Monday, 1 October 2007

Second Life Activists Solidarity across sims

Second Life has become a fantastic tool to link people across the world in activism. Alice Walker said, “Activism is my rent for living on this planet.” Lots of people became activists after joining in the SL solidarity demonstrations over the past week. Friendships were forged by people from all walks of life as their AV’s held hands across sims.

SLLU activist Eremia Woodbury said, “How incredible it was to be standing in a human chain with people from the UK, Europe, USA and Japan and how encouraging that that many people were motivated to take a stand within SL.

HiggleDpiggle Snoats, who was also on the demonstrations said, 'the demos were held in various sims throughout the day, and were really well attended - with hundreds of avs dropping by, many staying for hours on end. The idea was that avs could form a 'symbolic human chain' by linking hands in a line in order to show their solidarity with the courageous demonstrators in Burma. I hadn't come across this device in SL before, and I think it really did create an added sense of camaraderie and an atmosphere of unity amongst disparate people, scattered across the world, who might otherwise have felt isolated in their responses to the violence and oppression on peaceful protestors they had been hearing about in the news. I left the events with the feeling that this is an issue which touches a very wide range of people. It also forced me to reflect on whether I could ever be as brave as the Burmese protesters.'

Plot Tracer said, "this has been a victory for the awareness raising power of Second Life. This is the kind of education and communication that Second Life should be used for. People who took part in these demonstrations should now ensure their voices are heard in Real Life. Contact your politicians and call for boycotts of Burmese goods and of Western Companies who are buoying up this disgusting, brutal regime."

Details of what can be done in real life are below.

Burma: ‘world looks other way’
The ruling military junta in Burma was still ‘working’ on its transition to democracy, reconvening its constitution talks while the world’s eyes were upon it last year.
That this is a farce of the highest order goes without saying, not least because Burma, now known as Myanmar, remains the bloodiest dictatorship in the world, where rape and torture are used routinely by government forces, where children are forcibly recruited as soldiers, where ethnic minorities are murdered en masse, where at least hundreds of thousands are internally displaced, and where people are enslaved in the tourism industry, the biggest source of income for the military government.
Not only that, but the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the country’s last General Election in 1990 yet has never been allowed to govern, has been excluded from these constitutional talks.

Their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, remains in detention, having been held under house arrest on and off for 18 years. On 9 October last year, she clocked up 4,000 days in detention. On 24 October, that will come to 12 years.

Says Yvette Mahon, of the Burma Campaign UK:
“These milestones come and go, yet still most of the world looks the other way.”
The United Nations, however, has at least put Burma on the agenda. But this may prove as useless as last years so called constitutional talks.
UN under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari, leader of the UN delegation, is worryingly naïve when it comes to Burma. Following a visit there last May, he appeared to have swallowed the junta line about moving towards democracy. He thought that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released shortly. In fact, a few days later, she was sentenced to a further year in detention.
On 29 September last year, he reported that progress was being made as two political prisoners had been released. Unfortunately, five pro-democracy leaders were arrested around the same time, “to prevent instability of the state and to prevent terrorist attacks”, according to the government.
This article originally appeared here:


What can we do to bring the Burmese military to the negotiating table?
Plenty, says activist Simon Billenness.
The story so far...
Using the tactics of the anti-apartheid campaign, activists in the US and Canada have caused Amoco, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s and PetroCanada to withdraw from Burma. In 1995 three US cities – Berkeley, Madison and Santa Monica – passed laws boycotting companies doing business in Burma. The US Congress is currently considering the ‘Burma Freedom and Democracy Act’ that would impose economic sanctions. Meanwhile the European Union is discussing imposing tariffs on Burmese-made goods.
Challenges ahead...
But many companies continue to ignore Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for sanctions. They include ARCO (US), Texaco (US), Total (France), UNOCAL (US), Premier (UK) and Heineken (Holland). The latter plans to open up a brewery in partnership with a military-owned company.
What can I do?
� Join your national Burma Action group. Form a local Burma Action group with your friends and local activists. Brainstorm ideas for local campaigns in co-operation with your national Burma Action group.
� Boycott companies that do business in Burma. Write to the companies to tell them of your boycott and ask them why they refuse to respect the clearly stated wishes of the Burmese democracy movement.
� Organize demonstrations outside Texaco and Total gas stations. Return for a full refund any clothes marked ‘Made in Myanmar’ or ‘Made in Burma’ and tell the store why you won’t wear them.
� Ask your local councillors to join other cities in boycotting corporations in Burma. Work for the passage of a law barring the city’s purchasing managers from buying any goods or services from companies doing business in Burma. Such laws in the US have already cost these companies thousands in lost contracts. The laws also deter companies from going into Burma in the first place.
� Write to top management if you own stock in companies in Burma and attend the annual meeting to ask why they are supporting the Burmese military junta. Support shareholders’ resolutions that ask companies to withdraw from Burma.
� Ask your national parliament representatives to introduce and support legislation imposing South Africa-style economic sanctions on Burma. Ask your prime minister or president to press for economic sanctions at the United Nations.
� Do not holiday in Burma until democracy has been restored. Boycott travel agents advertising Burma holidays and tell them why you are doing so.

New Zealand Burma Support Group,
14 Waitati Place, Mt Albert, Auckland. Tel: (64) 9828 4855
Australia Burma Council, PO Box 2024, Queanbeyan NSW 2620.
Tel: (616) 297 7734

Canadian Friends of Burma,
145 Spruce Street, Suite 206, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6P1. Tel: (613) 237 8056 Fax: (613) 563 0017 E-mail: Web:

Burma Issues, PO Box 1076,
Silom Post Office, Bangkok 10504.

The Burma Campaign UK
Third Floor, Bickerton House
Bickerton Road
London, UK
N19 5JT7
Tel: (20) 7281 7377
Fax: (20) 7272 3559

Franklin Research and Development,
711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111.
Tel: (617) 423 6655 Fax: (617) 482 6179
Human Rights Watch/Asia, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA Tel: (1) 212 290-4700, Fax: (1) 212 736-1300 E-mail: Web:

Free Burma Coalition website (with links to other Free Burma websites)

Worth Reading
Outrage: Burma’s struggle for democracy by Bertil Lintner, White Lotus, London and Bangkok, 1990.

Burma in Revolt: opium and insurgency since 1948 by Bertil Lintner, White Lotus, Bangkok, 1994.

Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi, Penguin, London, revised 1995.

Guide to Burma by Nicholas Greenwood, Bradt Publications, UK, 1996.

Burma: The Challenge of Change in a Divided Society ed. Peter Carey, MacMillan Press, Basingstoke, 1996.

Ethnic Groups in Burma by Martin Smith, Anti-Slavery International, 1994.

Burma Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity by Martin Smith, Zed Books, London, 1991.

Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit by Alan Clements and Leslie Kean, White Orchid, Bangkok, 1995.

John Pilger’s 1996 documentary Inside Burma: Land of Fear can be purchased on video from Video Resource Unit, Central Broadcasting, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2JP, UK. Tel: (121) 643 9898.

This originally appeared here:

(from )

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- there is also a protest being held on Burning Life sim today.

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!

The business of oppression
How British companies fund the Burmese junta

'Hypocrisy Rules the West'

More photos on flickr of demos:

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1 comment:

Ms Qunhua said...

A terrific event! One American stopped by asking, "What is a burma?" so we explained. She asked follow-up questions like, "Why don't they move someplace else?" but eventually she understood and joined the avatar chain. Great opportunity for education and dialog.