Bassel Khartabil

Bassel is the Syrian-Palestinian visionary who opened the internet in the Arab world. His life and legacy emcompass software, hardware, education, art, and culture. After his execution for his work empowering the Syrian people, his friends and community have picked up his torch to further work advancing his ideals. This timeline traces all the projects and lives he's touched.

If you have addtions to the timeline, tweet to @basselkhartabil.

  • 2020

  • April 2nd, 2020

    Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Awarded to Dr. Tarek Loubani and Glia

  • March 15th, 2020

    Bassel Khartabil Day 2020 Celebrated with Online Video Chat Due to COVID-19

  • 2019

  • September 3rd, 2019

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

  • May 22, 2019

    Bassel's 38th Birthday

  • May 10, 2019

    Majd Al-shihabi keynote at Creative Commons Summit Lisbon

  • June 8, 2019

    Majd Al-shihabi runs Palestine Open Maps Mapathon, London, UK

  • January 19, 2019

    Majd Al-shihabi runs Palestine Open Maps Mapathon, Cambridge, UK

  • 2018

  • November, 2018

    Noura Ghazi launches Nophotozone

    Provides legal services and support to dissapeared Syrians and their families. Idea co-conceived of with Bassel

  • July, 2018

    #NEWPALMYRA launches Artifaq platform for cataloging of culture, art, and architecture

  • April 15, 2018

    First Bassel Fellow Announced, Majd Al-shihabi

    Dedicates Fellowship to the projects Palestine Open Maps and MASRAD:platform, an oral history archive

  • February, 2018

    #NEWPALMYRA: first ever 3d model uploaded to Wikimedia/Wikipedia, Asad Al-Lat

  • February 7/8, 2018

    Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship Call of Submissions Opens

  • 2017

  • August 25, 2017

    Over the Edge radio broadcast in tribute to Bassel on 94.1 KPFA (Berkeley, California)

    hosted by Niki Korth and Jon Leidecker

  • August 7, 2017

    Disquiet Junto Project 0294: Offline Status

    Pay tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil by turning his spoken words into music.

  • August 11, 2017

    Wikimedia/Wikipedia Announce Creation of Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship

  • August 1, 2017

    Noura Ghazi confirms Bassel's Death with Syrian authorities

  • July, 2017

    Noura Ghazi first hears rumor of Bassel's Death

  • May 2, 2017

    #NEWPALMYRA: Tetrapylon by Bassel launches at CC Summit Toronto

    Large-scale, 8-foot-high, 3d printed sculpture, based on a reconstruction of the Tetrapylon in Palmyra

  • March 9, 2017

    Disquiet Junto Project 0271: Prison Sky

    Marks the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil's detention. Collaborative composition project based on letter written by Bassel in prison.

  • 2016

  • May 28 – November 27, 2016

    #NEWPALMYRA: Chrome plated Palmyrene Column replica shown in 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

    A World of Fragile Parts pavilion with the Victoria and Albert Museum

  • March 5, 2016

    Jimmy Wales Foundation Asks "Where is Bassel?"

  • 2015

  • November 12, 2015

    Disquiet Junto Project 0202: Text-to-Speech-to-Free

    Based on Cost of Freedom book

  • November 9, 2015

    'The Cost of Freedom: A Collective Inquiry' book released

    Booksprint by Bassel's friends and supporters in Pourrières, France

  • October, 2015

    Bassel Khartabil Executed

    (unknown until August 1, 2017)

  • October 22, 2015

    MIT Media Lab offers Khartabil a Research Scientist position at the Center for Civic Media to work with Ethan Zuckerman

  • October 21, 2015

    #NEWPALMYRA Project launches by releasing Temple of Bel model into Public Domain

  • October 17, 2015

    Creative Commons Board of Directors approves resolution calling for Khartabil's release

  • October 7, 2015

    Human Rights Watch and 30 other human rights organizations issue a letter demanding that Khartabil's whereabouts be disclosed

  • October 6, 2015

    Amnesty International releases status update on Bassel

  • October 3, 2015

    Bassel moved to unknown location with a 'top secret' sealed order from the Military Field Court

  • October 3, 2015

    Bassel Disappeared

    Wael Saad al-Deen was with Bassel when this happens

  • September 1, 2015

    ISIS destorys Palmyra's Temple of Bassel

  • May, 2015

    Islamic State begins destroying Monuments in Palmyra

    ISIS beheads Khaled al-Asaad, lead Palmyra archeologist and collaborator with Bassel on 3d replicas, in the public square

  • April 21, 2015

    United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declares Bassel's detention "arbitrary"

  • March 15th, 2015

    3rd annual #FREEBASSELDAY

  • March 12th, 2015

    Disquiet Junto Project 0167: Placid Cell

    Marking the 3rd anniversary of Bassel Khartabil's incarceration, turn the silence of a room into something soothing.

