Return to Afghanistan: 9/11 Family Member Revisits First Battlefield of “War on Terror”
NEW YORK – A September 11th family member who visited Afghanistan in January, 2002, is returning to that country to visit families and friends he met there, and to explore how their lives have changed as a result of the ongoing “war on terror.”
“We must remember that we are all one family, especially after September 11th,” said Derrill Bodley, a music professor from Stockton, California whose daughter, Deora, died in the crash of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. “I am going back to renew my memories and to renew my commitments to that belief.”
Bodley made his original journey to Afghanistan in 2002 to see firsthand the country which had harbored the terrorists responsible for his daughter’s death. He was accompanied by three other family members of September 11th victims — Eva Rupp, Rita Lasar, and Kelly Campbell. The trip was facilitated by Global Exchange, whose founding director, Medea Benjamin, joined them.
The delegation visited hospitals, schools, families, refugee camps, orphanages, and a radio station, as well as the U.S. Consulate, where Bodley and his colleagues–who would later create September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows—began a process of pressing the U.S. government to acknowledge and compensate the living victims of the U.S. bombing campaign which had caused uncalculated and unreported collateral damage throughout Afghanistan.
During his return trip, January 2–13, 2004, Bodley will be working with several non-profit groups and Afghan-based NGO’s that are carrying the burden of reconstruction in Afghanistan, on issues of education and literacy, self-help employment grants, medical facilities and de-mining programs. Through his efforts in Afghanistan and the continuing work of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Bodley hopes to remind the U.S. government and the people of America of their responsibilities to assist the people of Afghanistan, and to prevent the buildup of hatred that is becoming the legacy of America’s current foreign policy there and elsewhere around the world.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows represents more than 100 family members of September 11th victims. Members of the group have traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Korea, India, Turkey, Italy and Britain, and are currently organizing the first international gathering of families affected by terrorism and war. Their website is www.peacefultomorrows.org.
While in the Kabul area in January, Bodley can be reached through the Global Exchange office at: 011-93-070-283-755.
Peaceful Tomorrows, Box 1818, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009