Killer drones have fast become the preferred weapon of choice for politicians who use them daily to conduct assassinations, execution without trial. A drone pilot is thousands of miles away, at the touch of a button and without judge or jury: people are executed. No right to a fair trial, no opportunity for legal defence or a chance to present evidence.
Nearly 90% of people killed in recent drone strikes were not the target.
Who we need:
Peace groups, youth groups, community centres, schools, universities, mosques, church congregations, woodcraft folk and anyone who wants to show solidarity in the face of the extremely concerning issue of weaponised drones.
Fly Kites Not Drones 2017 Competition
We are running a fun competition with the following categories:
Best short film about your action
The categories will be judged separately, with awards and prizes given to the winners.
Videos need to be uploaded to youtube, kite designs and photo entries emailed to: email@example.com
Deadline 27th March 2017
Make sure you ask permission from people appearing in the photos or film, or their carers/parents .
Other things to do….
Getting everyone involved:
Hold a kite making workshop, here are some easy instructions to make a basic kite which looks OK and flies well. Feel free to research your own kite design and equip your kite, making a party of it with loads of colourful craft materials.
Suggest to a local school or youth group to try out a workshop from the Fly Kites Not Drones education pack, free to download here. School assemblies and workshops can be facilitated by anyone who puts in a few minutes of planning, or we are very happy to visit an organised workshop and facilitate a few sessions (for just travel expenses).
Please tell us about your kite flying activities, a few sentences plus a photo.
Why Fly Kites Not Drones 2017:
Blue skies are now a fearful sight for many children who live under weaponised drones, as clear bright days are ideal for drones to see people on the ground from thousands of feet.
Fly Kites Not Drones started in Afghanistan with the peace youth group the Afghan Peace Volunteers, they would say that the children in their villages are now too afraid to fly kites because of the threat of being struck by missiles from weaponised drones. We heard the story of Aymel who lost his father 8 years ago during a ‘signature strike’ – a party of young men were gathered in an apple orchard on the edge of their village in Wardak, Afghanistan. It was dusk as a drone was spotted by a nearby farmer, flashing red lights in the sky, then without warning, a missile, an explosion, six beautiful lives destroyed. None of the young men were part of the Taliban, but because of their ethnicity, age, gender, clothes and behaviour (their ’signature’), they were deemed ‘terrorists’ and an “imminent threat” to the security of the United States, a country thousands of miles away.
Creating Fear & Hate:
Countries such as the US and UK, who fly weaponised drones have become deeply disliked by other nations . Like a plague in the skies, killer robots are now often known to assassinate innocent people, a Pakistani grandmother in a field, Afghan village elders gathered to discuss peace, an aid convoy in Syria, by thousands, people just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the missiles are not very accurate. The kill area of a hellfire missile is fifty feet, its established procedure for drone operations is to knowingly forfeit the lives of nearby civilians in order to assassinate someone on a ‘kill list’.
Assassination and Secrecy:
Already the US and the UK have used their weaponised drones to assassinate their own citizens, in the case of 21 year old Reyaad Khan (7), a UK citizen executed in Syria by a UK drone on 21 August 2015, who was suspected of a retrospective crime which never took place. Such extra judicial killings are strongly thought to be illegal but currently international laws and regulations do not exist, drones are out of the box with very few guidelines. They are a back door into war, a secret and discreet way in which countries can drop bombs on other nations without declaring war . Government secrecy means information about drone strikes are not made public, we have very little access to knowing what our elected governments are carrying out in our name.
Proliferation & Increase in War:
The proliferation of drones has exceeded rapidly in just the 15 years of their armed capability. They are now used in Afghanistan, Algeria, Gaza, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, while China has now worked out how to weaponise a drone and are thought to have sold their CH-3 drone to various nations including Nigeria. They are the first choice of weapon for politicians, reducing the threshold of going to war. UK weaponised drones were secretly deployed to Syria months before Cameron won the Parliamentary vote to join military action in Syria . The US has carried out 424 drone strikes over Pakistan since 2004, killing 4,000+ (207 were children), without those countries being in a declared armed conflict.
Drones Coming Home:
Drones are now extensively used for civil security within States. The US Department of Homeland Security awarded Israeli company Elbit Systems $87 million to produce and install surveillance systems on the US-Mexico border which includes spying drones. In the UK police have started to use spying drones around some airports . Domestic surveillance drones are currently at the tipping point of becoming a ‘normal’ or an acceptable spying tool State security services for use on its own citizens. Now is definitely the time to shape how much the State accelerates that program by campaigning. Meanwhile politicians academics and think tanks are recognising the impact of ‘blowback’ from the use of drones, which are not only a potent recruiting tool for terrorist organisations, but also the radicalisation of individuals at home.
The military are currently finding it difficult to recruit drone pilots , with levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder abnormally high. Many pilots have reported becoming detached from reality, stressed and fatigued by remote controlled ‘play station’ combat. Former drone pilot Brandon Bryant said: “There were some real honest-to-god psychos in that [drone] program who wanted nothing more than to kill people on the ground”. Politicians argue that drones save the risks for ‘boots on the ground’, however current indications suggests that mental health will be the main casualty of combat for drone operators.
Human Rights are being threatened more and more on several fronts from scrapping human rights legislation to new warfare technologies, killing and harming others. In terms of war and peace, for the next generations, weaponised drones will be one of the most pressing issues of the day.
Today weaponised drones are being used by various States to assassinate individuals on the slenderest of evidence which would not stand up in a court of law. More often than not, drone strikes impact others nearby, or are aimed at the wrong people, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Citizens across Europe are already experiencing ‘blowback’ from wars waged in the Middle East and in Central Asia by Western powers, with the violation of human rights is felt on both sides. Governments are also using drones against their own citizens. Already the UK has assassinated one of its own citizens. While surveillance drones are already being used routinely for ‘special events’, and are on the brink of becoming a ‘normal’ tool for surveillance.
Meanwhile in North Dakota, USA the police have got permission to arm and use drones against peaceful protestors with ‘non-lethal’ weapons such as tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.
This education pack explores human rights in general with a specific focus on weaponised drones. Activities include source material gathered by peace activists visiting Kabul. The workshops aim to further cultural understanding of Afghanistan, unpack the political positions of world leaders, enhance understanding of what it’s like to live under drones and provide a firm understanding of human rights.
The Fly Kites Not Drones education pack is linked to a yearly campaign which encourages everyone everywhere to fly kites in solidarity with the young people living under the threat from weaponised drones.
The events are timed to takes place on Now Roz- Persian New Year- this year the event will be held on Sunday 19 March 2017.
 Why Can’t Aymel fly his kite? Age 8-11 Duration 80 minutes
To gain an understanding of drones and how they affect children’s human rights
 Human perspectives on drones – Age 11-16 Duration 60 minutes
To understand how different people think and feel about drones and why.
 Drones speaking and listening debate – Age 14-18 Duration 60 minutes
To use the issue of armed drones and explore how to construct an argument using fact and opinion
 Fly a kite for peace – All ages Duration 60 minutes
Design and make a kite to fly, send it into the air as a statement of hope and peace. Additional assemblies and workshops are available relating to specific subjects.
To see how the pack fits with the national curriculum.
Download the free pack here.
To order an education pack by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have received funding from Trust Greenbelt for FKND Workshops