I Didn’t Believe in Pokemon Until the Children of Syria Captured My Heart
The City of Aleppo in Syria is a constant target for air strikes that pummel the war-weary region with unabashed gusto — as if the moving pebbles on the ground don’t represent innocent women and their children running to avoid the fate of being grazed to the ground.
Yes, I know, when you see the headlines that deliver the usual message of Syria — lighted up with the images of a smoke-filled sky and miles and piles of rubble with dots configured into each crack — the reaction tends to be — indifference.
Syria is a war zone and Paris and Munich are majestic cities that should never be subjected to the greed and lust of political leaders — who attack countries for the sole purpose of dominating their resources.
The U.S. and the U.K. are in a bid to remove the stain of ISIS by tearing apart families and fracturing the lives of those citizens who were born to barely live another day.
But, in the midst of tragedy comes the sliver of hope that permeates the city like the unified rays of clicks — that unleash the innocence that obeys your every command.
When the sky retracts to it’s regular hue, when the breath of relief shuffles the settled dust, when the temperate footsteps of survivors gather, when tiny ears unplug from the bloody mayhem of the moment — the sound that overwhelms the scene is the chimes of kids being kids.
From the over-zealous bedrooms of fifth graders safely encased in their WASP- inspired bedrooms — to the sun-filled roofs of half-demolished hospitals that house the fifth graders who could be dead in less than five minutes — being a child with the urgent pursuits of entertainment never fashions itself according to plight.
So, the children of Syria — young prisoners of war — still recognize their dimmed future as they contemplate the clumps of reprieve — that beckon with the silence of the sky.
In this time, only Pokemon Go will do.
All the pieces of Nintendo’s army of minions that dare you to blast them into surrender or extinction seem to indicate it’s overpowering luster — to the point of clear, and present danger.
The only story related to a phenomenon that I proudly reject — surfaced not too long ago — and the specifics overtook my heartbeat as I began the lesson of learning first-hand why your life shouldn’t be defined by the dire circumstances surrounding your existence.
Nobody cares about the modern day City of God. Nobody wants to deal with the reality that the government they trust and support is actively responsible for the irresponsible deaths of civilians that represent nothing more than a pebble on a dirt road.
The Children of Syria don’t know why they are being punished for living and they are not waiting for permission to fill their days with evidence of why they deserve to live.
They are fully committed to the task of hunting down the creatures of their content — but the trick is not the pursuit but rather the danger of blasted concrete and the plethora of debris — that pose a problem to the tiny soldiers in a make-believe war of their design.
They are fighting two wars.
There’s the real conflict that pairs them against powers beyond their control. The other battle is within their fingertips and offers the opportunity to control destiny without the threats of a bomb fire.
The pictures below prove the collaboration between photographers at AFP (Agence France-Presse) and Syrian artist Khaled Akil.
Heartrending images were created, depicting Pokemon figures inserted in the basin of the fractured pockets of Syria that almost always contain the energy of the children — who never stop finding ways to defy their obvious bad luck.
They just Go. They Keeping Going and Going.
I never gave a hoot about the charms of Pokeman Go until the Children of Syria registered their enthusiasm and zest for survival right into my heart.
And just like that! It’s beating again.