Drone strike survivors from Pakistan speak to Congress; only five lawmakers bother to show up (video)

In the video above, Rafiq ur Rahman, a drone strike survivor from Pakistan, speaks at a congressional briefing in Washington, DC convened by Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-09). The primary school teacher spoke with his daughter Nabila (9) and son Zubair (13). One year ago, they were injured in the same drone strike that killed their 67-year-old grandmother, Rafiq's mother, as she was tending crops in her garden.

Kevin Gosztola of Firedog lake attended the briefing, and writes: "It is heart-wrenching to hear a 13-year-old boy say, 'Congressman Grayson, I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray,' because this is one of the few times he is not afraid he will be targeted by a drone."

From Kevin's report:

The message for Americans was simple. Rafiq asked that the American public “treat us as equals. Make sure that your government gives us the same status of a human with basic rights as they do to their own citizens.”

He declared, “We do not kill our cattle the way US is killing humans in Waziristan with drones. This indiscriminate killing has to end and justice must be delivered to those who have suffered.”

The family lives in a small close-knit village in Miranshah in North Waziristan. It is a peaceful community. There are no suicide bombers, but, for some reason, the US attacked people in the village where the family lives.

Rafiq said to those in attendance, “Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted that day. Some media outlets reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother’s house. Others reported that the attack was on a house. But the missiles hit a nearby field, not a house. All of them reported that three, four, five militants were killed.”

“But only one person was killed that day – Mammana Bibi, a grandmother and midwife who was preparing to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid. Not a militant, but my mother,” Rafiq added.

The attack which killed her, and injured her grandchildren, is one of hundreds in which innocent civilians in Pakistan have been killed, according to human rights activists who spoke at the briefing.

Only five congressmen attended.

Grayson, who called for the briefing, was present. Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Jan Schakowsky were also there.

Read the rest of Kevin's report here.

Rafiq's story is one of several documented in the Robert Greenwald film "UNMANNED: America's Drone Wars."

If this kind of story bothers you, you may want to follow @dronestream on Twitter. "Every reported US drone strike, from 2002-2013. By @joshbegley."

Photo: Kevin Gosztola. "Rafiq ur Rehman (center) is interviewed after the congressional briefing. Zubair sits at table (lower right) along with Nabila (right)."