Two commemorative destinations established in the Middle East will help shape the historical consciousness of the region's newest generation. In Lebanon children flock to a shrine dedicated to Imad Mugniyah, the dead commander of Hezbollah, who is considered a martyr to some and a terrorist responsible for numerous bombings throughout the 1980s and 90s to others.
At the exhibit schoolchildren wait to see Mugniyah's bloodstained clothes, the shoes he died in, his cell phone, or the desk he sat at while he planned his attacks. Visitors also experience a multimedia exhibit chronicling Hezbollah's fight with Israel. The exhibit — which also includes a "victory bridge" made from artillery shells, a skeleton in uniform labeled "the invincible Israeli soldier" — must stay open until 1 a.m. to keep up with its popularity.
Meanwhile Iraq plans to reopen the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, where Saddam Hussein and members of the US military abused prisoners. The new Abu Ghraib prison will include a museum dedicated to exposing the crimes committed under Saddam. Stories like this make me think that efforts like Seeds of Peace, the summer camp which brings together children from enemy countries in the Middle East, are all the more important. If the forces of violence get to the next generation before those of peace, there is little hope for reconciliation in the region.