Viral meme artist Quentin Quarantino (his pandemic pen name) has raised over $6.25 million in two days to help fly at-risk asylum seekers out of Afghanistan.
The hugely successful GoFundMe campaign, "Flyaway: Emergency Afghan Rescue Mission," raised $550,000 in the first two hours, and the total exceeded $5 million after the first day.
His GoFundMe page states:
We are coming to you in desperation to conduct an emergency flight rescue of 300+ Afghan souls. I have been working alongside humanitarian aid groups, decorated military veterans, and activists on the ground in Kabul, fighting to save people who otherwise have no chance at survival in the Taliban-occupied Kabul.The individuals in question are high-value targets - Afghan men and women who have worked as human rights lawyers, champions of Women's and LGBTQ rights, journalists, government liaisons, artists, and interpreters - all of whom are at imminent risk of being executed by the Taliban, along with their families. We will be taking full family units.
If these people do not get rescued as soon as possible, neither they nor their family will make it through the month. The Taliban have a KILL LIST and are going door to door, searching for these people and reportedly killing them on sight if found. Every one of these individuals on the manifest have been vetted.
Due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Kabul, this rescue mission will only be possible if $550,000 is raised to fuel 2 airplanes to fly into Kabul from a foreign country. If we raise twice the amount ($1,100,000), we'll do another run. There are enough people in need to make many round-trips with our two airplanes. We will continue multiplying as goals are met.
With help from people on the ground in Kabul, and the newfound security of the airport due to increased US presence we have arranged for a safe onboarding process. All of the people who will be boarding the planes have been extensively vetted.
Every $1,500 raised represents a seat on one of the planes, and a life saved.
Any overages in funds raised beyond flights will be donated to the International Women's Media Foundation, who are actively helping with this rescue effort + settlement, to help the people we rescue start a new life.
Yesterday, the organizer, University of Michigan grad, Tommy Marcus (aka Quentin Quarantino) offered this update on his GoFundMe page:
Raising $5 million in less than 24 hours for this rescue mission has given us, and so many around the world, hope for humanity. Most importantly, it's a direct line to attempt safe passage for Afghans in critical danger. The internet can be a force for good: 100,000 individuals, contributing donations from $1 to $20,000, bought together in less than a day for a common cause. The fundraiser continues to climb, and we're going to use every bit of it to save Afghan lives. These are people who have done so much good for others in their lives, and every penny will help provide them and their families a new, safe start.
With the incredible influx of money into this fund, we have expanded the original goal of making 2-3 round trips to Kabul, to as many flights as the fund and the governments we are collaborating with will allow for. In the past 24 hours, we have expanded our original team significantly. Our plane crew and other helpers are standing by as we prepare for what I can only imagine is the largest crowdfunded humanitarian rescue effort in history.
We cannot wait to start providing updates and information on the planes landing keeping some information out of the public eye (especially given the large media coverage, and the attention that comes with that), is critical to mission security until the evacuees are completely in safe hands. Part of that security concerns the flights themselves, but you all will be the first to know when the first two flights touch down in the asylum countries.
You all have contributed to leading the charge for good. For human decency. For changing the world for the better.
On behalf of the large group of volunteers and veterans working around the clock to make this happen, I want to thank every one of you for reinforcing the importance of this mission. And I want to thank you all for the patience as we navigate so many complexities. Without you, it would not be possible, and your kindness has kindled a light of hope among us all.