On 4 August 2020, fifteen-year-old Elias Khoury was at his family’s apartment in Mar Mikhael when he looked out of his window and saw a fire at Beirut Port. He went to notify his mother Mireille, who was lying in bed and working on her laptop. His sister Nour joined them, and the three stood by the window and watched the fire. It had a strange color.

Mireille told them to move away from the windows. Elias went into his bedroom to film the fire with his phone.

At 18:07, Mireille steps out of her bedroom, followed by Nour. A double explosion shakes the capital. Mireille faints and wakes up a few minutes later on the ground amidst destruction and covered in blood. She steps out of her damaged apartment and sees Elias lying on the floor next to the stairs, her brother Georges standing beside him. She calls her husband Bassam, who says he is on his way. When he arrives minutes later, he runs up the stairs and carries Elias onto the street. A man drives a car past them and offers help.

Nour walks down the stairs, covered in blood. A man on a moped offers her a ride.

Mireille looks around. She is alone at her apartment. The main door is broken. She walks down the stairs and finds a ride with a man on his moped. She feels pain all over her body. He drops her at LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital in Achrafieh. She uses a stranger’s phone to call Georges and tell him where she is, before she is admitted to the operating theater.

Elias was admitted to Hotel Dieu Hospital and taken directly to the operating theater. He had a fractured skull. Two walls had fallen on him. Several people had helped Georges rescue him from under the rubble.

Nour went with Georges to a hospital outside the capital, where she stayed the night before being transferred to Hotel Dieu. Her injuries were severe. Mireille stayed alone at the hospital in Achrafieh. She had a fractured back and was not allowed to move.

Bassam did not leave his son, who was in a coma. Two weeks later, Mireille left the hospital and went directly to see Elias. He was still in the intensive care unit, and his condition was not improving.

The following day, Bassam received a call from the hospital early in the morning. At the intensive care unit, Elias’ blood pressure was very low. The doctors told the family that it was over.

The funeral was on August 20.

“Elias had made two rap songs with his friend during COVID-19. He had dreams as big as the world. But he left too soon”, Mireille says.

A minute of mourning for the victims of the Beirut Port explosion.

04 . 08 . 2020    18 : 08

04 . 08 . 2020 18 : 08