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How Brazil Paid Tribute to Victims of the Recent Beirut Explosion through Its Christ the Redeemer Statue

Lois Oladejo
Aug 10, 2020
05:00 P.M.
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The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is an architectural wonder and one of Brazil's top tourist attractions. However, the people of Brazil recently used it in a show of extraordinary support to Lebanon. 

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ABC News published a picture on Facebook, showing that the Brazilian government had illuminated the statue to reflect the Lebanese flag. The action was done in the wake of an explosion in the county's capital, Beirut, earlier this week. 

For many years, the Christ the Redeemer statue has been a symbol of pride for Brazilians. It's the country's largest tourist symbol, with an imposing figure that stands over the rest of the city. 

Photo of The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro | Photo: Pixabay

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However, the government has also made a play of displaying messages using the statue. Given its massive reach, these messages can also find a broad audience pretty easily. 

According to reports, Alejandro Bitar, Consul-General of Lebanon in Rio de Janeiro, said at the illumination ceremony: 

"We came to send a message of solidarity and support, and to tell the Lebanese people that...we always managed to get out of all...blood, and death."

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The illumination was reportedly a joint initiative. It included input from the Catholic Church, the Consulate-General of Lebanon, and the Lebanese collective.

Per reports, Rio de Janeiro contains about ten million Lebanese people. As far as empathy goes, this is a significant gesture.

A warehouse at the scene contained over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate.

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This isn't the first time that Brazilians will use the Christ the Redeemer statue to raise awareness over an issue. In March, the figure lit up with the flags of countries affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

The gesture was rather thoughtful, with countries' flags and messages calling for prayer being displayed on the statue. At the time, Brazil had recorded over 200 cases of the virus too. 

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As for Lebanon, the country is still reeling from the effects of the explosion. While the blast's exact cause is still unknown, a warehouse at the scene contained over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate — an industrial compound.

So far, over 100 people have lost their lives, with thousands more reportedly injured. The blast has also displaced over 300,000 people. 

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The explosion has thus far added to Lebanon's woes. Beirut is the country's economic hub, and the country's economy has suffered significantly this year.  Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud tagged the occurrence a "national catastrophe," and he asked for help and support.

Several countries have committed to lending a helping hand so far. Many hope that the country can recover from such a horrific event.  

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