Bassel Khartabil
Fellowship

Awareness is Enough (in 40 Parts)

Part 1: The Prompt

Where do we go? Do we fight? Do we hide? Do we have a choice? Are we the actors on a large stage that we do not control? We sit at a crossroads, a ceasefire.

Who are you at war with?

Part 2: How did you first meet Bassel?

When I first met Bassel in-person it was after a leap of faith when he invited me to Damascus in 2009. We were about to pull off the biggest feat of our lives: to launch Creative Commons Syria. I arrived at the Damascus airport after a wild ride from China. When I landed at my stopover in Qatar, I had never seen such diversity in cultures. I had a work call and went to the only place I could find with power and internet, an Airport lounge. Have you ever tried every credit card in your wallet, and one-by-one they are blocked for security reasons?

I didn’t even know what Bassel looked like! This was pre-cameraphone guys. I landed. BMWs were there standing by on the tarmac. WOW! VIPs hopped off the jet and off they went! This was my first time in the Arab World. I didn’t even know if I could look at people in the face. I didn’t know how to interact with anyone. I kept to myself, slightly nervous. After a very lax immigration, I walked thru the gate. Have you ever seen 50 people with hawks on their arms in an airport?

I walked forward. Only with my empty brain and open heart could I take the next step. A sea of cacophonics entered my ear from all manner of person: “Taxi?”, “Amerikii?”, “Bus?”, “Cellphone?”

And a gentle figured emerged: “Hey man, how are you?”

Part 3: Who was Bassel to you?

To me, he had 3 names. The first name I saw in a chat window on the open source project, Inkscape: BASSEL. After I put out a call for help. BASSEL, was the only one who responded. He gave me a gift, a gift of code. In my culture, from the heart of America, St. Louis, Missouri, the Mississippi River Basin, I was taught by my Mom and Dad to first trust people 100%. And, that’s what I did.

Later when planning the Creative Commons Syria launch, I learned BASSEL’s name was Bassel Safadi. Down the road, post-launch, I helped Bassel prepare some paperwork to travel to Singapore. It was the first time I saw his real family name in English, Bassel Khartabil.

“Dude, what’s up with the fake name? I am sponsoring your trip. My ass is on the line!” I asked intensively. He said, “Safad is the name of my family’s home. It is common for Palestinian refugees to take on the name of their home.”

Needless to say, I got more intense on him to insure I was dealing with the real Bassel Khartabil. And, it struck me. Who is Mark Twain? One of the most storied well-known well-read authors of all-time, born in Hannibal, Missouri, the Mississippi River Basin, like me. As many of you know, his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910).

Part 4: The Conclusion

Today is May 22, 2021. Bassel Khartabil would have turned 40. The 2021 Israel-Palestine Crisis that has killed Israelis, Palestinians and possibly more, in unknown numbers with unknown names associated with the deaths, is in a ceasefire. Globally, people around the world are mounting all forms of rallies to call attention to this conflict for many sides of which way the world should spin.

Bassel, as I knew him, was a non-violent, peaceful human, who had studied all forms of nonviolent communication. He was gentle. He had a pet turtle he named Aiki and a cat he named CiCi (after Creative Commons). He left the world loved by his beloved Noura Ghazi, his father Jamil, and countless other family and friends.

The love persists. His message of peace and nonviolence, too.

Today is a day of remembrance, and I charge you up with the prompts: How did you first meet Bassel? Who was Bassel to you?

Please share wherever and however it makes sense to you, because its #bassel40 baby!

Part 40: What I’m Doing

What can I do? I have learned so much from you, too. THANKYOU.

I’m not the same as when Bassel was on the Earth. I’m someone new. Do you feel the same?

I needed power for the Italian-keyboarded MacBook Pro with the last Intel-chip inside Ai Weiwei got for me to finish “the most expensive part” of his Opera delayed by the pandemic. I re-entered my family zone and my 17 month year old, Li Li came running…”Da Da!!!!!”, she gleefully shouted.

I grabbed my power adaptor thru the Dad tricks I have learned. I stealthily tried to slip out the door. “Da Da!!!!!””, she ran to me, grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. I hugged her. I squeezed a bit harder today. I teared up and said to her, “I love you so much.”

Back to finishing this writing, the St. Louis Arch, in my view. I said to myself, “Yeah, here’s what I can do.”

Two fragments enter my mind: (1) A Jewish friend of mine told me, after I told him the story of losing my sister Charis Phillips and then Bassel Khartabil, that in Jewish culture, the highest form of honor of someone who has left the earth is to take up their spirit, their cause. (2) Heard of Bitcoin? Bassel was the first investor in the first Bitcoin miner, Qi Hardware’s Milkymist.

Today, May 22 in St. Louis Missouri from three to five pm (and around the world) I am leading with friends, the largest Pizza Party Ever. Today is also the anniversary of the first Bitcoin business transaction. Those in cryptocurrency call today, Bitcoin Pizza Day.

