Alyssa Figueroa | Alternet
“Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted today.…All [media] reported that three, four, five militants were killed. But only one person was killed that day: Momina Bibi, a grandma, a midwife…not a militant but my mother.”
These are the words of Rafiq ur Rehman, whose 67-year-old mother was killed in Pakistan by U.S. drone in October 2012. Rehman told this story at a congressional briefing on Tuesday, accompanied by his two children, Nabila, 9, and Zubair, 13, who were injured by drones. Rehman’s other child Asma, 5, and his five nieces and nephews were also injured. The briefing, organized by Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), was the first time lawmakers heard from drone strike survivors and drone victims’ families.
“The string that holds the pearls together,” Rehman said. “That is what my mother was. She was the string that held our family together. Since her death, the string has been broken and life has not been the same. We feel alone and we feel lost.”
There is an estimate of 2,600 to 3,400 people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, only 2 percent of whom were on the U.S. government’s high-value target list. Most of the rest go unnamed and unacknowledged by the U.S. government, though there are estimates of at least 400 to 900 confirmed civilian deaths and 200 deaths of children. The media reports that drones are constantly killing militants, mainly because President Obama redefined the term “militant” to mean every man of military age. Drone strikes have also been reported in Yemen and Somalia.
A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans, 65 percent, support the use of drones. Ninety-seven percent of Pakistanis oppose drone use, while 74 percent consider the U.S. an enemy of their country. These growing numbers discredit the claim that our wars overseas are making us safer.
Stopping drone strikes will take collective action. Here are a few ways you can fight back against drone use.