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Bota

Heavy/ Killing as many Israeli soldiers as possible is the game that is spreading hate speech in the name of Islam

Heavy/ Killing as many Israeli soldiers as possible is the game that is

There is a right-wing subculture in the gaming community. This subculture tries to indoctrinate players with extremist ideas and radicalize followers.

In one of the propaganda games sold on the Steam platform, you can join an Islamic terrorist organization and kill as many Israeli soldiers as possible while shouting "Allahu akbar".

The game, created by a Brazilian-Palestinian developer, has been on the market since 2021, but gained momentum after the terrorist attack by Islamist militants Hamas on October 7, 2023. This game has since been removed from the German version of the Steam-shop. , but in other countries the game continues to download. This is not the only game on the most important computer gaming platform that has anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content. Extremist right-wing content is also widespread.

Right-wing extremists take advantage of the Internet

The gaming community is huge. More than three billion people worldwide play video games regularly. This is how many friendships are formed between people who would probably never have met each other without the Internet and the preference for them on the computer. The so-called "young rightists" benefit from this.

A small group this subculture of the gaming scene, but very right-wing and where like-minded people meet who incite hatred and spread misanthropic ideologies. This is part of a strategy that calls itself "Metapolitics". The goal is to conquer areas of society, which are not originally related to politics, and exert influence on them. They can be, for example, sports clubs, cultural institutions or online platforms for video games. It aims to make right-wing views mainstream.

Right media strategies

What the right makes known on game platforms is following a media strategy that is also used on social networks, which is exactly "dog whistling". They distribute content such as satirical memes that seem harmless at first glance. But the posts contain anti-Semitic and racist codes, which are constantly transformed and often only understood by supporters, explains Mick Prinz of the Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, which fights right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism.

If they spread once on the Internet and are constantly repeated, then the normalization of conspiratorial expressions or stories occurs, having as a consequence the right-wing shift of the boundaries of what is said and the unreflective use of right-wing concepts of war, by segments of different parts of society. The latest example of this is the concept of "remigration", which has become the worst word of 2024.

Antisemitism on gaming platforms

Until now, the right has glorified the National Socialist period on the biggest gaming platforms relatively unfettered, gathered together in Wehrmacht (German army) fan groups and spread their ideas. This has happened because they work with codes, but also because the forums work without a moderator, or because communication often ends up in private chat groups. It is true that there is an option to issue an alert for problematic content or problematic players, but this does not necessarily cause the content to be deleted immediately.

Propaganda games are also programmed by neo-Nazis for neo-Nazis. A right-wing group of game creators from Austria wants to "transmit patriotic values" with them. In fact they spread anti-Semitic conspiracy stories. In their first game, which has since been taken down by Steam after various players raised the alarm, players play as if they were Martin Sellner through various levels of the game. The Austrian right-wing extremist, Martin Sellner, is one of the main strategists of the "New Right" in Europe. In Germany this game has been put on the list of prohibited games and it is not allowed to advertise it publicly or to sell it to children and young people.

But according to the creators of the game itself, it has been downloaded 50 thousand times. These figures cannot be confirmed. But apparently the target group of customers is large. Because the creators of the game are currently working on a follow-up game, which is currently being announced on Steam. They are part of the far-right identity movement and according to the Amadeu Antonio foundation they are helped with money and advertising by politicians from the right-wing populist party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Përveç kësaj në platformën e lojërave ka edhe lojëra shumë më të vogla, që mbase nuk kanë sukses ekonomik, por që janë pjesërisht shumë problematike, thotë Mick Prinz. Ai tregon për lojëra në të cilat lojtarët përjetojnë Luftën e Dytë Botërore nga perspektiva e ushtrisë gjermane dhe për përhapje të lojërave që vlerësojnë pozitivisht periudhën nacionalsocialiste, të ashtuquajturat mods (për modifiikime). Këto nivele shtesë loje mund të krijohen në parim nga çdo lojtar dhe t’i bashkangjiten lojës e të luhen me lojtarë të tjerë. “Ekstremistët e djathtë mundohen të përdorin mundësitë e krijuara kudo aty ku mund të krijohen përmbajtje nga vetë përdoruesit, User Generated Content. Kështu krijohen si mods raciste ashtu edhe mods antisemitiste,” thotë Mick Prinz. Atentati në qytetin Halle, gjatë të cilit ekstremistë të djathtë donin të futeshin me armë në një sinagogë, për të vrarë sa më shumë vetë, mund të imitohet duhe luajtur lojën “Roblox”. Ky mod është shuar ndërkohë.

