Greetings from the martyrs of Lebanon - care for a souvenir Hizbollah keychain?

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The Independent Online

Having a wonderful time - wish you were here. Which is more or less the message on the ream of postcards now selling across Lebanon, courtesy of the Islamic resistance.

Having a wonderful time - wish you were here. Which is more or less the message on the ream of postcards now selling across Lebanon, courtesy of the Islamic resistance.

The theme, of course, is predictable: the retreat of the Israeli army from southern Lebanon and the Hizbollah guerrilla movement's belief that this constitutes a stunning military victory over the Middle East's most powerful army. Their celebration is as unique as it is coordinated.

There are postcards of "martyrs" undertaking their last attack against Israeli troops and of babies carrying Hizbollah flags against Israeli bunkers; Hizbollah keychains and car stickers; and pennants for motorcycles, each carrying the guerrilla army's Arabic logo with a Kalashnikov rifle forming the "ll" in "Hizbollah".

In one coloured card, the Hizbollah chairman, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, stands above the clouds alongside his son Hadi, killed two years ago in an attack on an Israeli position inside southern Lebanon.

Ayatollah Khomeini looks down upon both of them. Ranks of guerrilla fighters march to their deaths. A toddler holding a Hizbollah flag clambers up the side of an Israeli gun revetment.

A guerrilla loads a Katyusha rocket on to its rack. Masked fighters parade beneath yellow flags beside the faces of Nasrallah and Abbas Moussawi - Nasrallah's predecessor who was assassinated, along with his wife and son, in an attack by an Israeli helicopter pilot.

"One thousand for each photo," the urchin selling the postcards demanded outside the Hizbollah's mosque in the Ouzai suburb of Beirut. Visitors beat him down to 500 Lebanese pounds - 20p - a card.

Someone, I suspect, is making a killing. Then again, Hizbollah provides thousands of dollars a year to the families of their "martyrs", to Lebanon's poor in medical services and construction work, an entire social fabric which is to be the foundation of the movement's domestic political future (the next parliamentary elections start at the end of August).

In one card, Moussawi looks down from heaven, a paradise of blue rivers and red flowers quite different from the barren hillsides, polluted streams and overbuilt lands where his men died in such numbers.

And beside one pile of cards, I found the ultimate gift for every war junkie: a two-hour video of attacks on Israeli military compounds, filmed by Hizbollah's very own cameramen.

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