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Flying Kites Not Drones

Flying Kites Not Drones Picture Credit Laurie Holden

Flying kites instead of drones

On Sunday 18 March, kites flew on Hastings seafront as part of the Fly Kites Not Drones campaign, an international action launched by the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV), a group of peace activists based in Kabal, the Afghan capital. The AVP began the event in 2014, concerned by civilian deaths caused through armed drones and by children being afraid to fly kites in their country because of the fear of these aircraft, which can fly so high as to be invisible from the ground. Kite flying is a much loved pastime in Afghanistan. The AVP were encouraged to begin the event by Voices for Creative Non-violence UK, a peace group co-ordinated by St Leonards resident, Maya Evans. John Enefer writes.

In recent years armed drones have become a new way to wage war. The aircraft are used in conflict zones but are ‘piloted’ remotely, at times thousands of miles away, at sites like Creech USAF in America, or RAF Waddington in England. They have been used in Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and elsewhere. Supporters of this technology claim that armed drones are an effective method of waging war. Former US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stated that Drones were ‘the only game in town’ in disrupting the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

Critics of armed drones argue this technology has introduced a ‘play-station mentality’ to modern warfare and makes war more likely by enabling governments to launch attacks abroad without any threat to their own side. There are also concerns about the number of civilian and ‘bystander’ victims of armed drones. A leaked classified document revealed that nearly 90% of people killed during a 5 month period of one drone campaign in Afghanistan were not the intended targets.

People who’ve been involved in the US drones programme have joined the chorus of criticism. Ex armed drones operator Michael Haas has said: ’You had to kill part of your conscience to keep doing your job every day – and ignore those voices telling you this wasn’t right.’ Brandon Bryant, another ex drone operator, observed that you can’t negotiate with terrorists of the type that carried out the Paris attacks ‘But you have to prevent such people being created. We validate them, we keep this cycle going. Their children are afraid to play out in the sun because that’s when the drones are coming.’

Speaking after the event in Hastings, Maya Evans said: ‘It was really good, there were around twenty people, many we don’t see other times. Although there were freezing temperatures, our spirits were not chilled.’ She observed that’s it’s important people know about the ‘perpetual war’ created by a constant use of armed drones, which the UK continues to deploy abroad.

Fly Kites Not Drones is timed to coincide with Newroz – New Years Day as celebrated in Afghanistan and across the Middle East. This year numerous events were organised across the UK and abroad to highlight the issue of armed drones. The event in Hastings was organised by Hastings Against War. The group meets in the Quaker Meeting House, South Terrace, on the first Tuesday of every month.

Picture Credit Laurie Holden

Picture Credit Laurie Holden


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Posted 05:54 Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 In: Politics

1 Comment

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  1. Fernando Bauza

    Not targeted killings but indiscriminate murder from a distance. Stop UK attack drones in Syria.

    Comment by Fernando Bauza — Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 @ 09:32

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