Iraq’s parliament could put up with the insanity no longer.
The mass killings, sectarian violence, forced militarization of children, sexual enslavement, political corruption — these can be handled.
But these damned kids and their video machines. They should be outside, learning about real violence instead of wasting their time.
That was the opinion provided by Iraqi Shi’ite cleric and definitively uncool grandfather figure Moqtada al-Sadr, whose majority political coalition in Iraq’s parliament decried “Fortnite” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” or PUBG, as addictive and negative influences on the youth in a letter calling for the ban of such games, according to a Reuters report.
“What will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG?" Sadr wrote in a statement obtained by Reuters.
Experience points, one would assume.
“It is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight.”
Well, someone didn’t have his Werther’s Originals and dose of “Murder She Wrote” today.
But maybe Moqtada is right. After all, how can one expect to be blessed with top-of-the-line training techniques like mastering the art of the side straddle hop — jumping jack — if choosing instead to waste away indoors?
Officially, the ban was instituted “due to the negative effects caused by some electronic games on the health, culture, and security of Iraqi society, including societal and moral threats to children and youth," the report said.
Both games — “Fortnite” and PUBG — were created in 2017 and pit players against one another in an all out battle for survival.
Of Fortnite’s worldwide following numbering in the millions, Iraq is somehow the only country in which playing the game is a threat to the type of youthful corruption that can lead to large-scale sectarian violence.
Lest we forget the significant role “Fortnite” played in:
- The Anfal Campaign and Kurdish Genocide of the 1980s in which hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were subjected to chemical weapons and killed indiscriminately in an attempt to exterminate the Kurdish population
- The Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988, which involved child soldiers
- Saddam Hussein overseeing the torture of children to elicit confessions by adults
- The Dujail Massacre
- The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
- 2004 suicide bombings in Karbala and Baghdad that killed 140 people
- Increased sectarian violence from April 1 to May 31, 2005, resulting in 1,036 civilian deaths in the two-month span
- A 2006 bombing of the historic al-Askari Shrine in Samarra that kicked off a wave of retaliatory responses by the Shia population, with over 1,000 deaths estimated in the days that followed the bombing
- An estimated civilian death toll of 7,157 in 2013, according to the UN
A tragic history. If only there was some way kids could escape the constant reminders of grim reality.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.