Where Are Our Diamonds, Mr. President?
A downloadable notgame for Windows
This project explores a rapidly changing society through the eyes of a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Presented as an interactive narrative, it allows one to explore the complex motives and politics involved on the part of the rebels for whom the child is fighting. It shows a perspective obscured by the international media's sensationalizing of the exploitation of child soldiers and the brutal methods used by many of the combatants. It is a meditation on the changes happening in many parts of West Africa.
This is an interactive narrative where the choice between hero and villain is meaningless. Informed by Paul Richards' insightful book about the lives and purpose of the rebels in Sierra Leone, Fighting for the Rainforest, the game gives a nuanced view of a sensationalized conflict. The object is to immerse the player in the experience of being a child soldier, and give them a sense of strong ambivalence as to their role: on the one hand horror at what they are doing and what is going on around them, and on the other hand sympathy for the desperate position and goals of the rebels.
This project was completed in 2001, with minor updates in 2005.
In 2006 it was exhibited in the Janus exhibit at Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, and at In War/At War: The Practice of Everyday in OPENSOURCE Gallery, Champaign, IL.
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