Young victim of explosion with Montreal roots becomes 'symbol of peace and resistance' for Lebanese people
MONTREAL -- A three-year-old Canadian girl who died of injuries sustained in the massive explosion that rocked Beirut has become a symbol for the grieving nation.
Alexandra Naggear was one of the youngest victims of the blast that claimed over 170 lives. Her mother and grandfather had moved to Montreal in the late 1980s, but eventually relocated back to Lebanon.
“I don't wish anyone would live to see what we saw with this tragedy,” said grandfather Michel Awad.
Last year, as the political situation in Lebanon deteriorated, Naggear obtained Canadian citizenship.
“She was full of life. Everywhere I go here in the house or when I go to visit my daughter or when I go out, I just see Alexandra,” said Awad.
Naggear had been severely injured in the explosion and succumbed to those injuries two days later. Mass protests have erupted since the explosion, with many Lebanese blaming government corruption and negligence as reports emerged that officials knew a dangerous amount of explosive material was being stored in Beirut's port.
“Is it acceptable today that people would find their homes shattered? Their families killed? Their hopes and their dreams killed with no justice, with impunity?” said Paul Naggear, Alexandra's father.
Pictures of Alexandra Naggear have been held up at protests, as Rami Raad, a physician working in Beirut, said her image “reflects the purity of children and reflects how badly the damage has been to every part of society.”
“The damage happening to kids and children is unacceptable. Alexandra became a symbol of peace and the symbol of resistance to people. Somehow they relate to her as someone who should never have been injured.”