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“Come and Save me,” Syrian children hold Pokemon posters in hope of help

In a series of heartbreaking images that capture the turmoil of shattered lives in war-torn Syria, artist Khaled Akil brings out the ‘struggle of Syria.’ As conflict in the country enters its sixth-year, claiming the lives of more than 280,000 citizens, Khaled sees the frenzy over Pokemon Go as a chance to redirect attention to his country. Beginning his project “Pokémon Go In Syria – Part 1″ he brings forth the devastation of the country facing war, violence and death on a daily basis.

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Source: Tribune

Wondering how it would feel like to hunt for Pokémon characters amid the ruins of his home city of Aleppo, he set about posting images of these ‘fictional monsters’ in real life scenes of despair. He says, “I wondered what it would be like to hunt for a Pokémon character among the rubble in Syria, and how a virtual game attracts more attention than the atrocities committed daily in real-life Syria.”

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                                                                                       Source: Al Jazeera

The issue which has been on-and-off headlines despite continuously increasing death tolls has raised international outcry from all factions. A country divided deep by ethnic, religious conflict now pins its hope on an ‘augmented reality’ game to bring out its own real ‘reality.’ 

The animated figures are placed on devastated bomb sites, rubbles and ruins and stare at you from the most unexpected places. At a blackened car carcass, sitting with a child on a porch, peeping from burst pipes as children take a dip in dirty water and atop a tank full of ISIS fighters.

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                                                                                    Source: Al Jazeera

“Being an avid follower of news and global social trends, I found this unnerving contradiction between the playfulness of the Pokémon world and the danger which Syrians and Syrian children live through every day,” he said. The project according to him is not to blame people for ignoring Syria but rather to highlight the current issue of crisis that has been plaguing the country since 2011.

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Source: Al Jazeera

The images are a stark representation of all that the country has lost and is still losing as one of the image appears to show the aftermath of bombardment, with smoke rising from ruins and facades sheared from buildings. A child is shown walking across the rubble where sits a yellow Pikachu, his tall years flopping down. Another captures a turquoise-green Vaperon character by the side of a boy’s bicycle in a devastated street.

“While the [Pokémon] game is largely successful, I truly wish I can stroll down the streets of Aleppo without a phone nor a Pokemon, just me and the once-beautiful city,” he said.

dirty swin

Source: Al Jazeera

Another Syrian, Saif Aldeen Tahhan posted images on his Facebook page showing users holding smartphones and seeking not Pokemons but medical care, school books or undamaged homes. “I hope that the message behind these images reaches the whole world and that Syrians will be safe everywhere and always,” Mr. Tahhan wrote on his Facebook page

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“Come and Save me” – the children of Syria

Another activist-led project attempts to use the Pokémon phenomenon in Syria. In recent days, photos with children holding up posters with the colourful characters are adorned with the #PokémonInSyria hashtag. The pictures carry children from across areas in Syria holding up posters and crying for help with messages like “I am from Syria, come and save me.”

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The banners have messages like “I am from Kafr Naboudah, save me” and “I am trapped in Douma in Eastern Ghouta, Help me”. This one picture reads, “I am in Kafr Nabal in Idlib Province, come and save me.”

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Source: Guardian

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