Rafik Hariri Memorial Day is observed on February 14 every year. This day is a national holiday in Lebanon to remember Prime Minister Rafik Hariri who was killed on this day in 2005. Rafik Hariri was a wealthy Lebanese businessman. He started to use his wealth for philanthropic projects in Lebanon. He built educational facilities and made large donations to various groups. Hariri became the first post-civil war prime minister of Lebanon and was credited with initiating an ambitious reconstruction program in Lebanon following the devastation of the civil war.
History of Rafik Hariri Memorial Day
Rafik Hariri became wealthy in the 1970s and started to use his wealth for philanthropic projects in Lebanon, including the building of educational facilities and making large donations to various groups. Hariri was involved in the groundwork that led to the 1989 Taif Accord, which brought an end to the civil war that had started in 1975.
Hariri became the first post-civil war prime minister of Lebanon in 1992. He was well-known because he initiated an ambitious reconstruction program in Lebanon following the devastation of the civil war. In October 2000, Hariri was re-appointed as prime minister, serving until he resigned in October 2004.
Hariri was killed by a massive car bomb in Beirut, along with 22 other people, on 14 February 2005. Syria was initially accused of the assassination and this led to mass protests against the said country, which eventually withdrew its troops from Lebanon. However, Lebanon’s Shia movement, Hezbollah, was said to be responsible for the attack since five members were indicted by an international tribunal. Hezbollah denied any responsibility and rejected the charges as political. They instead pointed fingers at Israel as the masterminds. The charge against Hezbollah however stands and they are the ones accused of Hariri’s death.
Rafik Hariri Memorial Day timeline
The future leader is born on November 1, 1944, in Sidon, Lebanon.
Hariri begins amassing a fortune by building hotels, convention centers, and palaces throughout the Middle East.
He establishes the Hariri Foundation, which finances the education of thousands of Lebanese students in Europe and the U.S.
Hariri is killed by a car bomb in Beirut.
Rafik Hariri Memorial Day FAQs
Where in Beirut was Hariri when he was assassinated?
Hariri was assassinated while he was driving past the St. George Hotel in Beirut.
Who are the suspects who assassinated Hariri?
The four suspects Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, and Hussein Oneissi were confirmed to have assassinated Hariri.
Were the suspects of Hariri’s assassination convicted?
Salim Ayyash was convicted in 2020 and in 2021 a UN-backed court found Hassan Habib Merhi and Hussein Oneissi guilty.
How to Observe Rafik Hariri Memorial Day
Read Rafik Hariri’s biography
If you do not know much about Rafik Hariri, you should read his biography. You can even search for information on the Internet and watch videos on YouTube about his life.
Attend a ceremony
If you happen to be in Beirut on this day, the best thing to do would be to attend commemorating events. The main events are wreath-laying ceremonies, prayers for peace, and a memorial service at Hariri’s gravesite located at Martyrs’ Square in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut.
Watch “The Man With Golden Soles”
This film is a Syrian documentary by director Omar Amiralay. The film was released in 2000 and is about the then Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.
5 Facts About Rafik Hariri
He brought Pavarotti to sing in Lebanon
Hariri brought the most famous tenor in the world, Luciano Pavarotti, to sing in Lebanon, flying him on his private Boeing 727.
He guided the Taif Agreement
Hariri played a pivotal role in the formulation of the Taif Agreement, which marked the end of the 15-year civil war in Lebanon.
He strengthened Lebanon's economic policy
Hariri’s economic policy, called ‘Horizon 2000,’ was created to improve the post-civil war scenario in Lebanon.
He was recognized for his diplomacy
Hariri was awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honor for his contributions to international relations.
Beirut’s airport is named after him
The Beirut International Airport was renamed the Rafik Hariri International airport after his death.
Why Rafik Hariri Memorial Day is Important
He helped rebuild Lebanon after the war
Lebanese people love Hariri because he helped get Lebanon back on its feet after the long civil war. He was involved in rebuilding the country both as a billionaire businessman and as a prime minister from 1992 to 1998 and 2000 to 2004.
He founded the Hariri Foundation
The Hariri Foundation for Culture and Higher Education has given scholarships to 30,000 Lebanese students for education at home and abroad. Nazek, Hariri's wife, oversaw many of his charitable projects and has served as head of the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon.
He wanted to end the war
When Hariri returned to his home country, he became directly involved in trying to end the war in 1983. He acted as a mediator representing Saudi Arabia's King Fahd.
Rafik Hariri Memorial Day dates