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Coming Home - From One Ground Zero to Another

January 29, 2002


John Sellers

director, Ruckus Society.

That was Rita Lasar, speaking from Afghanistan. She lost her brother, Abe Zelmanowitz, in the attacks on September11th at the World Trade Center.

The Pentagon is reporting that American special forces descended on two Taliban compounds last Thursday, killing 15and taking tens more captive. In the days since the raid, Afghans living in the area have begun to tell a differentstory. They say that the U.S. forces attacked a school not a compound, and that those killed were neither Taliban noral-Qaida, but local people sent to negotiate the surrender of weapons from Taliban in the area. The Pentagon hasdenied the allegations, but on Sunday, a delegation of villagers arrived in Kandahar to complain to Afghanauthorities that the U.S. Army had killed innocent people in its violent raid. The villagers had traveled some 100miles to tell their story; it had taken them more than three days.

Meanwhile, a small delegation of Americans was making its own kind of pilgrimage to bear witness. Four people wholost loved ones in the September 11th attacks, traveled to Afghanistan to meet others who had lost loved ones. Fornine days, they toured the country, sharing their grief and gathering the stories of the second Ground Zero. When itwas over, they vowed to tell the tales of the forgotten victims and to demand that the United States create acompensation fund for innocent Afghans like the one they created for innocent Americans.

Yesterday, three members of that delegation visited us in our firehouse studio: Rita Lasar, whose brother AbeZelmanowitz died in the attack on the World Trade Center; Kelly Campbell, an environmental campaign coordinator,traveling on behalf of her brother-in-law; and Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, the human rightsgroup that organized the trip to Afghanistan.


  • Rita Lasar, who lost her brother, Abe Zelmanowitz, at the World Trade Center.
  • Kelly Campbell, whose brother-in-law Craig Amundson was killed in the Pentagon attack.
  • Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, the group that organized the trip to Afghanistan.

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