Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  August 5, 2021 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

4:00 pm
♪ amy: from new york, this is democracy now. >> we live in constant struggle for the truth and we live in constant strugglen remaking america in its image of freedom and liberty for all. not the image of the past, but the image of what the future of
4:01 pm
america should look like. amy: as the cdc issues a new 60-day eviction moratorium, we will speak to congressmember ilmar omar, who camped on the steps of the u.s. overnight friday to pressure the biden administration to take action. we will talk about the recent u.s. airstrikes in her home country of somalia plus her memoir, "this is what america looks like: my journey from refugee to congresswoman." we will also hear from a kansas city tenant who faces eviction. >> i actually have my dads ashes and one of my biggest concerns is if i get caught on the street, what am i going to do with my dad's ashes? amy: and we go to lebanon where security forces fired water cannon and tear gas at protesters, marking one year since the devastating explosion at the port of beirut that killed hundreds and displaced
4:02 pm
thousands. man rights watch is accusing nior lanese officials of failg to protect the public. >> repsonsibility still rests th officls who knew the ammonium nitrate was being stored at the port in a dangerous manner and failed to do what was within their authority and under the responsibility to secure. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the world health organization is calling on wealthy countries to ha plans to provide a third booster shot of cod-19 vaccines to some citens until at least 10% of the population of every country is vaccinated. the call, from who director tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, came wednesday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 200 million. >> we cannot and we should not
4:03 pm
accept countries that have already used most of the supply of vaccines, using even more of it while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected. amy: the who's call was quickly rebuffed by the biden administration. white house press secretary jen psaki told reporters the u.s. would provide a third booster shot to people at higher risk of covid-19 if the fda decides such shots are warranted. the producers of some of the world's most effective covid-19 vaccines continue to raise prices on the lifesaving inoculation with pfizer and moderna set to charge the european union more than $23 and $25 per dose respectively. a recent study by the people's vaccine alliance found pfizer, biontech, and moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated
4:04 pm
cost of production. globally, coronavirus cases are continuing to rise, fueled by the spread of the delta variant. china has ordered mass testing in wuhan, the first epicenter of the pandemic, and suspended travel and public events across much of the country. china has confirmed new cases in at least three dozen cities in more than half of its promises -- provinces. thailand has reported another new record for daily infections, with over 20,000 new cases wednesday. in japan, the tokyo olympics organizing body reported yet another daily record for infections with 31 more positive tests reported thursday among people associated with the games. covid-19 cases continue their exponential rise in the united states, with unvaccinated people accounting for nearly all hospitalizations and deaths. in illinois, governor j.b. pritzker has ordered a mask mandate for all students, teachers, and staffers durg the upcoming school year.
4:05 pm
in arkansas, one of the country's worshit states, republican governor asa hutchinson said wednesday he regrets signing a bill banning local mask mandates, and now wants the law reversed. >> in hindsight, i wish that had not become law. but it is the law and the only chance we have is either to amend it or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation. amy: florida continues to set new records for hospitalizations and deaths, accounting for about one in five u.s. covid-19 cases. despite that, republican governor ron desantis has threatened to hold bans on school districts. on wednesday, he blamed immigrants and president biden for the covid surge. >> why don't you do your job, this borders secured.
4:06 pm
until you do that, i don't want to hear a blip about covid from you. amy: at least four florida school districts have moved to flout governor desantis' state-wide ban on mask mandates but said they would under pressure from the governor. this is broward county mayor steven geller speaking monday. >> unfortunately, we lead the nation in new hospitalizations. the numbers are doubling every 10 or 11 days. geometric progression. this is horrifying. amy: the florida governor is threatening to withhold state funds from schools that impose mask mandates as is the governor of texas. in houston, mayor sylvester turner has renewed a mask order for city employees, defying a texas ban on mask mandates.
4:07 pm
republican governor greg abbott has threatened to defund schools that require masks. meanile, sectary of defen lloyd stin is pected tsoon seek aresidentl waivero makeovid-19 ccinesandatory foall acti-duty soiers. ndlords georgiand alaba have aed a fedal judgeo block e biden ministraon' new twmonth motorium o evictions. thnew cdmoratorium cers ars of thenited stes where ere is "substaial" or igh" spread othe coronaviru the alama and gegia chapte of the national association of realtors filed their motion with u.s. district judge dabney friedrich, a trump-appointee judge who ruled in favor of landlords in may. we'll have more on this story after headlines with congress member i lman omar. protests in lebanon on thursday marked the first anniversary of one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history: the beirut port explosion that killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000 and destroyed or damaged 300,000 homes.
