Art Installation In Pakistan To Challenge Predator Drone Operators

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators | #NotABugSplat — In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

Anyone who supports drone strikes must then believe some lives are worth less than others, or alternatively you must believe every single person killed by a drone strike was not innocent and deserved it. That’s a little too perfect a scenario for my brain to accept. And let’s be honest, many Americans do think human lives in many countries, particularly in the Middle East, are not as important.

The attitude a majority of Americans have when it comes to drone strikes reminds me of this scene from the movie Contact: “It would be like us going out of our way to destroy a few microbes on some ant hill in Africa.” — “Interesting analogy. And how guilty would we feel if we went and destroyed a few microbes on an ant hill in Africa?”

Of course, we aren’t talking about microbes, we are talking about living, breathing, and thinking human beings with families and real emotions. Just because they don’t exist within sight of your worldview, doesn’t mean they are less important. But even getting people to see beyond their narrow posture isn’t enough to make them give a shit. They are still fine with drone strikes because in their convoluted reasoning, it keeps us safe. And I include President Obama in that camp. But the last time I checked, we were not at war with Pakistan. So what gives us the right? Not that war would justify it anyway.

Not a bug splat art installation pakistan predator drone


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