Today is a celebration in honor of Bassel, in honor of peace, in honor of $hope, and in honor of you!

Oh, and by the way, “Bassel’s favorite food was pizza, man,” said Jon Phillips.

Join the #bassel40 Celebration

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Glia USA Brings Medical Device Manufacturing Forward from the American Heartland

Today, as part of the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship, the Fabricatorz Foundation, Glia, Bassel Khartabil Fellow Dr. Tarek Loubani, Well Made Workshop, Alderman Cara Spencer and partners, launched Glia USA to add capacity to Dr. Loubani’s Glia Open Medical Device project’s American supporters.

In addition to a full press release, media kit images and more, please follow along with our official witter account, @basselkhartabil.

Read the Press Release

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An interview with Majd Al-shihabi

We sat down with Majd Al-shihabi this week to catch up one our first Bassel Khartabil Fellowship winner from 2018. Majd is a creative technologist working in Lebanon, where he is finishing a master’s degree in urban planning, and working on projects related to digital rights. He has been active advocate for open knowledge and digital rights, especially open source projects and technologies. Read about what he is up to below: 

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Bassel's Birthday Forges Friend Fellowship

Happy Birthday Bassel! Today would have been your 39th birthday. We lost you too young. Today I woke to a strange feeling. It was not loss, or sadness. It was a simple mandate: serve people.

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Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Awarded to Dr. Tarek Loubani and Glia to Combat COVID-19

Saint Louis, MO, USA — April 2nd, 2020 — Fabricatorz Foundation, Creative Commons, and the Mozilla Foundation have awarded the prestigious Bassel Khartabil Fellowship to Dr. Tarek Loubani, Medical Director for Glia. The Glia project makes equal care possible through Open Access manufacturing and distribution of key medical supplies, desperately needed in the global fight against COVID-19. Further details on the Fellowship and Glia are available at BasselKhartabil.org.

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Bassel Khartabil Day 2020 Join Us Live on Instagram

Join us on Sunday, March 15, 2020 for the first #basselday. This is the first activity being held. Expect more updates on our social and here at basselkhartabil.org up until and during our moment of active celebration of Bassel.

Join us live on our Instagram account for 1 hour from:

  • 1 PM St. Louis Time
  • 6 PM GMT/UTC London UK Time
  • 11 AM San Francisco Time
  • 8 PM Beirut Time
  • Find time here

Join US

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Bassel Khartabil Fellowship 2019 Proposals Being Reviewed

Thank you for all the submissions to the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship 2019.

We are currently reveiwing the proposals and will post an update shortly.

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Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Opens 2019 Call for Proposals with Mozilla Foundation and Creative Commons

Individuals and Teams Eligible for 1 Year 50,000 USD Fellowship

 

PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saint Louis — September 3rd, 2019 — Today Fabricatorz Foundation is pleased to invite applications to the second annual Bassel Khartabil Fellowship, honoring the legacy of beloved artist, open source technology innovator, and free culture advocate Bassel Khartabil. This prestigious fellowship supports outstanding individuals or teams developing free culture in their communities under adverse circumstances with financial stability and mentorship. The Fellowship is organized by Fabricatorz Foundation with support from Mozilla Foundation and Creative Commons, along with partnership from Khartabil’s final projects: Nophotozone and #NEWPALMYRA. Full Fellowship details and a submission form are available at BasselKhartabil.org.

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Berlin Artists, Coders & Friends of Bassel, Join Majd's Palestine Mapmaking Saturday

Bassel Khartabil fellow Majd Al-shihabi is holding a Palestine Open Maps Mapathon in Berlin on Saturday, May 18 from 1:30 pm until 4:30 pm CET at bekech Anti-Cafe.

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7 Ways to Support Majd Al-shihabi

Majd Al-shihabi is the 1st Bassel Khartabil Fellow. He has produced much work in his one year tenure. Here are 7 ways to support him moving forward.

1. Share Your Feedback on Majd and Mahmoud’s presentation at Creative Commons Summit.

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Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Partners with Noura Ghazi's Nophotozone

The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Supports International Human Rights Lawyer Noura Ghazi’s Launch of “Nophotozone” Organization to Support Detainees Forcibly Disappeared in Syria, like Bassel Khartabil

PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Saint Louis/Damascus — March 21, 2019 — Today the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship announced its partnership with International Human Rights lawyer Noura Ghazi’s Nophotozone organization. Nophotozone supports forcibly disappeared Syrians, and their families, through legal assistance, empowerment, and advocacy. Nophotozone was an idea originated by Ghazi together with her late husband, Bassel Khartabil, the Syrian-Palestinian technology innovator and activist who opened the Internet for the Arab world who was also a victim of unlawful Syrian disappearance.

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The first Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Awarded to Majd Al-shihabi

photo CC-BY Ziad Tareq Hassan

The inaugural Bassel Khartabil Fellowship was awarded today to Majd Al-shihabi, a Palestinian-Syrian engineer and urban planning graduate based in Beirut, Lebanon.

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