Friday, December 11, 2015

#MissingBassel - What to do for him and, for #Syria

#Bassel is a Wikipedian. He has been sentenced to death and according to some, there is not much that we can do. They are wrong. We can do so much even within the confines of what they think is our neutral point of view.

Bassel is from Syria, in many ways people think they Syrians are the enemy. They are wrong. Bassel is a Syrian and he is one of the 735 Syrians in all of Wikipedia. Writing about Syria, about Syrians is what we can do. Without adequate coverage of Syria there is no neutral point of view. We need to know about Syria and its history, the people that make up the Syrians without making information available in Wikipedia, it is all too easy to persist in the idea that they are the enemy.

When we write articles, we need illustrations. We need illustration about modern Syria and the Syria that once was. Particularly for this last part, our friends in the many GLAM institutions for help. When we explain our need, they are quite happy to raise to the occasion, after all it is for a Wikipedian..

At the Erasmus award ceremony we got to talk and people from the Tropenmuseum came up with the idea of checking their collection. They have a small collection of 356 images readily available for upload and, they need some assistance.. It is such a small collection because it is not easy to ask the often Syrian photographers for their permission.. the fog of war you know..

We can make a difference for Bassel, make no mistake. We can ask our GLAM friends, we can ask Syrians who live abroad, we can ask anyone for illustrations about everything Syria. We can ask ourselves what we can do and the least we can do is make a difference and write about Syria and the Syrians.

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