MP Bahia Hariri attends an event by the Rafik Hariri high school in Sidon commemorating his assassination anniversary, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Now in front of the smiling portraits of men like Mazen al-Zahabi, Hariri's paramedic, or the sunglass-clad Talal Nasser, his senior bodyguard, lay flower wreaths at the grave of Mohammad Shatah, the former finance minister killed in a car bomb in December, and Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, the intelligence chief assassinated in another car bomb in October 2012 .Today marks nine years to the day after a massive car bomb ripped through Hariri's motorcade, shattered Downtown Beirut, plunged Lebanon into political turmoil and ended 30 years of Syrian tutelage. The trial of four suspects accused of complicity in the Hariri assassination has begun at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon near The Hague.Mudallali said Hariri's absence exacerbated the polarization in Lebanon, and has left a lingering sense of despair that has promoted the flight of young Lebanese from the country.But Mashnouq said Hariri's killing was a result of the already acute political polarization in Lebanon. Syria would have eventually withdrawn from Lebanon anyway, and Hariri's presence would have vastly improved the politic climate in the aftermath of that Syrian departure. Others said Hariri's killing was symbolic of a deeper conflict.Despite Hariri's absence, Salamey said the majority of the Lebanese back what he stood for.The 5,000 students in Hariri's schools, and those he sponsored for studies abroad, are part of a crucial legacy, Rashidi added.
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