Monday, April 09, 2007

Letting go...

So on moral grounds as much as anything else, I've put up two of my armies for sale.

In the future I may need to get rid of even more, if a relocation and downsizing of my various assets (for a radical new life) come to fruition; but at this point in time, these two were definitely taking up more space than I liked.

As a young lad world War Two was my first interest, but in the eighties there was a lot of fighting about, and much of it was on the TV. Afghanistan, The Falklands, Grenada; it's a long list. But the one that caught my eye was the Gulf war, not the Persian Gulf Distraction (as Bill Hicks succinctly put it "A war is when two armies are fighting") but the one between Iran and Iraq.

It was a hideous conflict, but as a naive teen it all sounded cool and exciting, tank battles, trench warfare, gunboat raids; oh and of course suicide attacks, chemical warfare and atrocities.

Let's be honest war itself is seldom pretty, and wargaming doesn't tend to dwell on the less savoury aspects. My games based in the gulf saw my Iranians as the heroic underdog, resisting the evil invader that was Iraq and Hussein. For a good ten years or so they were fun meaningless games based on what was going on on TV.

I got over it. I'll admit for many years I knew what it really involved, maturity came in time and whilst I've made peace with what my hobby is about, and can carry on with it, or defend it as either a simple distraction or an educational tool; I never felt quite happy about the slightly tasteless way I had gamed a war that cost a million lives for no good reason.

Of course it's an argument we could level at any wargame. But this one in particular left a nasty taste in my mouth. Not helped when the war on Terror led to round two of the West versus Iraq. By that point I was done with the gulf.

I wonder how many gamers think about the ethics of their games; I like to think of myself as a naturally peaceful man, in most respects not your typical wargamer. I'm not ex-military or militarist; I don't have a gun (no surprise in my country though) and don't have bullish political leanings. Yet I still play wargames based around all too recent history, and the implicit tragedy within that. I find despite the romance of the history, or the dark fascination with a conflict, I can't justify doing just anything any more. And wargaming the gulf conflict(s) falls beyond that line for me.

So the result, is two armies go onto ebay; much to the surprise of the missus. I feel better for clearing the space, but also I think better for clearing my conscience.

It's a line in the sand I've made for myself, and other people will think it sounds ridiculous. But for me the issues around making light of this particular ongoing conflict were not worth hanging onto a couple of boxful's of models any longer.

If you want them, they're these Ebay item numbers:

20mm Gulf wars Iraqi army: 330107396441
20mm Gulf wars Iranian army: 330107403087

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