This is the speech delivered by Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri during the Iftar he held this evening in Majdelyoun, in honor of families from Sidon and Arkoub.
“Dear friends, Peace be upon you.
Here I lived the best period of my life; here I learned what good people are like and how life can be without intolerance and hatred even under bombing and even in days of war.
Sidon is the first lesson, the first orchard, the first friend, the first reward and the first punishment; Sidon is the endless love.
Sidon was the first garden of dreams for Rafic Hariri. Here he laid the cornerstone of the reconstruction project and from here he launched the route of objecting the civil war.
Here, Rafic Hariri’s opinion of the joint life between all Lebanese was formed, in this part of the nation that was and will always be a bridge for communication and coexistence between all sects and religious components.
Rafic Hariri was raised here and he in his turn raised us here to love Lebanon, be loyal to Lebanon, belong to Arabism, be loyal to Palestine and integrate ourselves in the wider environment of our people in the South.
This is Sidon and these are the families of Sidon who defended with the lives of their youth and heroes the dignity and freedom of the city against the Israeli occupation and its tools, against the Syrian presence and its intelligence and against all those who threatened Sidon with the weapons of domination and intimidation.
Sidon has a deep-rooted history in defending its Arab identity and national role. This city does not sell or give up this history to anyone even to those who have money, arms or decorative slogans of resistance!
The strength of Sidon is in the dignity of its people, their adherence to coexistence and refusal to disengage themselves from their environment and their partners in the nation. This is why Sidon did not and will never accept that armed brigades become part of its social fabric. The term “Resistance brigades” in itself irritates the people of Sidon as well as all Lebanese regions because they are related to civil conflict and criminal incidents and they became a big burden on civil peace and public order.
Sidon has several developmental needs, just like all regions. But what distinguishes Sidon is that it has a civil development strategy with the participation of all segments of society, in cooperation with the MPs of Saida, Former PM Fouad Siniora and MP Bahia Hariri.
This strategy led to remove the trash mountain and establish a processing plant, and the mountain was replaced by the public park of Mohammed Saudi, whom we salute.
This strategy also led to the establishment of the Turkish Emergency and Burns Hospital. And to continue to connect the city with its surrounding, the Sinik bridge was executed, the fifth phase of the South highway was completed and so was the rehabilitation project of the historic city and the cultural heritage.
Now the first phase of the new commercial port, the Sidon museum project, the rehabilitation of the land castle, and St. Nicholas Cathedral are being executed.
In the next period the following projects will be executed: a hotel in Sidon, Sidon’s beach more open to tourism, develop the fishermen’s port, rehabilitate al-zeerah, develop touristic activities and festivals, rehabilitate the old Maronite church and build a new public library and an emergency centre.
Also, the railroad will be rehabilitated to become a green public corridor, the seaside highway will be lit on solar energy among other projects that aim at improving the lives of the people of Sidon, create job opportunities for the youth and achieve security and stability, which is a priority to achieve sustainable development for Sidon.
Actually, Sidon can be an example for work in Lebanon and for the work of the Future Movement all over Lebanon. But from where can we get a Bahia Hariri in each and every town, city and sector in Lebanon?
Unfortunately, there is only one Bahia Hariri and fortunately for Sidon, Bahia is watching over Saida and over the security and stability network in Saida! Yes, for us, the security and stability of our people in Sidon and all over Lebanon is the first priority.
We are proud of this and this is the basis of the school that started in Sidon and spread to Lebanon and the world, the school in which we were raised and in which we will persist, the school of Rafic Hariri.
These words are even more meaningful when we look at what is happening around us and when we see that terrorism is knocking at the doors of our country just as happened in Qaa a few days ago.
From here, from Sidon, I announce my solidarity with the people of the Bekaa town of Qaa and its innocent martyrs who had nothing to do with the axes of wars and discord in the region.
From here, from Sidon, I condemn the crazy, cowardly terrorist attacks that have no function except killing freely, offending our religion and the Muslims, and provoking instincts to spread sedition and damage. From here, from Sidon I say: We, the Future Movement, the movement of moderation, are the solid fortress against extremism and terrorism. Lebanon and the Lebanese can only be protected by the state, the Lebanese army and security forces, and the unity and cohesion of all the Lebanese, with the state and behind the state.
The suicide attacks targeted Jordan before Lebanon and Turkey after that and shook regional security. Our people in Qaa faced the attack with calmness, national awareness and insistence to make the state and its military and security forces carry the responsibility of confronting terrorism and uprooting it from our land.
The state should not hesitate to carry such a responsibility and should mobilize all capabilities to protect its sovereignty and the safety of its people and stop any plan that aims at harming its security and spreading discord.
The target of the terrorist organizations is to spread chaos and destruction all over the region, but the conducive environment for these organizations is the ongoing war in Syria, the injustice, killing, displacement and destruction in which Bashar Assad drowned Syria, with the visa that the Assad regime gave to terrorism in Syria and from it to the entire region.
This problem started from Syria and will end in Syria, through a political solution. The international community should shoulder its responsibility in ending the war, ensuring the return of all refugees to Syria and saving Lebanon and the region from all the brutes of injustice, ignorance, intolerance, extremism and terrorism”.
Source: National News Agency