Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

A first lady's lament: Remembering Nazik Hariri’s grief in the wake of her husband's assassination

Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon, was killed on February 14, 2005

Nazik Hariri prays at her husband’s grave in Beirut just over a month after his death AFP
Nazik Hariri prays at her husband’s grave in Beirut just over a month after his death AFP

On February 14, 2005, about six minutes after Rafik Hariri left Cafe de l’Etoile and was driving past the St George Hotel on Beirut’s Corniche, a truck bomb exploded near his motorcade, killing the prime minister of Lebanon and 21 others.

The assassination was a moment that changed Lebanon for ever, and it also altered the course of Nazik Hariri’s life. She and Rafik had been married since 1976, and had four children together: Houssam, Ayman, Fahd and Hind.

In this picture, Nazik is seen beside her late husband’s tomb in Martyr’s Square on March 22, 2005. The cameras were there because she was accompanied by then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf. Reports from the day this photo was taken, five weeks after the assassination, said thousands of people were still visiting the site every day to mourn.

In a 2000 interview with Prestige magazine, Nazik said the two traits she most admired in her husband were his “patience and ambition”. In the same discussion, she said she hoped her children wouldn’t go into politics.

They haven’t. Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Hariri is the son of Rafik’s first wife, Nidal Bustani, from Iraq. Nazik’s son Ayman is the billionaire co-founder of the Vero app. Nazik has regularly been listed on Forbes’s billionaire lists, which report that she lives in an ornate mansion in Paris built by Gustave Eiffel. She works on many charitable causes, with a focus on education and health.

Updated: February 13, 2020 06:55 PM

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