Meme artist raises more than $ 2 million in 5 hours to save Afghans on Taliban casualty list


We have all spent several days watching the news from Afghanistan with a mixture of horror, sadness and frustration. Images of crowds of people screaming to get on planes at Kabul airport, of human beings clinging to a flying jet before falling from the sky, hordes of desperate men, women and children to escaping from a violent extremist regime crammed like sardines into American cargo planes is too much.

We know there are so many people we can’t help. This is the tragic reality. But there are people we can help. And it is happening, right now, on the Internet and on the ground in Afghanistan.

A humanitarian mission has been set up by former members of the U.S. military and special operations to remove hundreds of those on the Taliban-killed list from the country as soon as possible. The mission includes two planes, close links on the ground in Afghanistan and the logistical know-how to bring out a group of more than 300 women’s rights activists, translators and their families, as well as other high-value targets. who are in imminent danger. from the country.

Several collaborators coordinate the mission.

Sheffield Ford, an American veteran with 24 years of military special forces service, heads the private special missions company Raven Advisory, LLC. Ford was deployed to Afghanistan during his time on active duty and has extensive knowledge of how things work on the ground there, as well as connections with those in need of relief.

Karen Kraft, an army veteran who runs VME, a professional association US military veterans working in media and entertainment, also has ties to Afghans on the Taliban casualty list. She coordinates with the people on the ground to get them out. Ford and Kraft have been working together for about a week to get specific people on the theft manifesto who have been carefully vetted and known to be Taliban targets.

The planes, supplied by a defense-related product trading company, have pilots dedicated to carrying out this humanitarian mission. Two manned planes are ready and ready to enter the next day to bring the people listed on the manifesto to a country of asylum. Cost is the only real issue, as each plane full of passengers (including fuel, crew, security, clearances, etc.) costs $ 225,000. (Looking at it another way, it costs $ 1,500 per life saved, which seems a lot less intimidating.) The hope was to get at least one people plane out, but mission operators were asking for two. or more.

Now here’s the really amazing part. The money for the mission comes from ordinary people who care and want to do something to help. Thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, the incredible online community built by Same Artist / Fundraiser Extraordinary Tommy Marcus (a.k.a @ Quentin.Quarantino) appeared large.

Funds for the first plane have been raised in barely 38 minutes.

And in just over an hour, people had donated the entire amount needed for two planes. 11,000 people donated $ 550,000, for an average donation of $ 50 per person, just like that. Surprising.

The target has now been raised again to $ 2.2 million in hopes of getting more people planes out. Any funds raised that are not used for the rescue will be donated to the International Women’s Media Foundation, which helps protect high-risk women journalists in Afghanistan.

Things move fast in Afghanistan and there are a lot of moving parts in such a rescue mission, but this is what people can do when we come together, look for partners who are able and willing to team up, and invite others. to contribute.

As Gabe Reilich, Head of Content and Innovation at GOOD (who also served as an advisor for the mission), puts it:

“For all those who are tired of pointing fingers, tired of pointing out virtue without action, this is for us. The opportunity to make a real impact, to save real lives, to help people in need Help immediately It feels desperate to be sitting on the sidelines watching this tragedy unfold, and now it is possible to actually help.

Make no mistake, human decency and action make it possible to change the world, even if it is only the world of an individual, a life helped, a life saved . “

Indeed. Learn more about the mission and fundraising here.

CORRECTION: The original publication of this article contained the wrong name of the company that owns the aircraft used. This information has been updated.

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