How to Visit the Hezbollah Museum

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First, what is Hezbollah?

The answer depends on who you ask.

If you ask the United States, it’s a terrorist group responsible for the death or kidnapping of hundreds of US Citizens.

If you ask Lebanon, it's a Lebanese Shi’ite militant group formed in the mid-80’s that fought Israel during the 2006 July War. It's also a prominent political party.

If you ask Iran, it's a sugar baby (i.e. funded by the ayatollahs).

If you ask Assad, it's an ally in the fight against enemies of the state.

If you ask Israel, it's a terrorist organization, provocateur, and a formidable foe who, if victorious in Syria, will return to South Lebanon with more arms and experience and readiness to pick a fight with the Jewish homeland.

If you ask them, they’re the “army of God,” fighting jihad against the Israeli invasion of “Arab land.” They’re an uncorrupt political party and heroes in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

 
 
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Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the museum bit. In the small town of Mlita in South Lebanon, there’s a museum dedicated to the “Lebanese Resistance,” otherwise known as The Hezbollah Museum. Here’s my step-by-step guide for visiting this historic site.

Step 1. Don't Go Alone

Convince friends to go with you. If your friends are normal, they’ll probably say no. But if your friends are like mine, the down-for-absurd-adventures, cream-of-the-crop type, you might be in luck. It will take some convincing, but I recommend avoiding the word “jihadist” and instead using phrases like, “featured on the official site for Lebanese Tourism”

Step 2. Ask Where Your Money is Going

Debate for 30 minutes whether or not you’re funding a questionable militia, and the legal and moral culpability of such an act. Come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter because it’s only a $2.60 entrance fee.

Step 3. Find a Driver

After asking around to various taxi companies and realizing you don’t want to spend $200, hire a friend who’ll charge half the price and also take you to the border with Israel, known as the Blue Line.

Step 4. Dress for the Occasion

This is specifically for my ladies out there. Because this site is of great religious significance to the Shi’a militants, a bridge between heaven and earth caused by the many dire prayers of those who fought and died there, cover your knees, your shoulders, and maybe even your hair. Try to avoid wearing blue and white, for obvious reasons.

Step 5. Start the Tour With A Documentary

Watch a well-shot, 10-minute introductory video narrated by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. Don’t ask if it’s propaganda.

 
 
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Step 6. Discover "The Abyss"

Follow your tour guide as he leads you to a curated graveyard of Israeli tanks, soldiers, helicopters, and allegedly Israeli cluster bombs (which are now banned by the Geneva Convention). When he compares Israel to a spider web, nod politely, and avoid contorting your face in such a way that might reveal discomfort.   

 
 
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Step 7. Explore the Rest of the Museum

Get the real-life war experience by running through the underground tunnels, listening to recordings of gunshots, and using the latrine. Make your way to one of the lookout posts, where you can see everything from Sidon to Israel. And most importantly, don’t forget to get some good selfies along the way.

 
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Step 8. Leave

Head out for a chicken shawarma dinner, basically my favorite part of any day. 

Hannah Smith