Why do we put no value on certain innocent lives?

Are we not all human? This Pakistani girl, Nabila Rehman, stood before the U.S Congress to talk about witnessing the American drone strikes that killed her grandmother. Only 5 congressmen attended to hear what she had to say, and nothing changed. She’s come to fear clear blue skies because that’s when the U.S drones fly. That’s the definition of terror, but it doesn’t go away for these people. 90% of those killed in drone attacks are civilians because these drones target groups of people based on no real evidence, like phone signals that come from within big groups, like weddings. Weddings have been bombed to pieces in Yemen, Syria, and Pakistan, and we just sit back and call it collateral damage. Think about that for a minute, being bombed along side many relatives and friends on your fuckin’ wedding!! They sometimes drop another bomb on people coming to help the wounded in a “double tap” strike. Here’s a real life consequence of what happens when we see other lives as less valuable and assume we are the good people. We have truly become inhumane hypocrites, and have the audacity to give ourselves a pad on the back to assume by dropping bombs on other countries we are doing a good thing!

At the Lahore Literary festival yesterday, a white guy in a panel discussion said “United States is the force of good in the world. It is justified in its military interventions”. I can’t believe he fucking had the nerve to say such a thing while sitting in Pakistan, the country that has lost hundreds of children to drone warfare. He had the nerve to say this when there is an Afghan citizen sitting right next to him on the panel. Every fucking time their excuse to justify their imperialist rhetoric is “but 3000 people died in 9/11”. What about the 20,000 people killed in American invasion of Afghanistan? What about the 500,000 Iraqis? What about the economic sanctions that caused thousands of civilian deaths? What about more than 3000 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan titled as “alleged combatants”? Have you forgotten that a single drone strike killed 69 children in a Madrassah in 2006? Have you forgotten American soldiers killing and raping local Afghans? Have you forgotten the torture and rape in Bagram? Are innocent civilians kidnapped and tortured in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay that easy to forget? Are the horrendous torture techniques of CIA that easy to ignore? Have you forgotten the rise in Islamophobic hate crimes as a result of the War on Terror? Are American lives more precious than others? Viewing terrorism in such black and white terms is simply dishonest.

I guess it is easy to forget when you are not at the receiving end of torture, rape, mass murder and war crimes. I guess it is easy to forget when it’s not your brothers and sisters and families dying daily as a result of an imperialist war. I guess it is easy to forget when your media is conveniently demonizing Muslims portraying them as barbaric terrorists. But we have not forgotten. We have not forgotten the fear of drone strikes. We have not forgotten Nabila Rehman who went all the way to White House to protest drone strikes which killed her family and injured her siblings, but only to be ignored into oblivion. We have not forgotten Layla Al Attar killed in her sleep by a US missile attack, that killed her husband and blinded her daughter, for the simple act of painting the picture of a US president on the steps of a hotel. We have not forgotten the unnamed civilians turned into statistics who died as a result of a war they never asked for. We cannot forget.

The point is not to defer responsibility for whatever problems we South Asians have. But at least lets stop pretending that the War on Terror was a godsend and somehow helped people of the land. It is a war for greed and territorial acquisition as economic extension of an empire. It is beyond my comprehension how these white Americans have the audacity to come to Pakistan and spew their hatred and imperialist bullshit and expect that they will be admired for it. I cannot understand how they are so misinformed and their liberal blindfolds don’t allow them to see what crimes have been committed in their names and that they are complicit in promoting. I have absolutely no patience for such privileged white people coming in our country and demeaning us. Rot in hell, for all I care.