Before you read this, I advise you that some images are graphic in nature.
I first learnt of the Newtown school shootings on the internet. As I read the details, I could not help but feel terribly sad and sorry. I am not an american,and yet I cried because what had transpired was horrible and incomprehensible on all accounts. Those little children deserved the best. I have a few little ones in our family so I know if that tragedy had befallen them what I would feel like and what I would likely do.
Families were devastated, crying people everywhere. I read article after article. I read hundreds of comments scattered across the blogosphere about who was to blame and what should we do. Anger, frustration, shock, sadness, outcry, moderation, everyone had something to say, everyone felt connected. Little angels was the word used almost everywhere, Facebook feeds were filled with 20 stars and a message “20 little angels went to heaven”.
In another part of the world, a silent aircraft hovers over rugged terrain. It is a U.S drone, flying over the mountainous region of Afghanistan. Its target is a single male, housed at the specific location at which the drone is about to strike. Thousands of miles away, in new mexico, a young but very well trained u.s officer is controlling the man-less drone as it draws closer to the target location. This pilot has had a good record, is experienced and is one of the very best in his work. The drone has arrived closer to the target. The officer paints the house with the targeting laser and releases the hell fire missile from the drone. He and a second officer watch as the missile approaches its target. Just then they see a child coming on top of the roof of the house, but by then it is impossible to detract the missile. They watch as the hell fire missile hits the target with a loud explosion.
“Did we just kill a child?” the first officer asks already feeling uneasy.
“Yes I think we did.” says the second officer.
“Command, was that a child?” sweating, the first officer asks his superior just to be sure.
“No, it was a dog.” came the chilling reply.
A dog on two legs.
After a few weeks, the first officer whose name is Brandon Bryant, leaves his job. He has trouble sleeping. He can’t get rid of the images of dead people in his head. The people who were not terrorists but were killed in drone strikes as collateral damage. Women and children, slaughtered. Officer Bryant is seeking medical help now.
What officer Bryant could not say was that he had seen an angel on that rooftop, a little angel that got murdered by a man less – precision – strike – machine.
As the smoke is lifted, more details pour in. If you look at the record of Drone strikes only in the area of Waziristan, you will find that 176 children have died so far by drone strikes alone. Widen the area, and you get another chilling picture. Out of the 3000 U.S drones strikes that hit, 1000 struck civilians rather than “terrorists”. That means for every 2 terrorists, one civilian, one angel was killed. Is that a fair price?
Would it be a fair price to kill a child or a woman, if Charles Manson had been hiding in that house? Or is it because the value of a life of an afghan child or Pakistani child is no more than a stray dog? I know that is not the case for many out there but for some, this has been the case all along.
Hearts connect out of tragedy, my heart weeps for the children and their families who were victims of Sandy Hook. I feel the same for my country and the children who are mindlessly killed because of surgical strikes. 9/11 has passed, I could understand that the people behind that deserved this punishment, but do their children deserve this punishment too? Do you think a 6 year old child could conspire to blow the World Trade Center?
There are little children all around the world, they need to see love, they have a right to live. They live in america and they live in Pakistan, they live in Afghanistan, they live in Somalia. But unlike America these angels do not have a face, they have no names, no one is there to capture their death, or grieve with their families. No, CNN, or BBC covers these stories. No one knows about the silent cries of these little children. Only a few ever find their story heard on the media. But just because they live in Afghanistan or Pakistan does not mean their life has any less value. They are all precious, they all deserve life.
It is my hope that you can see that what happened in Sandy Hook, happens here every other week. You have seen 20 families devastated. I wish you could see the thousand innocent families who see their children, their loved ones die instead of a terrorist. They have no place to go, no one to ask for justice. Yet the U.S continues to strike with drones.
I see people actually supporting drone strikes. I guess they do not know what they are advocating for. If the life of little angels is the fair price to kill a terrorist than yes, continue droning us. But if you can, then put yourself in the shoes of a father whose son has been killed and labeled as collateral damage, what would you do? If you can put yourself in the shoes of an innocent man who lives in his county (not in a war zone) but looks over his shoulder, prays for the safety of his children, because he does not know when the drone strikes next, and he is afraid that his family might get killed in the action, what would be your response?
What would you do? If your child died in a drone strike and the army just shrugged shoulders and told you that it was necessary collateral damage, deal with it. What would you do?
As some one said, war is terrorism with a bigger budget. I am sure this is not true always but in this war, more harm has been done than good.
Stop the drones, every little child deserves life. You may not have been able to stop the massacre at Sandy hook but I urge you to see the massacre that has been going on for 11 years now. With enough people, the policies may change, they must change or else little angels will keep dying. You felt sad for 20 children, please see the misery of thousands of children and their families.
Is there no peaceful solution left? Is the drone attack the only sensible option left? How many more innocents need to die? Who is to blame and who needs to answer?
These are all questions which are more bigger than me. I hope there is some solution, I hope there is a better way, I hope there is peace, I hope that a little angel stays a little longer on earth.