On 4 August 2020, it was Amira’s birthday. She planned to celebrate that evening with her husband, Firas Dahwish, at their home in Furn el-Chebbak. She would cook dinner, and he would bring the cake after finishing work at the art gallery in Hamra.

At 17:50, Firas sent Amira a message to tell her that he was leaving work. He rode his moped to the pastry shop, and at 18:00, he sent her another message with a photo of the last cake at the shop. She replied, “Okay Habibi”. A few minutes later, she received a call from her brother.

At 18:07, a loud explosion shakes the apartment. On the other side of the phone line, Amira hears her brother shouting as stones fall onto his car. She rushes to the balcony. Behind the buildings across the road, thick pink smoke billows. Suddenly, her chest tightens. She starts screaming, “My husband! My husband…”.

Amira calls Firas several times in vain. She asks her friends to call him too. Finally, someone answers Firas’ phone; he has a small wound to his leg and is being treated at the hospital.

Relieved, Amira sits down on the sofa. She watches the news on TV while she waits for Firas to come home and their daughter Mira plays beside her.

At 22:00, as she is growing anxious because Firas is late, a friend calls to tell her that she needs to come to the hospital treating her husband. In his room, she sees his friends standing around him crying as he lies unconscious in bed. She screams and begs him to wake up before collapsing.

The next day, Firas wakes up. He moves his eyes and reacts to voices. 

Three days later, the doctors tell Amira that Firas’ back is fractured. In his hospital bed, he cannot feel his legs. On August 4, after he had bought the birthday cake, he was riding back home when he saw a big fire. He stopped on the street to film it when, suddenly, an explosion shook the city. A piece of metal fell from a nearby building and landed on his back.

On Sunday, August 10, Amira’s brother wakes her up at 3:00. He tells her Firas is asking to speak to her. At the hospital, outside his room, she sees his family crying. His sister tells her Firas is gone.

“When he died, I felt that it was my back that was fractured… I wish it was not my birthday and that he had come home directly.”

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

04 . 08 . 2020    18 : 08

04 . 08 . 2020 18 : 08