“Play the game, change reality.”

By Jesse Bacon

Anyone who is grew up shooting virtual Nazis as I did knows that video games can be addictive. They can also be a nice respite from a fairly dull existence. They can even be achingly, vacantly beautiful.  But when I became an activist, I wondered where were the games that would teach us about social justice? I didn’t really have time to look anymore, what with the activism and all, but all I could come up with was “State of Emergency” a vastly oversimplified version of the WTO protests.

But Gisha, the group that furnishes us with the amazing “Gaza Gateway” posts has at long last done it, with a game that has more in common with the “Quest” games (Police, Space, Kings) of my childhood then the nazi/alien/zombie shoot ‘em ups.Unfortunately, no matter how fiendishly difficult those childhood games could be, they had a logic and could be defeated through cleverness. The occupation, on the other hand will only be defeated through people caring and acting on that caring. In the mean time, please go play “Safe Passage.”


For the less interactively inclined,here’s the video preview of the game.


and here’s a clip of my favorite movie Brazil, which I was unpleasantly reminded of playing the game.

Susiya’s Second Summer Camp – A Call for Aid

(crossposted on the Villages Group Blog)

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I’m writing to you in the name of Fatima Nawajeh, the initiator and organizer of Susiya’s summer camp. Susiya is a Palestinian village in Southern West Bank, an area known as Massafar Yatta or South Hebron Hills.

For many years the reality of a summer camp inside their community was an unattainable dream for the inhabitants and the children of Palestinian Susiya. Their cave-dwellers’ village was evacuated by the Israeli army in 1986. Once again in 2001, the occupation army expelled Susiya’s residents and destroyed the families’ scattered dwelling places built after the first evacuation. Meanwhile, the nearby settlers of the Jewish Sussya (built and subsidized by the Israeli government on expropriated land in the 1980′s) continue grabbing more and more agricultural land from its legal owners, local Palestinians farmers.

Against all odds, under these dark and oppressive circumstances, the young generation in Susiya is feeling more and more confident about their inner powers and abilities. They strive to take responsibly for the future of their community. As part of this positive development, an energetic team of local young activists led by Fatima Nawajeh orchestrated the first ever summer camp in Susiya. The camp lasted eight days in July 2009. This summer camp was a great success and gave a big boost for Susiya’s community life.

This year, the six local activists of the organizing team seek to expand the summer camp from eight to eleven days. At hand for help, are we, the longtime friends of Susiya from the Villages Group. The Israeli branch of the Smile Liberation Front, an international clown organization, is promising to visit the 2010 summer camp for a complete day.

As in the previous year, the organizers of Susiya’s summer camp are appealing to you in a call for financial support that will secure the realization of this year summer camp. The overall budget of the summer camp is $3,000, a sum which covers the needs of meals for the kids during the time of the daily activities, materials and accessories, outfits for a new Debka dancers group, expenses for a one day trip to a park in one of the cities in the West Bank, and a modest compensation for the counselors.

Anyone among you who wants to contribute and help, please see our donation page for details. Please also coordinate with me at [email protected]. Of course, if you would like more information please contact me as well.

All the best,

Ehud Krinis
Villages Group

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