Beirut Explosion: Preparing For the Aftermath

Beirut Explosion: Preparing For the Aftermath

 

 

The afternoon of 4th of August 2020. The Dikkéni team’s WhatsApp group was as usual alight with ideas. Actions required and actions taken. Lebanon’s financial system was hollowed out. The value of the currency was down by 80%, a large chunk of the population quickly descending into poverty, increasingly unable to afford basic foods. We were happy with the results of Dikkéni’s first 10 weeks in business, but so much more was needed in this grim environment. How could we keep growing our sales to support our NGOs and artists? How could we promote the final items of our Thawra Pulse collection? How could we ship items from our new designers, the ones whose products we’ll soon feature on our website? We were excited about our new prints, the fashion and home accessories brands we were planning to launch, our new artisan products. We were particularly looking forward to our new glassware line.

Glassware…

Little did we know that a few minutes after 6 p.m glass would be shattering all across our beloved Lebanon. People would feel the air decompress around them and the ground shake, a giant mushroom cloud would soar over Beirut and go on to blow up block after block of buildings. Beirut’s port. People’s homes. People’s offices. Our designers’ studios.

 

 

Most importantly, people’s lives.

The collapsed economy, the pandemic, the threat of famine were no longer our biggest problem. Each of us defaulted to an oh so familiar pattern: check on loved ones, get as much information as you can, try to make sense of what was happening. Shortly afterwards, Impact Lebanon, our parent NGO, put together a fundraiser. People responded with extraordinary generosity, and several members of the Dikkéni team helped manage that.

We’re painfully aware that the aftermath on industries is devastating. The Lebanese talent that we’re so proud to work with and showcase to the world has received yet another massive blow. Those we have been able to speak to so far have told us of injured family members, demolished homes, ravaged studios. Livelihoods that were critically at risk are now all but lost.

Our instinct is to keep going, and we know that our partners, designers and NGOs will keep going as well. From obtaining raw materials to rebuilding workspaces and finding the strength to do it all again, it will be a herculean effort for everyone involved, but we’re here for it. We’ll play our little part to support colossal talent as it transcends this desolate reality.

We hope the beautiful glassware that we so eagerly were waiting for managed to survive the blast, but if it didn’t, we will be there to watch it be molten again. We will treasure it, and we will show it off. And the world will see how beauty can’t be obliterated.

As our customers know, the proceeds of our sales go to the artists and also to vetted NGOs. We’re now extensively talking to those non-profits to see how best we can direct funds towards the most pressing relief requirements in Lebanon. We will keep you updated on those plans.

In the meantime, if you wish to donate to relief efforts, please do so here. If you are in Lebanon, please go directly to the organisations currently on the ground such as the Lebanese Red Cross.