Vote for Beirut

Campaign posters of Lebanese Prime Minister and candidate for parliamentary elections Saad al-Hariri and his father, assassinated Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, hang on Ferris Wheel in Beirut, Lebanon May 3, 2018. Reuters/Jamal Saidi

The weather in Lebanon in May is generally unpredictable.

But this year, in addition to the expected pollution, with general elections Sunday, the atmosphere is heavy with promises, lies, fake news, disinformation, innuendo, venom and opportunism of the highest order.

It’s been a windfall for the audiovisual media, thanks to the unprecedented airtime provided to billionaires, millionaires and hopefuls vying for that blue license plate that opens the way into greener pastures.

But as the deadline approaches, it’s important to set the record straight and remind those with a short memory of a few vital facts before they head to the polls.

What Beirut is destined for applies to the rest of the country’s cities. Beirut is not only the capital, it’s the country’s melting pot – all sects, tribes and parties are included.

The city has been destroyed several times and reconstructed by those whose passion for building is legendary.

What we are enjoying we owe also to late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the prosperity and advancement of the nation and its capital.

Among his achievements: More than 40,000 students from all regions and all sects benefited from scholarships and graduated from the best universities, paving the way for a better life for themselves and their families, at a time when Beirut and its citizens were abandoned by all and when Hariri was not even in politics.

His unwavering passion for and belief in Lebanon and its capital is shared by his son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the records of both shine as bright as the sun.

Beirut bears witness to what Saad Hariri has stood for and how he has defended the city, taking forward his father’s positive vision, continuing its development and strengthening it so that it has been able to fend off storms on all sides.

All this has been thanks to his political acumen and unrelenting efforts to put the country and its capital back onto the world map where it belongs, and at the risk of his own personal safety. His efforts are on the record. There have been no empty promises.

At this time, it is crucial to reflect on the claims made by more than half a dozen electoral lists that are running with the sole purpose of frustrating Hariri, making pledges we know will be broken on May 7.

Let Sunday evening’s result prove to the whole world the trust Beirutis and all Lebanese have in their charismatic leader Saad Hariri and his electoral list, and their esteem and support for his actions. They are called upon to demonstrate that support by voting. The future of Beirut is at stake.

Enough said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 04, 2018, on page 1.




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