The Lebanese Shi’a movement Hezbollah announced the launch of it’s latest videogame, “Holy Defence”, during a press conference held on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The First-Person-Shooter enables the player to defend holy Shi’a sites in Syria and Lebanon from the “takfiri invasion” (ISIS troops). The developers claim the scenery and events are historically correct, and correspond to important battles fought during the Syrian civil war, which has been ongoing since 2011. The Hezbollah, mainly funded by Iran, as been supporting Bachar el-Assad’s troops against its numerous, including ISIS. The game seeks to counter US soft power, promoted by the famous Call of Duty or Battlefield franchises, and celebrate the hundreds of Lebanese Hezbollah soldiers who died in Syria.
I attended the press conference, held in a luxurious resort in a Hezbollah-controlled suburb of southern Beirut, as a photographer for the Middle-East-Eye and L’Orient – Le Jour.
Mohammad Fneich, Lebanon’s Minister for Youth and Sports and a prominent Hezbollah member, celebrates the game and Hezbollah’s victories in Syria.
Hadi, a young boy, plays “Holy Defence” under the supervision of his mother (left) and of a Hezbollah member (right)
A prominent member of the Hezbollah gives an interview while the gameplay is projected behind him.
“Holy defence” is sold in DVD for $5 in Lebanon, and is exported to countries such as Germany or Australia, Hezbollah claims.
The press conference was given at al-Saha hotal-restaurant complex in the southern, Hezbollah-controlled suburb of Beirut
Hassan Allam, the game’s creator, demonstrates the gameplay to the press
Several locations are available, such as the famous Zainab mosque, or Ras Baalbek in Lebanon.
A man stands at the entry of the press conference alongside an ad for the game.