The US ambassador to the UN said today that the charges for the Hariri murder would be announced this year and the trial of the accused would be next year.
The US is the main world power behind the international tribunal set to bring his killers to justice. For this moral stand for justice in Lebanon, the Lebanese people and Lebanese Americans are forever indebted to the American people.
Mr. Hariri, a friend of the United States, and a great man who rose from a modest family to become a billionaire, a statesman and an international prominent figure, believed in the modern values of education and entrepreneurship and the importance of building Lebanon as a modern state. He spent billions of his own personal wealth to educate thousands of Lebanese citizens of all religious affiliations. Many of those studied in the US, something that these students could never afford on their own. Indeed, he himself was born into a family of modest means, and could not have afforded an American education.
His assassination is deemed an earthquake that shook Lebanon to its foundation resulting in worldwide condemnation of this crime and a call for bringing the killers to justice. Intent on ending Western influence and values in Lebanon, the killers continued to assassinate leading Lebanese intellectuals and politicians who stood for a free and democratic Lebanon.
These killings did not only terrorize the political and cultural elite, many of whom had to go into hiding. Along with these political assassinations came the terrorizing of the Lebanese people. Each assassination was accompanied by tragic loss of life of Lebanese citizens who were on their way conducting their daily life activities. The goal of the terrorists was to scare the population into submission to fear.
But the Lebanese decided to continue living their lives, driving to work, taking their children to school, buying groceries and going out for leisure activities as well. Terror could strike at anytime and anywhere. Despite all that the Lebanese have refused to stay home and decided to embrace life. The Lebanese expatriates, despite the political terror, continued to visit Lebanon. A record number of Lebanese, many of them Lebanese Americans, travelled to Lebanon last December to spend Eid el Adha and Christmas with their families and friends.
In all this what has been a source of most pain and anguish to the Lebanese people, in Lebanon and outside Lebanon, is the fact that the killers seemed to be act with impunity and kept striking. The last attack occurred on January 15 targeting a US embassy car. This attack killed three Lebanese citizens, injured an American bystander, a local embassy employee, and wrecked the explosion area.
The Lebanese hope that these terroristic attacks will be coming to an end. The investigation of the assassination of Mr. Hariri and the subsequent terrorist attacks reveals that they are all connected. The tribunal promises to bring justice not only to the political victims of the crimes but the many innocent civilians who lost their lives.
The American people should be proud of being a force for justice for the Lebanese people by their support of the international tribunal. The Lebanese people and Lebanese Americans thank America for standing with them.
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