UN world hunger video game

A video game featuring emergency aid workers negotiating with armed rebels and a plane launching airdrops of food to starving people was launched by a United Nations food agency yesterday to raise awareness among the young over world hunger.

The Rome-based World Food Program presented the educational video game, called Food Force, at an international children's book fair in the northern Italian town of Bologna. It said the video game was the first of its kind and suitable for children over the age of eight.

"Communicating with children today means using the latest technology," said Neil Gallagher, the agency's director of communications. "Children in the developed world don't know what it's like to go to bed threatened by starvation." The PC-based game takes place on the fictitious island of Sheylan.

After an initial briefing on hunger crisis and work in the field, players are required to accomplish six different missions, ranging from piloting a reconnaissance helicopter to count hungry people to dropping food aid from a cargo plane. The full screen, three-dimension imagery video game is available for free downloading. Players can also submit their scores to an international database and compare with other players around the world.

The video game is available at: http://www.food-force.com



When I first saw the story, I thought, hey, here's a good idea, get through to kids, the next generation, maybe they can do something about the worlds problems.
It seemed interesting enough, armed rebels, piloting a chopper, maybe I'm too old and can barely operate the DVD machine, but it seemed interesting to me ok.

Then I went to the website and had a look about, all seemed ok, nice graphics, full screen, it's also free, then it hit me "aid workers negotiating with armed rebels", so what sort of guns we get to use, M-16, chain guns, I sure hope that chopper is an Apache Gunship, armed to the teeth, armour piecing, hellfires... wait hold on, check the list of main players -
Joe Zaki - Nutritionist
Rachel Scott (I had high hopes of a Lara Croft) - Logistics Officer
Miles (looks a lot like Kofi) - Director of Food Purchasing
Angela Keane - Appeals Officer

Not one of them had a gun, maybe a knife, nope, stick, no way.

In reality, rebels and other warring parties, may they be government or militia forces, are not the nicest people, they are usually armed and are not scared to use these weapons. They don't pick flowers and meditate, they shoot each other till most are dead.
They are quite willing to take your food and keep it, sometimes you will be shot or raped and then shot, they are not always concerned with international outcries and public opinion.

So what are you going to do if the 'Armed Rebels' take your food aid and help themselves to it, are you going to throw some flowers at them, maybe attack with cooking oil.

I suppose in the video game, if you play the pacifist and plead and nag, the Armed Rebels will let you on your way. In real life this might happen -
Joe Zaki - we are from the UN, please let us pass through your territory to give food aid to the starving masses on the other side.
Rebel (just finished killing a few innocents in the name of tribal conflict) - they are the enemy, you cannot pass, get lost before my arms recover their energy and I decide to make an example of you, leave the food with us.
Joe Zaki - please sir, we are only here to help the suffering and needy, we don't want to get involved, according to the Geneva conventions you must let us help the starving.
Rebel - this is not Geneva, the bullet ridden sign back 30 miles says 'xyx' not Geneva, maybe you can fly me to Geneva so I can see this convention. (Rebel contingent smirks.)
Joe Zaki - please sir, we must pass through, we only want peace, we are sorry to offend you, we don't want trouble, please let us pass through. I have here a letter from Kofi Annan, secretary general, requesting safe passage, please have a look at it.
Rebel - Who is this Kofi Annan, maybe he can write a letter for me, I can barely read, are you making fun of me, are you a spy (rebel is really in Zaki's face now, fingering the trigger).
Rebel 2 - lets just shoot them to be sure, they look like spies.
Joe Zaki (sweating profusely) - ok maybe we should all just cool down and talk this over, we are not spies, here is my ID card, I am from the UN, an international organisation, we are aid workers can we give you some food if you let us pass through?
Rebel - you fucking monkey, I told you to get lost, you are a spy aren't you, why are you sweating? Go now and leave the food, we will distribute it according to your Geneva conventions. Shots fired into the air. End of discussion.

Joe Zaki, vitamin boy and his team of aid workers have to return empty handed. Mission failed.

Update (Oops.. I hit 'Publish' before I had finished.)

I hope some kid doesn't grow up and become a starry eyed aid worker in the future only to have reality smack them in the face.

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