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Hezbollah museum: war for all the family

Rocket displays, a suicide bomber tribute ... one wonders what the gift shop will offer.

Last month, Israeli officials accused Syria of supplying Hezbollah with scud missiles. On the weekend of the opening, Israel carried out a massive military drill just over the border, during which Hezbollah said it was going on high alert. Whether there will be another war this summer has become a favorite topic of speculation among many Lebanese.

Still, though, officials seemed determined to used the event to look backward at the militant group’s past accomplishments.

“We chose this museum to refresh the memory of the other Lebanese of the resistance,” said Sheikh Ali Daher, a Hezbollah spokesman. “To our people, this day signals the day of dignity, the day that all people stood together for their liberty.”

The main indoor exhibition hall was designed to educate visitors about Israel — albeit with a Hezbollah slant.

A photo of Israeli soldiers in tears topped a poster with facts about the Israeli military. Another poster showed satellite images of major Israeli cities. Tour guide Abu Ahmed boasted that the poster illustrated the depth of Hezbollah’s knowledge about its enemy. Several minutes on Google Earth would yield the same set of images.

Outside the main indoor exhibition area, visitors can climb a set of stairs and enjoy a commanding view of the surrounding area.

From that vantage point, Rami Hassan, a museum guide who pointedly noted his willingness to give his full name, gazed off in the direction of Israel.

“I don’t see Israel,” he said, smiling. “I only see Occupied Palestine.”

Editor's note: In the fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great forged a path from Greece through the modern Middle East to Persia. It was a path of conquest that empires would follow through the ages. Traces of each can be seen today in the culture, monuments, continuing military presence and people along the route, which ended for Alexander in Babylon, in modern-day Iraq. In this project, GlobalPost correspondent Theodore May sets out to see how Alexander’s influence lives on. He will be blogging about his travels at Backpacking to Babylon.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/lebanon/100615/hezbollah-museum-lebanon-beirut-tourism-hamas