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Qatar Airways To Carry One Million Candles To Gaza

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways has answered the call of an international campaign initiated by a grieving Palestinian woman who has launched a peaceful initiative against civilian deaths in Gaza. The airline is throwing its support behind the delivery of one million candles to the people of Gaza in a story that has captured the attention of over 75 countries.

UK resident Manal Timraz, conceived her campaign “One Million Candles” while mourning the deaths of 15 of her family members, who were killed in a single bomb attack in Gaza last month. Eleven of the dead were children – nieces and nephews of Timraz all aged under 12.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker learned about Timraz’ story and the One Million Candles campaign, and immediately offered the assistance of the airline.

“The death of loved ones, especially children, and in such a great number, would be a terrible loss to bear for anyone. I personally felt compelled to help Manal, who has suffered an incredible tragedy as have so many others in Gaza caught up in the recent conflict. I quickly offered the support of Qatar Airways to bring Manal, with her candles, from London to the Middle East,” said Al Baker addressing media in Doha today.

“Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Cargo is fully behind Manal and her campaign to bring light and hope to the darkness of people’s lives in Gaza and, with it, the knowledge that there are people in this world who advocate peace over violence and won’t forget the people who lost family members in the recent conflict.

“The airline is a big supporter of humanitarian initiatives. We are a global airline, serving over 80 destinations across four continents, and have offered our assistance following a number of disasters, including last year’s devastating earthquake in China, as well as delivering aid to the stricken Darfur region in Sudan, and aid to tsunami victims in 2006.” he added.

The One Million Candles campaign, launched a month ago, reached out to people in Manal’s adopted country of Britain and asked for donations of candles as a gesture of solidarity and support for the people of Gaza.

One Million Candles has sparked major interest, receiving support from a number of people from across the political and entertainment spectrum including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Hollywood star Richard Gere.

During a brief stopover in Doha enroute to Gaza via Amman, Timraz thanked Qatar Airways for its support in making her campaign a success.

She stressed that her objective was only to make people aware that normal citizens were unwittingly caught up in this struggle and ultimately paid for it with their lives.

“This campaign is not about assigning blame, nor is it politically motivated,” said Timraz.

“One Million Candles is about reaching out to the humanity in each and every one of us, and for everyone across the world to understand that essentially we are all the same. There is no need to fight, no need for war and no need for innocent people to die.

“If anything can be gained from this campaign, I hope that it can shed light on the terrible tragedies that have occurred, not just for me, but for all those in Gaza who are mourning the loss of loved ones,” added Timraz.

“The international response to this campaign has been overwhelming. It really shows that the average person is not okay with what’s happened in Gaza, and they really want to offer their support. This is not a personal crusade of mine. I began the campaign and have been extremely touched by the level of support from so many people around the world.”

Timraz, her two children, and campaign advocates flew Qatar Airways from London to Doha today and due to travel onto Amman for their final destination of Gaza.

About One Million Candles: One Million Candles is a campaign for peace in Gaza. Launched by Manal Timraz, who lost 15 family members – 11 of them children – during the bombing of the Gaza strip in January 2009, the initiative involves a request for donations of candles from anybody and everybody to show solidarity and compassion for the people in Gaza who lost loved ones. One Million Candles will culminate on February 14 Valentine’s Day, when people from cities across the Gaza Strip, the west bank, the Territory of 1948  and in over 75 countries, including Hiroshima, Japan will light candles as a show of support for peace. 

About Qatar Airways: Doha-based Qatar Airways has a strong record in supporting humanitarian initiatives, having sent aid to victims of the 2004 tsunami that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The airline has also delivered humanitarian aid to Darfur in Sudan, as well as offered to help re-build schools in China following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in 2007 and also supporting the rebuilding efforts of victims of the strong tremors in Pakistan a year earlier in which thousands of people lost their lives.  

Qatar Airways has also delivered three cargo plane loads of humanitarian aid to Gaza as part of the relief efforts of the Qatari government. The airline employs over 12,000 people from 83 nationalities, and has offices in 90 countries around the world making Qatar Airways a truly international airline.

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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