I seem to have spent a lot of time at one of the Egypt sims over the last week. You couldn’t fail to feel involved with wanting to know how the people of Egypt were doing as they bravely took a stance against the government most of them hated. Of course the younger people have Facebook and Twitter and all sorts on the internet, enough to see that people in other countries had more freedom and democracy. I met up again with a couple of people I had seen in SL at the student fees demonstrations in Hyde Park. There they were again, only this time cheering the people of Egypt on, with their banners held high!
There had been some heated arguments over the week between people who supported the protestors and the supporters of the President. In fact the owner of the sim seemed to be banning people who bad mouthed the President. I managed to catch up with him to ask him if this was the case and he explained to me that he didn’t really support how the President ruled, but wanted a smooth changeover of government for the good of Egypt, which I thought was fair enough. Most people were well-behaved in the sim, a few got me down a bit with their texting constantly full of philosophy about peace and love, but I guess that’s just me, I’m more interested in actual results than listening to people baring their souls trying to be the great and the good. I’d covered one story about the gathering in Egypt at the beginning of the week and then on the big day for Egypt, Feb 11, I went back there when the news came in about the President stepping down. Of course it was what everyone was waiting for and there was an air of excitement as well as confusion as people asked if he had really gone. I sent another small report to CNN as I stood there, just to mark the occasion and show the carnival atomosphere in the sim. Even Pete Linden turned up and I don’t know him, but I said hello and took his picture anyway.
I think the people enjoyed gathering at the sim each day and having a cause, although from what I can understand there were no Egyptians there, it was plain that people wished them well from all over the world and I would share that too. I wish them a very democratic future and much happiness, as well as remembering the people who died trying win their precious freedom that they are newly enjoying! I had a strange encounter though, one person who said he had friends in Egypt and had made himself known to us briefly at the last CNN meeting, came over to the Egypt site. I recognised him and said hello. Next thing he wanted me to follow him, without any explanation, to another sim. It was another Arab based sim and there were a few men standing around. One had a group tag which said ‘Al Qaeda and Taliban’, next thing the man with the tag was IM me. I responded and asked him about the tag and he admitted he admired them, not a great beginning to a conversation! He then told me that an English girl called Ruth had been there the day before and converted to the Muslim faith and he seemed to think I would go down the same path. I am always curious about people and their religions and started to ask him questions about what his faith meant and why he believed like he did, as well as what the thought about other religions. I can only say that this did not go to plan for him, and he was not pleased to be questioned. To my way of thinking, if people want to convince anyone how good something is, and have faith it in themselves, they should at least know all about it, so that they can answer, instead he just kept directing me to the writings. People should be aware if they are travelling around to strange sims that you never know who you are talking to at the end of the day, these are real people and you don’t always know their motives. Needless to say, I left and went on my way, none the wiser to what he really thought, he muted me in the end as he didn’t like either my answers or my questions. Lets have open debates and be able to ask those awkward questions, stealth convinces no one and only the gullible people believe everything on face value. All in all it’s been an exciting week with Egypt achieving so much and it’s lovely to see them so happy and looking forward to the future.