4:08 pm
so far, no one in the political leadership has been held accountable for leaving over 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate fertilizer unattended at beirut's port. this is lea noun, who lost her brother to the explosion. she was among protesters who held a protest and vigil at the site of the blast. >> we all came for an uprising, not a memorial. we all came for those who died as victims. my brother was opening the door as the explosion took place. they promised us an investigation and this is not the fifth day. this is day 365 and still nothing has come from the investigation. amy: this comes amid an economic collapse and political crisis that has largely left lebanon without a functioning government. we'll have the latest on lebanon's crisis later in the broadcast. israel's military says it fired
4:09 pm
artillery shells into southern lebanon and later carried out airstrikes after lebanese militants fired rockets into northern israel. the fighting sparked large brush fires along the border. meanwhile in northern lebanon, crews ttlewildfires r a third straight day, as the blazes spread into syria. elsewhere in the mediterranean region, turkey has been hit by its most intense fires on record, with one blaze breaching a coal-fired power plant in southwestern turkey. greece faces "very poor" air quality and a searing heat wave fueled by the climate crisis, with wildfires kicking up huge quantities of fine particulate matter. in california, the fast-growing dixie fire engulfed the northern california community of greenville overnight, leveling its downtown area. in russia, record wildfires in a siberian region have set an all-time emissions record equivalent to more than 500 megatons of carbon dioxide. mexico's government has filed a landmark lawsuit in a federal
4:10 pm
court in massachusetts, seeking to hold 10 u.s.-based firearms companies accountable for mexico's epidemic of gun violence. gun manufacturers named include smith & wesson. it's the first time u.s. gun makers have been sued by a foreign government. mexican foreign minister marcelo ebrard announced the lawsuit wednesday. >> the companies named in the lawsuit should provide compensation to mexico for the damages caused by their negligent practice the amount in this case will be determined by the judge. amy: over 300,000 people have been killed since mexico launched its u.s.-backed war o drugs in 2006. belarusian athlete kristina simanooskya has landed in poland, where she is requesting political asylum. last weekend, the sprinter refused orders from the belarus olympic delegation to leave the games in tokyo and return to belarus, after she criticized her coaches. polish officials granted her a
4:11 pm
humanitarian visa, agreeing she would face harsh punishment under the authoritarian government of alexander lukashenko. the united states health care system once again ranks dead last among wealthy countries. that's according to a new report by the commonwealth fund. researchers found the u.s. spends far more per-capita than 10 other nations, australia, canada, france, germany, holland, new zealand, norway, sweden, switzerland, and the uk , yet has the lowest life expectancy, highest infant and maternal mortality rates, and the most glaring inequities. congressional progressive caucus chair pramila jayapal responded, "our cruel, for-profit healthcare system is broken. it's time to guarantee health care as a human right. it's time for medicare for all." in sports news, the national collegiate athletic association has consistently treated women's sports as inferior to men's with stark, gender-based differences in the goods, services, and resources provided to
4:12 pm
competitors in "march madness" basketball tournaments. an outside review commissioned by the ncaa recommends a number of reforms including a combined men's and women's final four tournament. and here in new york, at least four district attorneys have launched criminal probes into findings of sexual harassment by democratic governor andrew cuomo. prosecutors in westchester, nassau, manhattan, and albany have requested additional information from the office of new york attorney general letitia james, after her civil probe found cuomo harassed at least 11 women in violation of the law, including unwanted touching and kissing, and inappropriate remarks. democrats in the new york state assembly said wednesday they have enough votes to impeach governor cuomo. at the white house, press secretary jen psaki reiterated president biden's call for cuomo to resign. >> because of the important allegations that were made public yesterday, it is time for governor cuomo to resign. if leadership changes in the
4:13 pm
state, we will work with a different leader. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show looking at the fight over housing. landlords in georgia and alabama have asked a federal judge to block the biden administration's new two-month moratorium on evictions. the new cdc moratorium covers areas of the united states where there is "substantial" or "hig spread of the coronavirus. about 90% of the country. the alama and georgia chapters of the national association of realtors filed its motion with u.s. district judge dabney friedrich, a trump-appointee judge who ruled in favor of landlords in may. a nationwide moratorium on evictions expired saturday after democratic lawmakers failed to pass a bill to proct millis of people who could be forced from the homes. the white house initially said the moratorium could only be extended by congress due to a recent supreme court ruling, but the biden administration reversed course following
quote
4:14 pm
