When I got back into video games a few years ago (which turned out to be for just a short period of time), I bought myself a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I had been totally immersed in the gameplay of Uncharted 2, the first game I played when I bought the PS3, and figured the same would happen with COD.
There was a warning when I started the game that there was one scene that was deemed too violent for those who might be sensitive and that you can play a version of the game that doesn’t include that particular level.
Please, I thought to myself.
I had been desensitized to violence at a young age, whether it was because of the Rambo, James Bond, Bruce Lee movies I was raised on or even due to the immense levels of violence in the cartoons I watched had (how many people died in Robotech??). I can handle whatever it is Call of Duty wants to throw at me. I got this.
The level came up and to sum it up, your character is pretty much undercover with a bunch of bad guys who are going through an airport and killing everyone while your character is not allowed to do anything about it. Sure, you don’t have to kill anyone, but you can’t do anything while the gang does. In the video game, people are running around screaming trying to escape the stream of bullets that hailed from the guns of the bad guys. Not going to lie, I was pretty horrified and felt sick to my stomach from the fictional scene that played out in front of me. I cancelled out of that particular level in the middle of it as I just couldn’t deal. I had no idea why the developers of that game thought this level would be a good idea. What made them want to create that level and why would anyone want to play it?
This came to mind yesterday when news was all over the internet that the extremist group ISIS beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley and released a video, which was then spread around the internet with many people viewing it and linking to it themselves.
I thought about that scene in Call of Duty after I heard about the video and wondered why people would willingly watch a video about a real-life beheading of an innocent person at the hands of some insane people. I’m almost thinking that, in this age of over-sharing, people are so used to watching whatever video that is sent to them, whether it be a clip from The Daily Show or something cute some cat did that it’s almost instinct to click and watch something without giving the ramifications of the content much thought, that it could be something that can never be unseen.
The video has fortunately been taken down in most places and there was a call by many over Twitter and other social media to not give ISIS the satisfaction of spreading around a video of the horrors of their work.
ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but the name is just that, a name, as their actions have continuously fallen so far away from the teachings of Islam. They have mutilated the practices of the religion as they have been trying to impose their rule in Iraq and Syria by killing and oppressing many people. Muslim religious authorities around the world have condemned this group, as well as many American Muslim organizations like MPAC who have put out statements like this one about rejecting the group.
I really felt like I had to say something and actively condemn the group as well so this is me, condemning ISIS. I want people to know that their actions have no basis in the teachings of Islam. They are a terrorist group that in no way represents Muslims worldwide.
For further reading, check out this article on The Islamic Monthly.
Remember to always try to stay informed!
While I’m here, I might as well condemn some other stuff:
– The killing of unarmed black men by police officers, whether on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri or on a BART platform in Oakland.
– The illegal occupation of Palestine and the fact that those who reside in Gaza have been under siege since the blockades have been in place.
– The prison industrial complex in the United States.
– Generally, everything terrible going on in the world.
You get the point.