ISRAA Seblani has already written herself into history. It was by dark coincidence that her wedding day coincided with the blast that rocked Beirut, killing more than 157 people and injuring thousands more. It was even more remarkable that whilst posing for her wedding photography, resplendent in a voluminous white dress in a romantic side street, that the photographer captured the sudden force of the horrific chemical explosion.

“Am I going to die,” she told reporters, “on my wedding day am I going to die?”

It made for compelling television ... a moment that captures both the ordinary and the extraordinary in one fleeting moment. All tragedies have those irreducible moments when you are simply aghast at what you are watching. Imagine what it must feel like being an intrepid war photographer, lying in the dust and rubble of a burnt-out building with your lens trained on an insurgent’s anti-missile compound, only to be beaten to the award of Photograph of the Year by a guy whose does weddings.

Often, images can speak more loudly and more eloquently than words, which is why so many global events are burnished in our memory as a single image.

Who can forget the images of the lifeless body of a young boy, who drowned attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos, his life and death forever personified in the stark photograph of his lifeless body being cradled by a grim-faced police officer.

Or the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Ramirez and his two-year-old daughter Valeria lying on the banks of the Rio Grande in Mexico after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. It was pitiful in so many ways ... their bodies entwined together in cheap T-shirts and the wee girl’s red jogging bottoms showing the unmistakable puffed shape of a nappy. The ordinariness of what she was wearing seemed to exaggerate the rawness of the tragedy.

READ MORE: WATCH: Woman in Beirut plays 'Auld Lang Syne' on piano in wrecked home

International news and current affairs are spectacular in their importance and yet woefully downgraded when it comes to news bulletins. Sadly, we remain local animals, more interested in the squabbles in our own backyard than in earth-shattering journalism far from home.

To combat this cleave to home, and to try to understand the Beirut explosion, I have been glued to the Al Jazeera network this week.

Despite the suspicions that greeted the Middle Eastern news organisation at launch, it remains uniquely capable of unearthing stories in the Middle East whilst other more famous news-gathering operations such as the BBC, Sky and CNN strive to catch up.

Who could imagine the Gulf Wars, the invasion of Iraq or the rise of Al-Qaeda without the unique perspective of Al Jazeera and its journalism? Wars are especially pernicious events where there is a strong bias towards patriotism and taking sides, and it needs to be challenged and to have a broadcaster with a different perspective is vital.

Last week, Al Jazeera correspondent Timour Azhari was able to focus on the impact of small shop owners and market stalls in the immediate aftermath of the blast arguing that “with little aid expected from a bankrupt state, weary shop owners say they do not know how they will recover’’.

Al Jazeera was first to point to woeful failures in civic and national governance. Although the rescue operation has been slow and haphazard, with only the bare hands of desperate neighbours on hand to help locate the injured for hours on end, it was clear that lax practices at the port of Lebanon was in part to blame.

Al Jazeera has already reported that the country’s information minister has assured people that the army will oversee the “house arrest” of those responsible for storage and guarding at Beirut port.

Despite clunky and reactionary voices from within the UK media, determined to be fast rather than accurate, immediately blaming terrorism but officials have since linked the blast to some 2750 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.

Set alongside that deeper understanding of local dynamics is the network’s global reach. The day after the explosion Al Jazeera chased down comparisons with a similar blast in Texas.

READ MORE: Scotland helping Lebanon: Appeal for Beirut blast victims

“The shocking videos coming out of the Lebanese capital are grimly familiar to Tommy Muska as he sits thousands of miles away in the US state of Texas,” the channel reported. “A towering blast, a thundering explosion and shock waves demolishing buildings with horrifying speed. The mayor of West, Texas, lived through the same thing seven years ago when one of the deadliest fertiliser plant explosions in US history partly levelled his rural town. Muska has a feeling that, yet again, no lessons will be learned from this tragedy.”

THAT is indeed the question that many are asking – will lessons be learnt? To answer that you need even deeper journalistic analysis, not just reporting and communicating facts, you need a staff capable of seeing a story in all its complexity – a 360 degree brain trust spread out through a network of freelancers, academics and opinion formers. Although Al Jazeera is distrusted by Israel and has often been accused of anti-American bias, they also more accurately reflect public opinion across the gulf, where the state of Israel and an imperial American presence is widely resented. Other broadcasters including the cautious BBC are often nervous about casting Israel in a negative light.

By day two, Al Jazeera followed every stage of French president Macron’s emotionally charged visit. Rebellion was in the air and anger was barely disguised on the face of the onlookers that surged around Macron. It is a long time since such raw civic rebellion has been in the faces of ordinary people. We are not talking protest here, but rather the prequel to a revolution.

Macron was the first world leader to visit the Lebanese capital after the blast and he cut an approachable presence, wearing a Covid-19 face mask and yet willing to hug the most distressed citizens of Beirut.

He offered France’s support to the people of Lebanon, not as the former coloniser but in the form of humanitarian and infrastructural aid. The big decisions were up to Lebanon, Macron claimed, adding pointedly that the country would “continue to sink” unless its leaders carried out reforms. It was clear he had hit the right tone on the noisy streets, and I for one was glad he was there, and not the boundlessly inappropriate Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Beirut blast could not have come at a worse time for Lebanon

By Thursday, the inevitable came to pass. Protesters clashed with Lebanese security forces at anti-government demonstrations in Beirut. Tear gas hung like an acidic fog around the parliament building as the protestors chanted for the government to resign en masse. Sensing that the clock was ticking on political ineptitude, Al Jazeera ran with the first reports of arrests. Sixteen people were taken into custody as part of the investigation into the warehouse explosion, among them were senior managers of the port authorities.

Looking more deeply still, Al Jazeera is predicting a new phase of mass emigration as Lebanon’s population face a deepening financial crisis that is pushing many citizens, especially the young, to look for a way out. “We’re like prisoners who do nothing but try to plot our escape,” Bernard Hage, a 32-year-old graphic designer, told Al Jazeera.

The country’s only international airport re-opened on Wednesday after being shut for three and a half months due to Covid-19, but the impact of the coronavirus crisis and now the explosion has scythed through everyday purchasing power. Lebanon’s currency has tumbled 80% in eight months.

It may not be tomorrow but some of Beirut’s beleaguered children will inevitably make it to Scotland. We need to show them the same open-armed compassion as President Macron, that is the very least we can do.