Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remote Killing: Rep. Alan Grayson Invites Pakistani Family to Speak at Congressional Briefing about Drone Strikes

Today I'm adding things to my "To Do" list faster than I'm crossing things off.  I really don't have time to sit down and write a blog post at the moment.  Tomorrow is Halloween and I'm the mother of a seven-year-old American girl.  I need to run to the store and pick up more bags of Snickers and Milky Ways to replenish the contents of our Halloween candy bucket from which I've been stealing all week.  I must scrub the toilet and the floor so our guests don't walk into the filthy bathroom and throw up the candy they've already scarfed down from their Trick or Treat bags after we gather at our house following a fun evening of socially-sanctioned begging for candy from neighbors.  I need to assemble 25 Witch's Hat cookies for my daughter and her classmates to enjoy at tomorrow's Halloween party.  Room mothers have little time for political activism.

But I must take a moment out of my busy life, put my party-planning aside long enough to share some important news:

For the first time in history, members of The United States Congress heard from alleged victims of our country's drone attacks.  The Pakistani family flew to our country to give their account of the horror.  Two children speak of being out in the field picking okra with their grandmother.  They saw the drones coming and they ran.  Their grandmother, in her sixties, couldn't get away.  She was killed.  She was a grandmother.  She was a midwife.  She took care of living beings and helped bring life into this world.  She was not a terrorist.  Her son, the father of the two children who were injured physically and emotionally from the drone attack had this to say:

"As a teacher, my job is to educate. But how do I teach something like this? How do I explain what I myself do not understand? How can I in good faith reassure the children that the drone will not come back and kill them, too, if I do not understand why it killed my mother and injured my children?"

I first heard about this landmark congressional briefing on NPR this morning.  I had just turned on the radio, wanting to feed my head while I loaded the dishwasher with the remnants of last night's evening meal I enjoyed with my family.  They interviewed Rep. Alan Grayson, the heroic critic of our government's handling of the War on Terror.  I turned up the volume on my boom box when I heard his name.  He's one of those people who live in the spotlight who I actually trust to not spew bullshit from his mouth.  I've grown weary of listening to most people who have a big platform from which to be heard: celebrities, politicians, TV news anchors.  Representative Grayson seems to be the real deal.  He's not perfect and he's sometimes controversial, but I respect his fervor.  He insists we pay attention no matter how busy we are.

Only five members of Congress paid attention.  Only five members of Congress could be bothered to attend the briefing.  Only five members of Congress had the honor of listening live to the translator stop and weep as she attempted to tell them of the atrocities committed against this innocent Pakistani family by our government. 

This post points out how shameful it is that only five members of Congress could be bothered to show up.

But you know what?  Screw the No-Shows in Congress.  We can vote them out of office soon.  For now, please take some time from your busy schedule to watching this important congressional briefing.

You can watch the video in full here:

It's long, and I understand our time is precious.  If nothing else, please skip ahead to minute 11:55 to hear Representative Grayson say these remarkable words:

"Apart from the 100 plus people who are here in this room with us today, watching me, watching us, watching the testimony you're about to hear, everyone who hears this testimony will hear it from afar.  It could be in the next room.  It could be in another city.  It could be in another country.  That technology in one form or another has been with us for one-hundred and fifty years.  Remote viewing, remote listening, seeing things from far away.  My children engage in it virtually all the time.  And it has become pervasive in our lives.  Now today there's a new technology in our lives.  And that technology is remote killing.  The ability to kill people from a great distance.  Through drone warfare."  --Rep. Alan Grayson

Please share this post to spread the word.  While our children celebrate a day of pretend-fear, where they dress up in costumes and walk door-to-door in their neighborhood to get free candy they can eat til their tummies ache, children 8,000 miles away live in actual fear of leaving their homes to go to school, let alone to go door-to-door begging for candy.  Because the people we elect into office think of them as not "our" children, but as nothing more than collateral damage.

Thank you so much for staying with me this long.  I know, I gotta go too.  I've got a family to take care of, just like everybody else on this planet.  Including people 8,000 miles away.