pressure from progressive lawmakers. friday night, three members of congress, cori bush of missouri, ayanna pressley of massachusetts and ilhan omar of minnesota camped outside the u.s. capitol with others to demand action. congressmember ilhan omar joins us now. she has just published the paperback version of her memoir. it's titled, "this is what america looks like: my journey from refugee to congresswoman." it tells the story of how she became the first somali-american and one of the first two muslim women elected to congress. representative ilhan omar, welcome back to democracy now. your book is called "this is what america looks like." that picture of you on the steps of the capital with two other congress women of color demanding that millions of people not be thrown out of their homes, demanding of your
4:15 pm
own colleagues in the biden administration. congratulations on the release of your paperback. talk about why you stayed out overnight. rep. omar: amy, it is great to be with you this morning. i remember seeing a message to join her. i thought it was really important for us to express just how important it was for people to realize as lawmakers we have a responsibility to protect those that sent us to legislate onheir behalf. as cori has her own personal experience in the house, i certainly have experienced severe aspects of that as
4:16 pm
someone who not only slept on the side of roads, on beaches as you have read probably in my book, but also spent a lot of me in a refugee camp and destitute. my own experiences, her own exrience dealing with homelessness has pushed us to take that drastic measure and we knew that it would ultimately motivate our colleagues in the white house to take action. they could no longer ignore the kind of devastation that in action would have cost in our country. amy: you are taking on your own party along with taking on the opposing party, the republican party.
4:17 pm
just inside, your colleagues had just gone on recess. for the biden administration, breast bonding to your pressure, enormous pressure, not exactly reinstated the moratorium, but today not a 51 that would cover 90% of the country -- a modified one that would cover 90% of the country. the supreme court struck this down already. how is it possible that the house that is democrat led could not pass an extension of the moratorium? rep. omar: this is what has been the most frustrating part of this whole conversation. we obviously did not have a lot of tim, that is understood. we got the notification on thursday. we rushed to produce legislation
4:18 pm
with the leadership of chairwoman waters. we believed it was important to stay over the weekend, negotiate, and have the ability to vote on the bill. we believe that people suld be on the record voting on a yes or no on whether 11 million people possibly should be facing eviction. then they should be forced to go to their constituents and explain why they made their decision. the fact that leadership decided to not do that, to not take that route, was not -- was frustrating not just for me, but even for chairwoman waters who thought it was really important for us to take a vote on the bill that she produced. the thing that most people find
4:19 pm
really confusing about this whole thing is that we would choose to go on resource -- recess and prioritize our time when the people who sent us desperately needed us to act. i always said it is really important for us to send people who have fluency in the day-to-day struggles of their constituents and this was very evident on how important that is. amy: just to understand when you are saying you only got notice on thursday, explain what you mean by that for people who cannot understand how this went down at the last minute. you got notice from the biden adnistration that they were not going to extend it? rep. omar: yes, we have been communicating since may, even earlier than that, with the administration saying we need
4:20 pm
you all to expand the eviction moratorium. people are going to be at risk. the money we appropriated is not going out as fast as it should be. municipalities and states need more time and we need you all to take action. it was not until thursday that they affirmatively told us that it was going to be up to congress to crea that expansion. they were not going to do it themselves. and then it was a rush and the house -- in the house to trto fire out wt we could do and how fast that legislation could be put together. i remember being pulled aside by chairwoman waters in the middle of one of those votes and saying we are going to put that bill on the floor. talk to your colleagues. the chairwoman from the
4:21 pm
progressive caucus, if we can pull together an emergency meeting and the whip of the progressive caucus to gauge where we would be at. a lot of us dispatched and started having conversations with our colleagues. even some moderate docrats were saying what do you need an der foyou to be with us in protecting 11 million people across this country from being evicted. as those conversations were taking place throughoutriday, it was our understanding that those conversations would continue, that we would legislate, and that we would protect these 11 million people and we werehocked when we saw that leadership decided to seek unanimous consent and was not going to bring the bill to the flr for a vote and that some of our colleagues were leaving choosing to also not leave their
4:22 pm
proxy votes because during the pandemic, we have been able to have the ability to vote without being physically at the capital. the fact that they were not willing to leave their proxy votes soe could pass legislation was alarming to us and very shameful. amy: can you explain democratic congress from her to leave she's call on house democrats to return recent contributions from real estate tycoon george marquez who recently donated $1 million to the house majority pack just weeks before the democratic lawmakers agreed to extend the moratorium? rep. omar: these conflicts of interest for legislators is something we should be having a broader conversation. i was shocked when i saw the reporting. it is important for there not to be a doubt on behalf of the
4:23 pm
