Rep. Christopher Cox
U.S. House of
Honoring the Life and Legacy of Former Lebanese
Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
February 16, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California for yielding me this time. And
I want to thank the gentleman from West
Virginia (Mr. Rahall) for bringing this resolution
to the floor today.
The former prime
minister of Lebanon,
who died so tragically, was a visionary for his country, for the region, for
the world. He was an entrepreneur who understood the importance of markets
and a free economy to the future of Lebanon
and the future of the Middle East. He was a
philanthropist, who, from his personal fortune, personally paid for so many
to be educated both in this country and around the world, with only one
condition, that they come back to Lebanon and help build a free
democratic society there.
His murder on Tuesday
in Beirut was a loss for Lebanon to be sure, for the Middle
East as well, but also for the international community, for
everyone in the world who loves freedom and democracy. We are gathered today
to honor his memory and to call for the swift pursuit and punishment of those
responsible. More importantly, we are here to do justice to Mr. Hariri's dreams of a free, independent, and sovereign Lebanon.
I first met Rafik Hariri during a visit to Lebanon 12
years ago. He was impressive because, as someone from the private sector, he
dedicated himself, at great risk in the midst of civil war, to bringing
warring factions together. He was, as has been stated here, a principal
architect of the Taif Accords. As prime minister,
he put in place the kinds of initiatives that would make Jack Kemp proud,
recognizing the power of incentives, recognizing that if people could be
given reason to share the Lebanese hope that reconstruction was possible to
invest their money not just from Lebanon but from around the world, that even
in those horrible ashes of war, we could see spring up new entrepreneurship,
new hope, and new opportunity.
His tireless work on
behalf of peace in a country that was wracked by a vicious civil war and his
diligent pursuit of freedom and independence for his countrymen, all at great
risk to himself and to his family, was always inspiring. His broader work to
open the Middle East to enterprise and economic prosperity should serve as an
example to people throughout the Middle East
and around the world that the path to prosperity requires free minds and free
markets. It is time that we help bring his dreams to fruition.
I had the opportunity
to meet more recently, in December of 2003, with President Basheer Assad of Syria; and I shared with him our concerns, our
American concerns, about the continued military occupation in Lebanon which
Rafik Hariri worked
diligently to bring to an end.
funeral in part turned into a protest against the continued Syrian
occupation. The 200,000 people participating in the procession make it clear
to the rest of us around the world that those in Lebanon,
just as we here in America
and in nations around the world, deserve the right to self-determination. For
25 years Lebanon
and its people have been denied this freedom.
This resolution honors
a great leader of Lebanon whose principles are, first of all, fundamentally
consonant with Lebanon and the Lebanese spirit and culture, but, second and
equally importantly, completely consonant with what we every day in this
United States Congress fight for for our fellow
Americans and for people around the world.
I urge my colleagues to
support this resolution to honor Mr. Hariri and to
support the people of Lebanon.
See the original in the Congressional
Record on Page H671
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