A Visit to Mleeta: “Where the land
speaks to the heavens”
August 01, 2011
One of the most important
factors in Hizbullah’s military success and resistance against “Israeli”
aggression imposed on Lebanon lies in their strategic and clandestine
military positions and outposts throughout Lebanon.
Just over one year ago, in May of last year, for the first time in
Hizbullah history, Hizbullah decided to open one of their clandestine
military strong holds into a museum called Mleeta, which allows visitors
from all over the world to experience and learn about the resistance way
of life and their struggle against “Israeli” occupation, aggression, and
terrorism. Since its inception, the museum has been booming with
visitors and tourists from all over Lebanon and the world.
Held high above the surrounding villages and towns in South Lebanon,
Mleeta is located in Mount A’mil and is part of the village of Iqlim al
Tuffah. Mleeta’s highest peak is positioned at 1,060 meters above sea
level and served as a catalyst for the resistance to clandestinely
launch military operations within the “Israeli” established security
zone during a majority of the “Israeli” occupation.
Upon entering Mleeta, visitors are met with an impressive display of
architecture and design that allows all to see what the Lebanese are
faced with in times of war. The first major exposition beginning the
museum tour is titled “The Abyss,” showcasing Hizbullah’s victory
against “Israeli” occupation and the most recent war in July-August
Covering an area of over 3,000 square meters, Hizbullah showcases “The
Abyss,” with heavy “Israeli” military equipment which emulates that of a
war-torn battlefield. The military equipment was retrieved by Hizbullah
resistance fighters in Lebanon during and after their long and arduous
battles fought against the “Israeli” military.
Symbolically positioned in the center of “The Abyss” is the “Israeli”
Merkava IV Tank, placed next to a tombstone, marked with the Hebrew
abbreviation for the “”Israeli” Defense Forces”, IDF. The Merkava IV
Tank was “Israel’s” most impressive war machine that served the
“Israeli’s” very well during their occupation in Lebanon, but not during
their last venture into Lebanon during their most recent war with
Impressively, the Merkava IV Tank is half-sunken in the ground,
surrounded by dirt and rocks, sitting immobilized with its cannon
knotted. This symbolic display in itself highlights Hizbullah’s strength
in militarily shell-shocking the IDF, defusing their military tactics,
as well as the IDF’s strong points. The display reveals that what was
once “Israel’s” strength and power (the Merkava IV Tank) had become
their weakness, hence, the intense “Israeli” bombing campaign that
resulted in the deaths of over 1,300 Lebanese civilians in 2006.
Surrounding the Merkava IV are other tanks mirroring the destruction of
“Israeli” tanks seen in photographs taken shortly after the 33 day war
ended. Scattered around the tanks are “Israeli” military equipment such
as artillery shells, bullets, weapon caches, and helmets.
Subsequent to the “The Abyss,” lies “The Pathway,” a course densely
surrounded by trees and rugged terrain, which conveys to visitors the
personal efforts and journey resistance fighters experienced in
“The Pathway” is 250 meters in length and covers an area that served as
a catalyst and base for the resistance. The rugged terrain surrounding
Mleeta allowed Hizbullah leaders and resistance fighters to conduct
military operations, plan military attacks, as well as house the injured
or sick resistance fighters during times of war.
Along the path, which has been reconstructed to allow visitors to safely
walk along the same labyrinth course as resistance fighters, one can
understand how the resistance was able to launch hundreds of military
operations and remain unseen from the IDF and IAF (“Israeli” Air Force),
as their positions were heavily camouflaged by the natural mountainous
One of the founders of Hizbullah, Sayyid Abbas al-Mousawi, frequently
met and encouraged resistance fighters, as he was stationed at Mleeta
during his struggle in expelling the occupation. As visitors walk along
the pathway they will notice a barricade where Sayyid Abbas al-Mousawi
often prayed and read supplications or Dua’a, as said in Arabic.
Displayed within his barricade, which is densely camouflaged to blend in
with the natural surrounding landscape, are the Holy Quran, a prayer
mat, a telephone to communicate with the resistance, an array of AK-
47′s, ammunition caches, and other military equipment and apparel such
as a canteen, backpack, military jacket, and helmet.
As visitors walk further along the pathway they are able to witness
firsthand the areas in which the resistance operated. Blocked-off by
barb-wire, rocks, and sandbags are fortified bunkers, entrenchments, a
medical center, and numerous military operational centers that display
Hizbullah’s cunning military power, prowess, and might.
Once at the end of “The Pathway” visitors enter “The Cave,” which
reaches up to 200 meters deep into the side of the mountain. To
accommodate visitors, Hizbullah decided to enlarge the cave walls from
its original width in order for visitors to easily walk-through and feel
comfortable during their museum experience. Once inside, visitors will
immediately notice a change in air temperature and if they place their
hands against the cave-walls, they will notice, in some spots, water
drops permeating through.
There are numerous rooms built within the cave, serving as a long-term
safety shelter from “Israel” during times of war and during the brutal
weather that hits the region through the cold winters and hot summers.
The cave is fortified with a sitting room which served as the station
headquarters, a kitchen, as well as a bathroom. Within the station
headquarters are tables, photographs of resistance leaders and Iranian
religious leaders, as well as some old used technology equipment.
For the kitchen, it is equipped with a sink, a small refrigerator,
table, and shelves which served as cabinets and storage. It was at
Mleeta that over 7,000 resistance fighters spent their days stationed
away from their families, struggling trying to build their future with
resistance in order to be free from occupation. The continuous efforts
of Hizbullah can clearly be seen as the cave was hand-dug by over 1,000
members of the resistance in which it took them 3 years to complete.
