When you live in a privileged country like the U.S. but originate from a nation in shambles like Afghanistan, you are much more aware – almost hyper-sensitive to political hypocrisy. And this hyper-sensitivity was on overdrive this week for me when I kept viewing the loop of this clip:
Watching Obama cry for victims of gun violence, especially the poor innocent children of Sandy Hook shook my soul. As I viewed it, I cried the same time he did. But I was crying for more than just that.
I turned 18 the election year Obama ran for president. I remember driving in the rain to vote for this man. I remember scolding my friends who also turned 18 that same year and didn’t vote. I thought how un-American of them: don’t they want to exercise one of the greatest privileges we’ve been given as adults in this nation?
I cried because the man I voted into office is the same man that drones Afghan/Pakhtun children in their sleep. I cried because I felt complicit in these “casualties” of war through my tax dollars. I cried because I shuddered at the thought that my niece is the same age as most of the victims of drone warfare: toddlers.
Why does this double-standard exist? Why does he cry for Sandy Hook, but defends drone operations?
And why are we patting him on the back for it?
To tout this man as a Saint or revolutionary or like he is more compassionate or praiseworthy than another president is complete bullshit.
Obama cried for 30 seconds about American kids killed by American guns, most purchased thanks to American laws, but has never shed a tear for the thousands of children droned in their homes?
Only 4% of the almost 3k killed by drones in Pashtunistan have been named as al Qaeda. 4%. This occurs between the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan (historic Pashtun land stolen from us by Pakistan). So that means that people who look like me, speak my language, call their parents Aday and Aba just like I do, are being murdered, for crimes they didn’t commit?
In Yemen, a confirmed 101 civilians have been killed. And in Yemen, the strikes are even more dangerous, with fewer safeguards and a higher willingness on the part of the U.S. government to do whatever it takes to “get the job done”. These strikes are counterproductive to U.S. interests in the region and only produce more instability.
Nabila Rahman came before Congress in 2013 and told her story about how she was droned while picking okra in a field with her brother and grandmother, one day before Eid. About how her grandmothers body was blown into pieces and had to be gathered in chunks.
Salem and Waleed were blown to bits near their brothers wedding. Obama didn’t cry for them, instead he paid $100,000 for their family’s silence.
Almost 90% of those killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia WERE INNOCENT. They were NOT TERRORISTS. They were mothers, fathers, grandmothers wishing to die peacefully on their land, sons with dreams for their future, daughters who slept with the thought that tomorrow would be just like every day. But they’re now a casualty, a line in this blog entry that I’ve coughed up because I’m sick of the double standard we have.
Obama, why won’t you cry for the 90%? Don’t they deserve your same tears?
I am not trying to undermine the importance of gun control and the prevention of further attacks by American terrorists using guns against innocent civilians (see what I did with the language there?). I support the executive decision by Obama and think it should’ve happened a long time ago. I also understand that as an American, our President would be more likely to cry for American lives. But shouldn’t a heroic leader be compassionate? Shouldn’t he be selfless, and caring? Shouldn’t a true hero have the courage to accept, admit, and make right the wrongdoings of his administration? Not defend its actions?
I can’t fathom it. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that my president will only cry for one kind of child and not another. I can’t accept that the government I live under is selectively compassionate.
From the Rahman’s visit to Congress in 2013:
“Congressman Grayson, 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?”
He said that his mother was not the first innocent victim of drone strike, but that “dozens of people in my own tribe that I know are merely ordinary tribesman had been killed”. He said that numerous families in his community and the surrounding area had lost loved ones, including women and children over the years.
Rehman said that although the Pakistani government accepted his claim and confirmed details, it said it was not responsible and he has had no compensation to help with the medical treatment for his children.
“They have suffered just like I have. I wish they had such an opportunity as well to come tell you their story. Until they can, I speak on their behalf as well. Drones are not the answer.”