Lebanese pop star Mika has written an emotional letter to Beirut following an explosion, which rocked the city last week.
At least 220 people lost their lives when explosive materials at a port warehouse sparked the boom during a fire on Thursday.
Mika, who was born in Beirut, has penned an open letter to the people of the city, which has been obtained and translated by Billboard.
In it, he writes: “I feel so close and yet so far away from you. So close to you, as you lie devastated by the apocalypse, I can’t stop staring, transfixed, at the battered expressions of my brothers and sisters. In their eyes, I sense their fright, their tears. I shudder as I see a wounded person carried out through the rear window of an old car, a young girl covered in blood in her father’s arms, shell-shocked inhabitants running through streets littered with rubble, broken glass and shattered buildings…”
Stating he is “haunted by the desolation”, Mika adds, “I hear… the screams of the grieving families and stunned victims merge in the middle of the night with the screeching sirens of ambulances. I’ve also been told of the silence in the early hours of this morning, of the smell of the smoking ruins.”
He also takes aim at Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, questioning the promises he has made to hold those responsible for the blast accountable.
“Those responsible for whom? For what?” he asks. “Those responsible for 30 years of agony which have turned the land of cedars into the land of ashes. It’s said that a catastrophe is a tragic outcome, the end of a series of misfortunes.
“After darkness comes the dawn. I know your resilience, your strength and your solidarity, nurtured by your mix of cultures, by this special place you occupy, halfway between the Arab world and Europe. Tomorrow, you will rise up as you have always done before. Music will pour once again from your windows. People will dance on your terraces and perfumes will waft from your kitchens. I will be there.”
Meanwhile, Halsey and Ariana Grande are among the stars who have donated to relief funds. Halsey took to Twitter to share that her heart was “aching looking at these photos in Beirut”.
“I have read from a lot of people that petitions aren’t effective and donations can result in a dramatic exchange decrease,” she wrote. “Can someone share with me direct information about how we can help most effectively and immediately?”