Baghdad is Like Grand Theft Auto

Baghdad is Like Grand Theft Auto

Produced by Omar Abdullah

BAGHDAD–Living in an war zone and spending much of your day under curfew means you’ll end up with a lot of time on your hands. Many young people in Baghdad end up doing what others their age all over the world do, and that’s play video games. Wisam explains to us the difficulties inherent in playing videogames, what his favorites are and some analysis of his current situation as well.

Although we attempted to shoot a number of other interviews, to produce a piece with a wider perspective of the role videogames have begun to play in the lives of Iraqi youth, due to the security situation we were unable to find others willing to talk on camera.

It should also be noted that those able to occupy themselves with videogames are a small percentage of the populace of Baghdad. For example, the amount of money Wisam spends on electricity each month is nearly equal to the average per capita income in Baghdad.

Many youth, lacking outlets such as these, access to education, or gainful employment, are turning to militias and resistance groups as a way to fill their time.

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Editor's Note: The concept for Alive-in/ began in 2005 with the launch of Alive in Baghdad. Many of the stories produced by our team of Iraqi reporters were taken offline with the closure of

In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the United States war against Iraq, we are republishing as much of Alive in Baghdad's original content as possible here on Alive-in/. Each story has been given its original date so that these posts don't overwhelm our current stories, and tagged as relevant.