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War Games

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When you are working for peace on a full-time basis you cannot avoid using words like 'war' and reading articles about war. Of course our commonly shared Big Brother of these times, Mark Zuckerberg, has found ways to utilize this commercially. Suddenly I am constantly confronted with a targeted ad in the upper right corner of my Facebook page telling me that "6,600,000 people play War Commander. Play now."

Generally I have no problems with targeted ads. I am often as surprised as a little child thinking: how can they know that I am interested in that particular artist or something else. But every time it asks me to start playing War Commander I am shocked to see that 6,600,000 - almost seven million people...my God! - are dedicated to a war game. What does this tell us?

Some will say it's really awful that people spend so much time playing war and that it provides war with an unwanted aura of being a game, while in daily practice war is only bloody serious and no fun at all. Some might say that barking dogs don't bite. We rather have boys using their testosterone on such a game than starting to shoot in the off-line world, right?

It's a discussion that reminds me of a debate I organised when I was seventeen. I didn't know what to think of all those prostitutes in the Red Light District of my Amsterdam. Was this a sign of freedom, that we should cherish, or a modern form of female exploitation that should be prohibited in a free and fair society? I wanted to know, so I organised a debate and invited a famous Dutch feminist and the president of the prostitutes union 'Red Thread'.

The feminist spoke about modern slavery and disgusting male domination under the misleading realm of freedom. The chief of the Dutch prostitutes said that she was the real feminist. She was her own boss, she decided what was allowed or not and she claimed to prevent more rapes then any government campaign ever managed to achieve. It was one of those moments when you learn that there is always more then one truth.

And I have to admit that I have played a lot with tin soldiers and tanks myself, when I was seven and eight years old. I developed strategies that sometimes even included dinner(time), when I organized pre-emptive wars by having soldiers jump from behind my bloody steak on a tank amidst my French fries. And now I am the Creative Director of the new global peace initiative MasterPeace that involves thousands of people in over 25 countries (including some conflict areas) in preventing armed conflict by using music, art, events and dialogue. So who am I to say that War Commander will make you killer?

However, I was really happy when one of the new Collaborative MasterPeace partners - the United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations (UNAOC) - shared a link with me last week that was a call for proposals asking all game developers of the world to produce a game or app that can fuel dialogue and cultural understanding. Till November 1st everybody can pitch his or her idea, which may be selected and obtain financial support. The Peace Lover? The Mandela App? The Gandhi Game? Whatever the name of the new game will be, I sincerely hope a game developer reads this and will start a serious competition with War Commander. Shoot!