Friday night was the first night of the Chinese New Year Celebrations in Chinatown. Lions danced in the streets. Drumming bounced off the walls of surrounding buildings, and tens of thousands of firecrackers created constant noise. Thousands of residents, tourists and GI's filled the streets. Our huge grey drone replica hovered over the celebration - a sober reminder of U.S. warfare in 2013.
Amidst all of the noise, it was almost impossible to have a prolonged
conversation, but we caught lots of comments. "What are drones?" "I thought
drones were little - like the ones at Barnes and Noble - I didn't know they
dropped bombs." "Thanks for doing this." "Better their ass than ours."
A tourist from Vancouver thanked us and said he has been protesting drones in
Canada and was happy to see this happening in the U.S. An irate GI yelled:
"Drones kill terrorists and I can't wait to kill some more of the
mother-f---ers." A professor of international law commented that drones were an
outrageous violation of international law and offered to speak at events. Some
were happy to see a protest against the drone; a few were outraged that we were
there. A small child asked: "Daddy, why is there an airplane?" leaving his dad
at a loss to explain. Several GI's knelt in front of a banner reading "Stop the
Killer Drones" and flashed a peace sign for a photo, while a couple of other
GI's went to the police to demand that we be kicked off the streets. A student
from Pakistan quietly thanked us and then started a conversation about drones
with her friends. Several people remarked on seeing the drone at the MLK Day
Parade and asked what we were going to do next.
Several hundred of our FAQ sheet on drones were distributed and hundreds took
pictures of the drone and signs on their cell phones and cameras. We were a
small crew, but in two hours we accomplished a lot and are looking forward to
rolling the drones through the University of Hawai`i-Manoa campus in the near
In the meantime, we urge you to check out a new post on the World Can't Wait
website entitled "Responding to Changes in How the U.S. Wages War" at www.worldcantwait.net, and be sure to sign our petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-neil-abercrombie-representative-colleen-hanabusa-end-u-s-drone-attacks-end-hawai-i-s-complicity-in-drone-attacks