people that we are representing and that we are going to do everything that is going to help them. and the fact that there was a rush to leave and not do anything on expanding the eviction moratorium until that drastic measure was taken by us choosing to sleep on the capitol steps is really not sitting well with so many people. i remember getting a lot of calls from my constituents and i joined rashida in that ca because we have to get rid of any semblance of conflict of interest. am also, if you can explain what you have introduced. the rent and mortgage cancellation act. even if there is a moratorium, isn't it true that afterwards,
4:24 pm
people who cannot afford to pay thr monthly rent will have to pay it allack? rep. omar: the problem right now that we are seeing is that we allocated billions of dollars to these municipalities and to state and that money is taking so long to get out the door. withy legislation, we would have automatically canceled rent and landrds would have had the ability to get those resources themselves. it would have reduced the amount of money that is being utilized for administrative costs. the backlog and the slow process that we are seeing rightow is due to the fact that there are in some cases, pages and pages long paperwork that people have to do and there are a lot of people who still are not aware that they can access this money.
4:25 pm
i thought often times we create policy that creates more problems than addressing the actual issue a having direct legislation that provides direct solutions like the cancel rent and mortgage act, is really important. i wanted to switch gears and talk about something else that has been happening. the u.s. military recently conducted three drone strikes in your home country of somalia. in the first attacks, they said targeting fighters in somalia since president biden took office. congress member omar, your family came to the u.s. as somali refugees. you wrote a letter to president biden requesting more information on these strikes. you said, "it is critical that any military action must be part of a broader strategy focused on
4:26 pm
the security of the smaller people and the stability of the somali state." can you talk about what you understand why they bombed somalia again? rep. omar: it has been really hard to get any concre information that is -- that really answers any of the questions i put into my letter. it was our understanding that this administration was going to take a step back. they were going to look at a holistic approach. they were going to reassess thr drone program and their engagement with somalia. the fact that they just started up the drone program without doing any of those things and without communicating any of
4:27 pm
those things to us as members of congress was really alarming. somalia has faced instability. i have led civil war in the early 1990's. to this day, there are places in somalia where it is still unsafe for people to live in. terrorism in somalia has caused lots of devastation. it is abhorrant for them to continue to operate. i stand with the somali government and our administration in inviting. what i do not appreciate is for us to not have a holistic
4:28 pm
approach to fighting and creating stability and having policies that are going to create a long-term, stable somalia. amy: speaking of somalia, in your book you so eloquently talk about growing up. your first 8 years in somalia. talk about somalia. you know more than anyone being in congress how little information most people understand about africa unless they are from there. particularly, why you left, your experience as a refugee, which so informs what you do now, working on immigration. rep. omar: my story is uniquely an american story.
4:29 pm
we have been known as a country of immigrants. there has bn tharrival of immigrants for a really long time. we are now just seeing somali immigrants and there is a lot that is not understood and i ought it was import for me to write this book and spend a lot of time telling people about the somalia i grew up in where there was a lot of warmth. i had a really happy uringing up to the age of 8. i grewp in a very loud, loving family where we did not really have any ideas of hierarchy. we were all allowed to have the freedom to express ourselves, to own our agency.
4:30 pm
i grew up in a household and a community where music and the arts and all of those things were very vibrant. the tragedy of living in that and then one day waking up and having the kids that you played with in the streets now carry guns, it is something that most people do not know and i wanted to give people an insight of what happens when a society is stable. it is not really nurturing that stability, how everything can disappear in a day and how someone who had that happy upbringinginds herself in a refugee camp, missing four years
4:31 pm
of formal education, coming to the united states, getting that golden ticket andpportunity and overcoming a lot of the challenges that continue to exist in this country for people who arrived with nothing and what it means to now have that voice in congress bringing tention to all of those disparities that exist here and in countries like somalia. amy: if you could talk about -- if you could respond to what is happening in the african continent as it relates to covid. our first headline today is about the district please of the world health organization head saying there should not be a third shot booster in the wealthiest countries in the world before 10% of all countries are vaccinated. we have talked several times to
4:32 pm
the head of the african cdc. if you can talk about the situation in somalia as well and whether you support the call, something that jen psaki, the white house spokesperson said, fda, if we need third shot booster's, we will go for them. rep. omar: when covid began, there was a call to social distance. i remember thinking about somalia and other countries in africa where social distancing would be a luxury. these are places that are sometimes overpopulated, where there are open markets, where people do not have a lot of space to distance in the ways that it would be recommended.
