Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hariri's Murder

More than a month after the blast that murdered our beloved former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanon still mourns and the Lebanese are still protesting, Traditional enemies have become best friends (albeit uneasy best friends), the deep religious divisions that tore the country apart once have been put aside in our quest for justice and freedom from our oppressors. Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was many things to many people. To some, he was a ruthless businessman; to others, a consummate politician. To those of us who were lucky enough to be in Lebanon when he was Prime Minister, he was Lebanon. Mr. Hariri embodied the Lebanese spirit. He was responsible for much of the rebuilding of Lebanon. To the poor of Lebanon (and there are many), he was known as “Bay Al Fa2eer” or Father of the Poor. Mr. Hariri was well known for his generosity both in public and for his generosity in private. This self-made multibillionaire never forgot the humble beginnings he had, nor did he ever forget the struggles that he faced to get to where he was. Mr. Hariri was not only the Father of the Poor; he was also the man responsible for sending over 30,000 students to university across the world. In short, this was not a man whose loss was going to be taken nor felt likely. The enormous outpouring of grief has not ceased in Lebanon. Even during the protests that have mobilized the country, the grief is ever present and the face of our fallen Prime Minister is there. Whoever planned this hideous crime could not have predicted that what they were planning would not divide but would unite all Lebanese of all religious affiliations. Everyone in Lebanon and abroad has felt this loss keenly and we were all awaiting an answer from the U.N. Well we got one. To no one’s surprise, the United Nations investigators found that the Lebanese investigation was little more than a joke. Evidence at the scene was tampered with, removed, covered up. In a word, the Lebanese government and their Syrian puppet masters did not want to let the truth be known. The report stated in part: “The Lebanese investigation process suffers from serious flaws and has neither the capacity nor the commitment to reach a satisfactory and credible conclusion. To find the truth it would be necessary to entrust the investigation to an international independent commission." Not surprisingly, the Lebanese government weighed in saying: the report's conclusions were "alien to reality" adding they were "not based on documents or evidence"; and Syria said that the report: contained "too much rhetoric" and was one-sided. It should come as no surprise to those of us well versed in the continuous deceptions of the Syrian and Lebanese governments. Perhaps the most hypocritical statement came from President (read: puppet) Emile Lahoud who called on the UN to "do what is necessary" to find Mr. Hariri's killers. Please. If he really wanted to know, all he needs to do is call his Syrian boss. However, as we all know, he doesn’t want anything to interrupt his busy schedule of sun tanning and swimming so he could not be bothered to lift a finger except to say (read threaten) that the continued protests in Lebanon were going to bring only civil strife. Well, of course, it will bring civil strife when Bashar Al Assad flat out told the Hariri if he left he would “Break Lebanon” first. Lo and behold, Syria is pulling out and suddenly we have car bombs going off all over the place. The thing that is disturbing though has got to be the continued support of Hizballah for Syria. They called a protest and all of the faithful came prompting many (including this journalist) to ask “Have our beloved heroes and protectors turned into traitors to Lebanon”? This is a question that seriously needs to be addressed as quickly as possible by Hasssan Nasrallah since it is he who directs Hizballah and he who called for the protest in support of Syria. On the whole, protesting in support of the country that blew up our Former Prime Minister and the country that continuously has undermined our independence cannot be considered smart internal politics. If there were real opinion polls in Lebanon that were taken, massive popular opinion would probably show that Hizballah is fast losing the political clout it gained when it freed the south of Lebanon. It would probably also show that they should no longer be an armed militia but make the transition into the vital political party that it shows signs of becoming. Hizballah has the potential of being the political party to keep everyone on the straight path to true democracy and true democratic reform. They are not a theological party that preaches only one doctrine, they are incredibly brilliant strategists and politicians and Lebanon needs them now. The question is will they step up to the plate or will they relegate themselves to obscurity thus denying their party faithful true representation since we all know that Nabih Berri is the least likely representative of the common man of the Shiite portion of Lebanon. They must step up and fall into line with the mainstream populace quickly before they become pariahs. We are united in our cause. Our cause is Lebanon. This ribbon in blue has become the symbol of a nation waiting for freedom. This blue ribbon has become Lebanon. All who wear it crave the same things: truth, democracy and freedom from oppression. No one in Lebanon is willing to go back to the old days of taking the garbage we are fed and swallowing it willingly so as not to upset the status quo. We the Lebanese are speaking in one voice. We are standing up and we are united in our cause. Never again will we be the downtrodden. Never again will we be the victims. We are Lebanese. We are the
survivors and we will be victorious.


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