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Speech of Former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in the Karameh Rally, Friday 1st of September 2000


 The dignified sons of Beirut,

Our families in Achrafieh, Saifi and Tareeq al-Jdeedeh

Our families in Rmeil, Bashoura, and Moseitbeh

Our families in Ras Beirut, Ain Mreisseh, Mina al-hosn, Zoqaq al-Blat, the Port and Mudawwar  Our people in all the districts of Beirut

Natives of the dignity of Beirut,

Natives of the dignity of Lebanon,

Men and women of national dignity,

Peace be upon you.

The blessings and mercy of God be upon you.

This day will go down in history as the day of BeirutĻs unity and national

This day will go down in history as the day of freedom, democracy and
national coexistence.

With you, Beirut will be united for the sake of Lebanon.

With you Lebanon will be united in the heart of Beirut.

You, who have achieved the glory of Beirut, will achieve in two days its
great victory.

The victory you all want and are longing for will be the fruit of an effort
to which every youth, male or female, every adult, man or woman, has

On September 3rd, you will say your word. Beirut will say its word and
declare its decision. It will indeed vote for the dignity of its sons, the
dignity of its youth, the dignity of its women, the dignity of its elderly,
its families, its neighborhoods and the dignity of a homeland whose dignity is above all dignities.

Our siblings in Beirut,

Our beloved natives of Beirut,

You stand on the verge of a great victory. DonĻt be late one moment in
participating in this victory.

You are on the threshold of the much needed change, seize the opportunity to give to Lebanon the opportunity for change to which you all aspire.

 Flock to the ballot boxes, and do not hesitate to fulfill your national

Pressures will break against the rock of your unity, and threats will
retreat in the face of your free will.

The history of your patriotism is stronger than threats and intimidation.

Your dignity is above the barrage of the misleading campaign.

With you, the contract of change on which you are pinning your hopes will be sealed.

With you, we shall continue to drive to rebuild Lebanon.

With you, we have the honor to defend our liberties and democratic system.

Brothers and sisters,

Lebanon is on the verge of a new regional phase filled with challenges,
whose political and economic repercussions are no less important than the
circumstances that accompanied the Israeli occupation of our land.

The importance of these challenges requires focusing on a number of
priorities that will raise the Lebanese political debate to a level above
that of hasty expediency.

First: Lebanon, which is embroiled in confusion stemming from the current administration of politics, requires a new nation-wide political movement to restore prestige and national accord. The movement must be capable of protecting the democratic system and countering the current attempts to divert it from the democratic history of Lebanon and its commitment to democratic practices.

Defending the democratic system will top our priorities for the coming
phase. Protecting our political system can only be achieved through a
healthy democratic parliamentary system and state institutions that cannot
be politically monopolized. Only constructive dialogue and national accord can encourage more good people to participate in public life.

Second: Commitment to public freedoms is a pillar for the resurrection of
Lebanon, its modernization and economic, social and cultural development and prosperity.

It will be impossible for Lebanon to search for a role for itself in the
orient without freedom. It will be equally impossible for the Lebanese to
achieve true national accord and coexistence in the shadow of ambiguous
policies devised behind closed doors in closed rooms.

Lebanon without political, economic and media freedoms, would be a country without horizon. You would be a people unable to grow, think or be creative culturally or as a civilization. There will be no place for Lebanon world map without freedoms.

Third: The socio-economic crisis is the other side of the political crisis
in the country. The real challenge facing Lebanon at present is the
sub-standard political performance that is weighing heavily on the people.
This also damages LebanonĻs image abroad and on its need to find a formula capable of facing the internal and external economic challenges so that the country can  catch up with international developments and then lead the Lebanese society to social stability.

Fourth: The slogans of change cannot be realized under the present policies.
The present policies cannot resurrect the country, irrespective of the
boosters that it might receive. There is no better alternative than heading
for the ballot boxes and for the participation of Lebanese people across the spectrum in the drive to move from stagnation to growth.
Brothers and sisters,

You are here today to participate in Lebanonís rise from despair to hope.

You are here today to save Lebanon from the socio-economic abyss.

You are here to participate in the opposition to all forms of assault on
our system and public freedoms.

You are here to protect the democratic system and raise the banners of
democracy on every forum in our country.

You are here to build the future of our children.

You are here as Beirutís freemen, Beirutís voice, Beirutís conscience and
Beirutís dignity.

The day after tomorrow, on Sunday, Beirut will triumph. The will of Beirut will triumph and the dignity of Beirut will triumph. The sons of Beirut will vote for their dignity, their future and the promise that will never cease to believe that Beirut will become again the jewel of the Arab capitals. With BeirutĻs victory, Lebanon will be victorious.

God bless you,

God bless Beirut

God bless Lebanon