4:33 pm
they have fragile healthcare systems. there is lots of poverty. there is a lot of insecurity in all aspects of life. many of these governments do not have the resources that it takes to be able to keep everyone safe. we have struggled here in the united states and we are one of the countries that has the most resources in the world. i think it is really important for us to recognize that our humanity is tied to one another. i waited to get vaccinated becausi thought it was important to have other people who are at risk be vaccinated before me. i am finally vaccinated. my whole family is vaccinated. i often think about my family in somalia and what it meanto have access to that vaccination. we have led the global call to
4:34 pm
send vaccinations to couries like somalia and other couries in africa and around the world. i do hope that before we think about giving ourselves aoost, that we send those resources to people who are less fortunate than we are. amy: let me ask you about the issue of refugees. certainly your experience in emigrant justice in united states, groups are suing the biden administration over it use of title 42, that trump policy that allows for the expedited see. the biden administration says it will continue enforcing the policy, which could bar entry to
4:35 pm
hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers. human rights watch says over 600,000 have been expelled from the u.s. under title 42 since march of 2020, going back through trump. the lawsuit was filed by the aclu and oxfam, among other groups, which denounce title 42 as cruel, illegal, and a violation of due process rights. your thoughts, congress member om? rep. omar: i think therumpeter policies desk the trump -- the trump era policies are disastrous. the people that come to our border are escaping desperate situations. it is easy for people to judge.
4:36 pm
it is easy foreople to talk about what makes somebody come to the border. i think a lot about what would have happened if they had closed its borders to my family when they were fleeing. where would i have been today? for me, it is really important for this adminiration and for every single person in this country to realize realize conss
4:37 pm
. chip away at yourself knowing you are turning people away who desperately need help and are coming to this country knowing that we have been a country that welcomes people and provides opportunities for people. amy: i choked up reading your
4:38 pm
book. the part where you are in the refugee camp and you lose your beloved aunt. can you tell us about her? this goes to people waiting in refugee camps. waiting and waiting and the devastating toll it can take. rep. omar: i think part of my story that most people do not know, which has made me a really strong advocate for a lot of the young people who are coming and has made me speak out in regard to family separation is that i was separated from most of my family. my aunt was the one who brought
4:39 pm
me and three of my siblings along with us on that journey to escape as war raged on. she was my everything. iowa my life to h -- i owe my life to her. life in a refugee camp is not an easy one. the refugee camp that we were living in was dastating. she ended up getting malaria and losing her life. there was no healthcare that we could provide for her. there was no way to save her life and just to watch helplessly and know that she was not going to make it.
4:40 pm
to not just live with the fact that we were losing her, that she was not going to live anymore, but that we were losing someone who are survival depended on in so many ways. it was very ha. those chapters were very hd. during the audiotape for those chapters, was very hard. doing this interview, it is very hard. it is not as hard as what people have still been experiencing. there are a lot of young people who i lived in that refugee camp with who did not get the opportunity to stabilize their lives. once that camp closed, they were sent to another camp and i went in 2011 when they left over one million people at risk of dying
4:41 pm
from famine to a refugee camp, which was one of the largest refugee camps in africa, if not, in the world. i saw some of t kids that i played with who re adults and had children's themselves in those camps as i have had opportunities to fulfill my education and then become a memb of congress. i feel like by all it to those people -- i owe it to those people to speak up about the plights of refugees around the world. to seek justice for people who have experiencedar, who have not experienced a remedy, not just for their trauma, but everything they have lost, and for people in this country who just want to have their humanity
4:42 pm
seen and want to be treated with dignity. amy: congress member omar, speaking of the horror of losing lives unnecessarily. i wanted to pivot to your home state and to your city, minneapolis, where police killed george floyd, tromping mass protests. local activists have gathered more than 22,000 signatures to placing measure on the ballot to vote on whether to abolish the city's police department and replace it with a new department. the city attached an explanatory note to the valette initiative that organizers say is a misleading description. they filed a lawsuit to stop the know it from being placed on the ballot initiative, saying the city is trying to influence voters with subjective language.
