Hizbullah's House of Spiders

Charles Levinson visits a Hizbullah exhibition on last summer's war:

The first exhibits are two reconstructed Hezbollah bunkers. One looks like some sort of command post. There is a manikin dressed like a Hezbollah fighter in fatigues with an AK47 slung over his shoulder. He’s eyeing a wall map of “Occupied Palestine”. There’s a desk with a laptop computer, a walkie talkie, a phone and two korans. On the other side of the passage way there is another reconstructed bunker, this one made to resemble the rooms where Hezbollah fighters sleep. There are two manikins here, one kneeling in prayer, the other relaxing on a mattress on the floor, a koran in his right hand, his left resting casually on an AK47. A radio blasts old Al Manar news reports from the front lines of last summers war, mixed with martial anthems.

Visitor move on and enter the main hall of the exhibit. The first display is a series of six foot tall portraits of US and Israeli leaders with quotes from last summer’s war underneath each picture.

A picture of Rumsfield has the quote in Arabic and English: “Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.”

Condi’s picture is accompanied by the quote: “This war is part of the birth pangs of a new Middle East.”

The picture of Bush shows him clutching a Thanksgiving turkey, presumably before the traditional holiday pardon. His quote: “Our nation is wasting no time in helping the people of Lebanon.”
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.