Under the patronage of Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the “Beirutis List” of candidates for the Beirut municipal elections organized a large rally this afternoon at the Riyadi club in Ras Beirut, in the presence of a large number of Beirut MPs, mayors and citizens.
The rally began with the Lebanese national anthem, and then the Head of the Beirutis List, Jamal Itani, introduced the other members of the list, and said it will work for the development of the capital.
Premier Saad Hariri then delivered the following speech:
“Nothing is more beautiful than Beirut, or the people of Beirut!
All this time, I missed Beirut, and now as I stand among you I know exactly what I was missing: I was missing you, being with you, I was missing these moments where I feel that I am actually among my brothers and beloved ones, among the Beirutis!
Let’s start from the end. You tell me: What is the name of the people of Beirut? Yes, the Beirutis! What is the name of your list? The Beirutis list. And your voice that I hear today will vote for whom on Sunday? For the Beirutis list!
They ask us why the Beirutis List, well the people of Beirut are Beirutis!
It is true that the capital belongs to everyone, and to all of Lebanon. It is true that the people of the capital are for all of Lebanon, but this does not mean that Beirut does not have people.
If we want to keep Beirut proud, we must keep Beirut’s decision in the hands of its people. You are the people of Beirut. You are its decision, its dignity, its spirit, its father and mother; you are the first defense line of its history and role.
We are here to say that without the Beirutis, there is not Beirut, no Ras Beirut, Ashrafieh, Mazraa, Tarik Jdideh, Moussaitbe, Saifi, Zkak Blat, Bachoura, Minet Hosn, Ain Mraisse, Rmeil, Mdawar, and no port!
You are the backbone of the city and the source of its strength. Without you, Beirut has no soul, no role and no future. You made Beirut the capital of Lebanon, and you are responsible for the capital, so it remains a place that gathers all the Lebanese.
We know that Beirut is big and great because it is the capital of Lebanon. Beirut grows, with all the Lebanese, who lived, studied and worked in it to make it the capital of civilization, culture, science and creativity in the Arab world. We want Beirut to be as big as the dreams of all the Lebanese and as big as the loyalty of the Beirutis to Beirut and all of Lebanon!
The Beirutis is the name of the list of the people of Beirut. It is a working team, not a show off team. A working team of engineers, architects, doctors, lawyers, financial experts, media experts, IT experts, businessmen and activists in the social, sport and educational, energy and environment fields.
A working team that is not allowed to fail. The Beirutis list represents all the people of the capital, but all the people of the capital want to see work being done. They want to see a clean city, sidewalks they can walk on, they want to go to the clean sea, to see Beirut as the most beautiful city in the Middle East! Nothing prevents us from being the best, the most beautiful and the cleanest city. This is a challenge that we want to face together, and I personally will not tolerate any failure, I will not allow Beirut to drown in rubbish anymore.
I repeat: I was not here, but I am here now and I will stay! I am staying in Beirut, with you, among my family in Beirut and all of Lebanon.
It is true that some say that these elections are about development, family, and are not political. But no, this is Beirut, the capital of everything, the capital of economy, of management, of sports, of arts, of health and the capital of culture. This is the capital of the state, and thus: the capital of politics. Rafic Hariri knew what Beirut is and its importance.
Aren’t they the same ones who accused Rafic Hariri of having focused the economic, development, educational, health and sports project in Beirut? Yes. Because Beirut is the capital of Lebanon and its facade. To bring investment, employment opportunities, tourism and cultural and scientific life to Lebanon, one must begin with the capital of Lebanon, Beirut.
Beirut was and remains the facade of Rafic Hariri’s political project too! This is an occasion to talk again about our project, about the Future Movement’s project, because some might have forgotten it or want to forget it: the Future Movement is the movement that educates, builds schools and supports universities. We are the forty thousand university graduates in the face of the militias, we are reconstruction in the face of destruction, and we are the economic boom in the face of devastation. We are the martyr for the sake of the country. We are the Second Independence in 2005. We are Bassel Fleihan, the Beirut MP and one of the finest Lebanese men who martyred near the St Georges. We are Walid Eido, the Beirut MP and the voice of freedom, who martyred in Manara, a few meters away. We are Wissam al-Hassan, the hero of the fight against terrorism, who martyred in Ashrafieh. We are Mohammad Chatah the man of understanding and dialogue, who martyred in Minet Hosn. We are openness and moderation in the face of extremism and terrorism. We are Lebanon First, we are you and we are the Lebanese.
Since the days of Rafic Hariri, our political project can be summed up by two words: coexistence and national unity. The defense line for this project is parity, in the capital specifically, and this is the reason for our insistence on parity, and that is why they have been trying, since March 14, 2005 and until today, to hamper parity, by any means.
It is our responsibility to say, through our votes on Sunday, that Beirut is still committed to parity, coexistence, national unity and the national project of Rafic Hariri, for Beirut and all of Lebanon.
And those who tell us that the elections are not political, stay home, don’t vote, remove this or that name from the list, or vote against the Beirutis List are telling us: vote against the project of Rafic Hariri!
It is true that we are gathered in a basketball court, and by the way, I thank the Riyadi club that gathered us, I thank this deep-rooted Beiruti club! A basketball court brings us together, but the game for which we are preparing ourselves is the real, popular democratic game. The elections on Sunday. In this game, unlike basketball, we are not spectators. Each and every one of you is a player and can affect the outcome of the game. We are all one team, the team of Beirut, the Beirutis team.
It is not a basketball game that we could watch from home on television, and in which we have no say. In order for Beirut and the Beirutis to win, each one of us has a responsibility to go and vote for the Beirutis list.
Some might tell you, why vote, the list will win in any case. These are the ones who want to eliminate your voices, they want you out of the game and the whole tournament as well.
This Beirut, that Rafic Hariri adored, that he martyred for, deserves our voice on Sunday.
Beirut deserves our voice on Sunday to prevent anyone from breaking the testament of parity. We shall meet on Sunday, at seven in the morning, to vote for the Beirutis List “as it is”. And we shall meet on Monday hopefully with your new Municipal council and with a better future for the capital and its people!”
Source: National News Agency