On another point, Raja mentioned that we attended the presentation MP Saad Hariri conducted at the Woodrow Wilson Research Center in DC yesterday. I was bold enough to ask Hariri a question, during the hour-long question-and-answer session. You can find my question referenced in Al-Mustaqbal on page 4:
بعد لقائك الرئيس بوش كيف سترد على من يتهمك بتدويل القضية اللبنانية؟ـ لن اعير هذا
الامر أي اهتمام وأنا اؤمن بأنني اعمل لصالح لبنان ومصالحه، ولا اكترث لرأي أي كان
في انتماءاتي فانا انتمي الى لبنان الحر.
Among the attendants was journalist Naseer As'ad, who alternates the writing of Al-Mustaqbal's editorials with Fares Kashan and who is a favorite analyst, MP Bassem Sabeh, MP Farid Makari, and former MP Ghattas Khoury.
When Saad Hariri entered the conference room, my eyes got fixated on him. His features are strong, he's tall, has a wide chest and shoulders, and he looked serious. His soft eyes contrasted the boldness of the dark hair and the beard.
When he spoke, however, that impression changed. He is soft-spoken, in contrast to his features. Some of what he said was overshadowed by my thoughts of asking a question to him. I hesitated by raising my hand to request the microphone, but I did, and he was funny and nice when he answered my question.
What struck me though, was when journalist Hisham Melhem asked him a tough question about how Hariri would face the vision he has of Lebanon with that of Hizbullah's, which is diametrically opposed to his. Hariri said that he liked the question, because it is a tough one. His answer, unfortunately, was vague; he believed that the Lebanese need to be given enough time to resolve all their standing issues amongst themselves. So basically he thinks that time will be the solution. I wanted to grab the microphone and say: but as we wait longer to resolve those contentious issues, regional pressures are increasing and affecting the country's stability...but of course I didn't.
Despite his lack of political savvy, his sincerity and belief in Lebanon were very powerful. By virtue of answering my question, saying that accusations of internationalizing Lebanese affairs will be ignored, as he stands strongly by his convictions...shows his strength of heart and determination.
This answer reminded me of the late Rafiq Hariri; his strength lied in his determination and perseverance to resolve difficult problems and his love of Lebanon...all shrouded in a soft-spoken, calm, and quiet aura. The late Rafiq Hariri was not politically savvy, but he always surrounded himself by experts and always listened and was willing to learn. I believe his son is following in his footsteps. I wish him luck. In the hopes that the idealism he carries will not be tarnished by years in politics, especially the Lebanese type.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."