4:43 pm
you are one of the leaders of this community that has experienced so much trauma. can you talk about your views on this and what you think would lead to a moreust solution, not only in minapolis, but it is certainly a model for the whole country. rep. omar: first of all in regards to the ballot measure and to the tactics of those that want to keep the status quo in place, i say to them we have dealt with that before in minnesota in regards to ballot meures and i believe this one will also be met with the same fate as the other ones. i am confident that we will prevai we have had a very incompetent
4:44 pm
and brutal poli department for a really long tim to the west of the country and the world, they saw what happened with george floyd and might have thought this was a one-off situation. i remember witnessing my first police shooting as a teenager where they put nearly 38 bullets into the body of a mentally ill man who was just released from an institution, who did not speak a word of english and could not respond to their commands, who was not of any imminent threat to have had his life taken in such a brutal and shameful way. so many of us have experienced those kind of killings in front
quote
4:45 pm
of civilians far too often than we would like to have seen. the fact that the mneapolis lice department can no longer exist the way it is is one that is understood by the majority of us. i believe in the fight that people have engaged in in regards to trying to have a more just system for us and we will continue to support their effort. amy: i want to thank you so much for being with us, congressmember ilhan omar, minnesota congress member representative faso congressional district -- representing the fifth congressional district. the paperback edition of her memoir has just been released.
4:46 pm
it's titled, "this is what america looks like: my journey from refugee to congresswoman" . thanks so much. up next, we go to lebanon where security forces fire water cannons and tear gas one year since the port of beirut, killing hundreds, injuring thousands. stay with us. ♪
4:47 pm
amy: "when doves cry" by prince. security forces fired tear gas at protesters one year since the devastating explosion at the port of beirut that killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000 and destroyed or damaged 300,000 homes. one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in his three. -- in history. but so far, no one in the political leadership has been held accountable for leaving over 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate fertilizer unattended at
4:48 pm
beirut's port. this comes as a new report by human rights watch implicates senior lebanese officials for failing to protect the public. this is paul naggear, who spoke this week about how his 3-year-old daughter alexandra was at home with her mother, tracy when they heard the blast. tracy tried to shield alexandra, but a shockwave from the explosion forced them across the room, and they were knocked unconscious. her husband paul came home to find them badly injured and unconscious, but alive. their daughter died days later in a hospital. he said officials should have done more to prevent her death. >> they did not react. i want to try to put myself in their shoes. what were they thinking at this time? he is sitting at home in his palace. turns on the tv and looks at smoke coming out of e harbor. he specializes in weaponry and he loo at ese images, he is the president of this country.
4:49 pm
what does a human being thanks when he looks at that? in my opinion, these people waited and watched for 40 minutes waiting for to die. when we were carrying our daughter down on the street in our neighborhood and looking at people on the floor dead, trying to make our way to the first hospital and to the red cross post, i had to take my dying daughter oa scooter with three broken ribs, detached along -- lung. amy: paul naggear recounting
4:50 pm
what happened one year ago. for more we go to beirut to speak with nisreen salti, economics professor at the american university of beirut; and eye-ah majzoub, the lebanon and bahrain researcher for human rights watch who co-authored their new report: "they killed us from the inside: an investigation into the august 4 beirut blast." welcome to democracynow. thank you for joining us from lebanon. when protests broke out yesterday, you were there in the streets. if you can describe the scene and put it in the context of the findings of your report. nisreen: thank you for having me on today. the protests were helpful. they were the biggest protests we had in over a year. thousands ca out to demand justice and accountability for the blast. they came from all parts of the country, converging to hear statements from the families of those who died in the explosion. there was a moment of silence at
4:51 pm
exactly 6:08 p.m. and then people headed over to parliament where there were some skirmishes between security forces who were securing the perimeter. it was significant for protesters yesterday because the parliament is currently not listing a unity that would allow investigators to charge and interrogate former minist ers. protesters channeled their anger at parliament and they were met with brute force. the security forces used large amounts of tear-gas. they shot rubber bullets at protesters in violation of international norms. they shot rubber bullets at least two members of the media who were covering the protests. they used water cannons against protesters.
