Little baby Mahdi, a pudgy-faced Lebanese newborn who can still barely open his eyes, was destined to become a Hezbollah warrior from the moment he first entered this world.
“It’s a boy!” a balloon in the hallway of the Rasul Aatham hospital in Beirut proudly exclaims. But, snoozing in his bed, Mahdi is dressed as a fighter: In a video posted by Hezbollah-owned news channel al-Manar earlier this week, Mahdi is seen in a tiny military-style camouflage uniform only slightly too large for an infant of his stature. A hat bearing the Shiite organization’s emblem keeps his head warm.
“Nothing could be better than him becoming a soldier for the Imam Mahdi [the prophesied redeemer of Islam],” his mother, dressed in traditional black Middle Eastern garb, tells al-Manar in the video, according to a translation posted by MEMRI, an Arab news watchdog.
According to the al-Manar report, as a token of appreciation, Mahdi’s family had all hospital bills waived and was granted a golden necklace engraved with the name of the Prophet Muhammad.
“[He] reflects the continuation of the path of the Islamic resistance, one generation after another,” Mahdi’s mother says of her tiny baby in the video.