Hezbollah Unveils Ghoulish “Theme Park”

July 9th, 2010 at 2:28 pm | 1 Comment |

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Foreign Policy magazine has published a truly ghoulish account of Hezbollah built “theme park” in Lebanon. The site glorifies war and death:

On a hilltop overlooking Israel’s former occupation zone in south Lebanon, Hezbollah has built what the international press has dubbed the Shiite militia’s “Disneyland.” Mleeta, Hezbollah’s new “Tourist Landmark of the Resistance,” is designed to celebrate the party’s long war against Israel. As it pulls in the masses, Mleeta also provides another sign that Israeli deterrence in Lebanon is disintegrating.

A former Hezbollah command center, Mleeta is located 27 miles (44 km) southeast of Beirut. Built at a reported cost of $4 million, Mleeta attracted over 130,000 visitors in the first ten days following its opening on May 25 — the 10th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.

Abu Hadi, our Hezbollah guide, who employs the same nom de guerre as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, aimed to give visitors a glimpse into the high-risk life of killing Israeli soldiers. He began our tour in “The Abyss” — a pit filled with Israeli helmets, boots, cluster bombs, and overturned military vehicles. At the center of the display is an Israeli Merkava-4 tank, with its gun turret tied in a knot. As we ascended a spiral walkway overlooking the display, I caught sight of a tombstone embossed with the Israel Defense Forces symbol, and the word “Abyss” written in big, concrete Hebrew letters.

“The Path,” a series of trenches and warrens reminiscent of World War I battlefields in France or Belgium, was the next stop on our tour. Abu Hadi pushed a crowd of visitors out of the way to show us the prayer nook of Abbas Moussawi, the Hezbollah co-founder and secretary general who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992. Beside his prayer rug and Koran were two AK-47 assault rifles and what appeared to be a World War II-era helmet like those worn by the Marines in 1983. Among Hezbollah’s older generation, Moussawi is regarded as the “father of resistance” because of the long hours he spent with fighters on the front lines.

Throughout Mleeta, exhibits aimed to instill visitors with Hezbollah’s spartan military ethic. Emerging from the trench, we entered a stone path shaded by oaks, with mannequins dressed in green camouflage fatigues lining both sides of the trail. One exhibit portrayed a fighter cutting barbed wire while his compatriot provided covering fire; another display showed two fighters preparing to fire a 120mm rocket. Every so often a teenage boy would dart out for a snapshot en scene. While the poses were always different, each wore a vacant and fearsome stare like that of country boy on the first day of hunting season.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • realitycheck

    I’m confused. This sounds like a memorial. Are Lebanese not allowed to honor those who dies in battle? When they do it, it’s “ghoulish.” Got it. But the massive civilian death toll in Lebanon at the hands of Israel certainly isn’t ghoulish, that’s for sure.