"Alsarmady Eel" is the name used in the online world of Second Life by an arts professor who lives in Babylon, Iraq. Last year he joined Second Life because he decided the Internet was, as he puts it, "the 8th art," allowing "people from anywhere . . . to see how they want to be in the imagination."
An appealing notion, one that he'd written extensively about. But because broadband in Iraq is still unreliable, his understanding of this strange virtual world based in San Francisco remained mainly abstract and secondhand. (The few times he was able to log in successfully, he'd just briefly appear as an unresolved blur.)
Last week, however, I received an instant message from Alsarmady Eel, sent within Second Life itself.
"Hahahahah," he announced, after I teleported over to find him standing in a thatched hut by the sea. "From Iraq. Nice to see you here. I got better Internet, but how do I look?"
"Very skinny," I observed.
Professor Eel had managed to find a wireless provider in Iraq, he explained, and though the service was rather pricey, it was worth it. "I am so happy and lost," he said. "Please take me to somewhere I can talk about my theory." I introduced him to some people who write about or express ideas similar to his, including two named Bettina Tizzy and Eshi Otawara.
After some brief introductions, Professor Eel told them what was on his mind. "I am asking the philosophers all over: what philosophy can describe and appropriate explaining this interactive digital life?!"
They continued to talk, but I had to go. I left Alsarmady to get to know his new friends. Then hours after I'd logged out, I discovered something wonderful had happened.
Bettina Tizzy and Eshi Otawara had taken him to a sandbox, so they could show him marvelous virtual objects. "He asked us to do him a favor," Bettina wrote me, "on behalf of all of the people of Iraq: he wanted us to make him a new Iraqi flag."
But Eshi had another idea. "She said, 'No, I will not make your flag, but I will teach you to make your own.' "
So she showed him how to make a banner, then a pole, then how to upload a texture. He worked diligently from his computer terminal in Babylon, and after some time, Alsarmady Eel was done. He raised the flag of his country over this other place in which he'd also become a citizen.
Wagner James Au is the author of "The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World."Whether that Iraqi is seeking new adventure by fleeing a relaity and endulge himself to another reality, a virtual one, this is something to be determined, but one thing is for sure, there are some Iraqis who are looking for any means and every means available to catch up with the advanced world of technology in spite of difficulties and barriers in providing normal internet services i.e. broadband connection...etc
Thanks to Iraqi Facebook University for the information.
Link to the article here