Hariri from BIEL: I am a moderation, coexistence and ‘building of a civil state’ fanatic

FEBRUARY 14, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Marking the 10th Commemoration of the late Martyr PM Rafic Hariri’s assassinaiton, the “Future Movement” organized Saturday a tribute event at “BIEL” in Central Beirut, amidst a crowd of officials and supporters who gathered to pay respect to his memory. In his delivered speech as a tribute to his late father, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said:

“Honestly, nothing compares to being here with you. It’s great to be in Beirut, which Rafic Hariri loved so deeply.

Excellencies, comrades in the Future Movement and in March 14th Forces, brothers and sisters, dear Lebanese people,

A few days ago, we lost a great friend of Lebanon, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who will remain in the memory of the Lebanese as a father, a patron and a man of magnanimity, courage and sincere brotherhood.

And a few days ago, we followed with the Saudi people, the pledge of allegiance to the man carrying the legacy of stability, change and openness, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, and Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. On behalf of all of you, we express our loyalty to the Kingdom, and commit to walk in the footsteps of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who planted in our hearts, the love of the Kingdom, its people and leadership, as he returned to his country Lebanon with good will, and the will of moderation and national peace.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, ten years ago, the first seism took place in our beloved Beirut: they assassinated Rafic Hariri. They killed a symbol of success and development in the Lebanese and Arab life.

During the ten years, successive quakes took place to hit unprecedented levels of chaos, destruction, displacement and organized killing.

After your death, Martyr Prime Minister, April’s Understanding was eliminated, the Israeli enemy launched the worst war on Lebanon in 2006, and the State became hostage of an equation that held the decision of war and peace, and put Lebanon on the brink of conflict from all sides.

After your death, States collapsed, regimes fell, societies cracked down and a number of prominent Arab cities turned into quagmires of discord, tyranny and terrorism.

After your death, Bashar al-Assad succeeded in destroying Syria over the heads of the Syrian people, and his army and his allies-civil wars dealers- killed half a million victims. He succeeded as well in opening the border to the forces of extremism, and displacing ten million Syrian citizens, who now wander tragically all over the world.

After your death, rulers in Iraq governed with extremism, and handed the Iraqi army to the remnants of al-Qaeda, IS (Daesh) and the false Caliphate State.

After your death, Yemen stripped its dress of happiness, handed its destiny to the policies of hegemony and tribal conflicts, and copied the infamous practices of besieging presidencies and governments and imposing political change by force of weapons.

After your death, most Arabs left Palestine to its destiny, and to face, alone, the projects of the enemy, from uprooting to the Judaization of Jerusalem.

After your death, Libya fell in the evils of militias and despair prevailed throughout the nation.

But we will not despair and we will not abandon to symbols of crime and terrorism, the dream of Rafic Hariri, the dream of Arab integration and of building a modern State

We will keep our faith in the ability of the Lebanese and the ability of the Arabs to overcome conflicts, our faith in the will of moderation sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in the spirit of solidarity that we witnessed in Jordan, and in national rights triumphing over partisan gains as did our brothers in Tunisia, and as did our brothers in Egypt who decided to fight extremism in its own ground to protect, with the armed forces, the concept of the State.

Dear friends, ten years have passed and you are still defending every day the project of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, so that the dream of Rafic Hariri for Lebanon remains alive, ten years during which the killers of Rafic Hariri try every day to get rid of the project of Rafic Hariri for Lebanon the State, the message and democracy, the Lebanon of the Taif Accord and coexistence.

Today, more than ever before, the project of Rafic Hariri remains suitable to meet the challenges and worthy of our sacrifices. No solution to the challenges facing Lebanon but with the project of Rafic Hariri.

Martyr Prime Minister exerted years of effort to stop the civil war, and here we are today fighting together the specter of the return of civil war.

Rafic Hariri spent years and years to rebuild the country and here we are today facing a plan to empty the State and destroy its institutions.

Rafic Hariri worked for years on rebuilding Lebanon and restoring its Arab and international role, and to ensure economic growth to improve the lives of citizens, and here we are facing the marginalization of Lebanon in its Arab and international relations, and a deterioration in the economic growth and the standard of living of every citizen.

Rafic Hariri was the force of moderation in the face of extremism, intolerance and violence, and here we are facing the madness of extremism and terrorism. If Rafic Hariri died a martyr for Lebanon on this day, then our loyalty to him requires us to protect Lebanon with our souls.

The first step, to face these challenges and fight the projects of destruction, despair, poverty, ignorance and backwardness, the first step is to protect Lebanon, with all of our strength and means.

