Momina Bibi was a 67-year-old grandmother and midwife from Waziristan. Yet President Obama tells us drones target terrorists
Oct. 25 2013
The last time I saw my mother, Momina Bibi, was the evening before Eid al-Adha. She was preparing my children’s clothing and showing them how to make sewaiyaan, a traditional sweet made of milk. She always used to say: the joy of Eid is the excitement it brings to the children.
Last year, she never had that experience. The next day, 24 October 2012, she was dead, killed by a US drone that rained fire down upon her as she tended her garden.
Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted that day. The media reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother’s house. Several reported the attack was on a house. But the missiles hit a nearby field, not a house. All reported that five militants were killed. Only one person was killed – a 67-year-old grandmother of nine.
My three children – 13-year-old Zubair, nine-year-old Nabila and five-year-old Asma – were playing nearby when their grandmother was killed. All of them were injured and rushed to hospitals. Were these children the “militants” the news reports spoke of? Or perhaps, it was my brother’s children? They, too, were there. They are aged three, seven, 12, 14, 15 and 17 years old. The eldest four had just returned from a day at school, not long before the missile struck.
But the United States and its citizens probably do not know this. No one ever asked us who was killed or injured that day. Not the United States or my own government. Nobody has come to investigate nor has anyone been held accountable. Quite simply, nobody seems to care.
I care, though. And so does my family and my community. We want to understand why a 67-year-old grandmother posed a threat to one of the most powerful countries in the world. We want to understand how nine children, some playing in the field, some just returned from school, could possibly have threatened the safety of those living a continent and an ocean away.
Most importantly, we want to understand why President Obama, when asked whom drones are killing, says they are killing terrorists. My mother was not a terrorist. My children are not terrorists. Nobody in our family is a terrorist.
My mother was a midwife, the only midwife in our village. She delivered hundreds of babies in our community. Now families have no one to help them.
And my father? He is a retired school principal. He spent his life educating children, something that my community needs far more than bombs. Bombs create only hatred in the hearts of people. And that hatred and anger breeds more terrorism. But education – education can help a country prosper.
I, too, am a teacher. I was teaching in my local primary school on the day my mother was killed. I came home to find not the joys of Eid, but my children in the hospital and a coffin containing only pieces of my mother.
Our family has not been the same since that drone strike. Our home has turned into hell. The small children scream in the night and cannot sleep. They cry until dawn.
Several of the children have had to have multiple surgeries. This has cost money we no longer have, since the missiles also killed our livestock. We have been forced to borrow from friends; money we cannot repay. We then use the money to pay a doctor, a doctor who removes from the children’s bodies the metal gifts the US gave them that day.
Drone strikes are not like other battles where innocent people are accidentally killed. Drone strikes target people before they kill them. The United States decides to kill someone, a person they only know from a video. A person who is not given a chance to say – I am not a terrorist. The US chose to kill my mother.
Several US congressmen invited me to come to Washington, DC to share my story with members of Congress. I hope by telling my story, America may finally begin to understand the true impact of its drone program and who is on the other end of drone strikes.
I want Americans to know about my mother. And I hope, maybe, I might get an answer to just one question: why?
Dear President Obama,
I am Ju Hong, the “heckler” that interrupted your speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco last week. I spoke up not out of disrespect, however, either for you or our country. No, I spoke up — and am writing to you now — to ask that you use your executive order to halt deportations for 11.5 million undocumented immigrant families.
My family came to the United States from South Korea when I was 11 years old. Like many immigrants, my mother brought me to this country to seek a better life for her children.
I graduated from UC Berkeley, and am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University. I have lived in America now for 13 years. I consider this country as my home. During my senior year in high school, however, I learned that my family had overstayed a tourist visa. We are undocumented immigrants.
As an American without papers, I was not able to get a job, obtain a driver’s license, or receive governmental financial aid. When my mother was sick and in severe pain, she did not visit a doctor because she cannot procure medical insurance. And when my family’s home was burglarized, she refused to call the police because she was afraid that our family would be turned over to immigration officials and deported.
Like many other undocumented immigrants, I was living in the shadows and living in fear of deportation. However, I have decided to speak out and stand up.
Immigration reform is not only a Latino issue, it’s also an Asian and Pacific Islander issue — in fact, it is a human rights issue. Currently, two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia. Under your administration, 250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by your immigration policies.
Last week, I was formally invited by White House staff to hear your remarks on immigration reform in San Francisco. As I stood in the stands behind you, I was hoping to hear about your plan to address the lives of 11 million undocumented people living in this country, like my family. And while you expressed your support for comprehensive immigration reform, you did not address how an average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every single day under your administration. You did not address how you deported 205,000 parents of U.S. citizens in the last two years. You did not address how, because of your administration’s record number of deportations—nearly two million immigrants in five years, a record—families are being torn apart: spouses are being separated from each other, parents are being separated from their children, and our brothers and sisters are being separated from one another. You did not to address how your administration would end the anti-immigration deportation programs like “Secure Communities." You’ve deported more people than any other president in the U.S. history.
Interestingly, you talked about Angel Island during your speech. What you did not mention, however, is that more people are detained every single day in detention today than were detained yearly at Angel Island. You recognized Angel Island as a dark period in Chinatown’s history, but you failed to recognize that more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act. In fact, your administration detains up to 34,000 people per day, a record number of detainees in U.S. history.
Because you failed to address these issues, I was compelled to address the concerns of our community.
You claim that the President of the United States has no authority to stop the deportations. And yet, in June 2012, before the 2012 election, which you won with the help of Latino and Asian voters, you implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. With the stroke of a pen, you dramatically changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people like me who can now live without the daily threat of deportation, and can legally work in this country for the first time in our lives.
I know that you support comprehensive immigration reform. But I also know that you have the power to stop the deportations, and that you have the power to stop the suffering, fear, and intimidation facing millions of immigrants like my family.
Your fellow American,
This is actually really powerful
No it isn’t. It’s crappy kitsch by a far-right-wing Dominionist painter (http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/patriotic/) who’s convinced that “liberalism is a disease” and that Obama is singlehandedly hell-bent on destroying the Constitution, much more than those other Presidents depicting standing around indifferently. (Gee, what’s the difference? WONDER WHY). Classic example of Obama Derangement Syndrome, represented in racist/fascist propaganda art.
Actually when I was scrolling down I saw the top half of the image first and my first thought was “omg first black president we did it we did it WE DID IT.” Because while this is an obvious fact, an image where we can see all the previous presidents (all white, of course) and OBAMA, front and center, looking determined, is what struck ME first when I saw this, and brought this point home. MY interpretation is that his expression almost seem to say “f—- all this noise - I have a job to do and I’m gonna do it.”
And then I scrolled down further.
Obama’s one-liners during his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Looks like he’s ready to cut some taxes.
I SWEAR TO GOD TUMBLR
Happy Friday, Tumblr. I leave you with this.
I hope Obama actually has one. Because that would be great.
Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
President Obama, second inaugural address (via barackobama)
My PI walked by this morning and told me to listen to the inaugural address on podcast. Apparently he found it inspirational and listened to it all the way to work. I’m inclined to agree.
One of our favorite photos from this year: President Obama sits on the Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.