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two can play at this game

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following article, attributed to Zeina Karam of The Associated Press, appeared on page A25 of the Sunday, June 1, 2003 edition of The Arizona Republic.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2003
      The following article, attributed to Zeina Karam of The Associated Press,
      appeared on page A25 of the Sunday, June 1, 2003 edition of The Arizona
      Republic. Since the 1980s, imperialist propagandists have been designing
      video games allowing people, mostly young people, to simulate fighting
      enemies of imperialism and thus be indoctrinated into thinking this is
      the thing to do and to psychologically associate those depicted on the
      videogames as targets as "evil" and worthy of destruction. Doubtless this
      has won imperialist military powers more than a few recruits. Well, as
      this article illustrates, two can play at this game. My only question is,
      where can I buy <Special Force>?

      --Kevin Walsh


      Beirut, Lebanon--A 3-D computer game is the militant Hezbollah group's
      latest weapon in its propaganda war on Israel.

      "Fight, resist, destroy your enemy in the game of force and victory," the
      game's slogan exhorts.

      Now on sale in Lebanon, <Special Force> pits a guerilla armed with a knife,
      a pistol, hand grenades and a Kalashnikov assault rifle against Israeli
      soldiers operating from fortified positions in southern Lebanon protected by
      land mines, a Merkava tank and an Apache helicopter.

      Outcome Not Assured

      Virtual victory is not always assured. The game is challenging enough that
      the guerillas often are shot and killed by the Israelis.

      The game simulates Hezbollah military operations against Israel's army,
      which ended an 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 after a
      guerilla war of attrition. Working for two years, Hezbollah's production
      team relied on maps, films and other material from the group's media archives
      to make its graphics true-to-life.

      In real life, the Israelis and Hezbollah now face off across a tense,
      generally quiet border, but the movement's propaganda campaign remains

      "We don't see them as games but as part of an educational process which is
      preventing any chance of real peace," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman
      Ron Prosor told the Associated Press in Jerusalem when asked about <Special

      Karim Arab, a Lebanese ten-year-old, is a fan. "It's great," the boy said
      as he fired at an Israeli military outpost before his "guerillas" prepared to
      storm it. He said that what he likes about the game is being able to shoot
      at Israelis, "which I cannot do in real life."

      Fighting Israel has been a driving force for Hezbollah, which is backed by
      Iran and Syria and is on the State Department's list of terrorist

      <Special Force> can be played in Arabic, English, French and Farsi, the
      language of Iran. It includes a training center where a player can practice
      shooting at posters featuring, among others, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel

      A good performance in the game earns a certificate presented by Hezbollah's
      leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. The game ends with an exhibit of Hezbollah
      "martyrs": fighters killed by Israel.

      The creators of <Special Force> say the aim is to counter the "invasion" of
      Arab markets by foreign games.

      "Most games being offered on the market are games in which, unfortunately,
      the hero is an American, and he is coming to kill the terrorist, who is an
      Arab," said Mahmoud Rayya, an official of Hezbollah's Central Internet
      Bureau who helped develop the game.

      "We wanted to provide our youths with an alternative," he said. "Resistance
      is not confined to weapons. You also have to catch up with the ever-growing
      industries like the Internet and computer games."

      Rayya said Hezbollah also maintains more than twenty internet sites and has
      developed fifteen CDs about Israel's occupation and withdrawal from
      southern Lebanon. <Special Force> is its first video game.

      Rayya said that the first 8000 copies of <Special Force>, each selling for
      the equivalent of $6.60, were snapped up within a week and that a second
      batch of the CD-ROM games was selling briskly.

      Not The First Such Game

      <Special Force> is not the first computer game of its kind in the Arab world.
      In 2000, a Syrian student created <The Stone Throwers>, celebrating the
      Palestinean uprising against Israeli occupation. A similar game, <Under the
      Ashes>, allows Palestineans to target Israeli soldiers and settlers.

      Jewish groups have dubbed the games racist, but in Lebanon they are seen as no
      different from Western games like <Conflict: Desert Storm>, an action-packed
      game that depicts the 1991 Gulf War.
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