What We’re Watching: Lebanon’s lackluster port probe resumes, Kanye’s troubles Down Under, Rwanda-DRC tensions
Will Lebanese port blast victims ever get justice?
The long-stalled investigation into the July 2020 Beirut port blast that killed at least 218 people got very messy this week. After a 13-month hiatus, the investigation resumed with Judge Tarek Bitar charging three high-ranking officials – including former PM Hassan Diab – with homicide with probable intent. (The charges related to the unsafe storage at a port warehouse of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate that ultimately exploded, decimating large parts of the city.) But then, the chief prosecutor (yes, the prosecutor!) announced on Wednesday that he was charging the judge for reopening the case. It’s unclear what the exact charges against him are, but Bitar, the second judge to oversee this investigation, has been subject to intimidation for pursuing the case. Meanwhile, the prosecutor also ordered 17 suspects in pre-trial custody to be released. Indeed, this is the latest sign that a culture of impunity plagues Lebanon. Meanwhile, as the elite continue to line their pockets, Lebanon’s economic situation remains catastrophic. Just this week, the US said it was rerouting aid funds to help cash-strapped Lebanon pay security personnel’s wages over fears that the security situation could spiral.
Will Ye get to “Meet the Parents”?
Kanye “Ye” West isn’t getting much love Down Under these days with a host of politicians and academics calling for the rapper to be denied entry into Australia after his recent antisemitic tirades. (Unless you live in a cave, you’ll remember that several leading brands ditched their partnerships with Ye after he said that he “like[s] Hitler” and repeated classic antisemitic tropes about rich Jews owning the media.) Ye, formerly married to Kimmy K, is hoping to visit Melbourne to meet the parents of his new wife, Bianca Censori, an Aussie designer at Yeezy, his LA-based fashion house. Australian politicians across the political aisle have called on Ye to be banned from the country, and at least one senior minister confirmed that denying the famous American a visa wasn’t out of the question. To ban or not to ban? That’s the question. Let us know what you think the Aussies should do.