Where can a terrorist go to unwind after a stressful year of setting off IEDs, murdering civilians, and shooting at Israeli soldiers? HezbollahLand!
At Hezbollah’s “Museum for Resistance Tourism” on the mountain stronghold of Mleeta, war is celebrated, glamorized, and fashioned into an interactive display. In Hezbollah terminology, war is constantly referred to as ‘resistance,’ or moqawama in Arabic a word that has become synonymous in Lebanon with Hezbollah.
The Mleeta experience starts with two promotional films, one about the making of the museum, another on the history of Hezbollah, featuring battle footage and a version of history that casts Israelis as the ultimate bad guys. The message is reaching packed crowds of Lebanese and foreign visitors. Museum officials say they’ve had over 300,000 visitors since opening in May, many from Egypt and the Persian Gulf.
Despite its militant edge, the museum is part of an effort to soften Hezbollah’s image. It’s designed to be the centerpiece of a massive tourist development - dubbed “HezbollahLand” in the global press capped with an aerial tramway offering scenic rides from Mleeta to an abandoned Israeli base on a nearby hill.
One clue that your organization may be a bit too extreme: when opening a jihadist theme park helps to soften your image.