Last year, we spoke to Fatima al Qadiri about living through the Gulf War at the tender age of 9, and how her subsequent obsession with a Operation Desert Storm-themed, Sega Mega Drive combat game ended up being the inspiration for her latest EP, Desert Strike. Recently, MOCA LA commissioned Thunderhorse‘s Alex Gvojic to make a video for the album’s sinister opener, “Ghost Raid,” mining the horrifying and dazzling line between the reality of drone warfare and the forms of mass cultural entertainment that unsubtly glorify it. Collapsing real life war footage into vintage video game animations and original CGI wizardry, Alex Gvojic depicts an imaginary weapon of mass destruction called the “Ghost,” supernaturally animated by djinn, a spirit in Islamic mythology believed to influence the minds and hearts of men by incarnating itself in various living forms. As al Qadiri explained to us:
‘Ghost Raid’ is a track I wrote about the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, also known as the ‘Ghost of Baghdad” by Arab troops. I was nine when I met a kid in the street during the invasion of Kuwait who asked if I had heard of ‘The Ghost.’ I said, ‘What the hell is that?’ He replied, ‘An invisible plane.’ I thought, Woah… The American military is so technically advanced, they’re using evil spirit (djinn) technology to power their aircraft! I daydreamed about the plane, and its terrifying spiritual power. But then I played Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf a year later and realized truth, ie. marketing military video games to children, is more insidious and fantastical (in my case) than fiction.