human rights in virtual worlds

Nothing wrong with bragging every once in a blue moon, right?

So once again Virtual Activism – my nonprofit organization – is at the forefront of technology in the Arab World. We have been the first to go on the web, we had the first blog in the entire Arab World, the first to have a Wiki, and now the first to be a nonprofit in a virtual world, namely Second Life.

Now I have an Education and Human Rights Center which is part of a sim but hopefully will expand beyond that. Here are some images:

So why is this important? Well the center is expanding into providing a visual tour of human rights violation and providing knowledge and information on human rights abuses worldwide. It will draw heavily on several world reports on human rights as well as on local human rights reports. The visual tour provides an experiential and immersive education to those who will visit it. It will also provide videos and other information on such violations, as well as monthly discussions and meetings. The center is still undergoing construction and I will be announcing meetings shortly.

If you are already on second life, you might want to visit the center at this slurl: Captivating/191/216/21/?title=Odessa Captivating

On the same sim, a little at a distance from the Center is a replica of the St. Catherine’s Monastery from the
Sinai, Egypt.


on wikileaks

Wikileaks is a place for whistle-blowers of all nationalities and walks of life may go and post their information anonymously. Here is what they say of themselves:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis. Our primary interests are in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we expect to be of assistance to peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact..

They are true to their word. They succeeded in raising the ire of Swiss Banks by publishing internal documents that show that they deal with money laundering. The banks filed suite to shut down the website in the US, and a court ruled in the banks’ favour. However, there is an appeal process and it remains to be seen what will transpire.

youtube stopped for 45 minutes

This is amazing and unbelievable. When Pakistan decided to block youtube this past week because of it contains contenyoutube.jpgt it deemed offensive [in particular the infamous cartoons of the Prophet], it ended up blocking youtube from the entire world. One of its ISPs rerouted youtube into a ‘black hole’.  It amounted to a denial of service attack – albeit unintentional.

Here is a technical analysis of how this happened link 

What does this tell us about the status of the internet? that it is so fragile, it is scary.

wiki wiki wiki: the good, the bad and the ugly

wikipedia.jpgOf course by now everyone knows wikipedia the most famous and infamous citizen collaboration project. Well.. there are few noteworthy others using the same concept:

1- Mengospedia [link]: well this is my very own wiki created for Middle East NGOs. I have just launched it and am hoping that people will take the plunge and participate. Not sure if they will though. But.. we’ll see. This is a unique and first-time project in the Arab Middle East.

citpendium.png2- Citzendium [link]: Well this wiki promises to tackle the ‘problem’s of wikipedia. Its motto is “A wiki with experts and real names. A new knowledge society.” It says that

“The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a “citizens’ compendium of everything,” is an open wiki project aimed at creating an enormous, free, and reliable encyclopedia.  The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by adding “gentle expert oversight” and requiring contributors to use their real names.”

Hmmm… I am not sure I am thrilled with the idea. It seems we are back to regular encyclopedias, aren’t we? what’s the poin of it being a wiki then?

3-  Conservapedia [link]:  need I write more? 🙁

Well.. enough for now.. I think I got stuck at conservapedia.