Alarmi: Lojë fëmijësh që vlerëson pozitivisht periudhën nacionalsocialiste

“Roblox” është një lojë online, që preferohet shumë nga fëmijët dhe të rinjtë në gjithë botën. Ajo mund të përshkruhet si një version digjital i tullave të ndërtimit të lojrave me dorë, lojrave Lego. Lojtarët mund ta krijojnë vetë skenën ku duan të luajnë dhe të hyjnë në skenat e krijuara nga lojtarët e tjerë. Por kjo krijon mundësi edhe për ekstremistët e djathtë që të krijojnë skenat e tyre të lojës, për të glorifikuar nacionalsocializmin. Përshëndetjet e Hitlerit, uniformat naziste, flamujtë me kryqin nazist, kamper e përqëndrimit, dhomat e vdekjes me gaz, të gjitha këto ishin pjesë e lojës së fëmijëve për të cilën u dha alarmi dhe u hoq nga interneti.

Në fund të muajit tetor të 2023, adoleshentë organizuan në “Roblox” një demostratë pro-palestineze. Sipas gazetës britanike “Jewish News”, protesta nuk ishte vetëm paqësore. Aty u publikuan mes të tjerash Screenshots nga një flamur izraelit që digjej në flalë dhe një avatar që fliste tekste lajmesh antiizraelite. Megjithëse propaganda naziste, antisemitizmi dhe racizmi janë zyrtarisht të ndaluara në lojëra, ato shfaqen herë pas here, sepse çdo ditë më shumë se 70 milionë lojtarë qarkullojnë në “Roblox” dhe fusin përmbajtje të reja.

Marrëdhëniet në Online-Games: toksike si më parë

Liga kundër shpifjeve (Anti-Defamation League, ADL), një organizatë amerikane që lufton kundër diskriminimit të të rinjve hebrenj, shkruan në raportin e fundit të vitit 2022, se 77 përqind e lojtarëve online ngacmohen dhe ofendohen nga lojtarët e tjerë, 34 përqind e lojtarëve hebrenj pranojnë se ngacmohen për shkak të identitetit. Sondazhi është bërë me gati 100 milionë amerikanë. Sondazhi tregon po ashtu se 20 përqind e lojtarëve të lojërave online janë për “White Supremacy”, një ideologji raciste që pranon se të bardhët janë më të zotë se të tjerët, prandaj duhet të sundojnë.

"Right-wing extremists are a vocal but feel-good minority in the gaming community when discriminatory, sexist and racist content is back to normal. In some sectors of gaming culture, hate is common. There is a gaming toxicity that cannot be hidden,” says Mick Prinz. "It would be a mistake to say that the gaming world has a problem with right-wing extremism. Because it is society that has a problem with right-wing extremism."

The culture of non-forgetfulness: games have an important function

The fight against right-wing populism in Germany, whose rise is reflected in the poll numbers of the AfD, the right-wing populist party, and the fight against tasteless and anti-Semitic games and mods has become the cause of game creator Yaar Harell. "I have the impression that an earthquake has hit the media and politics and that it is now being understood that we need new forms of interactive storytelling and the culture of non-forgetting," he says. Harrel is currently working on the game "When God Fell Asleep", a game in which players take on very different roles, the role of a ten-year-old Jewish girl who, together with her younger brother, fights in Krakow to escape crime Nazis and the role of a young Nazi officer.

This is a way of creating games, which is also followed by another game creator, Luc Bernard, who last year created a virtual Holocaust Museum, for the attacker of the game "Fortnite". Anti-Semitism in games can best be combated by resolutely removing right-wing extremist content and glorifications of National Socialism from gaming platforms and by adding counter-content: games and mods that touch emotionally, raise awareness of anti-Semitism, and keep the memory alive about the Holocaust./DW

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