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March 15, 2006

Wargames and Peace

Najaf_01

Here at Tinselman, I have never been afraid to dwell with the dead but I have never posted a cemetery quite as remarkable as this highly sacred City of the Dead: a sprawling necropolis, over 3000 square acres in size and holding an estimated 5 million bodies. It is believed by many to be the largest cemetery in the world.

Najaf_03

Shia Muslims call it Wadi al-Salam or The Valley of Peace because if they have the good fortune to be buried within its vast boundaries, within sight of the Imam Ali Mosque, they will more likely gain entry to paradise. For awhile plots were largely unavailable. Why? Political intrique... it's in Iraq. And for a time, during 2004, the Valley of Peace was, ironically, a war zone. As Colors magazine said in 2004:

The cemetery is now riddled with mines and unexploded cluster bombs from both sides, and it will be a long time before the gravediggers can go back in without fear of being blown up. The ground is littered with dry old bones from upturned and bombed-out tombs.

Najaf_02

Believe it or not, someone has made a video game of the battle... the Wadi al-Salam Reality War videogame!* That's right... now you too can romp through the Valley of Peace, splattering virtual insurgent blood on the sacred Shia Islamic tombs... (please someone wake me up... this has to be a bad dream).

Najaf_05

Cairo City of the Dead – Previous post
Kyoto cemetery – Previous post
Ghana creature coffins – Previous post

* Actually, the Wadi al-Salam video game is Mission 25 of the free online war games from Kuma: "Playable recreations of real war released only weeks after they occur."

Najaf_map

(click to enlarge)

From the above satellite image, which does not encompass the entire cememtery, one can begin to an idea of the vast size of Wadi al-Salam. Explore the satellite image in greater detail by loading this marker into Google Earth (marker link is repaired).

March 15, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Absolutely sickening. A GAME like THAT? Really, how degrading can they get?

Posted by: Alli | Mar 15, 2006 5:53:52 PM

I opened the Google Earth marker but it didn't take me quite to Najaf, but to some unlabelled region between Najaf and Nasiriyah. What I DID see there, though, was something I cannot explain. Help!

Posted by: Mark | Mar 16, 2006 4:42:26 AM

Never underestimate "The Man's" desire to make money... I'm personally waiting for Emmeril's Massive Multi-player On-line Cooking game...

Posted by: Adam Wilmer | Mar 16, 2006 7:21:58 AM

That is truly messed up that they made a game out of that. Unfortunately, it doesn't really surprise me, though, with some of the idiotic games they're making these days.

Posted by: Alex | Mar 16, 2006 1:57:47 PM

The idea of a war game/tomb desecration is almost as disturbing as the notion that it's based on actual events. Certainly, my originally planned comment on the redundancy (or trippiness) of "square acres" is best left unfin

Posted by: Ballard Fremont Edmonds | Mar 17, 2006 2:30:46 PM

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