This is why we decided last year to “freeze” the conflict in a government whose first mission was to avoid the total void in the country. This is an occasion to salute Prime Minister Tamam Salam on his hard work and patience in assuming the national responsibility at this stage. This is why, also, we decided weeks ago to initiate a dialogue with Hezbollah.

The dialogue with Hezbollah, as you know, is not a political luxury or a step to overcome the differences between us. The dialogue is simply a necessity at this stage. It is an Islamic one, to absorb the sectarian tension which can no longer be overlooked, and it is a national necessity, to correct the political process and end the void in presidency.

The conflict is based on issues that are clear to everyone, from the issue of the International Tribunal and the refusal to hand-over suspects in the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Hariri, to the issue of the military participation in the Syrian war and the Arab civil conflicts, to the issue of the monopoly of weapons in the hands of the State and the recent declaration of adding Lebanon to the military fronts in Syria, Palestine and Iran.

There are repeated talks about Lebanon being part of an axis that extends from Iran to Palestine through Syria and Lebanon. And we say: Lebanon is not in this axis, nor in any axis, the majority of the Lebanese say no to this axis and any other axis. Lebanon is not a card in anyone’s hand, and the Lebanese are not a commodity on anyone’s table.

We, very clearly, will not acknowledge to Hezbollah any rights that prevail over the State’s right in the decisions of war and peace and that make Lebanon a security and military arena through which they exploit the State’s potentials and the lives of the Lebanese to save the Syrian regime and protect the Iranian interests.

As for the “conflict freeze,” it is an open and honest invitation to prevent the explosion of the conflict; what is important for us is to refuse to be dragged behind sectarian instincts and refrain from street arbitration in political disputes. These were the subject of commendable efforts from Speaker Nabih Berri and Walid Joumblat. We think that the benefits arising from this dialogue until now are suitable to pursue this path.

The rules that underpin the dialogue don’t mean that we will stop asking about Lebanon’s interest in despising the Arab League, denying its existence, and limiting Arabs to the regime of Bashar Assad and a group of militias and armed tribes that live on Iranian support to play the role of the State in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen?

Where is the interest of Lebanon’s youth in going to fight in Syria or Iraq?

Where is Lebanon’s interest in interfering in Bahrain’s affairs and offending a State that only offers good word and hospitality to Lebanon and the Lebanese? The indisputable truth is that that there is no interest for Lebanon in all this.

As for the argument about the futility of the calls to the Party to withdraw from Syria, as the orders come from the Iranian leadership, it is an additional reason to demand the withdrawal and stop the policies of monopoly.

Let me tell you something: We entered dialogue to protect Lebanon because Lebanon is more important than all of us. And just as Martyr Premier Rafic Hariri used to say, no one is greater than his country.

We believe that Lebanon is facing two dangers: a danger to the country, which is the Sunni-Shiite tension, and a danger to the State, which is the absence of a President. Over the President’s issue, it seems that they are in no hurry and their stance means postponing the talk on the subject.

About the Sunni-Shiite tensions, we are telling them very frankly that we see four main reasons for these tensions: first, Hezbollah’s refusal to hand over the suspects in the assassination of Premier Rafic Hariri; second, Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian war; third, the distribution of weapons under the denomination of the Resistance Brigades; fourth, the feeling of the rest of the Lebanese that there are regions and groups on which and over whom no security plan or law can be applied.

We didn’t ask for anything from Hezbollah during dialogue. We told them: you want to decrease tension and so do we, because our school, thought, project, and the essence of our existence refuses discord and civil war. These are the reasons of tensions, so tell us what you can do. This is what’s happening in our dialogue with Hezbollah. We are serious and we hope to reach results.

We have been calling for months to reach an agreement to elect a president. We never failed to communicate with everyone for this purpose. We encouraged dialogue in all directions to solve the issue of the presidency. The worst thing is that obstructing agreement over presidency establishes a wrong concept that the country can handle its affairs with or without a president.

Perhaps some are happy with the presidential void and the repartition of the president’s powers over 24 ministers. In this context, it is important to stress that the presence of 24 ministers doesn’t compensate for the absence of the Head of the State and the Council of Ministers can replace the president only in exceptional cases.

In fact, the present void is not due to exceptional circumstances, but continues due to political stubbornness or power struggle.

No citizen can ignore the dangers threatening Lebanon as a result of the growing terrorism movements in the region. And if the Lebanese leaders failed until now to reach an agreement on a defense strategy to protect Lebanon from the Israeli threats, this failure shouldn’t also apply to finding a national strategy to face terrorism. The national consensus against terrorism and in support of the Lebanese Army and the security forces and their great sacrifices should translate into making national interest prevail over any partisan or external interest.

