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An Eid Gift for Nabila: A US Drone

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An Eid gift was delivered to Nabila Rahman’s home by Americans last year. A gruesome gift that blew her grandmother’s body into pieces on a magical day that was supposed to be filled with joy.

Nine-year old Nabila didn’t get a rousing welcome that her country mate Malala Yousufzai received because she didn’t fit the war on terror agenda.  A total of five Congressmen came to her family’s testimony on Tuesday, October 29, 2013; the first ever testimony of drone victims before members of Congress.

After months of paperwork, Congressman Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida and others offered the formal invitation. The only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

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Nabila bit her fingernails and testified that she was collecting okra when the missiles struck. “My grandma was teaching me how you can tell if the okra is ready to be picked,” she said. “All of the sudden there was a big noise. Two fireballs dropped from the sky.”

The most heartbreaking part of the testimony was from her teen brother whose leg was injured by shrapnel from the strike, Zubair, who couldn’t understand why his family was attacked; “I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. Drones don’t fly when sky is gray and for a short time the mental tension eases.”

According to independent organizations, drones attacks have killed at least 300 civilians in Pakistan. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif mentioned a cessation of drone attacks in his recent meeting with Obama. According to top secret memos released right before his visit, it is apparent that the Pakistani government is briefed about the attacks ahead of time.

“She was the string that held the pearls together,” testified Rafiq Rahman of his mother, Momina Bibi, a village favorite. Four of Rahman’s children were injured in the attack, as were four of his brother’s children. The school teacher relayed that many in his community have been killed. “Usually drones strike two times, to kill the relatives who come out to help,” Zubair Rehman, his 13 year old son is chronicled in Robert Greenwald’s documentary, Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.

Jennifer Gibson of Living with the Drones project (currently staff attorney with Reprieve) as well as filmmaker Greenwald testified. Greenwald hopes that the briefing will begin the process of demanding investigation.

Mahdi Bray of the American Muslim Alliance expressed his condolences to the family on behalf of American Muslims.

“It is a real tragedy,” said Bray, “a high-tech wild Wild west.” He said that President Obama Administration is both a Nobel peace prize winner and a constitutional lawyer yet he is clearly violating international law.

After attending the briefing, Bray thinks that there is very little Congress can do. “The only way we will get an redress we have have to direct action campaign when people of conscious will go out and tell the [government] that killing in our name is not acceptable. I have little faith based on the hearing that Congress can do anything, the people will have to express their outrage.”

On November 2, 2013 a U.S. drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud. This strike also threatened to add to strains between the United States and Pakistan, as the Pakistani government had announced settlement talks with the group.

Pakistan had accused the United States of carrying out “a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks.’’

“I think we have always sold war in this country with created hysteria. We are not being protected [and] it creates more resentment for the United States, develops more hatred- we are creating more enemies. I think that it is a matter of debunking the myth and the American people demanding due process,” said Bray.

“Millions of dollars spent and here we are cutting benefits to seniors and cutting aid to the poor while we are dropping bombs on grandmothers.” Bray thinks that the media and progressives have given Obama a pass for his behavior on civil liberties and civil rights. “This is a man who campaigned on ‘Yes, we can’, we have to respond to him with ‘No, we can’t.”

As Nabila, her father and brother headed back home, Bray quoted Thomas Jefferson- “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Originally posted on The Muslim Link

I will be inshaAllah attending the CodePink 2013 Drone Summit.

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mohammed

    November 15, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Those tribes in Pakistan got no choice but to defend against this cruelty and reject those spineless politicians who are acting against the people.

  2. saeed khan

    November 15, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Until Muslims themselves realise that Muslim governments are in league with the enemy and actively work for their removal and the reestablishment of the khilafah state and the shield of Islam then unfortunately little will change.

  3. convert of 24 years

    November 15, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Allah decided to send these people, the victims, straight to Paradise. InshAllah They are the lucky ones. All we can do is helping the survivors with money, food and our prayers for them .We cannot overthrow anyone and the US Govt. knows the majority of Americans are against this.

  4. Pingback: RC UAV » An Eid Gift for Nabila: A US Drone - MuslimMatters

  5. Said Hasan

    November 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Dear Muslimmatters,

    It seems you allow all kind of rubbish comments to be posted by stupid people like Muhammad above who may not be a Muslim spreading filth links. He gives the same link in your contact page.
    I also told you that I can’t view website for days yesterday and hours after that the problem was still there.
    Now I can access your page but its possible hours after now or tomorrow I may not.
    Surely you have big technical problem. Please solve it.

  6. Jon Solis

    November 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    This is a very complicated issue that the author attempts to simplify by emphasizing the humanitarian aspect without considering any of the other real issues. In examining the drone war, the following issues should really be addressed:
    1) Is the Taliban at war with the United States of America? The Taliban gave aid to Al-Qaeda which attacked the United States on 9/11. I would submit that the Taliban is at war with the United States.

    2) Does the country of Pakistan exercise its sovereign authority over areas in which the Taliban have sought safe haven? I would submit that Pakistan has abrogated its claims of sovereignty over areas in which they have completely lost control.

    3) Do the Taliban represent a legitimate target for the U.S. military? I would submit that as long as they continue to advocate violence against the United States and the perpetrators behind those who supported Al-Qaeda are still being shielded, they are a legitimate target.

    4) Is the U.S. violating Pakistan sovereignty? I would submit that they are, although I believe that #2 above applies and I remain unconvinced that the leadership of Pakistan is as upset about this violation as they pretend to be.

    5) Does the U.S. deliberately attack non-military civilian targets with drones? I submit there is no evidence that this is occurring, and that military targets have been expressly targeted with the by-product of civilian casualties.

    6) Does the occurrence of any civilian casualties/deaths de-legitimize the drone campaign? I believe this is the key to this article. I know of no wars where civilian casualties have not occurred. It is a horrible thing when innocent victims are caught in the crossfire in a war not of their choosing. Have there been no civilian casualties in the Qu’ran? If one examines the history of warfare, I believe that the percentage of civilian casualties in the war against the Taliban has actually been relatively low.

  7. Pingback: Congress Doesn't Applaud Muslim Tolerance at State of the Union

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