Dhe brass band plays snappy marching music sprinkled with dissonance. The crowd begins to move, but it is difficult to move forward. Densely packed, people scurry through an entrance gate covered with camouflage nets. The Lebanese Hezbollah, the heavily armed Shiite organization allied with Iran, invited hundreds of guests to their empire in southern Lebanon on Sunday, which they actually prefer to shield from the public.
But on this day, loyalists, domestic and foreign journalists, are taken in buses to a real military base. The area was under Israeli occupation 23 years ago, and on May 24, 2000, the withdrawal of troops from the neighboring country to the south was completed. A day of triumph from Hezbollah’s point of view. She wants to set a sign of strength on the anniversary and convey the message to her enemies that neither the steadfastness nor the will to destroy Israel have waned. Therefore, the organization organized a military performance that has not been seen in many years and, so it is said, will not be seen in many years.
“The gun has become part of their bodies”
Next to the parade ground are small trucks with rocket launchers and all-terrain vehicles mounted on them, as well as a huge artillery piece. They provide a selfie backdrop for many; also the representative of the Houthi rebels from Yemen, who are also supported by Iran, who came in local costume. Silent, masked Hizbullah militiamen in full battle gear man and guard the parade of military equipment. You look out onto a dusty parade ground. To the right of this rises an imposing hill on which Israeli flags are said to embody an enemy settlement. A spectator stand was erected on the left.
In the shade of a camouflage net, plastic chairs await visitors, each with a plastic bag filled with a bottle of water, industrial pastries and a packet of juice that says 10 percent fruit. A spokesman has to apologize for the delay, because the logistical tour de force took more time than planned. Then he gives the start signal. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, had permission given for the performance to begin.
Hizbullah’s actual ability to wage modern guerrilla warfare is likely to go far beyond what is presented. The staging, like the accompanying music, is largely reminiscent of the action films from the 1980s, in which heroes on off-road motorcycles hijack enemy vehicles with playful ease. Some things are old school: hooded militiamen jump through a burning ring. At the end of the melee performances, elite fighters smash terracotta buckets and wooden slats with jump kicks and edge punches. This includes sentences from the moderator such as: “Wherever these fighters are, they will defeat the enemy.” Or: “The weapon has become part of their bodies.”