Hezbollah takes fight against Israel to Beirut museum

A former bunker in Beirut has been transformed into a military museum, showcasing last year's devastating war between Hezbollah and Israel. The exhibition has become the latest frontline in the cultural battle between the Islamic militant group and the Je

It's Hezbollah's latest weapon, built on the rubble of a destroyed building in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Designed like a sandbag fortress, the Hezbollah museum unveils the group's weapons and tactics.

Organisers say the exhibition is designed to capture the drama of war.
 
It's also part of Hezbollah's attempts to win over hearts and minds in its fight against Israel.

The visitor's experience starts at the entrance to a life-size bunker, where tanks and landmines litter the ground.

First stop is the observation post where a Hezbollah fighter keeps watch. All the guns – and there are dozens of them on display in this museum – are real.

I want to bring not only my children but all children here, because if you remember at the beginning of the war Israeli children wrote messages on the rockets to send to Lebanese children and they wrote it’s a present for Lebanese children. We want all the children to know that

Raed Abbas, one of
the visitors


In the prayer room is a prayer rug – as well as photos of the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah, food, and maps that the fighters used during their 34-day standoff with Israel.

“I want to bring not only my children but all children here, because if you remember at the beginning of the war Israeli children wrote messages on the rockets to send to Lebanese children and they wrote it’s a present for Lebanese children. We want all the children to know that,” one of the visitors, Raed Abbas said.

These pictures are claimed by Israel to be a fabrication but that gets no mention in this museum where Israelis are portrayed simply as killers.

Instead, a burned Israeli helmet containing a lock of a dead soldier’s hair is displayed behind a glass window. There are burned pieces of clothing with writing in Hebrew and soldier boots still intact.

In the centre of one room is an Israeli helicopter, shot down during the war. There are also plaques listing every single Israeli warplane that bombed Lebanon during the war – their squadron IDs and home bases.

The museum is testament to Hezbollah's resurgence in Lebanon and its growing confidence.  

While the museum may look to Hezbollah's past, many visitors complain that it's not dealing with the problems of the present or the future.