Second Life Demos For Peace & Justice in Burma

Sat, Sep 29, 2007


There were many demonstrations across Second Life today in support of peace and justice in Myanmar (Burma) where hundreds of Buddhist monks are being arrested in government raids on monasteries after leading large protests against the military regime.

I joined one of the avatar chains organized by Second Life avatar Vivienne Casavettes. It stretched across multiple sims. Many of the participants wore robes or like me “went bald for Burma.” It was a powerful experience to meet so many people in Second Life finding ways to show there support for the monks and people of Burma.

There were T-shirts, placards and note cards giving updates on events in Burma handed out. I chose this T-shirt asking for the freedom of dissident Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi is a pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar, and a noted prisoner of conscience, advocate of nonviolent resistance. “A Buddhist, Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and in 1991 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her peaceful and non-violent struggle under a military dictatorship. She is currently under detention, with the Myanmar government repeatedly extending her detention.”

Rik Riel on his excellent blog has posted some of the Other steps you can take, suggested by the Peacemaker Institute:

  1. Protest – Look below for details of worldwide protests. Contact US Campaign for Burma to sign up to hold a march, vigil or any sort of event in your area- .
  2. Spread the word – Invite your friends to this group, email all your family and friends, write to local newspapers
  3. Write to your elected official – they will respond if enough people contact them.
  4. Wear red clothes on Friday.
  5. Email the companies that still operate in Burma, their email addresses are listed here
  6. Sign up for the petition! US campaign for Burma, Petition Online, AVAAZ

I am a second generation Western Buddhist. Today (Sunday) I will also observe 5 minutes of silent aspiration with members of the sangha of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, in NYC, in support of the protest of the Buddhist monastics and lay sangha in Myanmar, and against the violations of human rights and suppression of religious freedom now being enacted by the government.

Second Life avatars Vivienne Casavettes, Sugar Seville, and Dizzy Banjo are just some of the Second Life Residents who are organizing support efforts in Second Life. Also see Cryogenix’s, Dizzy Banjo’s, blogs and here for more. Dizzy has a video of a vigil organized by Sugar Seville


categories: bridge bloggers, crossing digital divides, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Second Life, Second Life and the Art World, social media, Virtual Citizenship, Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0, Web 3D, Web3.D, World 2.0

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Kareltje Krasker Says:

    Living in western Europe where human rights are in general respected, well at least in most countries, I normally don’t feel that urgency to go out on the streets and demonstrate.
    Even when I see other groups bringing attention to issues of certain countries and regimes. Although I feel connected to that specific cause.

    So what is it with virtual worlds, that made me join now?

    Was it the fact someone on my friend-list made me aware of the demonstration and asked me to join? So did the social network what it was supposed to?
    Was it the fact that request might have been triggered by the media attention regarding Birma?
    Could it be just the ease of access that made me join? So did it just provided me a way to compensate for being lazy not going out and make an effort in real life?
    And if that is true, is that a good or bad thing?
    I think the fact I joined by itself was good.
    The confrontation with my non-participation in real life made me think, and I guess that is good too since it might even change my social behavior in real life for the better.

    But what if virtual worlds become a general way to demonstrate rather than a real life demonstration…. would that sent a bad message?
    Are virtual worlds already accepted to the level that people, where the demonstration is targeted at, start to listen?
    Probably not, but most important is that with virtual worlds we can gather even more people in protest against the unacceptable things in the world, and for now that’s what counts for me.

    But now imagine protests in virtual worlds would get the same level of attention as real life protests…..
    The speed to gather people and respond strongly in an almost instantaneous manner seems very powerful to me.

    Anyway, in conclusion I think there is not one single reason that I joined but rather a complex of several emotions, and the one against the violence as strongest.
    I do have more questions than answers now on this topic, but I must say, it was intriguing to actually feel the vibes in my spine by joining this protest and I hope
    my small and “lazy” effort helped to make the army and government of Birma stop their unacceptable behavior.

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