Hariri Family Legacy vs. Aounists' Accusations

Rafic Hariri

  • Death liberate Lebanon from Syria

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • He rebuilt Lebanon

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • Was corrupted

    Votes: 17 73.9%
  • Was not corrupted

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Was sectarian

    Votes: 8 34.8%
  • Was not sectarian

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • His economic policy is better than the Aounists

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • Lebanon in his days was much better than today

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • Lebanon today is better

    Votes: 2 8.7%
  • Aoun economic policy was better

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • Harriri is more important than Aoun as an historical leader

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • Aoun is more important than Harriri as an historical leader

    Votes: 9 39.1%
  • The crash today is Harriri legacy

    Votes: 14 60.9%
  • The crash today is Aoun Legacy

    Votes: 2 8.7%

  • Total voters
    23
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  • Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Strangelove

    Nuclear War Expert
    Staff member
    Feti7la الشيخسعد
    Someone should explain to him (very slowly) that Ghada Aoun is only a public prosecutor, and neither investigates nor judges.
     
    Danny Z

    Danny Z

    Legendary Member
    Aoun and Bassil should have left Hariri rot in Saudi Arabia under Salman ben Hablan prison.
    ولد عاق ناكر للجميل أبصر مين بيو يللي ما عرف يربي​
     
    Nevermore

    Nevermore

    New Member
    The sad state of Solidere/Downtown Beirut - another key aspect of Rafic Hariri's legacy.


    Beirut rebuilt its downtown after the civil war. Now it’s got everything except people.

    A woman walks in the Beirut Souks shopping region. Due to political tensions, many shopping areas are less vibrant due to the dwindling economic situation in Lebanon. (Natalie Naccache)
    By Hugh NaylorJanuary 1, 2015
    BEIRUT — Not so long ago, the historic downtown of Beirut was a wasteland of scorched buildings and rubble. Lebanon’s civil war, which ended in 1990, destroyed an area known for its picturesque Mediterranean vistas and Roman and Mamluk ruins.

    Now, after a multibillion-dollar reconstruction project, the city center features plush apartments and posh cafes, refurbished Ottoman-era buildings and boutiques by Burberry and Versace.

    Yet one element seems to be lacking: people.

    “Even the rich people don’t bother coming anymore,” Mohammed Younnes, 27, said
    on a recent Saturday evening as he gazed at the empty tables of Grand Cafe, an eatery he manages in downtown Nejmeh Square. Businesses in the square, distinctive for an art deco
    clock tower with “Rolex” written on its dial, are relocating or going bankrupt.

    Beirut’s shiny new downtown has struggled for various reasons. Despite the end of the civil war, violence has continued to batter the country. In 2006, war broke out with Israel, damaging Lebanon’s economy and leaving shops and restaurants empty. In addition, persistent sectarian feuds have erupted in bombings and demonstrations in central Beirut. Lately, fighters in Syria’s civil war have launched cross-border attacks into Lebanon.


    A man walks past shuttered shops near Nejmeh Square in downtown Beirut. Some shops and cafes have closed due to political instability and a decrease in tourism. (Natalie Naccache/Photo by Natalie Naccache)

    With such upheaval, tourists from oil-rich Arab states no longer fly into the elegant city for shopping sprees and fine dining.

    But many Lebanese say that there is another problem: The reconstruction project demolished historical buildings and filled the area with upscale condos and shops. There are few parks or other public spaces.

    “Downtown should have soul. It should be alive,” said Mona Hallak, an architect and historical-preservation activist. “But what we have is a culture-free ghost town for the rich.”

    Before the 15-year civil war, the city center bustled as a grittier, more Middle Eastern-feeling place. People of all income levels congregated at mosques and churches and bought vegetables and sweets at the souks. Theaters hosted performances by iconic Arab singers such as Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abdel Wahab.

    But the average Lebanese worker earns less than $10,000 a year and can’t afford the new multimillion-dollar residences or the swank offerings from the boutiques of Ermenegildo Zegna or Swarovski.

    “This isn’t a downtown. It’s an investment for wealthy people,” said Mohamad Hashash, a 38-year-old psychiatrist who traveled to the center on a recent weekend with his wife and young son for the first time in months to pray at the Grand Omari Mosque, which dates to the 12th century.

    Hashash laid some of the blame for the problems on the man responsible for the rehabilitation of the downtown: Rafiq al-Hariri, a former prime minister and billionaire businessman.


    A fashion advertisement for Fendi is shown amid empty streets in downtown Beirut. (Natalie Naccache)

    After the civil war, Hariri founded a state-affiliated company, Solidere, which led the rebuilding effort and now manages downtown like a virtual municipality. The company, which declined to comment for this article, has been accused by architects, heritage-preservation organizations and everyday Lebanese of driving out the area’s original property owners and unnecessarily demolishing historical buildings.

    Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, believed that an aggressive reconstruction strategy was necessary to revive Beirut as a financial and tourist center linking East and West, a former minister said.

