Mixed feelings on Valentine’s Day remain after 15 years: Love of life and peace… yet sadness and grief

On that sad day, Lebanon’s Prime Minster was assassinated in a horrific car bomb in Beirut, and along with him many innocent people. Many other journalists, academics, and/or politicians have also been killed following this “earthquake” that hit Lebanon, to use the same term as the France24 documentary below:

In Bambi’s mind, a Prime Minister is the country itself. Killing him or her would be equivalent to killing a whole country.

Where is the accountability in Lebanon?

Bambi did not have the chance to know Mr. Rafic Hariri as a politician, as she left the country in 1990 at the very end of civil war. She is talking in general.

What she knows is that we owe him the re-construction of the Lebanese capital after the destructive 15-year-old civil war.

Below, you can see pictures she recently took at Beirut airport (that now carries his name), featuring Beirut before and after (war).

She remembers that, during war, many of the Red Cross cars/ambulances had Hariri’s name written in tiny letters (“a donation of Rafic Hariri”).

Another memory that comes to her mind is the LARGE number of Lebanese students who were able to receive bursaries from Hariri Foundation to study either in Beirut or abroad. She personally knows many colleagues and friends. Some came to North America. These students were from all regions and confessions. They had/have one thing in common: the excellence of their work. No one asked them about their religion.

Of course, Mr. Hariri may have been disliked (at least by those who ordered his killing) or those who did not like his work or his ties to Saudi Arabia, etc. Some did not like the business style of his company that has built Beirut. “Solidere” may have indeed operated in an unfair way with some citizens. However, in Bambi’s mind, seeing a prosperous Beirut is by far nicer than the destruction of war or current vandalism.

So, if only for that, Bambi would like to say: Thank you Mr. Hariri. Hope you are resting in peace… despite the economic unrest in Beirut that you have loved and cared for in your own way. You loved your capital so much that your name and hers are forever associated with Valentine’s Day. Sadly, as mentioned earlier, many other citizens as well. They had nothing to do with politics. They just happened to be present at the wrong place and time. May they all rest in peace.

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