Civil Liberties

#NotABugSplat: Art Installation in Pakistan Puts a Face on Drone Victims


A sobering and commendable art installation in Pakistan puts a face on the victims of U.S. drone attacks. The giant portrait, installed in Pakistan's heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region, features a child who lost both her parents and two siblings in a Predator drone attack.

"Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim's face," the #NotABugSplat website states.

The installation, created by a group of artists in collaboration with Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights, gets its name from what is apparently/incredibly military slang for drone kills. It aims "to challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties."

The #NotABugSplat portrait can also be captured by satellites "in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites," its creators note.

Since 2004, U.S. drone strikes have killed an estimated 2,537 to 3,646 people in Pakistan, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. At least 416 and possibly almost 1,000 were civilians, including 168 to 200 children.