In a war-torn city thousands of miles away, children who don’t share your language, religion, culture, or race are immersed in the same games you’ve played countless times in your own home, like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Bros. The world these kids hope to escape, though, is much more harrowing than our daily annoyances.
Photojournalist Iason Athanasiadis visited an arcade in Kabul, Afghanistan to learn about the youths who have taken refuge in one of the capital’s dilapidated gaming centers, a small room with two rows of battered cabinets — some setups consisting of little more than computers attached to large CRT monitors and arcade sticks.
Athanasiadis gave us permission to share two photos that aren’t included in his profile of the makeshift arcade for The Christian Science Monitor. We’ve posted the images after the break with excerpts from the article:
His “21st-century socialism” is a precarious construction. The brief fall in the oil price of 2008-09 was enough to sink Venezuela’s economy into stagflation—even as the rest of Latin America is enjoying vigorous economic recovery. Venezuelans are suffering declining real wages, persistent shortages of staple goods (meat is the latest to become scarce) and daily power cuts.
The blackouts are in part the result of drought. But they are also the most dramatic sign that the bill for a decade of mismanagement of the economy and of public services is now falling due (see article). There are plenty of other ugly portents. In one of the world’s biggest oil exporters hard currency is running short: to buy a dollar in the tolerated parallel market now requires almost twice as much local currency as the official exchange rate (and three times more than the privileged rate for “essential imports”). Investors rate the country’s debt as the riskiest of anywhere. Crime and corruption are flourishing.