Sunday, 2 November 2014

Are we approaching censorship?

Well, another non eye-candy post. Today I am non plussed by some of my fellow wargamers and by the German law... As some of you, my dear readers know, I am regular lurker and occasional poster on the honorable Lead Adventure Forum. I have decided it is a much better place than some silly ethereal locales like the frothers or the miniatures page. The only downside of LAF is that,  being hosted in Germany , there are some strict rules on symbols to follow. I have always followed them (slipping once, not realizing on of the picture  posted contained a view of the tail of a German WW2 plane...) but, frankly I think that the law:

1) is stupid, not displaying the symbol has not prevented the resurgence of extreme right movement there.

2) that smacks of gestapo... (ok controlling the thought of people...)

3)  it is a law enacted by an hypocrite government... at least one of the officers of the honour guard at Adenauer funeral was an SS battalion commander involved in the suppression of the Warsaw uprising. 

Said that it is the law of an European Country where the forum is hosted and I have no qualm in following it as disgusting in principle and application is. Yet... now something else happened. ISIS/ISIL/Those Pesky Mass Murderer has been declared illegal in Germany (great thing). Nothing bad, they are terrorist and declaring them an illegal organization was overdue (and not a terrorist bastard is not someone else Freedom Fighter, he is still a terrorist bastard). But the law seems also to imply that displaying images related to them is illegal so, to avoid problems the moderators of LAF have decided to...

completely close any discussion on wargaming of the whole contemporary (after the fall of the Berlin's Wall to... well to the future) period. This has been done both to safeguard the forum agaisnt possible legal trouble (unpleasant but understandble move) and to appease people that were claiming 

Well, I think the decision has been unwise, unsound, and hypocrite. Historical wargaming is about real warfare. Too close too home my ass, it is war. WW2, Afghanistan, Punic Wars... what have they different? People died everywhere. Warfare has been always here. To the moderator of LAF I can only say honestly... cut the crap... war is not getting closer to home right now, it has been for the last 13 years if not more, all this thing was just caving in to some people that were just trying to impose their own view on the whole community. I have friends and acquaintance who fought in Vietnam, they knows I am gaming and writing about Vietnam. I have gamed middle east with people who fought there, and they had no problem. In January I will game Falklands with the British commanders... close to home? Close to home my ass. We are treated to countless SS on the WW2 board... but discussing contemporary warfare is close to home and thus forbidden. 

As much I can understand the legal issue in the decision (but they could have solved in a much less nazist way) I think LAF has lost a battle about  freedom of speech and also has set an extremely bad precedent, both in democracy and in wargaming.

As parting shot I have a thought to these people who were bothered about contemporary wars... well you bunch of idiotic, hypocrite jerks, not only this world has been at war for at least three millenniums, but I do not care one inch if you are offended by my wargaming, I just hope that you bastards will soon rot in hell... I will not stop to play my games just because you feel offended, as I will not stop to study and teach military history. Also wars will not stop just because you think they are too close to home.

I would says that the moderators have acted in a manner to, in principle, different from the bastard terrorists. Well... I would suggest that they qualify for the same answer:

Joint Direct Attack Munition.


  1. I am inclined to agree. I find it very disappointing and sad. I have had similar discussions with some of my German friends and they strangely seem to agree with rulings such as this. To me it smacks of preforming the role of an ostrich, by putting their head in the sand. And hoping the lions will go away.
    And yes I understand that they are also worried about the conflicts in Ukraine, and if you ask me. They are more worried about alienating their Russian and Ukrainian audience.
    And while I fully understand why they have engaged In this action. It doesn't mean I have to agree with it. Just seems very strange to me is all.

  2. I feel they would have been better restricting the discussion to past conflicts and blocking discussion of current ongoing conflicts (ISIS, Ukraine etc). As you say, people die in all wars, and any historic wargamer is in the same boat- I have relatives who died in WW2 and WW1.

    The ban also coves imagi-nations like my own- set in an entirely fictional country I made up out of my own imagiation- how can that cause offence? It's a work of fiction!

    It's sad really. There isn't any other forum quite as good as LA, but I think it is now a good deal less that it used to be.

  3. I agree, even if the recent discussion on Imagination seems to at least preserve imaginations. What I found disturbing is that in the end more than any reactions against ISIL the move seemed to have been prompted by "complaints". Thus there are people that in the end want to control what is discussed and what is not. It is a shame. I understand that:
    1) wargaming can turn off people (some of my friends were a bit "surprised" of my hobby)
    2) contemporary conflict are controversial

    But again there was an interesting reading in one of the Too Fat Lardies special where an action in Iraqi during the revolt (interwar) read like an action now. In the end there is not a great difference. It is people doing their job, and dying in a corner of a field or a rice paddy and people like us deriving some entertainment value from it. People says gaming Vietnam makes them uncomfortable. some year ago I published a game on the battle of An Loc (1972). I received praises from the head of the An Loc Veteran association (who was flying FAC missions over the town) and he told me that both the former RVN province commander (a VNMC Colonel) and the senior US Army advisor in the town (General Ulmer) had got copies and were pleased. That was one of my proudest day. And they did not seem offended by wargaming in general or doing a games on their ordeal (An Loc could be compared to a little Stalingrad but with the 7th Air force and the SAC doing air support). and the war is close to home geographically... well.. I am writing from a place few kilometer from Medicina, a battle honour in the Gurkha's flag and also in the King's Hussars' one... that had never stopped me. Anyway I think we lose a good discussion place for nothing. The offended people will still be offended (and I am sure they will find problems also in the new section), and no life will be saved.