Point, shoot and smack some of Lebanon's famous politicians in the face with a tomato. That's the aim of a new web game developed by Fadi Abou Jamra, a Lebanese engineer who describes himself as a "fed-up Lebanese citizen who thinks it's time to move on."

And that feeling he says, was the motivation behind a computer game he co-developed called, Tomato Republic. The rules are simple: point the arrow and shoot tomatoes at the politicians who pop up on the screen.



The name of the game is a reference to the Tomato Revolution (Thawrat Al Banadoora), a group of civil society activists who in June began protesting Parliament's decision to extend its own term for another 17 months, at one point throwing tomatoes at politicians as they showed up and departed from meetings.

"My friends and I are supporters of the Tomato Revolution, and only because we believe in change," Abou Jamra tells Beirut.com, adding that his selection of the four leaders (Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt) isn't based on confession, political statements, popularity or lack of respect, "it is based solely on their political involvement before and long after the end of our civil war."

This is not the first attempt to put politics into gaming action in Lebanon. Wixel Studios launched in April of 2008 (in memory of the beginning of the Lebanese civil war) a game called Douma, which allowed players to pick their favorite "puppet" politicians to duke it out in a fight with one another.

While the games' casts and playing circumstances vary, the message is still resoundingly similar: “We were and still are puppets being operated by others’ interests, and for the first time ever, we can reverse the roles... and become the puppeteers,” as the introduction to Douma says.

Combined with social media and the ability to spread knowledge and information across the web, Abou Jamra is convinced that the new generation is empowered and has a duty to act. "We cannot cure greed, but we can vote it out," he says.

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