Stephen Colbert Spotlights World Central Kitchen Worker Deaths

On a new episode of The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert emphasized the need to “talk about what everyone’s talking about” and opened the show by commenting on the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza this week.

“I hope there is one thing we can all agree on: human beings should have food and water,” Colbert said after acknowledging the vast divisions in opinions on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. “Here’s the thing, on Monday seven World Central Kitchen aide workers were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Our thoughts are with the families and the loved ones of these heroes.”

The host read off the workers’ names, adding “How could something like this happen? Despite the fact that the World Central Kitchen coordinated their movements with the Israeli military and the team was leaving the warehouse in central Gaza after unloading shipments of food, they were hit by multiple precision Israeli drone strikes.”

Colbert recounted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu’s response to the attack, in which he claimed, “This happens in war.” “Then maybe consider ending the war,” Colbert replied. “Because this is not an isolated incident.”

He explained that more than 200 international aide workers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict, as well as thousands of innocent people. Colbert noted that World Central Kitchen is “near and dear” to his heart as it’s led by his friend José Andrés. “They get in there with the food and they do the job,” he said of WCK, which doesn’t take sides in their efforts to feed people in places of disaster. “They’re like Seal Team DoorDash.”

“Instead of being welcomed they have been attacked by the IDF and Hamas has hauled members of their team in for interrogation,” Colbert continued. “So whatever you think should happen in Israel and Gaza, I hope we can all agree that people should be allowed to eat.”

The WCK workers were traveling in two armored cars branded with the charity’s logo in a de-conflicted zone when they were killed, WCK said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route,” the organization confirmed.

Yesterday, Andrés said in an interview with Reuters that the workers were targeted “systematically, car by car.” “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andrés said. “Even if we were not in coordination with the [Israel Defense Forces], no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.”


The founder also published an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday, remembering the victims as more than “generic aid workers or collateral damage in war.”

“In the worst conditions you can imagine — after hurricanes, earthquakes, bombs and gunfire — the best of humanity shows up. Not once or twice but always,” Andrés wrote. “The seven people killed on a World Central Kitchen mission in Gaza on Monday were the best of humanity. They are not faceless or nameless.”


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