Please accept my support for your international grassroots campaign for a global ban on weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance.
In October 2012, Ann Patterson and I visited Kabul at the invitation of Afghan Youth for Peace. Afghanistan has suffered invasion and occupation one after another from the British, the Russians and, currently, the NATO /U.S. forces. The stories we heard from the Afghan people showed very clearly that the presence of the NATO/U.S. forces in Kabul is causing death and suffering in Afghanistan.
The reality of daily living of the people of Kabul, due to on-going military occupation and armed conflict, includes unemployment and inability to meet basic food needs or have access to electricity and lighting. During the cold weather, many die of hypothermia and hunger. In a group of young men we met, almost every one of them has lost someone, either to drone strikes by the NATO/U.S. forces or killed by the Taliban.
One Afghan youth told us how, when they went up into the mountains with their donkeys to collect wood for their fires, many of their friends were killed by armed drones. These drones are controlled by men in U.S. military bases far away, and with the switch of a computer they blow to pieces kids in Afghanistan trying to warm their families.
It is very cruel, and there is nothing good and noble about such weapons, and those who produce and use such inhuman weapons must be held accountable under international law.
In Northern Ireland our ‘peace process’ risks becoming a Northern Ireland ‘war process’ with an arms contract awarded by the British Government to U.S. – owned company Spirit Aerosystems in Belfast to develop an un-crewed, armed fighter jet drone for the R.A.F. Armed drones increase the risk of war and violence, and it is sad that the U.K. should be investing in this war technology and that Belfast, a city struggling to exit many years of cruel violence, should now be used by the U.K. to build drones, causing Belfast to become a ‘Bomb Building City’ against the wishes of the vast majority of its people who want peace and peaceful solutions to humanity’s problems.
Please accept our support for your campaign against militarized drones and the killing of our sister/brothers wherever they live.
Mairead Maguire is a peace activist from Northern Ireland who co-founded with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, dedicated to a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. She and Ms. Williams were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2010 she was among those on board the MV Rachel Corrie, which was part of a peace flotilla that attempted, unsuccessfully, to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. She tirelessly focuses on the work of nonviolence and peacemaking, anti-militarism and abolishing war. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Photo shows Maireed Maguire visiting Afghanistan.