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Rehman writes: "The last time I saw my mother, Momina Bibi, was the evening before Eid al-Adha ... 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."

Pakistani men demonstrate against U.S. drone attacks. (photo: SS Mirza/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani men demonstrate against U.S. drone attacks. (photo: SS Mirza/AFP/Getty Images)

Please Tell Me, Mr. President, Why a US Drone Assassinated My Mother

By Rafiq ur Rehman, Guardian UK

25 October 13


Momina Bibi was a 67-year-old grandmother and midwife from Waziristan. Yet President Obama tells us drones target terrorists

he 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?

Editor's Note: Momina Bibi's age when she died was originally given in the body text and standfirst as 65; this was amended to 67 at 1.30pm (ET) on 25 October your social media marketing partner


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-60 # randyjet 2013-10-25 23:32
This is pure BS. Maybe the reason she was killed was because she was making an IED to blow up little girls in another part of Pakistan.
+5 # Doubter 2013-10-26 17:33
It seems your "joke" is in sufficient bad taste so as to garner nothing but minuses. (or are you for real and the minuses are deserved?)
+29 # hwmcadoo 2013-10-26 01:06
Why do we have to be accomplices in this crime? We are all guilty of murder.
+10 # geraldom 2013-10-26 12:59
hwmcadoo, you are so right!! Any U.S. citizen remaining silent while the U.S. continues to murder innocent indigenous people in other countries who are no imminent threat to the U.S. are as guilty of these murders as the people who carry them out.

This is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany when the world condemned, not only Hitler and the SS, but the German people as well for allowing it all to happen in the first place.

The United States, just like any warring country, sets values on human life that's based on nationality, religion and financial status as well as whether or not someone owns or controls resources that are important to our economy. The U.S. does not consider that all human life has equal value, that the people who make little difference to our access to their energy resources which we wish to covet have zero value and the people who get in our way in coveting another country's energy resources have a negative human value in which we actually go out of our way to murder them. And now that Obama and the U.S. Congress passed the NDAA, even U.S. citizens have become targets.

If you are not proactively working against the U.S. murdering indigenous people without any proper and legal due process, and especially if you're not proactively working against the United States murdering (assassinating) their own citizens just on the word of the president alone, then you are proactively supporting these war crimes and crimes against humanity.
+12 # Doubter 2013-10-26 17:28
It would seem drones aren't for KILLING terrorists, they are for MAKING them.
What would the Pentagon and its contractors do without a constant fresh supply of people that 'need' to be killed?
0 # 2013-10-31 16:06
What is going to happen when everyone has a drone?

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