Reporting from Lebanon's capital, Tamara Saade speaks to members of a club scene left reeling from August's deadly explosion.
"Before thinking about the club I made sure my colleagues were OK," Mortada said. "The fact that nobody was there is a miracle. I asked them not to show me images of the club until the next day."
On August 4th, 2020, 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut's port. Although it's still unclear how they blew up, the government's knowledge and negligence towards those deadly chemicals claimed the lives of more than 200 people, injuring 6,000 and leaving 300,000 homeless. The World Bank estimated more than $4 billion of damage was caused by the blast.
The Grand Factory, Factory People's winter venue, was heavily damaged, while AHM, their three-year-old outdoor club, was totally destroyed because of its proximity to the location of the explosion—it's just a five-minute drive from the port. As much of Lebanon's nightlife was centred a short walk away from the port where the ammonium nitrate was stored, AHM is one of the hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants hit by the blast.
The neighborhoods of Mar Mikhael, Gemmayzeh and the newly built waterfront real estate project are home to bars, restaurants and clubs, less than one mile away from the hangar that housed the fatal ammonium nitrate. A few years ago, Beirut was earning headlines as one of the world's best places to party, a must-visit city for techno tourists. Today, the city is synonymous with hyperinflation, chemical explosives and teargas.