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Pokémon Go: The New Bogeyman - On The Disappointing State Of Arab Society

27 July 2016

By Khaled Almaeena

In every period of history there are characters or issues that seem to disturb people and cause anxiety or fear. They are referred to as ''bogeymen''. There have been many such bogeymen in history as a result of threats that people perceived to be real and dangerous.

In the 1950s in the US, Communists were the bogeymen. In his maniacal fear of Communism, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy created a Red Scare and carried out a witch hunt to cleanse the US of Communists. This gave rise to the expression ''there is a red under every bed''.

Heartfelt anguish was caused to people and the witch hunt professionally and permanently scarred many film producers, writers and others for life. Today in the US, Muslims are the new bogeymen.

However, the most recent bogeyman is Pokémon Go. While this new smartphone game has attracted attention worldwide, it has also caused alarm and consternation here in the Kingdom. Conspiracy theories have sprung up with some raving and ranting about how Pokémon Go is a actually a surveillance trick on the part of the American government to spy on us.

There are edicts by certain scholars denouncing the game to be un-Islamic, a waste of time and a plot to steer us off our course!

A Jeddah businessman countered such thinking by asking if corruption was not also un-Islamic, if not paying workers their salaries and benefits on time and treating them badly was not un-Islamic and ended by asking which course exactly are we heading for.

Debates are raging across society about Pokémon Go which indicates that we are totally oblivious to the real dangers to our future – overpopulation, corruption, intolerance and scarcity of water to name only a few. We seem to have gone totally out of control. All kinds of statements, many of which are hilarious, are being made by some of our officials!

However, all of this much ado about Pokémon Go only serves to give me a sense of sadness about the disappointing state of our society. Suddenly, we seem to have forgotten Daesh, Palestine and a lot of other problems as we grapple with the supposed dangers hidden within the latest augmented reality mobile phone game.

That tells us everything about our society!!

The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at kalmaeena@saudigazette.com.sa and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena
 

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