With the advent of “Pokemon Go,” Google and Nintendo’s latest advent into the mobile gaming industry, Lebanese were dumbfounded to find their home country becoming, overnight, a playground for creatures they had thought were long gone from their memory by now.
Home to around 4 million people, this small Mediterranean country now houses over 2 million refugees. As its boundaries are overtaken by Pokemon, security officials are scrambling to make sense of the situation, while calls to strengthen border control remain ever present. Lebanese minister of foreign affairs was overheard saying, according to sources, that the situation has become “unbearable” and that “heida yalli ken ba3d na2esna, ya ma7la yalli ablon.”
The sentiment is echoed in Lebanese streets. An Achrafieh resident who preferred to remain anonymous angrily breathed into my recorder saying “enough is enough! We dealt with those Syrians and Palestinians thinking that was it. But those colored things? What is this? Do they think we’re Japan? Thank God that Vogue reporter was here before those creatures arrived!”
Numbers indicate that most of the Pokemon in question have taken up residence in the area stretching from Downtown Beirut, up to around Jbeil, or what is referred to in Lebanese colloquial terms as “Jabal Lebnen, ard l soumoud wel 3onfouwen.”
“When will MTV or LBC or any other Christian outlet discuss this horrifying rampage?” Joseph, a resident of the Keserwani city of Jounieh, was heard saying. “The threat to our Christian areas is increasing by the moment. ISIS is at our border. You’ve seen what they just did in Nice! The Syrians are here and those leftists hang you if you say anything. But now those Pokemon are among us, and next thing you know those Pikachu will be taking our jobs in electricity, among other things. Is this acceptable? We fought all kinds of barbaric invaders to stay here, it’s like they want us to leave!”
His friend Georges agreed, further saying: “How will we keep our lands now? It’s been horrible enough to try and prevent sales to others. The Lebanese government needs to intervene, this is a matter of national security.”
Pokemon Go is an app whereby, using augmented reality, the real world becomes filled with those Pokemons we grew up watching. In order to catch them all, you need to walk around your neighborhoods and city, wait until those creatures contact you, and try to capture them. The goal is to become the master of all those Pokemon and to hold as many gyms for your team as you can.
“If Sheikh Saad wants us to host these Pokemon, then we will.” Omar from Tarik El Jdide commented. “Bass beine w beinak, l wad3 ma ba2a ye7mol.”
Beirut’s leftists, on the other hand, are having a field day trying to quench the Lebanese desire to assault the Pokemons and establish curfews. “Municipalities want to register them, enforce curfews upon them, and we’ve also received intel that some municipality officers have lined up those Pokemon for illegal questioning. Pokemon rights need to be respected above all. This kind of hateful attitude towards these creatures seeking refuge in our country is unacceptable,” Alaa Sabhani, a prominent activist went on record saying.
Alaa’s colleague, Ramez, further added to the aforementioned point saying: “We have to grasp and appropriate the level of horror that these minorities are withstanding in our communities. What have we become other than soulless creatures roaming around this capitalist corrupt imperialistic-designed piece of land they call a country?”
Further South, Hussein Nasrallah was adamant about Hezbollah’s readiness to fight this invasion: “If we need to go all the way to Japan to stop them from coming here, we will.”
The image up North is entirely different, however. While the majority of Pokemon decided to take up residence in Mount Lebanon and the Greater Beirut area, crossing the Madfoun towards Batroun and Tripoli reveals nothing more than a perfectly deserted land.
“Honestly, who gives a shit,” Ismail – from Tripoli – went on record saying. “But at least now people in the country are more worried about that than Tripoli’s municipal council not having any Christians.”
Indeed, similar to their real-life counterpart, North of the Madfoun is an area devoid of Pokemon or facilities in which those Pokemon could train, eat or do what it is that those Pokemon do. When Niantic, the Google subsidiary responsible for the app was contacted, their reply was as follows: “What is Lebanon and why are you concerned about its North?”
Foreign journalists are flocking into the country to report on the matter as well. “I’m so glad to be given new material,” Justin Jones, a reporter for the New York Times was overheard saying at one of the overpriced pubs he was paid to visit in Beirut. “This Lebanese joie de vivre cannot be more correlated and exquisitely manifested than with these wonderful new additions to their country.” Rumors say he was romantically involved with a Jigglypuff.
Of course, the Lebanese joie de vivre is best exemplified by the lala-landers of the country who couldn’t remotely care. “Ben oui, j’pense que they aghe totally adoghable! Main’ant I have captured a Squirtle. J’aime squirting. C’est tres in!”
How will Lebanon handle the continuing influx of Pokemon into its land? Time will tell.