14 years on from the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, and Lebanon still remembers him every day.
A long list of adjectives is used to describe Rafik Hariri. He was an extraordinary man with great vision and integrity, an outstanding businessman, and a devoted politician who lead his country and the Lebanese to the former glory.
On the occasion of his remembrance, let’s recall some of his life facts:
#1 Rafik Bahaa El Deen Hariri was born on November 1, 1944, to a poor family in the Southern port of Sidon, Lebanon.
#2 At first, he attended the Sidon Secondary School and afterward Beirut Arab University (BAU) where he graduated in business administration.
#3 In 1965, Hariri left for Saudi Arabia where he started his first career as a teacher and, later on, found employment at the construction firm.
#4 Hariri took the construction firm of the French firm Oger and completed the construction project of a hotel in Saudi Arabia. This project became the milestone of his career.
#5 He then became the personal contractor of the Saudi royal family who supported him in his career. After many high-end construction projects, Hariri became a multi-billionaire.
#6 After accumulating a large amount of wealth, Hariri started a number of projects in Lebanon and donated to the victims of the South Lebanon conflict.
#7 In 1979, he founded the Hariri Foundation, a non-profit organization that helped more than 30,000 students pursue a university education in Lebanon, France, the UK, and North America.
#8 Hariri brought the world-famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, to sing in Lebanon, flying him with his private Boeing 727.
#9 He started his career in politics in 1983, as a political advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan and then became a Saudi diplomat.
#10 He played a distinguished role in the formulation of the 1990 Taif Agreement, which marked the end of the 15-year civil war in Lebanon.
#11 In 1992, he became the first post-civil war prime minister under president Elias Hrawi.
#12 After becoming a Prime Minister, Hariri played a significant role in putting Lebanon back on the financial map by issuing Eurobonds in order to borrow reconstruction money.
#13 He created the most remarkable economic policy, a rejuvenation project called “Horizon 2000” to improve the post-civil war scenario of Lebanon.
#14 He established a construction unit, the famous Solidere, which redeveloped Beirut and transformed it into a major urban hub.
#15 Due to “Horizon 2000”, the real national income of Lebanon increased to 6% during 1992-1993.
#16 In 1998, Rafik Hariri was replaced by Salim Hoss as the Prime Minister.
#17 Hariri justified the UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that called all the foreign forces to withdraw their forces from Lebanon.
#18 His second term ended on 20th October 2004 when he resigned from his Prime Ministerial post.
#19 In 2004, he was awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honor by the United Nations for his contributions to International Relations.
#20 Rafik Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005 while driving past the St. George Hotel in Beirut.
#21 After his death, the Beirut International Airport was renamed the Rafik Hariri International airport.
#22 The Beirut General University Hospital was also renamed as the Rafik Hariri Hospital.
Rafik Hariri was indeed larger than life and his love story for Lebanon was legendary.