    But he said the strategy depended on the political calm that many Lebanese hoped would result from a regional peace agreement with Israel. Such an agreement never came to fruition, and the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to undermine stability in Lebanon.

    Moreover, by the end of the civil war, places such as Dubai and Bahrain had overtaken the country as regional trading and banking hubs.

    “From an economic standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to have these skyscrapers and ultra-luxurious buildings,” said the former minister, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing concern over upsetting the Hariri family. “Beirut’s attraction is its history and its mountains and coastline.”

    Some defend Hariri’s dogged effort to transform downtown.

    The area just needs more time to grow, said Abed Halbaoui, a 66-year-old engineer who bought a three-bedroom apartment in the area in 2009. “You can’t have a vibrant downtown in just a couple of years. Something like this takes a hundred years to develop,” he said.

    His property has been a good financial investment. But his family refuses to move in, preferring the security of their other home in Dubai, he said. The eerie evening darkness that blankets much of the area suggests that many other property owners also reside abroad.

    Preservation activists and many Beirut residents say a rethinking of the center is badly needed. Hallak, the architect, said business would benefit from more cultural projects and public spaces. This would mean creating parks to attract families and sacrificing some profit for preservation, she said. For example, the building that once housed the famed Opera Cinema could become a cultural center, she said. Currently, it is a Virgin Megastore.

    Back at the Grand Cafe, Younnes was too concerned over how to pay the restaurant’s $25,000 monthly rent to ponder how the reconstruction project should have gone differently. With so few customers, he said, it is not clear whether the restaurant can remain solvent.

    “It’s beautiful here,” he said. “But is this business affordable? I don’t know.”
     
    Muki

    Muki

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    The sad state of Solidere/Downtown Beirut - another key aspect of Rafic Hariri's legacy.


    Beirut rebuilt its downtown after the civil war. Now it’s got everything except people.

    A woman walks in the Beirut Souks shopping region. Due to political tensions, many shopping areas are less vibrant due to the dwindling economic situation in Lebanon. (Natalie Naccache)
    By Hugh NaylorJanuary 1, 2015
    BEIRUT — Not so long ago, the historic downtown of Beirut was a wasteland of scorched buildings and rubble. Lebanon’s civil war, which ended in 1990, destroyed an area known for its picturesque Mediterranean vistas and Roman and Mamluk ruins.

    Now, after a multibillion-dollar reconstruction project, the city center features plush apartments and posh cafes, refurbished Ottoman-era buildings and boutiques by Burberry and Versace.

    Yet one element seems to be lacking: people.

    “Even the rich people don’t bother coming anymore,” Mohammed Younnes, 27, said
    on a recent Saturday evening as he gazed at the empty tables of Grand Cafe, an eatery he manages in downtown Nejmeh Square. Businesses in the square, distinctive for an art deco
    clock tower with “Rolex” written on its dial, are relocating or going bankrupt.

    Beirut’s shiny new downtown has struggled for various reasons. Despite the end of the civil war, violence has continued to batter the country. In 2006, war broke out with Israel, damaging Lebanon’s economy and leaving shops and restaurants empty. In addition, persistent sectarian feuds have erupted in bombings and demonstrations in central Beirut. Lately, fighters in Syria’s civil war have launched cross-border attacks into Lebanon.


    A man walks past shuttered shops near Nejmeh Square in downtown Beirut. Some shops and cafes have closed due to political instability and a decrease in tourism. (Natalie Naccache/Photo by Natalie Naccache)

    With such upheaval, tourists from oil-rich Arab states no longer fly into the elegant city for shopping sprees and fine dining.

    But many Lebanese say that there is another problem: The reconstruction project demolished historical buildings and filled the area with upscale condos and shops. There are few parks or other public spaces.

    “Downtown should have soul. It should be alive,” said Mona Hallak, an architect and historical-preservation activist. “But what we have is a culture-free ghost town for the rich.”

    Before the 15-year civil war, the city center bustled as a grittier, more Middle Eastern-feeling place. People of all income levels congregated at mosques and churches and bought vegetables and sweets at the souks. Theaters hosted performances by iconic Arab singers such as Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abdel Wahab.

    But the average Lebanese worker earns less than $10,000 a year and can’t afford the new multimillion-dollar residences or the swank offerings from the boutiques of Ermenegildo Zegna or Swarovski.

    “This isn’t a downtown. It’s an investment for wealthy people,” said Mohamad Hashash, a 38-year-old psychiatrist who traveled to the center on a recent weekend with his wife and young son for the first time in months to pray at the Grand Omari Mosque, which dates to the 12th century.

    Hashash laid some of the blame for the problems on the man responsible for the rehabilitation of the downtown: Rafiq al-Hariri, a former prime minister and billionaire businessman.


    A fashion advertisement for Fendi is shown amid empty streets in downtown Beirut. (Natalie Naccache)

    After the civil war, Hariri founded a state-affiliated company, Solidere, which led the rebuilding effort and now manages downtown like a virtual municipality. The company, which declined to comment for this article, has been accused by architects, heritage-preservation organizations and everyday Lebanese of driving out the area’s original property owners and unnecessarily demolishing historical buildings.

    Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, believed that an aggressive reconstruction strategy was necessary to revive Beirut as a financial and tourist center linking East and West, a former minister said.

    But he said the strategy depended on the political calm that many Lebanese hoped would result from a regional peace agreement with Israel. Such an agreement never came to fruition, and the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to undermine stability in Lebanon.

    Moreover, by the end of the civil war, places such as Dubai and Bahrain had overtaken the country as regional trading and banking hubs.

    “From an economic standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to have these skyscrapers and ultra-luxurious buildings,” said the former minister, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing concern over upsetting the Hariri family. “Beirut’s attraction is its history and its mountains and coastline.”

    Some defend Hariri’s dogged effort to transform downtown.

    The area just needs more time to grow, said Abed Halbaoui, a 66-year-old engineer who bought a three-bedroom apartment in the area in 2009. “You can’t have a vibrant downtown in just a couple of years. Something like this takes a hundred years to develop,” he said.

    His property has been a good financial investment. But his family refuses to move in, preferring the security of their other home in Dubai, he said. The eerie evening darkness that blankets much of the area suggests that many other property owners also reside abroad.

    Preservation activists and many Beirut residents say a rethinking of the center is badly needed. Hallak, the architect, said business would benefit from more cultural projects and public spaces. This would mean creating parks to attract families and sacrificing some profit for preservation, she said. For example, the building that once housed the famed Opera Cinema could become a cultural center, she said. Currently, it is a Virgin Megastore.

    Back at the Grand Cafe, Younnes was too concerned over how to pay the restaurant’s $25,000 monthly rent to ponder how the reconstruction project should have gone differently. With so few customers, he said, it is not clear whether the restaurant can remain solvent.

    “It’s beautiful here,” he said. “But is this business affordable? I don’t know.”
    Hizbullah destroyed Lebanon's tourism sector, hence why these businesses suffer.
     
    Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Strangelove

    Nuclear War Expert
    Staff member
    Hizbullah destroyed Lebanon's tourism sector, hence why these businesses suffer.
    I disagree. Visit any city centre in Europe or the Middle East and you'll notice there is something fundamentally wrong with Solidere's "Downtown".

    Whoever said it in the article is completely right - Downtown is soulless. People do not live there. There are no fresh markets, no barber shops, no workshops. There are no public spaces where people picnic or play with their dogs or read a book when it's sunny.

    It is artificial. It is a desolate mall like the ones you might see in Dubai. How I dream of a Solidere-less Beirut where the stalls would return and the heart of the city would come back to life, so that I can see it in all its former glory.
     
    Nevermore

    Nevermore

    New Member
    Lebanon's economy was most heavily dependent on tourism during Hariri's reign. Revenue from tourism formed about 75% of Lebanon's exports from 1995 to 2002. That heavy a dependence on the tourism industry in Lebanon is a recipe for disaster. Numbers from the World Bank.




















































    2004 5,931,000,000.00 50.12
    2003 6,782,000,000.00 60.21
    2002 4,284,000,000.00 74.76
    2001 837,000,000.00 74.76
    2000 742,000,000.00 74.76
    1999 673,000,000.00 74.76
    1998 1,221,000,000.00 74.76
    1997 1,000,000,000.00 74.76
    1996 715,000,000.00 74.76
    1995 710,000,000.00 74.76

    (It also happens to be the case that Lebanon experienced its best tourism year in terms of revenue in 2017, but that's besides the point.)
     
    HalaMadrid

    HalaMadrid

    Active Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Hizbullah destroyed Lebanon's tourism sector, hence why these businesses suffer.
    Man, be careful. If you keep shoehorning hizballah into conversations where they don't belong, you might start hallucinating them into your morning coffee.
     
    Nevermore

    Nevermore

    New Member
    More on Rafic's legacy because it's not discussed enough due to post-assassination sainthood:

    "The reconstruction effort did not seem fully-fledged until 1992, with the appointment of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a Lebanese-Saudi billionaire, who made reconstruction a focal point of his platform. In initially trying to rally the country under his reconstruction plan, Hariri attempted to institute a program of administrative reform. He gave redundant public employees the option of resigning before the government conducted a comprehensive purge, and this resulted in more than 3,000 resignations. Subsequently, around 600 civil servants were dismissed for corruption, and 1,800 more were dismissed for permanent abstention from their jobs. This reform was undertaken by the Civil Service Board and the Central Inspection Agency, which had been dormant during the civil war, and whose main functions were to counter corruption, mismanagement, and failure to comply with existing rules within the bureaucracy. The reform program came under great criticism because no high-ranking officials were dismissed and certain institutions were spared from the reform project due to confessional and political considerations. The dismissed officials appealed to the Council of State and prevailed. Combined with other failures, the reversal of the purge made Hariri give up on institutional reform and turn instead to setting up structures parallel to the official administration that were loyal to him. These structures would design and sometimes implement the plans he would impose through the regular political structures on which he had an increasingly strong grip."
     
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