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Fly Kites Not Drones

Fly Kites Not Drones Picture Credit: Laurie Holden

Fly Kites Not Drones 2017

The other day on the East Hill, a drone flew over the trees above my head. The first I have seen. It was on a mission to somewhere. I didn’t like it… I value my Drone Empty sky and regularly express my gratitude for it, aware that in other countries, people have threatening drones in their lives. And if them, why not us – the technology isn’t the monopoly of certain people in certain lands. Here, John Enefer writes about participating in Fly Kites Not Drones.

Hastings residents braved a cold and blustery seafront on Saturday (18 March) to take part in this year’s Fly Kites Not Drones, an annual event aimed at exposing the growing use of armed drones across the world. Fly Kites Not Drones was launched by the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a peace group based in Kabul who wished to highlight how, in their war-torn country, children are afraid to fly kites for fear of attack from armed drones, the unmanned vehicles which can fly at such heights as to not be visible to the human eye.

Armed drones have been controversial in the 15 years since their first use. Critics of drones say they make wars more likely by enabling nations to intervene in other countries without risk of fatalities on their own side. Armed Drones have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. Drones have been blamed for many civilian deaths and some drone strikes could be classed as war crimes according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

On Saturday kites were flown on the beach opposite The Carlisle Pub. The kite flyers wore blue scarves made in Afghanistan and worn by the Afghan Peace Volunteers. St Leonards resident, John Lynes said: ‘I was glad there was a good breeze, the kites flew well, and it was good to feel an affinity with the Afghan people.’

Local St Leonards activist, Maya Evans, who has worked with the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabal, said: ‘We had a great time flying kites. Lots of members of the public asked why we were gathered. It was nice to be able to explain our connection to young people in Afghanistan and explain in some counties in the world, children are threatened by weaponised drones.’

The event was organized by Hastings Against War. The local peace group will hold a public meeting on the subject of the Syrian conflict on Tuesday 4 April. The meeting will feature short talks by two people with differing views on the subject: human rights activist, John Lynes, and Bronwen Griffiths, author of a collection of short stories of Syria, ‘Not Here, Not Us’. The event takes place at the Quaker Meeting House, 5 South Terrace, Hastings, beginning at 7.00pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Posted 12:57 Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 In: Campaigns

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