Recently some pictures were going viral on the internet. Syrian children holding Pokemon posters in front of them pleading the world to find and save them from the ongoing war. A Syrian artist built on the very same concept and photo-shopped different Pokemons beside children in heart-wrenching war photos.
As the world plays Pokemon Go, staring at their smartphones and other devices, Khaled Akil augmented these Nintendo creatures onto a backdrop of painful ongoing conflict in Syria.
“The news of Syria in everywhere, and now the Pokemon Go game is trending,” said Akil. “The mix between these two made me wonder what it would be like to hunt for a Pokemon character among the rubble in Syria, and how a virtual game attracts more attention than the atrocities committed daily in real-life Syria.”
There is an image of a boy who moves away from a burning car while a tearful Pikachu looks on. Another one has a boy moving away from the debris that was once his home with Vaporeon by his side. A picture shows children swimming in dirty water as Clauncher comes out of a sewer pipe.
These tragically brilliant images show the Syria torn apart by a war that made 10.7 million citizens flee from a place they call home, either displaced elsewhere or gone to another country. While we are endeavoring to “catch ’em all”, Syria is fighting to survive one of the most gruesome wars in history. Akil makes it clear that:
“This project is not to blame people for not paying attention to Syria. It is just a spotlight on what is happening there. I see people playing this game all over the world, but I never played it,” he said.
A number of organizations are helping Syria and you can also contribute through them: