Was Rafik Hariri a visionary leader, or are the others too outdated?

Mazen Hayek

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Years go by and Rafik Hariri is still present in the nation’s conscience and the daily life of Lebanon’s residents and expatriates through his national, humanitarian, developmental and intellectual achievements. He was – and must remain – a title for optimism, a symbol of confidence, a role model for mobilization. Hariri had set up the reinstatement of Lebanon’s attendance at international forums, improved the country’s image, reputation and competitiveness. In addition, he established a number of institutions and services, contributed to the country’s economic growth and businesses, and the construction of infrastructure and public utilities. Hariri should essentially remain an inspiration to fetch new solutions in order to make what is impossible as possible, and what is possible to be taken for granted, even if they were forced sometimes, in order to achieve this, to prioritize the bargaining option at the expense of the logic of the state.

Nevertheless, despite his absenteeism, Rafik Hariri remains more present than a large number of those so-called “politics traders.” His contributions and achievements at times and his mistakes at other times, are still raising many debates, as they constitute a source of polarization between supporters and antagonists, as if he will be an electoral candidate tomorrow, and will return to power the day after. Maybe the main reason behind this is that the politicians who came in power after him are different, varying between those who were obsessed with “position games,” and those who blame others to justify their reluctance, disability and failure.

Role model

The youth believed that Rafik Hariri is “greater than life,” and that he is an excellent “success story.” He was their source of inspiration and the stimulation for their innovative ideas, creative initiatives, and prospective projects; he had high hopes regarding the education, competencies, qualifications and achievements, therefore he supported the youth’s participation in public life and knowledge in economies. Rafiq Hariri was multi-talented and had endless capacities; he was a good and wise listener... He mastered the youth’s language, numbers and ambitions, optimism, wise vision, leadership spirit and teamwork. He had the ability of achievements, in addition to modern Arabism features that go in line with globalization, the culture of moderation and openness in the face of extremism and terrorism, and the value of co-existence and equality between Christians and Muslims in the face of the persistent tendency towards intolerance, sectarianism and isolationism ... in addition to internal strife.

Lebanon still waiting

Rafik Hariri was assassinated by ignorance, hatred, greed for power and criminality, and with the delusion that the culprits will escape justice and punishment. Since that ominous day, Lebanese citizens have been waiting. They expect to realize their dreams of living in peace, security and tranquility, and their dreams of building the state and its institutions. They also dream that humanitarian tragedies and material losses would end, and that the citizens would leave behind them the frustration, despair and immigration. A dream that the “traders of politics” would someday be able to achieve what Rafik Hariri had accomplished alone, instead of raising controversies, outbidding, invading the screens and filling their pockets... heartlessly and mindlessly!
While waiting, the sole important question remains: Was Rafik Hariri a visionary leader, or are the “traders of politics” are too outdated?

This article was published on Annahar newspaper on Feb. 15, 2013.

Mazen Hayek is a MarComms & Media practitioner in MENA; weekly op-ed columnist in "An-Nahar" Lebanon, he can be followed on Twitter: @HayekMG

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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