The trepidation in Afghanistan heightened after the US troops pulled out after several years of holding the fort and preventing total control by the devastating Taliban. As a result, many Afghans entered panic mode and sought a way out of the country. The history of the Taliban’s ruthlessness is not new to the Afghans, which explains the panic of wanting to leave the country. But, an unlikely hero in the form of Tommy Marcus, an Instagram meme lord, is one that leaves many in wonder.
In this article, we are going to look at how one Tommy Marcus was able to raise over $5 million for the evacuation of Afghans fleeing Taliban rule. It is a scintillating story that started casually. Marcus, who posts as “Quentin Quarantino” is an Instagram personality with over 800,000 followers. We will explain how an initial target of $550,000 which Marcus calculated will pay for the flight of at least 300 people turned into millions of dollars. It is a chilling story.
Who is Tommy Marcus?
Apart from his life on social media, nobody knows where Marcus was born or how his parents are. He is popularly called @Quentin.Quarantino on Instagram where he got his fame from. His personal page which has his original name has over 40,000 followers. But his professional page where he shares memes and other content has close to a million followers as of the time of writing this.
Personal Life of Tommy Marcus
We do not know a lot about Tommy Marcus, but we know he has a huge crush on politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC. We know it is only a fantasy. However, there is no woman in Marcus’ life as we speak.
The Problem of Afghans Vs Talibans
For several years, the Taliban, an Islamic terrorist group had ravaged the country of Afghanistan. The US troops intervened to quell the effects of the Taliban rule, offering a respite to the citizens. As a result, there was relative calm in the country which resulted in democratic processes in selecting the president. The presence of the American troops may just be money consuming. The fundamental problem looks like no solution any time soon. As a result, the president of the United States of America, Joe Biden withdrew his troops.
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When the news filtered that the American troops were leaving, chaos began. Afghans feared for their lives. Even worse, the elected president fled the country, aggravating the trepidation the citizens already had. If your president flees your country for fear of what the Taliban will do to him, then you know this is serious and you should also run for your life. Fear drove many Afghans to airports seeking any means to enter the next available flight. It got so bad that some hung onto the plane just to escape. There were gory pictures of people falling down from the sky after the airplanes had taken off.
With the world witnessing all of these, people needed to do something to help Afghans escape. This is where Tommy Marcus comes in. With a large number of followers, Marcus sought their financial help so as to help in evacuating Afghans.
How Tommy Marcus Helped in Raising Over $5 Million To Evacuate Afghans
With several pictures and videos littering the internet of Afghans hustling to enter available flights was sad to see. Obviously, these people needed help and Tommy Marcus discovered that he can play a role in making this a reality. So what did Tommy Marcus do? He created a GoFundMe account with a target of $600,000. He believed that the amount will be enough to evacuate at least 300 people. However, barely 38 minutes after he made the post, $550,000 had entered the account. Seeing that people were already responding to the post, Marcus increased the limit of the account.
Marcus gave an explanation on the disbursement of the money contributed said this on Instagram:
“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 has 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.”
Tommy Kept Updating The Account
In less than 24 hours, Tommy had raised more than $5 million beating the initial amount set. With this turn of events, it would be easy to evacuate more people from the country.
In explaining how he and his team planned to evacuate Afghans, he said this:
“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.”
As of the time of writing this article, $7.2 million is in the GoFundMe account.
The Evacuation Process Struggled to Get Underway
In a report by The Washington Post, it looks like monies contributed to the evacuation had not been put into good use. In other words, not that the firm for which Tommy Marcus assembled the funds raised has not helped. The funds were not maximised. This is a problem of organisations that are not non-profits. According to figures by The Washington Post, about $5.2 million were used to rescue 435 persons. This is gross overspending. The larger percentage of that $5.2 million was paid to a New Zealand Charter company. This company is under investigation by U.S authorities.
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Whether the whole efforts put into raising funds for the evacuation of Afghans will be successful remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.