Thursday, November 26, 2015

#Wikipedia - #Freebassel and #Erasmusprijs

Yesterday our Wikipedia community received the Erasmusprijs. It was a wonderful occasion where the king of the Netherlands handed the prize to three Wikipedians :).

It was wonderful. I met with many old friends, it was the first time that I was in the presence of our king and queen, and princess Beatrix.. AWESOME is the word.

One burning topic, something that tempered the spirits, was Bassel, our fellow Wikipedian from Syria who has been sentenced to death. He embodies our values and the values of the Erasmus society. One question that was considered was what to do.

We can steal a page out of the book of Amnesty International and the director of the Dutch branch suggested calling embasies. It did work for Amnesty in the past. We may ask attention for Bassel on the Wikipedia central notice and, this is being worked on.

More ideas came up. I met with old friends from the Tropenmuseum. They are the original GLAM partners and they will consider providing us with material about Syria or Iraq. Thinking along these lines, it could become a "snowball project" where every GLAM is asked to participate and donate from their collection.

I met an old friend from Germany, she came up with the idea of asking refugees to edit Wikipedia in whatever language about their country, their topics. It would keep them occupied, not happy but busy in a positive way and make them Wikipedians like Bassel.

The only thing we can really do as Wikipedians is do what we do best. It is provide information in a neutral point of view. Arguably because of the lack of information about Syria we are not doing what we should do. Recognising this it is fitting when we support Bassel by writing in our own way in our own project about Syria, its people, its history. It is the best message that we can give. Like Bassel we dream of a world where we can all share in the sum of all knowledge.

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