On Friday, October 6th, a delegation of 32 CODEPINK peace activists will set out on a historical march to Waziristan, where US drones have been killing so many innocent people. They will be joining political leader Imran Khan and many thousands of Pakistanis in the first-ever attempt to march to the troubled tribal areas that have been off-limits to non-residents. The group will spend the night of October 6th in Dera Ismail Khan and on October 7th the caravan will proceed to the village of Kotkai, where a massive rally is planned.
The march has already created a stir throughout the country of Pakistan, and internationally. Rumors have been swirling of possible attacks by local militants, and the US embassy has said that it cannot guarantee that drones will not strike during the march. Nonetheless, the group is determined to go ahead.
When asked why she was going to participate in this march considering the serious security risks, Dianne Budd, a medical doctor from San Francisco, answered, “Of course I’m concerned about our security, but I am even more concerned about the security of the people of Waziristan who face constant threats and terror from the drones flying above their heads twenty-four hours a day.”
On Friday, the group met with about a dozen drone attack survivors who came to Islamabad to tell their stories. “I felt horrified and ashamed hearing how these drones have not only killed these people’s loved ones but have disrupted their daily lives,” said Chelsea Faria, 22 years old from Northampton, Massachusetts, and the youngest member of the delegation. “We were told that people are afraid to send their children to school, attend community meetings, go to weddings and funerals, because they never know when a drone might hit.”
The delegation is anxious to show Pakistanis, three-fourths of whom consider America their enemy, that there are Americans who care about their lives and are determined to change US foreign policy. “We also feel this march will put significant pressure on the Obama administration to come clean about these drone attacks, to recognize how inhumane and counterproductive they are,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “We will continue to find ways to protest these barbaric assassinations until they finally end,” she added.