It’s hard to believe, but the Drones Quilt Project was first exhibited at the Veterans For Peace convention in Madison, Wisconsin, August 2013. Since then, it has been to every VFP convention (just finished St. Paul!) and graced the cover of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) magazine “Peace and Freedom” in the Fall/Winter 2013 edition. It has crisscrossed the country from Alaska to Maine, and been shown in over 60 cities. Venues included lots of libraries, peace houses, universities and churches, as well as some more unusual places like a bank! The quilts have been carried in marches, draped on the steps of the NY state capitol building in Albany, and used as backdrops for press conferences.
But no matter where they are shown, they have a poignant effect on people. Seeing the names instantly humanizes the victims–they are real people, not just a number, or “collateral damage.” Many of the artists said that the process of making the blocks was a very moving for them. Unfortunately, we don’t even know the names of about 80% of the victims, so we memorialize those deaths in blocks labeled “Precious Son,” or “Loving Father,” or “10 year old boy.”
We need to remember also, that in addition to the fatalities, there are so many other ways that people are being victimized. Children become orphans. Homes are destroyed. Injured are not able to work. Parents keep their children from going to school. They experience a kind of mental torture as the watch and hear the drones circling overhead, never knowing when a missile will be fired.
I have been asked how long the project will keep going…I don’t see an end in sight.
The Drones Quilt Project exhibited recently at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Congress in Chicago, the Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, and the Veterans For Peace (VFP) Convention in Chicago. There are now 12 completed quilts, so there are enough to be displayed in more than one location at once.
Future showings are scheduled for Minneapolis, Dallas, and for the first time, outside the U.S. in London.
There are many openings in the 2018 schedule–contact Leah Bolger if interested in hosting the exhibit. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday was the opening day of the big drones exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum. The Drones Quilt Project was to have been the counterbalance to the glorification of combat drones, but it was rejected at the last minute, because there wasn’t enough space. Now that the exhibit is open, it is obvious that the reason to renege on the DQP was completely political, and had nothing to do with square footage. The exhibit totally ignores the death and destruction wrought by combat drones, yet it was able to find space to display Lady Gaga’s “drone dress.”
To make matters worse, the New York Times reported on the exhibit with a lengthy article: http://tinyurl.com/le6hz4f The title of the article is “Drones Kill, Yes, but They Also Rescue, Research and Entertain. The NTY seems to believe that their readers are already fully informed about how drones kill, because it says nothing more about it.
In another example of one-sided emphasis, the museum will be hosting a special event featuring the authors of the book “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” by Brett Velicovich and Christopher Stewart. “For nearly a decade, Brett Velicovich was at the center of America’s new warfare: using unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—to take down the world’s deadliest terrorists across the globe. In Drone Warrior, he shares his harrowing experiences with Pulitzer Prize–winning Wall Street Journal writer Christopher S. Stewart. Hear Velicovich and Stewart discuss their captivating book and the experiences recounted within.”
This exhibit would have been the perfect opportunity to educate and inform the public about the real damage drone warfare does–the thousands of men, women and children who have been killed, the destruction of their property, the mental torture imposed on people living below their patrols, the emotional toll on American drone operators who are now suffering from PTSD. The damage is so deep and incalculable, maybe they don’t have space enough after all.
Last July the Drones Quilt Project was contacted by the Aviation Curator of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum expressing interest in exhibiting the DQP as part of their 2017 exhibit on drones. (See post from 4 Oct 16 on this site). He said that the Intrepid Museum was “endeavoring to show both sides of the armed drone controversy as equally as possible.” He went on to add that they felt “…that the power of the quilt project is exactly what they required to give this debate a level argument.”
However, in mid-March, 2017, the project was notified that the quilts would not be displayed after all, because there was no room for them in the museum’s drone exhibit.
It extremely disappointing that the museum has decided not to include the DQP. The exhibit will be seen by thousands of people, and now those people may never know about the illegal and immoral use of combat drones. This was a one of a kind opportunity to expose the public to another side—one that our government will never acknowledge. Hellfire missiles launched from combat drones are responsible for the murders of thousands of people.
It is difficult to believe that the decision to reject the project was truly based on a lack of space, and not because the exhibit is being sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), an aerospace lobbying body whose corporate supporters include a number of firms involved in U.S. weaponized drone systems production, including Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Company and the Boeing Company. John R. Treichler, president of the IEEE Foundation board, is the president of the Raytheon Applied Signal Technology business unit. https://www.ieeefoundation.org/about/board/biographies
Maezol Khan by Toby Blome
The Drones Quilt Project was created 4 years ago as a way to remember the thousands of people who have been murdered by missiles launched from American combat drones. The use of combat drones is immoral, illegal and ineffective, yet the U.S. continues to use them, killing countless people whose names they don’t know, and don’t want to know.
Combat drones were first used by President Bush, then expanded rapidly during the Obama administration. Recently President Trump gave carte blanch to the CIA to target and kill people with drones.
As long as people continue to be murdered by drones, the Drones Quilt Project will continue in an effort to educate the public, and to remember the victims, named and unnamed.
BLUE HILL, ME — The Drones Quilt Project, a nation-wide traveling exhibit of quilts commemorating victims of U.S. drone strikes, will be on display at Reversing Falls Sanctuary in Brooksville in early December. The quilts have been shown in more than 20 U.S. cities, and at The Hague. The quilts are each made up of 36 individually crafted squares — visual reminders of a child or other victim. Many of the squares are dedicated to “Anonymous,” as an estimated 80% of drone victims are unnamed.
The exhibit is co-sponsored by Peninsula Peace & Justice and Reversing Falls Sanctuary (RFS). An opening will be held at the RFS Gallery on Saturday, December 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. Seven quilts will be exhibited. Dud Hendrick, member of Veterans For Peace, will speak on drone warfare and its implications. The public is invited and refreshments will be served. A complete schedule of gallery open times appears on their web site: reversingfalls.org
For more information: 207-326-4405
Press release submitted by:
Peninsula Peace & Justice
P.O. Box 1515
Blue Hill ME 04614
This presentation by Ed Kinane could be titled “Drones 101.” It is a great video for someone who doesn’t know too much about them. Please share!