Thursday, 26 January 2012

So much for concrete

On January 15th, a seven story building just two blocks from my apartment collapsed, killing twenty seven of the inhabitants. While Lebanese civil society rallied around those that survived and the community mourned those that it had lost, the Lebanese government's response was nothing short of disgusting. See here, how two of the survivors were arrested while still in hospital for having incorrect work visas, and here,  how the residents of an entire nearby building have been kept out of their homes because opposing political groups are fighting over who gets the kudos of  sending in engineers and check that it's safe. This tragedy quickly became a photo op for Lebanon's political elite who shouted themselves hoarse trying to out do each other with condemnations and calls for investigations. 

For me, this was a coup; I sold picture to Reuters, one of the biggest news organisations in the world.   It's easy to feel like a vulture, gaining success from other's misfortune, but such photos and stories are essential if those responsible for such travesties are ever to be held to account.

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