Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 'forgotten victims' of the 1998 American Embassy bombings in Africa

Jury selection began on September 29 in NYC in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who faces 286 federal counts related to the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Below is a heartwrenching reminder of the casualties from NYDaily News: 
They were blown apart, buried alive in rubble, maimed and blinded by terrorism.

Yet the American victims of two U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998 have not received compensation, and their stories have faded from the news since four men were tried and convicted of the plot almost a decade ago.

"These are the forgotten victims of the African terrorist bombings," said Edith Bartley, who lost her father and brother.

While the number of victims is small compared to the death rolls of 9/11, the personal tragedies are just as immense.

Bartley's father, Julian, and brother, Jay, were killed in Nairobi. Deborah Hobson's husband was crushed by the embassy collapse. Ellen Bomer was blinded by the blast and got HIV in an African hospital.

Of the 224 killed on Aug. 7, 1998, only 11 were Americans, but their families have been fighting for recognition ever since.

"We didn't get any compensation" other than medical costs, said Bomer. "Does that mean the people who died in the American embassies are less important than the people who died on American soil? Well, you know what - American Embassies are American soil. We're the unsung and the unheard."

Buried under rubble for five hours after the blast, Bomer emerged with her eyes full of glass and endured 30 surgeries. She won't be able to see Ghailani in the courtroom, though she hopes to one day regain her vision.

Hobson worked in the Nairobi embassy's mailroom but was off that day. Her husband, Sgt. Kenneth Hobson, was in his fourth-floor office answering phones when the bomb went off. She rushed to the scene, saw the twisted steel and concrete and knew he wasn't alive.

She felt sick for weeks, but thought it was just anxiety. In actuality, she was pregnant.
Read the whole thing here:

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