Fundraiser continues to help two Gazan families

Sandra ClarkOpinion

Former UT professor Brian Barber has updated (4/22/24) Knox TN Today readers on his campaign to help the Hussam family escape from the Gaza Strip. Here are our previous stories: first appeal for help and background of Barber’s research.  And here is Brian’s update in his own words:

Greetings everyone, and thank you so much for your contributions! Hussam’s family is deeply grateful. We’ve reached the $10,000 milestone, representing approximately 15% of the overall goal.

Brian Barber Ph.D.

Otherwise, I’m afraid that this update is severe and grim.

Hussam’s family has been staying at his parent’s home in the Nuseirat Camp – a home I have spent much time in – due to heavy bombardment near his own home, the home that he saved for decades to build.

One week ago today, a missile hit his neighbor’s home and the blast was so severe that it blew out all of Hussam’s windows and doors, destroyed all of the furniture and knocked down exterior walls. It is now unlivable. Hussam commented that when he and Mai took the risk to go verify the condition of the home, “words cannot express the horror of all of the death we witnessed on the way to and back from the home.”

But even worse, just today, Mai’s family home was bombarded and destroyed. Her brother, his wife, his son and two nephews were killed. The fathers of those nephews were injured.

Hussam wrote me a few hours ago, “How terrible it was to dig through the rubble with bared hands to try to save the lives of the people still under it, in vain. How painful it was to all of us when we finally could pick up the corpse of a 10-year-old girl before the eyes of her helpless father. How grieving it was when we had to leave the site because it became so dark and dangerous to stay there, leaving behind people under the rubble who could be waiting a window of hope to be found and recovered.”

As the sun is now about to rise in Gaza, Hussam’s entire family will be back at the devastated home, clawing again with their hands through the rubble to find the many trapped within. Hussam and Mai visited that home often to be with Mai’s mother. They could easily have been killed as well had they been visiting today. I was also in that home once to meet an autistic nephew of Mai.

Given these horrible developments, the campaign shifts to an emergency mode. While the long-term goal of continuing the children’s education is as firm as ever, the immediate concern is getting the family out of Gaza. Literally, at any moment, this family – and so many others – could be killed.

Thank you again your kindness. Respectfully, please continue to do all that you can through contributions and, crucially, sharing the campaign as broadly as possible.

Thank you very much!    – Brian

Link to help the family of Khalil and Sahar Abushamalla

Link to help the family of Hussam and Mai Abushawish


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