Deadly inaction

August 7, 2020 |

There was a massive explosion in Beirut this week that killed at least 135 people, injured 5,000 more and caused devastating damage that’s left up to 300,000 people homeless. Investigators have been trying to ascertain if it was an attack, a hidden weapons cache or what? Now, it appears that it might have been due to Russian fertilizer.

A Russian ship called the MV Rhosus that was carrying agricultural fertilizer with 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate came into port in Beirut in 2013. It had technical and financial problems, was abandoned by its owners, and the crew sent back to Russia. It’s been there for years, despite multiple warnings from the customs director to the judiciary that it was a “floating bomb,” warnings that were apparently ignored. So the explosion wasn’t due to a deadly action by a foreign government, but deadly inaction by Lebanon’s own government. And yet some people still insist that we need to entrust every important aspect of our lives to the care and efficiency of government bureaucrats.

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