The above message is delivered at the beginning of Mafia 3. It is a note to those that are suffering, have suffered, and to the millions that have never even felt the slightest brush of bigotry or violence. Atrocities within the game are not taken lightly, and successfully present the grim realities of 1960s America through palpability and blood. Converse to this message, and in true, petty Northern Irish-political form, the NI Unionist party are unhappy with the game’s portrayal of the so-called Irish Civil War – “The Troubles” – as well the IRA, and the plight of its many victims. This, as you may expect, is a pile of horse shit.
Thomas Burke, who, according to the oh-so-perfect Mirror, and in typically ignorant tabloid fashion, “appears to be some kind of Irish mob boss”, tasks Lincoln Clay with stealing a few cars for some “heavyweights” back in Belfast. The mission in question, “I.R.A. Don’t Ask”, is decidedly mundane, with no actual violence taking place – it’s a simple fetch quest. Despite this, the slightest hint that these cars are being used for Republican bombings in Northern Ireland is enough to send Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, and the North Antrim MLA, Jim Allister, into a distorted spiral of panty wetting and dismay.
Donaldson has stated that the game “could be seen as trivialising the suffering of innocent victims and the evil that is represented by all forms of terrorism”, while Allister feels that, “When they use the name of an actual terrorist organisation in this fashion they are being even more insensitive as victims were directly impacted by actions such as those portrayed in this game. This game would appear to treat the IRA in a fashion which is grossly offensive to the many people who suffered as a result of IRA bombs.”
Elephants partake in trekking long distances to sustain their species.
Forgive me, I like to bring in completely irrelevant words and phrases from time to time as well. I’m failing to understand why using the name of an actual organisation would be disrespectful? Surely the inverse is correct. For example, if I referred to the National Socialist party as the Big Happy Balloon Factory Brigade instead, wouldn’t that be an act of trivialisation, and therefore insensitivity? Even more ridiculous is Allister’s final sentence. There is no evidence whatsoever that 2K or Hangar 13 are being offensive to the victims of IRA bombings, in either the game or elsewhere.
This seems to be another instance of video games once again being blamed for shedding light on a topic or situation of which older politicians are unwilling to understand. Never mind that Hangar 13 is clearly set on telling a tale with honesty and resonance in order to portray true events; never mind that an Irish criminal in 1968, who is portrayed as being deeply flawed, tragic, and compelling, would almost certainly have links to the crisis in Ireland, whether they like it or not; never mind that the protagonist himself is also a victim of extreme prejudice, and would no doubt find the IRA’s actions abhorrent if he truly knew of the situation. How many Americans today are even aware of the sectarianism occurring in the small island nation dotted between the ever-engrossing England and the Atlantic? Very few indeed, I’m sure.
Whenever an unsettling reality rears its head in fiction, politicians want it to be hidden amongst bans and childlike statements. They want the Truth to shine through, but never the actuality of the situation if it goes against their pigheadedness, and reveals swathes of mental insecurity. Mafia III’s protagonist may aid in the deaths of Northern Irish citizens, but the Unionist party has no right to sheathe that beneath its small-mindedness. Nothing should be safe from the artist’s pen, laptop or brush; Michael Fassbender has never whipped a slave, nor has Steven Spielberg ever gassed a Jew. As an alternative to the blaming of creators, perhaps the politicians of the UK and further afield should look towards calamity of real-life events instead.
Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister, please, get a grip on reality.