Inside the Hezbollah ‘theme park’
Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has built a multi-million pound theme park designed to indoctrinate its children about the glory of martyrdom against its enemy Israel.The mostly-outdoor museum features barbed wire, tanks, rockets, archive video footage and a lot of guns.
Visitors are able to walk around replica war scenes that feature destroyed Israeli tanks – including one symbolically rendered impotent by a twisted firing barrel – and grave stones lying on their side.
The video segment of the tour allows visitors to watch a history of Hezbollah that clearly sets out the organisation’s grievances with Israel and celebrates its victories against it.The theme park was constructed atop one of their strongholds in the town of Mleeta.
It was designed to attract a wide range of visitors, including children and western tourists.A walk inside what was once an active bunker even allows tourists to hold onto a machine gun, just like Hezbollah fighters once did.
New footage has emerged after a reporter for Vice.com took a guided tour of the museum.And while it might make for a fascinating day trip, Hezbollah’s real motive is to promote what it calls ‘resistance tourism’.The militant group, which was founded in the 1980s to oppose Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon, is keen to promote its ideology.
Its most recent conflict with Israel took place in 2006, when the pair went to war after the Lebanese guerilla group killed three Israeli soldiers and captured two others in a cross-border raid.
Although Israel inflicted heavy damage on the Hezbollah, it was unable to prevent it from firing some 4,000 rockets into Israel during the month-long conflict.Since then, Israel has accused Hezbollah of repeatedly violating the UN-brokered ceasefire by restocking its arsenal and covertly moving forces into south Lebanon, near the Israeli border.
Just last year, Israel believed Hezbollah had more than 40,000 rockets, nearly three time the pre-war level, including more powerful weapons capable of reaching Israel’s Tel Aviv heartland.Israel has for years accused Hezbollah of re-arming with the help of Iran and Syria, setting up ‘rocket villages’ in southern Lebanon.
The Israel-Lebanon border has been tense but largely quiet since the war, which killed around 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis, according to official counts from each side.
© Daily Mail, London
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