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Shiny Matragi: It was like a huge earthquake

How do you experience the situation in Beirut?

The disaster destroyed half of Beirut, injured many people and destroyed the entire port. The situation is catastrophic.

Ruined Beirut studio by designer Blanka Matragi

Photo: B. Matragi Archive, Law

What were you doing at that moment?

Luckily, I left the studio to meet the hairdresser, so I avoided a situation where I would be at the windows, which smashed in my studio with an explosion. And when I was at the hairdresser, the explosion started shaking the whole house. We thought there was a huge earthquake. It was so strong that whole houses moved and windows fell and injured many people.

Now an emergency has been declared here. People are not allowed to go anywhere except pharmacies and supermarkets, otherwise the banks will not work, everything is closed.

Everyone is trying to do the damage now and looking for the missing one.

7;s happening around you right now?

Nothing could be observed at that moment. Everyone tried to protect themselves. Even when I left the hairdresser, I saw the windows fall. Even this morning, when I went to work, the streets were covered in crumbs of glass, as if it were snowing from the sky.

Of course, when I got home after the explosion, we all saw on TV what happened, how the fires were put out.

And also how everyone can get involved. The worst situation is in hospitals, which are overcrowded, run and treated in corridors, parking lots. The solidarity of the people is enormous.

The Czech Republic sent rescuers with dogs. Is it so that each hand now fits?

Of course, Lebanon is very grateful and thank you for all the help outside. There was a very problematic economic situation before the explosion, and this will further damage the entire economy and the functioning of the state.

Without the help of foreign states – the United States, Europe, but above all the Arab states – we would never have recovered.

US President Donald Trump called the explosion a murder. Do the locals think so too, or do they think it is more of a tragic accident?

This is certainly not seen as an accident, as it was discovered that ammunition was stored in large volumes in these huge spaces six years ago. And it must have belonged to someone, so it must be investigated to whom and for what purposes it was held illegally there. Then it will find out who initiated this explosion and what its goal was – to destroy something that, for example, could harm Lebanon. Everyone understands that there was an incentive to dispose of illegal ammunition.

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