From Pop to Politics

Hezbollah’s Victory Rally | Vintage Videocrat

In Vintage Videocrat on June 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Published on GNN – Sat, 23 Sep 2006 15:59:36

Location: Beirut, Lebanon.

Nasrallah fans, young and old.

Got back to Beirut Wednesday… just in time Hezbolla’s post-war festivities!  My colleague and I braved the traffic to check out the “Victory Rally” in Dahieh on the 22nd.

People were pouring in by the hundreds, wrapped in Hezbollah flags and Nasrallah t-shirts. As I took photos, the crowd multiplied to what seemed like the size of a small nation-state (or a Madonna concert?).   We hung around the area for about 2 hours just taking it all in: Hundreds of thousands of men, women  and children chanting for Lebanon, Hezbollah and Hassan Nasrallah. The love for the man is clear, and above all, there’s a sense of deep respect.

I’ve watched interviews and listened to some speeches. Nasrallah’s charisma is undeniable (not to mention an adorable speech impediment that prevents him from prounouncing words like “Israel” properly – he says “Iswa’eel”). Despite the religious garb, his universal ideas of resistance and self-empowerment really resonate. When his eldest son died in combat against the Israelis in 1997, he declined an offer to have his corpse returned instead of living Lebanese prisoners. The legend goes that he felt his son’s body was not worth more than anyone else’s, for he was a son of the resitance.  The man has a proven track record: He says what he means and means what he says and that has won over supporters of various religious backgrounds and nationalities across the Arab World. Maybe even beyond.

Female supporters were everywhere.

When my colleague and I realized it would be impossible to get a glimpse of the Hezbollah leader, and maybe even difficult to hear his speech properly from the spot we found, we decided to leave and watch it live on Al Manar TV from the office. People were saying that Arabs from all over the Middle East had flown in to attend the event; This was Nasrallah’s first public appearance since the Syrian pullout last year.

Regardless of what his detractors say, one thing is for sure: Hassan Nasrallah has become the most captivating Arab figure of our times. That alone is a victory for Hezbollah.

Brand Power: Another defiant billboard from Hezbollah's slick "victory" ad campaign. (Yes, they hired an agency to produce it.) That's a photo of IDF soldiers crying.


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