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2004-12-23

Military Families & 9/11 Families Raise $500,000 for Falluja Refugees

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A delegation of military family members whose sons died while fighting in the Iraq war will travel to Jordan from December 27, 2004 to January 4, 2005 to deliver $600,000 worth of humanitarian supplies for refugees from the U.S. attack on Falluja. [includes rush transcript]

The November attack, which virtually leveled the city and left some 2,000 Iraqis and 71 U.S. soldiers dead, also created thousands of refugees, who are living without adequate food, water, electricity and healthcare. Most of these refugees are children.

In an Internet appeal, the military family members, in collaboration with U.S. peace groups, physicians" organizations, and September 11 families, quickly raised $100,000 in donations. And humanitarian groups such as the Middle East Children"s Alliance and Operation USA contributed $500,000 worth of medical supplies.

  • Adele Welty, lost her son Tim Welty on September 11. He was a New York City firefighter. She is leaving for the Iraq-Jordan border with a delegation that is delivering more than $500,000 in aid to refugees from Fallujah.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Joining us in the studio is Adele Welty. She lost her son, Tim, on September 11. He was a New York City firefighter. Adele Welty is leaving for the Iraq-Jordanian border with this delegation. Welcome to Democracy Now!

ADELE WELTY: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: First, condolences on your son.

ADELE WELTY: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Why would you put yourself in harm’s way like this?

ADELE WELTY: Well, it’s been so frustrating for so long now. Those of us in the peace and justice movement who have been trying to stop — first tried to stop the invasion of Iraq and then to stop the war once it had begun have been frustrated, because we don’t seem to be making any progress, despite writing letters to our congressional representatives, marching in the streets, peaceful demonstrations, going to Washington. Nothing seems to have worked. As our frustration builds more and more people are saying, 'What can we do?' Those of us who suffered loss on September 11 understand the concept of civilian casualties. Yet, as one of your earlier guests said, if they’re foreign, they don’t matter. We don’t really care about people who are not Americans. But those of us who lost somebody on September 11 have a very immediate response to news reports of civilian casualties. So, when I received the email appeal for support, and for people to accompany the medical supplies on this journey, I immediately responded because it was something that I could do that was positive, and as Medea Benjamin stated, to put a different face on Americans for the Iraqi people.

AMY GOODMAN: Your son, Tim. How do you think he would have felt about what you are doing?

ADELE WELTY: He was a firefighter who cared very much about human life. I have felt since September 11 he would not condone the taking of human life in his name. Especially innocent civilians, which were the very people he lost his life trying to save.

JUAN GONZALEZ: : Have you been in contact with humanitarian groups in Iraq who will then utilize the supplies?

ADELE WELTY: Global exchange and Medea Benjamin have been in touch with a journalist who has covered the war in Fallujah. He will be meeting us in Amman, Jordan. He is setting up the contacts with the doctors from the refugee camps. Most of them are treating women and children. Amongst the supplies that we have are not only medical supplies but blankets, water purifiers, heaters.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, i want to thank you very much for being with us, we’re going to follow the delegation. And also we will see if some of the people of the delegation do go into Iraq, perhaps even to Fallujah.

ADELE WELTY: Possibly.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much, Adele Welty, lost her son, Tim Welty, firefighter in New York on September 11, headed to the Jordanian/Iraq bored to bring medical supplies to the people of Iraq. This is Democracy Now!

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