Rafic al-Hariri (1944-2005)
On Monday, February 14, former Lebanese premier Rafic al-Hariri was killed with at least eight others when a massive car bomb was detonated as his motorcade drove by in Beirut.
Hariri, born in 1944, was a Lebanese self-made billionaire businessman, and was twice Prime Minister of Lebanon, before his last resignation from office in October 2004.
Born to a modest Sunni Muslim family background in the Lebanese port city of Sidon, Hariri left the Beirut Arab University where he took business administration studies, and worked in Saudi Arabia for a construction company.
In 1969, he established his own construction company CICONEST, which benefited greatly from the oil boom in the 1970s, making vast sums of money in a very short period of time, ending up a powerful construction tycoon.
In 1978, he became a Saudi citizen and became the country's emissary to Lebanon. By the 1980s, Hariri entered in the Forbes top 100. He was prime minister of Lebanon from 1992-1998, then again from 2000-2004.
Hariri made numerous contributions. Among the most notable is the fact that he educated 30,000 Lebanese students inside and outside of Lebanon, and spent millions of dollars of his own personal money to redefine the face of social hierarchies in Lebanon. His education plan enabled the formation of equal economic classes in Lebanon. He donated a great deal of money to people, and invested in Lebanon when no one was interested in doing so.
Amid the political crisis brought on by the extension of President Lahoud's term, Hariri resigned as Prime Minister, saying, "I have... submitted the resignation of the government, and I have declared that I will not be a candidate to head the (next) government."