Event: PPRC Friday Rally
Date: Friday, August 2nd, 2002
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland Aid Volunteers Return from Afghan Border
The PPRC's weekly rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday, August 2nd, at 5:00 p.m., welcomes the return of Portland refugee aid volunteers Ann and Bruce Huntwork from their six months of work with Afghan refugees on the Iran-Afghanistan border. "As we left Iran, my greatest concern was for the distribution of food aid," said Ann Huntwork. "The Afghan farmers are still six months away from their first harvest, and it is clear from our work on the border that hunger is still a serious problem." The Huntworks also said that the Red Crescent Society (the counterpart to the Red Cross in Islamic regions of the world) was already stockpiling food and other aid materials on the border with Iraq on the assumption that a U.S. war was imminent. "The human cost of a U.S. invasion and war will be yet another catastrophe for the people of this region," said Ann Huntwork. "We should be providing more humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, and instead our government is planning to make war on a country that is still suffering horribly from the last war and from the devastating embargo."
Bruce and Ann Huntwork set off to work on the border between Iran and Afghanistan six months ago, taking up residence in Khorasan, a province of Iran on the Afghanistan border. They traveled to the region as members of a Mennonite peace organization. The Mennonites have a long history of humanitarian aid work throughout the world. Mennonite volunteers present the face of compassion and material assistance, often in regions where the official U.S. government policy involves military or economic aggression. Both Ann and Bruce Huntwork are medical professionals and speak fluent Farsi, the primary language of Iran, having lived there for many years. They will be speaking about their experiences of the last six months and sharing their concerns for the people of the region. "We want to share a view of the people we met and worked with over the last six months," said Ann Huntwork. "It is a view that is never seen on the televisions or in the newspapers and magazines of our country, but it is a view of humanity that Americans need to see if we are to avoid more tragedy in the coming months and years."
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