In Second Life there's a region called Jordan River, named for the selfsame water body that borders Palestine. It was built by Palestinians (some within Palestine, some scattered around the world) to promote Palestinian independence, with a mosque on one end, an open air disco on the other, and political placards in between. It was built before the recent bloodshed during a raid on a Gaza aid flotilla containing militant Turkish activists; but after that happened, the builders of Jordan River erected a shrine memorializing the incident, in the shape of the yacht that was stormed by Israeli commandos. (Only in Second Life, the yacht's interior is totally blood red.) I was told about Jordan River by an SL Resident named Moshe Wardell, who runs a blog called Second Life Mossad, named after Israeli's intelligence agency, which documents pro-Palestinian activism in SL. When I visited Jordan River a few weeks ago, however, the site was quiet, and I had a relatively civil conversation with a tall and stylish redhead wearing a T-shirt that said Bling Bling, who told me she was actually a Palestinian living in the West Bank.
Lately, however, Jordan River has provoked a firestorm of controversy on SL's community forum, especially over Jordan River's most extreme forms of expression, such as an exhibit depicting Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier held captive by Hamas, next to sculptures meant to depict eviscerated IDF soldiers. As with the pro-Palestine protests that stormed into Israeli and Jewish sites in Second Life this year and last, this seems like another instance where Second Life's Community Standards, which prohibit most forms of "[a]ctions that marginalize, belittle, or defame individuals or groups", cannot adequately account for the full range of political and ideological tumult in the real world. In any case, educator Ignatius Onomatopoeia has an interesting interview with Lord Ansar, the Palestinian activist behind much of Jordan River's protest messaging.
Bottom image credit: SL Mossad.