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Zimbabwe: A Harsh Reality

Virtual Gitmo: Human Rights in Second Life



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Zimbabwe: A Harsh Reality

Just as a power sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe and the opposition MDC party was announced today in Zimbabwe, we talk with our correspondent -- who must remain anonymous for her own safety -- about the situation there.

She describes a terrifying reality, with human rights activists reportedly being tortured and languishing in jail and a worsening cholera epidemic that has already killed at least 3,000 people. She says Zimbabweans find hope in Barack Obama, a president they view as a fellow African, but, in her view, the only way to bring about real change might be with military intervention.

In a reporter's diary to be published in the Washington Post's Outlook section on Sunday, our correspondent says that she is not optimistic that anything will change soon. "I find it hard to celebrate [the power sharing agreement]. Mugabe remains powerful under the new government, still controlling the state coffers, the military, the police and the media. I sigh as I think of the problems ahead."

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Virtual Gitmo: Human Rights in Second Life

Video blogger Bernhard Drax talks about the "Gone Gitmo" project, a re-creation of Guantanamo Bay in the virtual world Second Life. Bernhard Drax, better known as Draxtor Despres in SL, has carved out a niche as a virtual reporter specializing in international issues and human rights. Looking like a caricature of a curious NPR reporter, Draxtor showed up at a recent protest in SL's Virtual Israel where Palestinians and Israelis debated who was at fault for the bloodshed in Gaza. Draxtor talked with iWitness about his work and in particular a report he did on the "Gone Gitmo" SL site that has drawn international attention.

Second Life (SL) is an interactive three-dimensional virtual world with about sixteen million users around the world. Using digital tools, one can create an online persona called an avatar and communicate with others using voice, text chat or even break dancing if that strikes your fancy. To be sure there is a strong element of living out a fantasy life through an alter ego, but there is also a more serious side.

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