Hezbollah Resistance Museum in Mleeta,
By Kaushik Wednesday, September 04, 2013
The Hezbollah Resistance Museum or the Tourist Landmark of the
Resistance, as it is officially known, is an open air war museum created
by the Islamic militant organization Hezbollah to commemorate the
battles they fought against the Israeli troops in and around the site
the museum occupies today. The museum is located in the Southern
Lebanese city of Mlita, 50 kilometers north of the Palestinian-Lebanese
border. Mleeta was one of the most important sites of the Lebanese
resistance. Between 1982 to 2000, this region was hotly contested
between Hezbollah's forces and the Israeli military, eventually leading
to the retreat of the latter from Lebanon. The bizarre theme
park-cum-propaganda center, which was opened in 2010, covers some 60,000
square meters of undulating outdoor paths and wooded areas, and another
5,000 square meters in buildings.
Tours are led by guides who begin by welcoming
tourists to "the land of resistance, purity and jihad." The guides
emphasize the view of Hezbollah being the sole defenders of Lebanon
against Israel, and mainly responsible for the Israeli withdrawal that
came eighteen years after Israel's second invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
They also maintain that Hezbollah's involvement is defensive: "If the
Israelis don't attack us, we won't attack them. We are not terrorists,
we are very peaceful people and we have the right to live like any other
Visitors are then shown a welcome speech on video,
where Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks: "We hope this tourist
jihadi center will be a first step toward preserving the history of our
heroic resistance." Another film is shown, about the Lebanese-Israeli
conflict that ends with a speech by Nasrallah and a "sober
pronouncement" by the assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi that
"Israel has fallen".
The centerpiece of the museum is "The Abyss" – a
depression filled with a variety of IOF vehicles, from battered jeeps,
to remains of an IOF helicopter, to the IOF’s prized Merkava tank with
its gun barrel tied in a knot, in mockery of the Israeli forces. The
exhibit was formed by armored vehicles and weapons that were left behind
by the Israeli army and its collaborators. A sign next to “The Abyss”
reads, "This is a structural scenic art that symbolizes the defeat of
In the surrounding forest, displays show how
fighters fought in the mountains, tunneling through rock to avoid
detection from the air. Visitors can see bunkers and walk through a
tunnel 200 meters long, used during the 2006 war. The bunker contains
cots, kitchenware, electrical generators, and other equipment including
an office equipped with telephones, radios and computers offering
visitors a view into the life of Hezbollah fighters.
Another exhibit called “Martyrs Hill” features a garden decorated with
guns and missiles, dedicated to the organization's martyrs who have died
fighting against Israel.
Hezbollah has plans to expand the park's visitor facilities with
swimming pools, spas, playgrounds, hotels and camping areas so that
people "can come here and spend their vacations", stating that people in
southern Lebanon have been deprived of such recreation for decades.
There are also plans for a cable car to connect the park and town of
Mleeta with the nearby town of Sojod.