The release of the Hezbollah-produced videogame Special Force 2 has sparked a protest among some gamers in the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain, who say it's "not the right game for children."
Developed by computer experts in the Hezbollah militant group, Special Force 2 reenacts the events of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Describing the game, Hezbollah representative Sheikh Ali Daher said, "This game presents the culture of resistance to children: That occupation must be resisted and that land and the nation must be guarded. Through this game the child can build an idea of some of ... the most prominent battles and the idea that this enemy can be defeated."
Which is precisely the problem, according to one of the organizers of an online petition against the game, who wished to remain anonymous. "We are against Special Force 2, it's not the right game for children," she said. "And it's sold for BD5 ($13), so it's accessible to children.
"As a Muslim, I should not promote violence against a social sect or religion, and we are supporting Hezbollah with this. When you play these games, you participate in the war because you are shooting, and children don't realize what's right or wrong. We are recruiting the next line of Hezbollah fighter. What's next, being against Sunni or Shi'ites?"
The woman claimed to be an "avid" gamer herself, but said Special Force 2 depicts Arabs as "savages" to the rest of the world and should be banned for its promotion of violence and hatred. Suggesting a strategy game similar to Rise of Nations would be a better approach, she added, "Children should be taught to defend their rights, but with the right means."
Former Chairman of the Bahrain Society Against Normalization With the Zionist Enemy Mohammed Hassan Al Arad said Bahrain was a free country, and that people should be free to decide on their own. He also suggested the game would only counterbalance the anti-Arab bias that already exists in the media. "Let's remember, we are hearing the name of Israel all the time on TV and they are showing films against Arabs and no one is saying anything. Again it is free will. If they start banning this, you will have to ban everything."
The online petition against Special Force 2, which will be presented to the Bahrain Information Ministry once enough signatures have been gathered, is available here.