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Monday, January 08, 2007

Gaming In Iraq

It was hard, and continues to be, to find interview subjects. "A lot of people are very, very scared to talk on camera in Baghdad," Abdullah said. "You don't know who's your enemy. You don't know who's your friend. Shia killing Sunnis. Sunnis killing Shia. Sunnis fighting the U.S. military. They'll go on in one circle."

Abdullah came up with one workable idea that was close to his heart. A gaming aficionado who reads GameSpot, regularly raves about "Metal Gear Solid" and will voluntarily stop talking about sectarian violence to rant about the graphics in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," he suggested talking to people about games. Wisam was willing.

It turns out that Wisam is often willing to talk about games. He sat for Omar's camera and agreed to talk about that aspect of his life in his war-torn country to MTV News. But in both cases, despite the seemingly innocuous subject matter, he asked that his last name not be used out of concerns for his safety.
-- Mortal Combat: An Iraqi Gamer Shares His Harrowing Story

Sorry if MTV's flash interface offends anyone's eyes. The gamers in question were featured on the Alive In Baghdad blog on a post entitled "Baghdad Is Like Grand Theft Auto". It's insanely fascinating reading material for those of us so removed from the conflict.

It also serves to proves what the Liebermans and Thompsons of the world want to deny - that gaming is culture. Gaming is part of culture. Not just American youngsters - it's part of a global culture. It's a uniting experience between people. It's something many people can understand across the normal divides.

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