In short, we say that the war against terrorism is a national responsibility of all the Lebanese; otherwise, the fire will reach Lebanon no matter how much efforts we exert to extinguish the small fires.

The Iraqi model in establishing militias and arming tribes, sects, parties and individuals doesn’t work in Lebanon. Assigning a sect or a group with military missions draws Lebanon into armed chaos and sectarian division.

My call to all, especially Hezbollah with whom we are having a serious and responsible dialogue, is to work without delay to prepare a national strategy that would unify the Lebanese in the face of extremism and the repercussions of the surrounding wars.

Betting on saving the Syrian regime is an illusion based on delusional victories and on a regional decision to continue the destruction of Syria.

We already told Hezbollah that entering the Syrian war is a madness that brought the terrorist madness to our country. Today we tell the Party that binding the Golan to the South is also madness. This is an additional reason for us to say: withdraw from Syria. Stop dragging the fires from Syria to our country, at times from terrorism and at other times from the Golan and tomorrow we don’t know where from.

We reaffirm our support to the army and the security forces in heart and mind, and word and deed. Our support to the army and the security forces is unconditional and unlimited and it is coupled with practical steps that put the national interests before sectarian interests and self-interests.

This is our position in Tripoli, Akkar, Dennieh, Ersal and Sidon; a firm stance that protects our people and doesn’t fall in sectarian overbidding or conciliates with terrorism under any circumstances.

This is the legacy of Rafic Hariri and the Future Movement. This is the spirit that unites March 14th Forces, which raised years ago the slogan of crossing into the State and still believe that there is no end for Lebanon’s suffering unless we all cross into the State.

Premier Rafic Hariri fell a martyr on this road along with the March 14th martyrs. This elite of Lebanese freemen, whom we meet to honor on this day, and make their memory an incentive to renew our commitment to existence and to freeing the Lebanese national decision from foreign dependency.

Here, let me say a few words on the subject of religious extremism and terrorism in the name of religion: we are the Future Movement; we are the Movement of Rafic Hariri; we are the force of moderation; and we stand with the State in the face of projects of religious or political violence; we stand with the army and the security forces in the face of terrorism and extremism, because we understood a long time ago that there is no middle point between moderation… and extremism. There is no place in the middle, between moderation and extremism…. There is no place in the middle between the State and chaos; there is no place in the middle between the army and the militia; there is no place in the middle between national unity and civil war, and there is no place in the middle between a sovereign and independent Lebanon and the Lebanon of discord and division.

I came to tell you that I am not a moderate, I am … a fanatic: I am a fanatic about Lebanon, the State, and the Constitution. I am a fanatic about institutions, legitimacy, the Army, the Internal Security Forces; I am a fanatic about economic growth, job opportunities and a dignified life; I am a fanatic about coexistence and parity; I am a fanatic about building a civil State, yes the civil state: the State where law rules, and which rules all citizens by law, and only by law …, because differences of jurisprudence, religion, sect and interpretation should not apply to the State, nor to public life. These words are directed to all, Muslims and Christians, freedom of belief is; guaranteed by the Constitution, to each one, in his home, at the Mosque and the Church, but the State is the meeting place of everyone, without distinction or discrimination. I am a fanatic about sovereignty, freedom and independence, about the project of Rafic Hariri, the dream of Rafic Hariri; I am a fanatic about the power of moderation represented by every one of you, and that the Future Movement will continue to represent in Lebanon, God willing.

Dear brothers and sisters, you know that the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was carried out after threats directed to him of destroying Beirut over his head. The International Tribunal has been addressing this issue and others for weeks, with the transparency required by justice, and we are confident that it will reach a fair verdict, and that the blood of Rafic Hariri and the martyrs of March 14 will not be wasted in the maze of compromises. We waited for ten years, and are ready to wait longer, and the Tribunal will continue its work until the truth appears, and the dream of Rafic Hariri triumphs over the enemies of freedom, progress and moderation.

Ten years, 120 months, 520 weeks, 3650 days, more than 87 thousand hours, and more than half a million minutes; not a minute, an hour, a day passes, without me remembering, missing, and asking: where is he? Why? And what to do?

The answer, I find in you, I hear it from you, and I say it with you. Our answer, ten years later, is that we shall continue. We are continuing and not despairing. Our faith remains in God, and in the capability of the Lebanese people, and our project remains to realize the dream of Rafic Hariri for Lebanon.

SOURCE: National News Agency- Lebanon