Lebanon has not had much cause for celebration recently but the anti-Syrian majority was out on the streets last night to celebrate the UN’s decision to open a tribunal to try the suspected killers of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. One name was on everyone’s lips; al-Hariri’s son Saad who now leads the anti-Syrian majority in parliament. He called the UN vote “an historic turning point for Lebanon’s safety.”
There were fireworks in the sky and the digital countdown of the number of days since the assassination no longer glimmers down on passers-by like some sort of reminder of the killer’s impunity. Now the promise of justice being done burns bright.
Saad al-Hariri visited the tomb of his fallen father to pray and then spoke on national television. “We are not demanding justice for revenge,” he said. We are demanding it for punishment and for the truth which should be kept as a trust in the conscience of all Lebanese.”
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora also struck a moderate tone. “The ratification of the international tribunal should not be considered as a victory for one party over another Lebanese party. It is a victory for Lebanon and all Lebanese,” he said.
Syria’s immediate reaction was to claim the tribunal was a violation of Lebanese sovereignty and could plunge the country into further instability.