  • February 14, 2015 (valentines day)

    Noura Ghazi makes public a love letter she wrote to Bassel

  • Syrian refugee crisis spills into the Mediterranean

    impacts Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan with thousands of migrants—many of them Syrian and children—dying in the sea

  • 2014

  • March 18th, 2014

    European Parliament to the Commission publishes written statement

  • March 15, 2014

    2nd annual #FREEBASSELDAY, Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

  • US-led coalition begins bombing Iraq and Syria

  • ISIS declares a “caliphate” headquartered in Raqqa

  • January 23, 2014

    'Junto 108: Free Bassel' collaborative composition competetion based on Bassel creates 38 musical pieces

    led by Marc Weidenbaum / Disquiet

  • 2013

  • December 12, 2013

    European Parliament to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative) raised Bassel's issue

  • Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture, translated by Bassel


  • Karl Fogel’s Producing Open Source Software, by Bassel


  • March 21, 2013

    Bassel receives Index on Censorship's Digital Freedom Award

    sponsored by Google

  • May 22, 2013

    Bassel's birthday and launch of Project Sunlight

    brings international attention to his situation

  • March 15, 2013

    1st annual #FREEBASSELDAY

  • Bassel meets filmmaker Wael Saad al-Deen in prison

  • Syrian government used chemical weapons on civilians in East Ghouta

  • July 7, 2013

    Bassel marries Noura Ghazi

  • 2012

  • December 9, 2012

    Bassel was brought before a military prosecutor who charged him with "spying for an enemy State".

  • November 26, 2012

    Bassel on Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list

  • October 23, 2012

    Amnesty International Taiwan runs letter writing campaign

  • October, 2012

    Amnesty International releases document suggesting Bassel was tortured

  • #FREEBASSEL Campaign launches

  • Bassel imprisoned in Saydnaya Prison

  • March 15, 2012

    Bassel detained by Syrian Military Intelligence

  • 2011

  • December 17, 2011

    Bassel's last tweet: 'They can’t stop us #Syria'

  • December, 2011

    United Nations reports 5,000 Syrians killed

  • September 16-18, 2011

    Creative Commons Summit Warsaw, last time Bassel is seen publicly

  • July 23, 2011

    Bassel proposes to Noura Ghazi

  • April, 2011

    Noura Ghazi and Bassel meet in Douma

  • Aikilab closed by Syrian security forces, equipment stolen

  • Arab Spring erupts

  • 2010

  • November, 2010

    Bassel hosts Open Source leaders in Aikilab, including Mozilla cofounder Mitchell Baker

  • November 1, 2010

    Bassel attends CC Lebanon Launch

  • October 25, 2010

    Open Source Workshop at Digitally Open Forum, Doha, Qatar

    Bassel helps run a workshop on open source principles with Fabricatorz, and participates in the negotiations for defining a common language around open source licenses in the Arab World

  • August, 2010

    Bassel visits China

    Bassel goes to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Beijing and makes connections to China's hardware community

  • June 4, 2010

    Bassel attends CC Asia Conference

  • Qi Hardware Milkymist launches

    Video synthesizer, and later first Bitcoin Miner; Bassel was first investor in the project

  • Qi Hardware Ben Nanonote launches

    first Open Source computer

  • January, 2010

    SAMA Lab proposal denied, changes hackerspace name to Aikilab

    first hackerspace in Arab World/Middle East

  • 2009

  • October/November, 2009

    First hackerspace proposal "SAMA Lab" applied for Berkman MEPI proposal

  • Bassel convinces Al Jazeera to release footage under CC license

  • November, 2009

    Bassel and Jon Phillips organize "Open Art and Technology" event at University of Damascus

  • Qi Hardware launches

  • 2006

  • November 7, 2006

    Openmoko launches

  • 2004

  • Bassel commits software patch to Inkscape

  • Bassel meets Jon Phillips on IRC

    @rejon meets @bassel

  • Openclipart Call for Participation

  • Openclipart is Created

  • 2003

  • Nov 2, 2003

    Inkscape is Created

  • 2001

  • Jan 15, 2001

    Creative Commons Launched

  • Bassel begins work on a 3D Reconstruction of the ruins of Palmyra

    with lead archeologist, Khaled al-Asaad

  • 1992

  • Receives his first Computer

    a gift from his Mother, according to his Uncle.

  • 1991

  • Bassel learns English

    from CD-ROM on his Father's Computer, according to his Uncle.

  • 1981

  • May 22, 1981

    Bassel Khartabil Born

    Damascus, Syria

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