Headlines read: POKÉMON GO AWAY; POLICE ISSUE WARNING NOT TO POKÉMON AND DRIVE; MAN QUITS JOB TO CATCH POKÉMON FOR TWO MONTHS
My mother sees this and shakes her head. My friends squabble about it. Internet comments read: you all need to get a life, aren’t you too old to play children’s games, wish millennials would hunt jobs instead of imaginary animals, I’m so ashamed of this generation
I’m so in awe of this generation and everything it has to carry. I am stunned by the way we persevere, by the way we find comfort and peace in such small packages. MAN QUITS JOB TO CATCH POKÉMON. Man indulges in nostalgia. Man leaves home, travels. Man pursues happiness, finds it in strange places.
Pokémon: Indigo League aired in 1999 on Kids’ WB. Picture: an alarm set, two pairs of tired eyes, TV trays and cereal, volume low because mom’s sleeping off her night shift at the bar, theme song lyrics printed out and sitting on the floor. I was eight. I never recall my father in these memories. He’d either already left or I’ve blocked out his face the same way my mom used family photos to cover up fist-sized holes in the walls.
Pokémon Silver and Gold were released in the US in 2001. Picture: anthrax, terror alerts, news footage looping, smoke and screaming, teachers crying in classrooms, the way fear can permeate an entire country and my small body the same way without ever having to name a reason out loud. I was ten. I was scared all the time, but I was also spending my weekends running around outside with my brother and the neighbor boy, throwing imaginary Poké Balls at squirrels.
It’s not that I didn’t know what was going on. It’s just that sometimes when things are loud or angry or hard, especially when you’re young, the best thing you can do is keep your head down.
2016: terrorism, police brutality, student loan debts, depression, anxiety, Brexit, the US political landscape. Pokémon Go begins rolling out its release around the world and there are days, at twenty-five, that I still need to keep my head down. I know there is immense privilege in being able to put the rest of the world on hold for a while, to step back from the things that hurt us; but I also know this brief respite is important. Whether it’s turning off the news for a few days or reading a book or taking a vacation or augmented reality as self care. It is hard to live full time in a world that always looks like it’s on fire. It sits so heavy on the chest. It is easy to look out at all this trauma and forget to look back at yourself.
What I mean to say is, I might not quit my job to roam the country and catch Pokémon, but when it comes to pursuing my own happiness, no matter the means, “I wanna be the very best…”
A white van plowed into a packed summer crowd Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, killing some people and sending dozens fleeing. Barcelona police called it a terror attack and local media reported up to 13 dead.
Catalan police tweeted “there are mortal victims and injured from the crash” without specifying any numbers. Spanish media, including Cadena SER radio station and TV3, reported up to 13 dead, while other media had varying death tolls.
Police cordoned off the broad street that is so popular with tourists, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.
Quoting unnamed police sources, the El Pais newspapers said the two perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Armed police ran down the streets and through a market, checking in stores and cafes, presumably in search of them.
In photographs and videos, at least five people could be seen lying on the ground in the streets of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, being helped by police and others. Other video recorded people screaming as they fled the van.
Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrian path in the center of the street but cars can travel on either side.
Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona, was watching TV in his building just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to his balcony.
“I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he said.
He said there was a bang — possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter — and more people ran by. Then police arrived and pushed everyone a full block away. Even people leaning out of doors were being told to go back inside, he said.
Fleming said regular police had their guns drawn and riot police were at the end of his block, which was now deserted.
“It’s just kind of a tense situation,” Fleming said. “Clearly people were scared.”
Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, an 18th-century place on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism information center, said the van passed right in front of the building.
“We saw everything. People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside,” she said.
Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.
The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.
There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.
Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June. (AP)
I only wish that i knew earlier, what white privilege meant until I came to strike today with brown and black unity. I had problems but It was hardly ever violent compared to what this 13 year old boy went through and what sparked up the whole campaign. I came to see and realize myself that it takes a whole crowd of angry people against one white person who has the authority of patrol protection and the comfort of staying home while the other minor is arrested waiting to be released for no crime committed. If you don’t feel remorse towards this, then you are likely part of the problem. You dont care enough to make changes. I stood and listen that a boys father have been shot in the head under surrender and someones friend have been killed just cause they don’t feel like he belonged. People don’t stop for their justice until they die for it. I marched until the end then came up a SWAT team with shields, a shotgun and a full body armor while the rest of us are protesting with infuriating words armed with nothing. This shows that we the people, are capable of making a movement and changing history. They’re afraid of us so they use brutality to get their way and diminish our culture so they can claim whatever they want. And someone with that ability of competence has to make a complete end to this. That is money and white privilege. And the results of this is appalling.
