In remembrance of the late PM Rafik Hariri, the 15th annual 14th of February commemoration was held on the same date in Beit Al-Wasat, Beirut.
As has been customary since the 2005 assassination, former PM Saad Hariri spoke on the occasion as the leader of the Future Movement; this time, after a plethora of speculations about “major revelations” expected from his speech:
Before the speech, a video documentary produced by Mustaqbal Web was displayed. It mainly criticized the claim that the “Political Harirism” (Rafik Hariri’s policies when he was Prime Minister of Lebanon) was the reason for the economic downfall in the country.
It shed light on the achievements of PM Rafik Hariri during his 2 terms and, instead, blamed other political powers (such as former President Emile Lahoud and Minister Gebran Bassil) in Lebanon for the snowball of disaster that ultimately led Lebanon to the crisis it’s facing today.
In the introduction of his speech, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri began by initially addressing the audience. He said that, in light of the current living and financial crises, “you are all asking, where are you, Rafik Hariri?”
He announced his intent to disclose what’s in his heart, as he said it, and went on to praise the Future Movement, asserting “to those who said that Beit Al-Wasat will close down” that “the Future Movement will stay.” He also called his party “the representer of Arabism and moderation.”
“We do not intend to ride the wave of the popular outrage and separate ourselves from the political class,” he declared, before defending his late father’s reputation against “the political system that is still pursuing the martyred prime minister since the 90s, blaming him for the economic debt.”
Moving into the offensive, Saad Hariri mentioned that his father had provided 24/24 electricity for Lebanon and inquired, “who brought us back to rationing and generators?”
He followed his question with a reminder that the Ministry of Energy “has never been held by a minister affiliated with Harirism or the Future [Movement].”
“Had the Paris II reforms been undergone 18 years ago,” he continued, “the country wouldn’t have reached this collapse.”
Hariri then criticized the president, saying: “Although President Aoun knows the respect I have for him, I’ve reached a place where I’m forced to say that I dealt with two presidents.”
“One of them is the shadow president,” he elaborated, explaining he had to deal with that president “to protect the stability with the original president.”
Regarding his party’s current political stance, he said: “We endorse going to early parliamentary elections and I invite everyone to think calmly.” He added, “The Future Movement will propose a new electoral law as soon as possible.”
Speaking about Hezbollah, the leader of the Future Movement said that “Iran’s cash solves the crisis of a party, not that of a country,” and maintained that “the state cannot proceed without clear policies.”
“My decision to restructure and stir change in the Future Movement is clear,” Hariri then declared. “It’s no secret that the financial crisis affected the activities of the Movement but I will not forget the rights of any individual in our establishment,” he then assured.
Reflecting on the events that followed soon after the October 17 revolution, he said, “I submitted my resignation willingly in response to the voice of the people, and I will stay in my country and in political work.”
“The Future Movement will remain,” he reiterated. “I promise you, wherever my political site, that I will roam the world to defend the Lebanese, confront the hardships and move [the country] out of the collapse.”
In a clear statement of disdain towards the “presidential settlement” between him and President Michel Aoun, Hariri had not invited the president and his FPM party’s officials to the ceremony this year.
His contemptive attitude towards the agreement was also prevalent throughout his political speech as well as the documentary that preceded it.
Hariri’s speech represents a statement regarding the Future Movement’s stance and presence in the political scene of Lebanon following the events that escalated after October 2019.
For more on the documentary presented, you may watch it here: