On 4 August 2020, early in the evening, Rawan Msto left for work. Her shift at the bar in Mar Mikhael would start at 18:00. She gave her mother Mona a kiss, grabbed her dinner box, and rushed down the stairs. Rima, her older sister, went out to meet her friends. Their younger brother Alain was at work nearby.

At 18:07, a double explosion shakes Mona’s apartment in Sin el-Fil. Frames hanging on the walls fall to the floor. Mona runs down the stairs to look for her children. On the street, people around her are in shock. She finds her son at work. Minutes later, Rima joins them. They call Rawan in vain. As they keep trying to reach her, Mona’s brother calls from Syria. On TV, he is watching horrific footage of an enormous explosion at Beirut Port.

Mona and Alain grab a taxi, which drops them off over two kilometers from the bar. They struggle through the rubble, casualties lying everywhere. They reach the bar and start asking everybody on the street about Rawan. 

Mona, her children, and their friends drive around all night long searching for Rawan in all the hospitals in town. The next morning, Mona returns home to shower and change before continuing the search. At 10:00, she receives a call. Rawan’s friends have found her at a hospital in Beirut. Mona’s face momentarily lightens up, before they tell her that Rawan is dead.

At the hospital, Mona loses control. “I wish I was blind and did not see her that way. After all this searching, you still have hope to see her alive, but then you see that she has left this world”, she later says.

Mona cannot mention the word “dead” when she talks about Rawan. Every time she leaves her house, she hopes she will see Rawan coming out of an alley or a car… she looks for her everywhere. She has convinced herself that Rawan is traveling and will come home one day: “My brain rejects the idea that she is gone”.

Every morning, Mona prepares a kettle of coffee and sits on her sofa. She pours one cup for herself and one for Rawan. They used to drink coffee together every day while listening to Fairuz, their favorite singer. After the blast, Mona stopped listening to Fairuz.

On July 28, a week before she was killed, Rawan turned twenty.

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

04 . 08 . 2020    18 : 08

04 . 08 . 2020 18 : 08