Once outside of “The Cave,” visitors are able to walkout and step upon a
large platform balcony called “The Outlook.” The balcony overlooks
numerous towns and villages that were liberated by the resistance in
1985. The view from “The Outlook” is breathtaking no matter what time
one visits Mleeta. Surrounded by dense trees on all sides, families and
friends may take photographs and gaze upon the stunning mountainous
landscape Lebanon has to offer.
Once past “The Outlook,” visitors proceed to “The Line of Fire” where
numerous Hizbullah heavy military weapons are camouflaged and displayed
neatly among the bunkers and entrenchments. Weapons include short,
long-range, and surface to surface missiles that were all utilized to
deter and impede “Israel’s” success and aggression against Lebanon. Some
of the weapons that are displayed include Katyusha rocket launchers and
Grad rocket launchers.
Once towards the end of the tour, visitors are able to rest on benches
in “Liberation Square,” where Hizbullah displayed other sophisticated
weapons also utilized during their wars against “Israel” such as the
Fagot, which is an anti tank guided missile system, the TOW or Tube
launched Optically tracked Wire commanded missile system, and RPG-29
(Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher).
Also, in “Liberation Square,” displayed upon a glass slab is part of a
speech, both in Arabic and English, in which Hizbullah Secretary-General
Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah gave to the people of Lebanon during the days of
war on July 29, 2006.
The speech states the following:
“My message goes to the good people who are steadfast in their villages
and cities, to those forcefully displaced, to those who are enduring,
trustful, and certain of victory, to those who astonished the world with
their fortitude, steadfastness, trustiness and coherence, to the
elderly, women, children and patients, to the families who sleep on the
ground and use the sky as a blanket while maintaining their strong will,
dignity and courage. What can I say to you? No words of mine will ever
repay a part of your rights and resistance. To you I say: ‘My brothers
and I will defend you with our souls and blood. Our souls will shield
your tears, wounds, steadfastness and pride.’
My beloved ones, you will return to your homes with your heads held high
proud as ever, and so you will remain. We can offer nothing but the
victory that you love. I say to you: May God repay you in this world and
the afterworld. You are the most honorable, most generous and most
Following “Liberation Square” is “The Exhibition,” showcasing the
presentation of dozens of sophisticated “Israeli” weapons that were
collected since 1982; also among “The Exhibition,” room is a display of
“Israeli” sleeping bags, army boots, canned food, helmets, bullets,
ammunition caches, and magazine clips.
Additionally, inside “The Exhibition,” Hizbullah neatly mapped out the
complex “Israeli” command structure and its various divisions. Moreover,
along the wall, Hizbullah displayed a large map marked with coordinates
and satellite pictures of important locations within “Israel” such as
sea ports. The various displays that can be seen in “The Exhibition”
allows visitors to view the weapons that the “Israelis” used during
their occupation and wars in Lebanon. It also demonstrates that
Hizbullah has the intelligence and capability to defend and protect
Lebanon if another war arises with “Israel”.
The last two exhibitions at Mleeta are the “Multi Purpose Hall” and “The
Hill.” In “The Multi Purpose Hall” visitors may watch a short video
screening of combat scenes between Hizbullah resistance fighters and the
IDF, as well as scenes of liberation from areas in Lebanon such as
Finally, “The Hill,” is a wide-open area where visitors may sit and rest
to view the surrounding valleys, villages, and towns liberated in 2000.
If it is a sunny day with a cloudless sky, visitors can sit and gaze
upon a scene that is worth more than a thousand words; they can see as
far as the eye can see. If visitors visit Mleeta during the evening
sunset, on some days, especially in the evening when the clouds descend,
they will literally be standing high above the clouds. All they will see
is a blanket of white clouds that reflect the beautiful sunset, and
thus, this is “Where the land speaks to the heavens,” as Mleeta’s motto
Within the center of “The Hill,” is a display upon a plaque titled
“Tribute to the Martyrs,” that is both inscribed in Arabic and English.
The words displayed upon the plaque are heavily eloquent and signify the
importance and holy-sacrifice the Lebanese have given in order for their
nation to live free and independent from “Israeli” occupation.
The tribute states the following:
“Peace be upon you O’ living martyrs. Peace be upon you O’ Masters of
the existence parade. Peace be upon you O’ partisans among the way of
Imam Hussein (peace be upon him).
Peace be upon you O’ those who gave their lives in the way of Allah and
for the sake of homeland and mankind.
I testify that you have struggled with endurance and heavy burden until
you have gained martyrdom and gifted victory to us. May Allah fix our
steps firmly and on your path and grant us your intercession in the
Peace be upon you O’ martyrs of the resistance. Peace be upon you O’
martyrs of self-esteem, freedom and dignity. Peace be upon you and the
land that embraces your graves. Brothers, go with Allah’s peace and
Once the museum tour is complete with “The Hill,” for those visitors who
are interested in buying memorabilia may do so at Mleeta’s gift shop
located near the entrance of the museum. Visitors may also take time to
pray in the prayer room which is located behind the Administration
With Mleeta being Hizbullah’s first major museum bringing the resistance
way of life to surface, after visitors and tourists complete the museum
tour, they will have a better understanding of how the Lebanese have
adapted in order to combat and deter “Israeli” occupation and terrorism.
Furthermore, after completing the museum tour, visitors should
understand the importance of Hizbullah’s role in society in the way its
members sacrifice, respect, and honor the Lebanese who have remained
steadfast and virtuous during the hardships they faced due to “Israeli”
occupation, aggression, and terrorism that has challenged Lebanon for
over 20 years.