news 20 Aug 12

Sarajevo Sniper Video Game Draws Criticism

A visual artist from Sarajevo has published a stinging attack of the Sniper Ghost Warrior gametitled “Sarajevo Urban Combat”, which is set in besieged Sarajevo.

Denis Dzidic
A scene from the movie trailer | Photo by Youtube  

Adela Jusic, an artist working in video, installation, and performance and living in Sarajevo, has published a critique of the Sniper Ghost Warrior game for the Triple Canopy magazine in New York, claiming this game “rewrites history” and as such is harmful for youth and adults in the Balkan region.

Part of the Sniper Ghost Warrior game, made by the Polish company City Interactive, is set in Sarajevo in 1993, which Adela says was the worst part of the siege, when Sarajevo residents could barely leave their homes due to the Bosnian Serb snipers that were active in the city.

“I've spent the entire war here in Sarajevo, under the siege, and my father was a member of the anti-sniper unit within the city, this is why it was so hard for me to accept a game such as this and the role played by the American forces”, she tells Balkan Insight.

Jusic adds that the game shows the Marin Dvor region of Sarajevo and the Holiday Inn hotel, which was known at the time as “Sniper alley”, due to the large number of kills that occurred there during the war.

“The main character is an American who ‘saves the city’. This is a complete paradox, because while we waited to be rescued in Sarajevo, the Americans were silent. Now, all of a sudden, they are depicted as saviours, and children that play this game will have an entirely false image of this time”, says Jusic.

A scene from the movie trailer | Photo by Youtube

The Polish company City Interactive declined to comment when contacted by Balkan Insight. However, the Sniper Ghost Warrior game official website carries an interview with Michael Sroczynski, a producer of the game, who describes it as a combination of “fun and realism”.

Jusic says she also read the interview about the game which she believes are summed up by the words “cool, fun and Hollywood”.

“There is no real context of Sarajevo, and the horror’s we survived”, she adds.

Jusic criticism is part of a Triple Canopy project, done with five artists and writers from Bosnia on a series of workshops and discussions dealing with idiosyncratic sites, figures, and objects with ambivalent relationships to the region’s traumatic recent history.

For crimes in Sarajevo the Hague Tribunal has sentenced two former members of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps of the Bosnian Serb forces, Dragomir Milosevic and Stanislav Galic, to 29 years and life imprisonment respectively.

The Hague Tribunal found that from 1992 until 1995, Sarajevo was subjected to blockades, day-to-day shelling and sniping by Bosnian Serb forces.

According to verdicts, Bosnian Serb forces indiscriminately killed and wounded thousands of civilians in the campaign designed to keep the population in a constant state of terror.

The life of virtually every Sarajevo inhabitant became a daily struggle to survive. Without electricity or running water, people were forced to venture outside to find basic living necessities, often risking death. The siege ended in December 1995.

The Sniper Ghost Warrior 2: Sarajevo Urban Combat, will be released on August 21.


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