afar but in the heart. A book of love, mourning and anger"-- Elle
On the evening of August 4, 2020, an explosion tore through Beirut, leaving nearly 200 people dead, 6,000 injured, and 300,000 homeless. The blast was caused by storing thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate alongside a stash of fireworks--a deadly arrangement about which the government had known but done nothing.
For six months straight, French Lebanese author and artist Lamia Ziadé wrote, illustrated, and recorded every new piece of information, every photograph of the wreckage or the wounded. In My Port of Beirut, Ziadé weaves together the play-by-play of the tragedy and the history of Lebanon with her own personal stories and her participation in the 2019 protests against state corruption, laying out the historical and political background that made such a catastrophe possible and, perhaps, inevitable.
Lamia Ziadé is a Lebanese author, illustrator, and visual artist. Born in Beirut in 1968 and raised during the Lebanese Civil War, she moved to Paris at 18 to study graphic arts. She then worked as a designer for Jean-Paul Gaultier, exhibited her art in numerous galleries internationally, and went on to publish several illustrated books, including Ma très grande mélancolie arabe, which won the Prix France-Liban, Ô nuit, ô mes yeux and Bye bye Babylone.