Lebanon News

New perfume smells like ... 'divine victory'

BEIRUT: If you've ever wondered what resistance smells like, then try a dab of "Resistance Perfume," which comes "exclusively" with a political message and a picture of Hizbullah's secretary general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Apparently, the scent of resistance is a strong and musky one that comes with a single pledge - "a truthful" one.

"You are the truthful promise ... and I have great faith in you and I promise you divine victory," is the perfume's slogan, borrowed from one of Nasrallah's speeches during the July-August war with Israel.

A digitally manipulated picture of a sinking ship, meant to represent the Israeli warship damaged by a Hizbullah missile during the conflict, along with reprints of Nasrallah's speeches and messages from the "Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons" - are all part of the perfume's package, turning a cover into a political message.

"We thought it was a catchy idea, as now the perfume is more than something that smells nice, it is a political statement," said Mohammad Dekmak, who heads Bint Huda, a chain of stores in Beirut's southern suburbs that started selling the perfume this month.

The $1 perfume is being marketed as a unisex product, but is mainly popular with men.

According to Dekmak, the perfume's designer and producer, Hajj Ali Aaqil Khalil, dropped by the store several weeks ago, carrying 40 samples of the perfume in a plastic bag - and sold them all within minutes.

"It was creative, and timely, given the demonstration in Downtown and Christmas time and the general increased interest in anything related to Hizbullah," said Dekmak, who admitted he sent several sellers to Downtown to sell the perfume to the demonstrators and visitors to the sit-in.

Dekmak admitted that the scent of "Resistance" can be catered to the desires of customers: "We can put popular European brands" in the "Resistance" bottles, he said. "Versace, Chanel, Escada, white musk, floral scents, whatever scent you want, you can get."

Several attempts were made by The Daily Star to contact  Khalil - who, according to Dekmak, once sold "Hajj Perfume" - but none were successful.

Hizbullah "didn't give license" for the perfume. But several resistance members said they knew about it and did not see a problem with it.

"We don't like to encourage people to turn Hizbullah into a commercial venture, but since the perfume is called 'Resistance' and not 'Hizbullah,' we have no right to really prevent it from being sold as resistance is a broad ideology not limited to one party," said Hizbullah spokesperson Ghassan Darwish.

"Hizbullah-stamped merchandise are usually limited to books and posters," said Darwish, "not perfumes."

However, he added that the perfume doesn't "hurt" the resistance, and people have a right to "smell as they like and put on whatever perfume they want."

The Daily Star interviewed several demonstrators about their views on the perfume, and while most of them seemed excited about the new scent and its message, some opted not to try it.

"I am content with showering and using plain soap," said Ibrahim Ali, a Hizbullah supporter at the tent city.

"I don't like artificial smells," he added.





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