Tuesday, 26 July 2016

pokemon in syria

At last pokemon's tears for syria


More than five years into the war in Syria it is not always easy for interested parties to get public opinion in the outside world to focus, yet again, on a conflict that can sometimes seem insoluble.
For many watching from a distance, the shock value of reports about the aftermath of barrel bombs, suicide attacks, torture and starving civilians can diminish with repetition.
One tactic that some Syrian activists are deploying to try to shortcut this is to tap into the global phenomenon that is Pokemon Go and to exploit it for all it's worth.
Pikachus, squirtles and weedles and the other characters in the augmented reality game have been unofficially co-opted to highlight the harsh realities of war.
This week the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office - a group of media activists which supports groups opposed to President Assad's regime - has posted a series of photographs of children posing with drawings of Pokemon characters.
The drawings are all captioned with a line identifying that the child is from a particular town or village in a rebel-held area in northwest Syria. The one in the image below reads: "I'm from Kafr Nabl in Idlib province. Come and save me."

The circumstances in which the pictures were taken are not entirely clear. The RFS has not yet responded to a request for comment. But Kafr Nabl is a town which has a history of producing eye-catching banners to try to attract international attention, often appealing for Western military help against the Syrian government.
The message behind the Pokemon portraits - which have been shared thousands of times on social media - seems to be: if you can spend so much time chasing fantastical imaginary creatures then why can't you do more for children growing up in a war.

Artists outside the country have also borrowed Pokemon to make their point. The picture at the top of this article is by Moustafa Jano, a Syrian who now lives in Sweden. It's from a series that he has posted on Facebook, in which Pokemon is seen on the journey made by so many refugees who have fled the war and risked their lives at sea to face an uncertain future in Europe.

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