My best friend’s brother had a brand-new baby girl on Tuesday. She’s quite pink but everybody is very proud of her. The brother is a teacher in Hamburg and his partner and baby are in a hospital in the city.
Yesterday I talked to my friend and she told me how terrified her brother was. Hamburg expected 100.000 protesters. Which is a lot, causes traffic jams and is a general nuisance.
It also expected about 8000 violent instigators, hooligans, extremists and so on.
In the run-up to G20 business in the richer parts of town had been marked as belonging to, well, rich people. All of this is nothing new. We have that every year in Berlin. Cars are set on fire, windows need to be barricaded, there will be water throwers.
Try navigating that with a newborn.
The hospital released both mother and baby a day early to get them out of the city because they expected a very real possibility that the hospital might be attacked and I sat in my kitchen on the other side of Germany wondering what the fuck that says not only about my the world but also a movement I have always felt very connected to.
But ultimately… I mean, heck, I have lived in Leipzig and spent a good deal of time in Connewitz, I come from the deep and very neo-Nazi east… I am not surprised.
And then there is the other side of the story. Hundred thousands of people who care about this world and this planet and what’s happening to it and our future. A tidal wave of worry but also of hope.
Setting up their tents in parks, areas that have been given to them by the city of Hamburg - their right to do so, to come together and protest, bolstered and protected by the German constitution AND a legally binding decision by a judge just the day before.
And then there is the chief of Hamburg police, a man even my conservative friends in the city call an absolute hardliner… Twisting the legal decision to his liking, as a member of the executive branch looking for loopholes in a legally binding decision to interpret it to his liking.
A man that many have accused of provoking the violence by rigorously responding to the slightest provocations from the black block in the March to Hell demonstration, basically doing what the violent protesters wanted: Instigating violence and drawing every other peaceful protester down the drain with them.
They didn’t even need to bring in their own instigators. Holy shit, this is Germany. We have a long-standing tradition of violent left-wing protests. We have the 1st of May and this is HAMBURG. St. Pauli is a rallying cry for everyone looking for an excuse to set a car on fire.
All they needed to do was to declare the black block as the black block and let everything unravel from there. We even have a word for a mass of hooded demonstrators ready for violence. There is a reason your are not allowed to cover your face at demonstration because that is the ONE determining characteristics from dividing the peaceful protesters from the Hooligans. And everybody accusing me of dragging a football term into this. Look at them and tell me the difference. I dare you!
Do any of them care for the protests? To any of them care for G20 or what these people decide up there?
A friend of mine is a member of the police emergency personnel, a branch from the standard police that is trained for those exact situations (and football games, because Germany). He is also a few political meters left of me. What we call a “linke Zecke” here in Germany. He cares.
He cares that idiots attack them and then run into the masses, using peaceful demonstrators as human shields. He also cares that an asshole in a plush chair plays Russian roulette with his men’s health by waging his own cute little war.
The new baby’s father cares because more than half of his students are not of German heritage, spanning the globe in their mother tongues and skin colors.
But people that invade the perceived “rich” quarters to vandalize whole streets, setting cars on fire and respond to pleas of “People live here!” which “Shut the FUCK up!”
They don’t care. they just want an excuse to brutalize others and there is no difference if you call that left-wing or right-wing terrorism. It’s terrorism.
And people like the police chief, who so blatantly disregards a law he swore to uphold? Does he care for anything but his own personal power and pride? Does he even CARE for the people who now have no car anymore, no business or who can’t go to a hospital because everything is blocked and emergency services are busy taking care of the victims on both sides of the violence he provoked days in advance?
What does HE care for?
There are situations that you cannot win, caught between a rock and a hard place and the pride and disregard of men who don’t see you as worth caring for. Police power, terrorists. Doesn’t matter.
I just saw the pictures a friend sent from by-streets in Hamburg. Not the main streets. Not the protest route but remote, peaceful by-streets, far from the protest, littered with burning cars. Family cars, not expensive ones. Just family cars. Trash cans kicked onto streets and set on fire.
People standing by in absolute disbelief.
Yet still, people stand up and go there. They protest the unfairness of a world order that disadvantages people too poor to even come to Hamburg and protest in their own name.
Yet still, the people of Hamburg sweep their streets and replace their windows and go on with stubborn northern determination.
And yet, a man walks through the crowds with a shield saying “Leave me alone, I’m just going to the supermarket.”
And yet, the first thing I hear from everybody around me, no matter which camp they belong to is “this is not democracy” and “what do you need?”
And yet, humanity prevails. Even if it sometimes is by just surviving.