How the Instagram Star Helped Save Dozens of People from Afghanistan


More than 1,21,000 people donated to the campaign after Mr. Marcus appealed to his 8,32,000 followers, making it one of the largest humanitarian fundraisers in GoFundMe history.

Dozens of desperate Afghans, who were trying to flee the Taliban before the August 31 deadline for the US withdrawal from Kabul, made it to an unexpected place – with the help of Instagram influencer Quentin Quarantino.

Quarantino is the alter ego of 25-year-old Tommy Marcus from New York City, previously known for his liberal memes and his jokes about opponents of COVID-19 vaccination.

Along with his followers, Mr. Marcus raised $7 million within days to launch a rescue operation in Afghanistan to evacuate as many people as possible on GoFundMe, many of whom he said were threatened by the Taliban.

On 25 August, his mission ‘Operation Flyaway’ helped ferry 51 people from Afghanistan to Uganda on a private chartered plane financed by a GoFundMe campaign.

More than 1,21,000 people donated to the campaign after Mr. Marcus appealed to his 8,32,000 followers, making it one of the largest humanitarian fundraisers in GoFundMe history.

“It is beyond humility that they have faith in me, that they are willing to put significant amounts of money into the hands I trust,” said Mr. Marcus. The Associated Press.

Saraya International, a global development firm, and the Rockefeller Foundation, both of which provided organizational support for the flight to Uganda, as well as another company involved in the evacuation, confirmed AP That flight was chartered by emergency support funded through Mr. Marcus’s GoFundMe campaign.

“I don’t know what word to use other than miraculous, because it restores faith in humanity,” said Mr. Marcus.

“We have left the political divide in this situation and really came together from all walks of life to rally and save these people because .. they don’t deserve their future if they live in Afghanistan now Huh.” Those evacuated, Mr Marcus said, were women, children, humanitarians and others “who have long been fighting for the greater good in Afghanistan,” as well as their families. Organizers said they were trying to rescue 300 people who, along with their families, were “at imminent risk of being killed by the Taliban.” The team was met with skepticism from experts, who questioned whether they had the ability to pull. One such mission comes at a time when governments, corporations and charity groups are rushing to get their citizens and employees out of Afghanistan, regardless of which plane they are on.

Mr Marcus’ group said more than 350 people had been rescued, with around 300 departing from Kabul on other chartered flights that were reimbursed for ‘Operation Flyaway’ to provide a safe passage out of the country.

A State Department spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement that the department “appreciates the community-led efforts to support the Afghan rehabilitation and resettlement process, reflecting the generosity of the American people and the international community.” “However, we are unable to verify the authenticity or effectiveness of these efforts,” the statement said.

Officials from several non-profit groups describe a chaotic and alarming scene at Kabul airport as they rushed to fill private chartered flights with people who have the necessary paperwork in a limited amount of time to get their planes on the tarmac. Can keep

“I am extremely proud of our exceptional team and what we have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time,” said Sayara CEO Scott Shadian.

“I just wish we could have done more. Simply put, institutions fail, and it breaks my heart to see how much more we could have achieved. We’re grateful we’ve done the greatest thing ever.” Got as many people out as against the odds.”

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