What was once the stuff of science fiction and nightmares – remote controlled machines dropping bombs onto targets thousands of miles away – is now taking place on an almost daily basis.
Armed drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, are like remote-controlled fighter jets. Someone in a cabin in Nebraska can drop a bomb in Afghanistan. They reduce human beings to dots on a screen, and very often they kill civilians. They’re shrouded in secrecy and many people believe they result in a loss of security, rather than being the precision weapons we’re led to believe. They’re often used to kill suspected terrorists. We believe they’re immoral and ineffective, and are calling on more transparency around their use. They are used for extra-judicial killings – killing without a trial – and many people feel this is both unfair, and reduces the ability to question suspected terrorists.
FoR is part of the Drone Campaign Network, which recently produced a new briefing, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Control. It’s available to order from the FoR office or you can download a PDF version. £3 per copy or £2.50 each for 5 or more copies, all including p&p.
The Drones Quilt is our advocacy project designed to raise awareness about drones and remind the government that mostly, the victims of drone attacks are civilians: people who, like us, would never ask to be involved in conflict. Each square of the quilt is made by a member of the public, who writes the name of a civilian victim together with their own name, on a square of fabric. Sown together, they create a visual petition. It is available to hire for indoor exhibitions – it’s been to over a dozen places already!
The quilt is 40 foot long and 6 foot high (13 x 1.8 metres) and contains 240 squares. Most of the names on the quilt are of people killed in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The source of the names is the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
We now have a smaller version for use outdoors and at festivals. We’re making a few of these and need your help – email Emma to get involved. #DronesQuilt
So far, the drones quilt has been to
• Coventry (Cathedral)
• Edinburgh (Peace and Justice Centre)
• Redditch (local FoR group displaying in ecumenical church)
• Ludlow (Quakers and Methodists)
• Cardiff (speaking event with Drone Wars UK + various venues as part of their speaking tour)
• Leicester (university exhibition by Islam society)
• Glossop (Methodist church)
• Swanwick (FoR’s young members’ conference)
• Marple (URC)
• Wolverhampton (Peace and justice group)
• Alford (community exhibition)
• Iona (FoR centenary pilgrimage)
• Bury St Edmunds (Cathedral, organised by the Quakers)
• Malvern Priory (justice and peace group)
• Kettering (the small quilt’s début outing – at Greenbelt festival
• London (to launch café church’s social justice event series)
• Bath (Quakers, during Quaker Week which coincides with Drones Week of Action)
• Bristol (Child Victims of War event)
• Stamford (Fairtrade town group)
• Cambridge (URC)
• Grantham (small quilt for a Remembrance Sunday service and Remembrance Day prayer event)
• Malvern (Experiment in International Living)
• Chislehurst (Methodist church during Lent)
• Lancing Methodist Church, West Sussex, for Peace Sunday and Remembrance
Where is next: St Neots, for an exhibition and talk on 24th June
We have a smaller quilt which also works as a marching banner, 7.5′ x 3′, or 225 x 91cm.
The smallest quilt (6′ by 3′, or 180 x 90cm) is also available to hire for your event or vigil.
Alongside the quilt, Chislehurst Methodist Church featured FoR as their Lent charity in 2015. Is this something you could do? email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read Barbara’s reflections on the Chislehurst quilt display.
Would you like to borrow the quilt for an event? Download the guidelines for displaying it.
What people have said about the #DronesQuilt:
Incredibly moving – it really brings out the reality of this horror and the fact that those killed are real people, not just number as we are told in the news.
Terrible, but beautiful.
This happens in our name; forgive our apathy.
Click here for an update on our previous event, Fly Kites Not Drones.