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 future.
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."
Get in touch with the Hawai'i Chapter.