Photo by Hsein Kazma
On August 1, actress Marie-Lou Nahhas (best known for playing Egyptian-born inmate Shani Abboud on Season 7 of Orange Is the New Black) landed in Lebanon with her sister and manager Dana Nahhas. Before even being able to take so much as a few breaths of fresh air in their homeland, an explosion occurred.
The blast shook the ground, shattering glass throughout the city, wounding many and taking the lives of some 150 people. As reported on NPR, authorities are still looking into exactly what happened at the port warehouse which held 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used for making both fertilizer and explosives. Meanwhile, some Lebanese officials have reported they were concerned about the cargo for years. Overall the tragedy appears to be the result of what NPR calls “deep paralysis” on the part of government bodies, political neglect and mismanagement which has been the impetus for widespread street protests that began over a year ago.
Marie-Lou, known for her screen accolades as well as activist work, joined forces with sister Dana and Chaker Khazaal on a new campaign for the citizens of Beirut called Candle of Hope. Khazaal, a writer, initially started the campaign during the pandemic to virtually light a candle and start counting hope instead of death. With the release of the Candle of Hope app, through which users around the world can donate to families in crisis across Beirut, their team reaches out for all of us to light a candle for Beirut.
You can also download the app Light A Candle for Beirut: https://candle.app/
NPR, “Beirut Explosion Looks Like An Accident — And A Sign Of The Country’s Collapse” By Larry Kaplow, Ruth Sherlock, Nada Homsi, August 7, 2020