Second Life mimics real life. After all, SL residents are real people behind their keyboards and they bring along their personal baggage as they travel the virtual world.
Take, for instance, the ancient land of Egypt in the real world, which has been in turmoil for the last week with tens of thousands in Cairo and other cities marching in street demonstrations, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, and violent clashes that began on National Police Day, January 25, 2011.
Bringing together media and society, the protesters and their supporters have been demanding on TV and YouTube, in newspapers and on posters, on Facebook and Twitter, an end to police brutality, state of emergency laws, corruption, high unemployment, food price inflation and low wages. They want free elections and free speech.
With 22 SL million residents — only 40 percent from the U.S. and 60 percent from elsewhere — it’s not hard to imagine the Arab world demonstrations spilling into Second Life.
An Egyptian named ammtory Aedipo, living in the United Arab Emirates, owns an SL region named Egypt.
For the past week, Egypt in Second Life has been crowded with protesters from around the world, displaying protest signs, waving flags, and talking endlessly about the uprising in real-life Egypt.
Shutting off the Internet in Egypt in RL hasn’t stopped interested picketers around the world from teleporting into Egypt in SL.
What do they talk about? The latest news from Egypt, how to circumvent the Internet shutdown, how people they have heard about in RL have been mistreated, and how good President Mubarak has been for the country over 30 years.
Turn up the volume and you can hear popular Arab music on the audio stream and rants from both sides in voice chat.
As you stand on the Egypt region of SL, with avatars walking around, dancing, waving flags, thrusting posters and cheering the news, you see in the mind’s eye how closely it must be simulating the verbal strife in RL Egypt. You can feel not only their heartache but also their elation.
UPDATE (February 5, 2011): The demonstrations in the virtual world are spreading. While Second Life’s Egypt region displays pro-Mubarak signs, a larger four-region commemoration of ancient Egypt called Terra Egypta is displaying pro-democracy anti-Murbarak posters.
Here are some key travel and information links:
The acronym SLURL is short for “Second Life URL,” a Web address. SLURLs are direct links from the Web to locations inside Second Life. When logged into a Second Life account with an SL viewer open, clicking one of these SLURLs takes you directly to the named location.
New World Notes (February 4, 2011): Ancient Egypt Sim in Second Life Welcomes Anti-Mubarak Protestors (As Pro-Mubarak Banners Festoon SL’s Egypt)
New World Notes (February 2, 2011): Anti-Mubarak Speech Banned From Second Life Egypt UPDATE: Now PRO-Mubarak Signs Also Appear in SL Egypt
New World Notes (January 30, 2011): Egyptians Worldwide Gather in Second Life to Share Resources, Information, Support for Uprising
Betterverse (February 2, 2011: Owner of Egypt Sim in Second Life Bans Avatars for “abusing” Mubarak
CNN iReport (February 1, 2011): Support For The People At Egypt Sim
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