4:52 pm
it is important to note that the use of force by the security forces was not only aimed at securing the perimeter of parliament. it seemed to be aimed at ending the protest and dispersing the protesters. they were firing tear-gas into clouds -- clouds containing families, women, and children who were gathering peacefully. there was no need for those peaceful protests to be dispersed. it was quite a show of brute force on a day that was very painful for every lebanese person, every person who wasn the country when the explosion rocked the capital. i don't think there is a single person in beirut who was not in some way impacted by the blast. amy: in your report, you find in the report, reviewing official documents, doing multiple interviews with people,
4:53 pm
including the president, the head of the security. talk about what you found and what you are calling for now. nisreen: there were rumors since the explosion happened that high-level officials were aware of the ammonium nitrate seeing all of the evidence in one place, seeing how many times the officials were warned about the presence of the ammonium nitrate, but the dangers that ammonium nitrate could post a public safety. we did not find any official who took any responsibility for securing the port and for removing the ammonium nitrate and ensuring the public was not harmed by the impacts of the ammonium nitrate. the level of negligence that we found through this documentation was really just shocking and what was even more shocking was the interview that we conducted
4:54 pm
with these high-level officials. they really do not seem to be any sense of remorse or accountability. every senior official that we met with was very quick to dismiss the allegations against them, saying that they acted within the powers that they had. nobody took responsibility. nobody apologized. there is such a callousness that came through in these interviews with the high-level officials that i found very unsettling. amy: so you are calling for the u.n. to get involved to do the investigation? nisreen: yes. we are calling for the human rights council at the united nations to send an event occasion -- to send an investigation mission to investigate why ammonium nitrate was in lebanon in the first place. who knew about the ammonium nitrate and failed to act and what triggered the explosion on august the fourth? the investigative mission should
4:55 pm
very clearly defined what violations the lebanese state committed against it population, particularly the violation of the right to life. we are calling for this investigative mission to propose recommendations to reform the port system and the judicial system to ensure that something like this can never happen again and that the justice system in lebanon is better equipped to deal with investigations of this magnitude. amy: thank you for being with us. eye-ah majzoub , lebanon and bahrain researcher for human rights watch and co-author of their new report: "they killed us from the inside: an investigation into the august 4 beirut blast." we will be back to look at the economic collapse in lebanon. stay with us.
4:56 pm
amy: this is democracynow. as we continue our coverage, we end with nisreen salti, economics professor at the american university of beirut. mass protests yesterday following the year of the anniversary of the explosion in the port of beirut that killed over 200 people, injured thousands, displaced so many hundreds of thousands. we only have a few minutes. can you talk about the economic collapse we are seeing right now in beirut and lebanon overall? nisreen: in the context of the port explosion, it is important to note that as gruesome and
4:57 pm
horrific and shamanic the explosion was in terms of magnitude and amplitude, it actually fits in with the general trend of negligence and corruption and collapse we have been experiencing for months very rapidly before the explosion for a few decades. what the explosion does in the context of the economic collapse is it accelerates the downward spiral. a few basic metrics to compare where we were a year ago just before the august 4 exposed in 2020 and we were already well into economic crisis, and to a few months of economic crisis by then. the oil price level explosion -- the oil price levels at the explosion was up. the minimum wage was more than half of what it was.
4:58 pm
today, we have the lowest minimum wage in the world. the hours of electricity supplied by the company were around 10 to 12 hours per day in the capital a year ago. today, they are at most two hours a day countrywide and it is becoming increasingly impossible to afford diesel fuel for private generators in order to compensate for the lack of electricity because the price of diesel fuel on the black market is 18 full what it was a year ago. -- 18-fold what it was a year ago. the price of gasoline for cars has tripled and is difficult to find. this economic collapse, which was already underway, what the port explosion has done, instead of being a turning point, it has just pushed us further into the abyss of total economic freefall. amy: we want to thank you so much for joining us, nisreen salti, economics professor at the american university of beirut.
4:59 pm
you can go to democracynow when we spoke to her last as she went more deeply into the crisis that lebanon is facing today. that does it for our show. democracy now! is produced with renee feltz, mike burke, deena guzder, messiah rhodes, nermeen shaikh, maria taracena, tami woronoff, charina nadura, samx2c
5:00 pm
♪ hello and welcome back to "nhk newsline" from tokyo. people in japan are taking a moment to pause and remember the victims of one of history's most catastrophic war events on this day 76 years

187 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on