MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – A group of artists has installed a gigantic portrait of a child in Pakistan’s Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province, frequently subject to American drone attacks, in a bid to raise awareness of civilian casualties from the strikes.
The project, dubbed NotABugSplat, derives its name from military slang. US drone operators often refer to their targets as “bug splats” since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.
The artists hope the move “will create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators, and will create dialogue amongst policy makers," a statement posted on their websites says.
The portrait can be seen by cameras of drones flying over the region and also detected by satellites.
The name of the child in the portrait has not been revealed, but according to the Foundation for Fundamental Rights he is a Pakistani orphan who lost both his parents and two siblings in a Predator drone strike.
The NotABugSplat project was launched by a collaboration of artists in Pakistan and the US, building on the French artist JR's Inside Out movement.
The US started unmanned aerial vehicles strikes during the George W. Bush administration in 2004. Under President Barack Obama the frequency of attacks has increased significantly. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, up to 3,613 people, including at least 416 civilians, have been killed in drone strikes since the launch of the first operation.
US drone campaigns are widely condemned by the international community. The Pakistani government sees them as a violation of territorial integrity and has repeatedly called for an end to the strikes.
In December, the United Nations passed a resolution urging the US and other countries that use drone strikes for counter-terrorism in foreign territories to comply with international law, underscoring the need for an agreement among member states on legal questions about drone operations.