By Michel Moawad
11 years have passed since the major earthquake that struck Lebanon: Rafik Hariri was killed using 2 tons of explosives. His murderers thought his assassination would nip the independence movement and the will to resist Syrian hegemony in the bud. However, on Feb. 14, 2015, the Independence Revolution was born, paving the way for the miraculous unification of the Lebanese on March 14, 2005.
Thanks to their unity, the Lebanese realized their dream of driving the Syrian occupation army and its intelligence forces out of Lebanon on April 26, 2015.
However, 11 years later, we feel embarrassed. We feel embarrassed because we shattered our major accomplishment; the accomplishment of strengthening our national unity and solidarity as an alliance that transcends sectarian affiliations. It was our weakness rather than their strength that led to our defeat. And here we are back to square one.
On the 11th anniversary of the martyrdom of Rafik Hariri, we are ought to remember why they assassinated him:
They assassinated Rafik Hariri when he reached the conclusion that economic development and growth go hand in hand with national sovereignty. Bolstering economic growth, creating employment opportunities, building infrastructure projects and planning for the future is impossible in the absence of a sovereign state and a strong army a strong state that commands undisputed authority across Lebanese territory and confines the possession of weapons to legitimate institutions.
Under tutelage, any form of tutelage, a state will fail to undertake sovereign decisions whether these decisions are of a financial, economic and social nature or dictate domestic and foreign policies as well as our defense strategy.
Rafik Hariri came to realize that fighting for sovereignty is the only path to build Lebanon. “Lebanon cannot be ruled from Damascus,” he said months before his assassination.
They assassinated him when he came to realize that Lebanon can only be salvaged by forging a sincere Christian-Muslim partnership. It is this belief in a partnership based on parity that prompted Rafik Hariri to dispatch envoys to join hands with his partners in the Qornet Chehwan gathering.
They assassinated him because he represented Muslim moderation, namely Sunni moderation. It is only by fueling Sunni extremism that they can justify Shiite extremism.
After 11 years, we have come to realize that we have lost a great deal because we were willing to give up on the sacred trilogy that represented the pillars of our March 14 alliance: Sovereignty, partnership and justice.
We scarified our sovereignty when we gave up our determination to ratify a defense strategy and succumbed to Hezbollah’s terms and the party’s domestic and regional agenda.
We gave up on national partnership each time a member of the March 14 coalition assumed he was entitled to take decisions in accordance with his whims at the expense of our alliance and Lebanon.
Partnership among members of the March 14 coalition was more than a privilege. Our partnership rendered us immune and bolstered our strength to confront foreign agendas.
The March 14 coalition was defeated once its members gave up on the principles of sovereignty, partnership and justice.
Today, we are giving up on justice after we gave up on efforts to refer Michel Samaha’s case to the judicial council as to combat organized crime and thwart Assad’s terrorist plots in Lebanon.
Today, on the 11th anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, we unfortunately lack the vision and determination to produce miracles.
We miss the man who taught, built and liberated Lebanon, elevating the country into a regional and international actor, despite Syrian hegemony. 11 years later, we no longer exist on the regional and international scene.
As the saying goes, you never know the value of what you have till you lose it. Rafik Hariri, we miss you.