Five years ago today, CC Syria lead, free culture advocate, and human rights activist Bassel Khartabil was imprisoned by the Syrian government in Damascus. As a commoner, his work on the New Palmyra project, the CC Arabic Translation, and his pivotal influence on information access in the Middle East is a beacon for all who devote their lives to free culture. In the words of Joi Ito, “The last time that many of us saw Bassel was at the Creative Commons Global Summit in Warsaw in 2011, where he was continuing his work of expanding information and opportunity in his home country and across the Middle East and the world.”
In honor of Khartabil’s influence on the free culture and open source movement, the Free Bassel campaign is encouraging five actions in public support of the movement to #freebassel in protest of his five years of unjust imprisonment.
This week, the campaign released a secret letter Khartabil sent Free Bassel coordinator Jon Phillips in 2014. If you have received a letter from Bassel, the campaign encourages you to share his words publicly and collaborate on the project via Git.
Other contributions include a Soundcloud playlist of nearly fifty songs in support of Bassel and various social media actions.
The full list of campaign actions from Freebassel.org is below. Share #freebassel5years and spread the message:
- Retweet or reshare #freebassel5years posts on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media.
- If you’ve received a handwritten message from Bassel, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll coordinate social media and other sharing with you.
- Find and share your favorite #freebassel media on all social media channels, using the tag #freebassel5years. Places to find media include Openclipart, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Internet Archive, YouTube, and Soundcloud.
- Hold a #freebassel5years vigil, picnic, hackathon, protest, or other physical space event, and share digital representations of the event or artifacts created there on #freebassel5years social media.
- Remix or create your own #freebassel media, upload to your favorite sites, and share links on social media, using the tag #freebassel5years everywhere.
- Share projects honoring Bassel such as the Cost of Freedom book, again on social media under the tag #freebassel5years.
- Share ongoing projects founded by Bassel, such as the #NEWPALMYRA project…on social media, tagged #freebassel5years.
- State on social media that you’re participating in #freebassel5years, e.g.: I pledge to make 5 public acts to demand a #freebassel for #freebassel5years, join me http://freebassel.org/campaign/events/freebasselday/2017/03/09/freebassel5years/
- Free Bassel. It’s OK if you forget to mention it on social media using the tag #freebassel5years.