Monday, January 24, 2011

Museum Piece

The Australian's Middle East correspondent John Lyons resumes poking a stick at Hezbollah (See my 19/1/11 post South Side Story).

A guided tour:

1) Headline: Hezbollah's homage to a deadly past, and future (22/1/11). A thoroughly nasty piece of work indeed. Think venemous snake or scorpion. Israel? Think lamb or fluffy kitten.

2) Subhead: "A bizarre Lebanese theme park mocks Israel & signals the militants' vendetta can only escalate" Of course, deadly, bizarre, mocking, mafia-like. Be afraid, very afraid!

3) "Military museums across the world usually commemorate the efforts of their own country's soldiers. But this is different." Different? As in... bizarre?

4) "This park, at Mleeta, near the border with Israel, is about death, destruction, revenge and warning." Unlike Israel's which are all about life, creation, forgiveness and welcome.

5) "Given the animosity between Hezbollah and Israel, this is probably the only place in Lebanon where Hebrew words can appear in the open. At the centre of the park... is a mock graveyard with massive Hebrew words warning any Israeli drones or satellites overhead: one says 'The Abyss' while another says 'Lebanese Quagmire'." Ah yes, without Hezbollah, Hebrew would be very much in the open in Lebanon, taunting at checkpoints, barked orders over a loudspeaker to come out of your home at 2 in the morning with your hands raised, and cursing in prisons and torture chambers.

6) "A guide beckons us into a cinema... they begin rolling a history of the Israeli-Arab conflict... It shows Israeli 'Zionist' soldiers..." Oh, so they're not Zionist soldiers? Oh, I see, it's a dirty word these days? I wonder why.

7) "... storming the Old City as they conquer Jerusalem. The editor obviously forgot the bit about the UN General Assembly resolution in 1947..." Err... could that possibly be because Israel's storming of the Old City took place in 1967, John?

8) "... saying 'independent Arab and Jewish states... shall come into existence in Palestine'." And? What's with the "..." John? Shall I supply the missing bit?: "... and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem..." I mean you were talking about Jerusalem and the partition resolution of 1947, weren't you? Oh, I see, you didn't think it important to tell the punters that, according to that resolution, Jerusalem was supposed to have been internationalised under UN administration and that those Israeli stormtroopers had no right storming either East (1967) or West (1948) Jerusalem? Right...

9) "While Hezbollah... delights in the propaganda of the museum..." Ah, but not Israel. No propaganda at Yad Vashem. No propaganda at Yad ha-Shiryon (The Armored Corps Memorial Site & Museum at Latrun). No, sir, for Israel it's the facts, the whole facts and nothing but the facts, OK?

10) I'll end with a little quizz.

You are a Middle East correspondent, in Lebanon to do a story on Hezbollah. You want to consult some expert opinion. Here are 6 possibilities. Choose 3:

1) Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank established by AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee), and author of If War Comes: Israel vs Hizballah & Its Allies; 2) The Economist; 3) Jonathan Spyer, Israeli academic and author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict; 4) Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, associate professor of political science at the American University of Beirut & author of In the Path of Hizbollah; 5) Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Lebanese scholar & author of Hezbollah: Politics & Religion; 6) Hala Jaber, British-Lebanese journalist (The Sunday Times) & author of Hezbollah: Born with a Vengeance.

Hm... too hard? I'll make it easier for you. You're not just any ME correspondent - you're John Lyons of Murdoch's Australian.

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