Zubair now prefers grey skies to the blue ones of that day. He says: “The drones do not fly when the skies are grey. And for a short period of time, the mental tension and fear eases. When the skies brighten, though, the drones return and so too does the fear. You see, no one is safe in America’s drone war, not even women and children.”
Zubair is not alone in this. Stanford University’s report, Living Under Drones, describes how drones ‘terrorise men, women and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.’ Children are afraid to go to school, parents are afraid to let them even go outside. Zubair puts it simply: “Drones terrify us. We used to play outside all of the time. Now, when we step outside to play, we hear the scary buzz from above and run back inside…So we don’t play very often.”
On October 29, 2013, Rafiq, Zubair and Rafiq’s nine year-old daughter, Nabila, told their story before US congress. As a result, Zubair remains hopeful that the US will change their terrifying ways: He says: “It was important for me to tell my story. I hope by telling Congress about my village and my grandmother, I have convinced them that drones are not the answer.
More importantly, though, I hope to tell my community that Americans listened and are trying to help us solve the many problems we face. And, maybe, just maybe, America may soon stop the drones.”
Written by Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve
Free speech is a right that is worth preserving. We give our SOAPBOX pages to others to tell us their view of the world.