Amid a massive global outpouring of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and in protest over Israel’s latest genocidal campaign against the besieged people of Gaza, youngsters who couldn’t attend the demonstrations in real life have been holding their own marches in the virtual world, through the popular game Roblox.
The phenomenon first caught widespread attention on Monday, after one user on social media platform X, said their 15-year-old cousin couldn’t join the protests, and so joined one on Roblox, a massive online multiplayer that allows users to design and play games created by other users.
y’all my cousin is 15 and couldn’t join a protest so she just went to one on roblox bro i’m crying 😭😭😭😭😭
— salsabeel سلسبيل 🦊🇵🇸 (@funnecfox) October 23, 2023
In response, a viral clip was shared of the online protest, featuring hundreds of players waving Palestinian flags, marching down a road lined with more Palestinian flags.
Video games website Kotaku reported that the protest ended in a large, open square, with a massive sign depicting a Palestinian flag-coloured ribbon with the words “Solitary Untukmu” (Malay for “Solidarity for you”), suggesting the movement was started among users from the Southeast Asian nation, the Singaporean flag was also visible.
A spokesperson for Roblox Corporation has since stated: “We are deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and our hearts go out to those who are impacted in the area or who have loved ones, family and friends in the region.”
“While our Community Standards allow for expressions of solidarity, we do not allow for content that endorses or condones violence, promotes terrorism or hatred against individuals or groups, or calls for supporting a specific political party.”
According to the New Arab, a Malaysian user created the protest experience called ‘(PALESTINE) Dataran Tanjung Mas’. It has reportedly attracted 60,000 visits since its creation on 14 October, with 200 users allowed to attend the march at a time.
The gesture has earned praise from social media users, with many saying there is rejuvenated hope for the Palestinian cause with the next generation.
One user remarked that if the cause has the support of the youth, the opposing side has lost the war. This comes against the backdrop of the argument that the pro-Israeli narrative is losing the information and propaganda war online.
Notice how while the Palestinian protest was large and extremely diverse with people of all races and ethnicities and faiths marching, this one is almost exclusively white? 💀 When your cause only hits with the fascists, you know you did something wrong. https://t.co/b8BvWcickU
— Yasmine • لِلآ يَاسمِين 🍊🇵🇸🇦🇲 (@YasmineJibril) October 22, 2023
In contrast, a recent pro-Israel demonstration in London was widely mocked for its lack of racial diversity and for the mostly “old” people in attendance.