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As if the War Took Place Yesterday - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As soon as the few visitors coming to Beirut the summer holidays leave the capital’s airport, they will notice the numerous Hezbollah sign that make up a part of their propaganda campaign.

The road to the airport is one of the main expansions of Hezbollah’s influence. At present and for a long time, these billboards, it seems, are intended to focus attention on images and slogans that celebrate the first anniversary of what Hezbollah insists on labeling a “divine victory” over Israel. In addition, the Hezbollah media machine has been waging an extensive campaign for a long time in celebration of “Operation Truthful Promise” that sparked the war and involved the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers.

The Television media has reported numerous accounts Many accounts of Hezbollah fighters, dressed in full military uniforms with their faces camouflaged, recounting last summer’s fighting in southern Lebanon while reporters sit next to them proud of having obtained exclusive interviews with them.

According to this media, the purpose of celebrating the anniversary of the war is only to display and support “the heroism” of fighters, consolidate its legend and of course attack the government, irrespective of Lebanon’s inability to overcome the political, financial and human costs of this war.

Accounts of victory extended to include the families of 1200 victims who were killed in the battle of “divine victory”, as we see the children of Hezbollah fighters talking as they sit close to the graves of their fathers, who were killed whilst fighting against Israel, while the accompanying impression of these interviews and the tendency of these accounts lead to the same result–children preparing themselves for the same fate as their fathers.

In general, the media of the Lebanese opposition followed suit; celebrating the victory that sits heavily on Lebanon. The search for the fighters’ accounts has overlooked any other dimension of war as if there is a real insistence to repeat the songs of victory and to put aside the war’s excessive human cost.

It is the first anniversary of Hezbollah’s “Operation Truthful Promise” that sparked last July’s war against Lebanon.

Lebanese, Arab and global media approach this anniversary in different ways, but obviously, most of these approaches have been repeated for over a year.

Undoubtedly, the war is not an event that caused the turning over of a new leaf, rather the scene of post-war Lebanon is precarious, highly complicated and ambiguous.

The July war had a political function, which was not recalled in this anniversary. All of us saw what the political scene was like in Lebanon and the region before the war and how this scene changed after the war.

A key media purpose is to discuss and bring up the changes that occurred in the year after the war. The Iranian situation in the region has changed, the Syrian situation settled, while the Lebanese internal situation intensified in an unprecedented manner.

The Arab media paid no attention to the Iranian-Syrian victory and Lebanese confusion.

Where is the Arab and Lebanese reconsideration of events during the war?

In Israel, there was a real reconsideration of the war, and political prices were, and will be, paid. Israeli media has been playing a principal role in calling the government and Israeli officials to account.

In Lebanon, we are incapable of holding the victorious ones accountable not only in the field of media but also in politics.

A year has passed so quickly.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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