#FREEBASSEL : It's not about you

Dienstag, 6. Mai 2014 - 17:30 bis 18:30
stage A


Bassel Khartabil (known online as Bassel Safadi) is an open web developer and dedicated Internet volunteer who has been imprisoned (without charge) in Syria since March 2012. He was Creative Commons lead in Syria and started the first hackerspace (Aiki Lab, Damascus) in the Arabic-speaking world, in addition to numerous other open source and free culture projects including Mozilla, Wikipedia, Fabrikatorz, and Sharism. He is credited with opening up the Internet in Syria and vastly extending online access and knowledge to the Syrian people. His voluntary work, always non-violent in nature, was greatly valued by Syrians of all backgrounds, and it is strongly suspected that his arrest was part of an effort to restrict access to online communities and discourses and stifle free expression in Syria. The #FREEBASSEL Campaign was launched by his friends, family, and colleagues in the week after his arrest, and is dedicated to calling for his release by raising awareness about Bassel and his imprisonment, and building community around his cause and work. In the two years since Bassel’s imprisonment, the campaign has succeeded in facilitating meetups, press, videos, public art works, and compelling a statement from Catherine Ashton that she "deplores his imprisonment." But Bassel is still behind bars. What can we do to grow the campaign into a movement that will improve his condition and secure his release?


We believe that everyone with an interest in human rights, freedom of expression, sharing/making culture, and universal access to knowledge/tools should have a #FREEBASSEL sticker on their laptop, poster by their desk, and a commitment to share and develop knowledge about Bassel through creative means at every opportunity (be it speaking at a conference, having a beer with friends, walking through your city and noticing untapped canvases, etc.) He's already a part of many people's lives, and has inspired many who he's never even met. It's now the responsibility of all such people to pass this on and to keep this love growing.

Why? Because Bassel is an exceptional individual who put himself at great risk by working with the open web community to bring tools, resources, and empowerment to his community in Syria. And in so doing, he also contributed vastly to the open web community and sharing culture across the globe, which has undoubtedly impacted you, your life, and your outlook. In short, we owe it to him to have him always in our thoughts and to raise his visibility at every opportunity. He risked his life fighting for open knowledge. And he didn't do it for himself, he did it for his community, which includes  all of us. And now we must give back. 

We have some plans and ideas for how to drive this movement forward, but we also want to work with you to develop new ones. Come to this workshop to learn about Bassel, the #FREEBASSEL campaign, and brainstorm how you can, and should, contribute. 

We'll be giving out posters and stickers, teaching how to wheat paste, editing Wikipedia, making art, sharing stories and ideas, and more. Bassel has been quoted as saying "if you're going to be crazy, make crazy good work." Let's activate that idea, together, and keep it going beyond this conference, until he is free. Because it may take something crazy to get him out, something crazy in the way that love is crazy. 

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