Late last year, former U.S. Air Force imagery analyst Heather Linebaugh told The Guardian that civilian casualty rates from drone strikes are high because the pilots are often unable to get a clear picture of the targets they kill. Linebaugh’s revelation provides context for why drone operators routinely refer to people killed in their operations as “bug splat[s]”. An artist collective in Pakistan is working to change that.
A collaboration of artists working with the Foundation for Fundamental Rights have installed a massive portrait of a nameless child in the heavily-bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan. According to the artists, the portrait of the young girl— who was reportedly killed in a strike alongside her parents and two young siblings— is visible on the grainy screen of drone operators.
“The group of artists traveled inside KPK province and, with the assistance of highly enthusiastic locals, unrolled the poster amongst mud huts and farms,” says a post on a website dedicated to the project. “It is their hope that this will create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators, and will create dialogue amongst policy makers, eventually leading to decisions that will save innocent lives.”
The artists launched the initiative along with the Twitter handle #NotABugSplat.
More Personal Liberty Digest™ coverage of the U.S.’s drone program:
If U.S. Drone Strikes In Pakistan And Yemen Are Legal Under International Law As Obama Claims, Does That Mean Other Nations Recognizing Terror Threats In U.S. Territory Can Legally Order A Drone Strike Here?