- Posted July 14, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Stories from Second Life
Iran Day of Protest in SL
In Second Life, activist avatars are very energized to support Iranian human rights, especially on Iran's annual day of protest, 18 Tir (July 9th), by playing live music, reciting poetry, meditating at a peace vigil, and sharing up-to-the-minute stories of events in Iran. In SL, when avatars share a common vision for social justice, we often wax poetic and resonate off each other's sentiments, such as the following exchange at the 18 Tir Peace Vigil:
millay Freschi (Director of Amnesty International-E in SL): we have to stand united at every step towards freedom
Medora Chevalier (SL Choregrapher, Poet, and Homeless Activist): but we dont experience rape and torture as the price of saying what we believe
junivers Stockholm (SL Rock Opera Composer, Live Music Star): right millay
Siri Vita (Director of PeaceTrain Festival in SL): this is truly a peoples movement... people in Iran are reaching out to the people of the world. getting around their own censors but making us realize how we have our information filtered too; through our governments and media; this is an amazing time
millay Freschi: yes and we're talking to one another now;that changes everything
Siri Vita: exactly
Medora Chevalier: its so important
Siri Vita: getting around the things that have been keeping us apart
millay Freschi: and we just can't get complacent again...we just can't.
The significance of 18 Tir on the Islamic lunar calendar marks a student uprising at Tehran University in 1999, after the government shut down a reform-movement newspaper, sparking six days of rioting. Since then 18 Tir it is observed by Iranians worldwide and now, very actively in SL.
The SL actions started with a concert and poetry reading on Four Bridges (SLURL http://tinyurl.com/lvr5d8 ); see the Green Revolution supporters in Picture 1 (photos 1-3 courtesy of Artemesia Mathy, co-founder of SL's Africa Live SLURL http://tinyurl.com/n8guee ). The performances included original poetry by Medora Chevalier and live music by Junivers Stockholm who are co-founders of SL's Imagine Network (pictures 2 and 3 above). More about Imagine Network here: http://imaginenetwork.ning.com/
The action then moved to the Peace Vigil at Al Andalus, hosted by Rose Springvale (Picture 4) of Al Andalus SLURL http://tinyurl.com/lavof4 . Joining us at the Peace Vigil were Millay Freschi (Picture 5) of Amnesty (proprietor of Four Bridges), and Michele Mrigesh (Picture 6) of SL Netroots Nation, the group that organizes the Yearly Kos Convention in SL August 13 to 16, 2009. Picture 7 is a close up of Medora's lovely protest frock; a dress pattern showing a crowd of Green Revolution protesters on the streets of Tehran. For more information in-world visit: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Four%20Bridges%20Project/110/117/27 Calendar on Web: http://tinyurl.com/lqv9d5
The day was rounded out back at Four Bridges with an Iran situation update speech by Siri Vita (Picture 8), co-director of PeaceTrain Festival, a 2 dozen stage live music event July31 to August 2, 2009. Siri speech's really rocked our world; she is amazingly plugged-in to the on-the-ground events in Iran. The Green Revolution started after the June presidential elections in Iran, where massive voter fraud is alleged. Siri explained that there are pictures of fraudulent ballots, and that the vote count in about 50 Iranian towns was actually larger than the population of those cities.
Siri says that Internet communication lets us know what's happening minute by minute on the groud in Iran. This is a breakthrough for human rights, and authorities are powerless to stop the information flow. Governments do try to install Internet content filters, but free peer-to-peer relay services such as Tor and Psiphon easily subvert their best efforts at censorship. These services suport random, frequent IP address re-routing that make content blocking very difficult. See http://torir.org/ and http://www.psiphon.ca/ In fact, you can join these peer to peer services to contribute bandwidth from your PC connection to these networks.
She shared several example of her news sources generated by ordinary citizens on the ground in Iran, or activists on the Internet who organize their content. Siri follows numerous Twitters, and also reads an excellent daily news compilation called The Green Brief. http://iran.whyweprotest.net/news-current-events/ Every day, Siri diligently shares the Green Brief with us in-world in SL by announcing it to groups such as Amnesty, PeaceTrain, The Rings Discussion, and Four Bridges. Background materials on the Green Revolution can be found on http://tehranbureau.com/ . Also, up-to-date cell phone videos from Iran are frequently posted here:
More activism is coming July 17 and 22, 2009. Friday July 17th will be big day of worldwide Green Revolution activism, major events in SL are planned too. The Green Brief announced the following: "Shirin Ebadi - Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Iranian Human Rights Activist - has declared that this Friday, Iranians from all over the world, will unite to protest the appointment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President. A three-day hunger strike by prominent Iranians will also be observed in front of the United Nation’s Headquarters in New York City on July 22nd."
The epicenter for this Peace and Human Rights activism in SL is Four Bridges Project, a joint SL initiative between many groups, in particular: Amnesty International-E, PeaceTrain, Second Pride, and Imagine Network (organizers of Earth Week SL and SL Human Rights Fest). http://slurl.com/secondlife/Four%20Bridges%20Project/110/117/27
Please check out Janey Bracken's great SL iReport about the Sea of Green group supporting the Iranian Green Revolution in SL: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-286713