Prime Minister Saad Hariri highlighted Lebanon's need of politicians who, according to him, "make the interests of the country prevail over thise of the sects and parties, in a popular rally held yesterday (Thursday) in the Iqlim al-Kharoub town of Barja, in the presence of the candidates on the "Reconciliation" list in Chouf-Aley district, Mohammed Hajjar and Ghattas Khoury, and Mufti of Mount Lebanon Sheikh Mohammed Ali Jouzou.
In his word, Hariri said: "We have an ambitious Capital investment program that opens the door to thousands of job opportunities. In order for this program to work, it needs a political team that makes the interest of the country prevail over the interests of sects and parties. We chose the interest of the country, and we need a majority in Parliament to go ahead with this choice."
He added: "When they asked me where would you like the meeting in the Iqlim to be, I answered without hesitation: I want the meeting to be in Barja. The whole "Future movement" and I came to check on Barja, my beloved ones and the comrades of difficult days.
First allow me, I Saad Rafic Hariri, to welcome all the Iqlim in Barja. Allow me to announce that I, Saad Rafic Hariri, am Barja's candidate for all Lebanon. If you accept that I represent Barja raise your voice. I want an authorization from Barja to be heard by all the towns of Iqlim al-Kharoub and all the Lebanese. This authorization is the response to all the attempts to separate Barja from Saad Hariri and the Future movement. It is the response to every person who stabbed Rafic Hariri in the back and thinks that he is able to use Barja to stab the Future movement. Barja is the essence of loyalty and not everyone who says that he is from Barja becomes a 'Berjawi'.
The demands and rights of Barja will be followed by the Future movement and me personally. Our love for Barja is part of our love for Iqlim al-Kharoub, of the commitment to Rafic Hariri's movement to the towns of the area, which was and will always remain the human and national backer of the political Harirism and the Future movement.
It is true that the Iqlim's history is rich with the presence of political parties and movements from the far right to the far left. This is a sign of national health and cultural diversity. But it is also true that when Rafic Hariri and after him the Future movement entered the political arena, the Iqlim became key in the political equation in Mount Lebanon.
I am not just talking about the Iqlim's representation in parliament but also about a large audience of the area who decided to support the political and national choices of the Future movement. They are the ones who make ministers, deputies, leaders and positions. But the most important thing is that they are the ones who protect the political options and the principles of the Iqlim, in moderation, coexistence and adherence to the Lebanon's Arabism in the face of all foreign hurricanes.
The people of Iqlim al-Kharoub are a school of loyalty to the state and legitimacy. Wherever you look in the state's institutions you find skilled persons from the Iqlim. During the civil war many areas were not able to prevent their children from entering militias, but the Iqlim children chose to enter the state, even when it was at its worst.
You can find the sons of the Iqlim in the army and the security forces. They also occupy high positions in the judiciary, the diplomatic corps, and university and administrative positions. This means that the Iqlim really needs a 'blue bead'.
Iqlim al-Kharoub placed its children in all the state institutions and gave it skills and expertise in all work fields. However, sometimes when I see someone from the region, I feel that there is discontent from the citizens of Iqlim towards the state.
I remember once in the 1990s I saw my late father in Koraytem coming back from a tour in the Iqlim. He told me that he was upset. I asked why? He said, you know that Iqlim al-Kharoub has the biggest number of state employees, but what is not natural is that the road that connects the towns of Iqlim cannot be called a road.
Your disappointment from the state is justified and shared by most areas. The Iqlim witnessed a development and services leap as compared to past years. But this does not absolve us of the responsibility to solve problems that cannot be postponed. The random waste dumps and the waste mountain between Jadra and Barja, on a highway that did not see the light, are problems that the state should solve.
Surely there are other things that need to be followed up, including the establishment of a sports city in Barja, the rehabilitation of infrastructure, the completion of the main roads, and the modernization of the government hospital. But the issue of waste is an issue that cannot be delayed or debated. We are all responsible of ending the problem radically. When I say all of us, I mean the government, MPs, municipalities and civil society.
We have an opportunity to solve the problem and find solutions for other problems such as electricity, sanitation and modernization of the road network. The opportunity needs a decision from all Lebanese to protect Lebanon's achievement at the CEDRE Conference. This is not an achievement for Saad Hariri. This is the achievement of the Lebanese people and the citizens of Iqlim al-Kharoub who did not give up their faith in the state and the legitimacy. There may be parties that do not want this opportunity to be realized because Saad Hariri played a key role in it. But if you decide that this opportunity should be seized, then it will never be lost.
We have an ambitious Capital investment program that opens the door to thousands of job opportunities. In order for this program to work, it needs a political team that makes the interest of the country prevail over the interests of sects and parties. We chose the interest of the country, and we need a majority in Parliament to go ahead with this choice.
The May 6 parliamentary elections are a turning point between two ways: either correcting the state's economic, administrative and legislative path and providing the elements for the success of the Capital investment program, or staying in the unknown.
When one is here, one feels proud when he sees the mukhtars, the people, the children, the young men and women and how Rafic Hariri planted the love of their country in their hearts.
I want to thank each and every one of you. Here I do not need protection. I am here in Barja among my people. You know who challenges us in the elections, but actually there is only one list against us. With Walid bek and Taymour we will continue the path. We will always cooperate with Taymour. Surely there will be bickering, but it is acceptable from Walid bek.
The Chouf and Aley and especially Iqlim al-Kharoub will say their word on May 6. This word will be heard all over Lebanon, it will say that no one enters this area because it is in favor of Walid bek, the Future movement, Rafic Hariri and Saad Hariri.
I want to thank you from all my heart and I want each and every one of you to go to the ballot boxes on May 6. I will remind you of what Rafic Hariri used to say: We will wake up early, drink coffee, have breakfast and then go to the ballot boxes. This time we will mark the list that we want. We will define the preferential vote later so they do not fight us from now. But we have two candidates: Ghattas Khoury and Mohammed Hajjar. We will go to the ballot boxes and vote for the list."
Mufti Jouzou also spoke. He said: "God bless the soul of Rafic Hariri, the great leader and benefactor who built the first institution in Barja to teach liberal professions to all the people of Iqlim al-Kharoub. Saad Hariri continued this, may God bless him. We will never forget Rafic Hariri, the man of education, construction and generosity. He was the father of the poor people, where he sent 36 thousand young people to be educated in the world universities at his own expense. May God bless Saad Hariri."
Premier Hariri then cut a cake offered by the Barja section of the Future movement on the occasion of his 48th birthday.
Source: National News Agency