Watch: Yemeni Activist Tells Senators that Drone Strike on His Village ‘Empowers Militants’

Farea Al-Muslimi describes the “psychological fear and terror” imposed on drone strike victims.

AlterNet / By Steven Hsieh

April 24, 2013
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on drones yesterday, a Yemeni activist and writer testified about the “human costs and consequences of targeted killing by the United States in Yemen.”

Farea Al-Muslimi described how his home village of Wessab fell victim to a U.S. drone strike just six days before yesterday’s hearing. He said many of the farmers had no idea that the intended target, Hameed Meftah, also known as Hameed Al-Radmi, posed a threat to their “poor village.”

“The people in my village wanted Al-Radmi to be captured, so that they could question him and find out what he was doing wrong so they could put an end to it. They still don’t have an answer to that question,” Al-Muslimi explained. “Instead, all they have is the psychological fear and terror that now occupies their souls. They fear that their home or a neighbor’s home could be bombed at any time by a U.S. drone.”

Al-Muslimi also described interactions with other Yemenis whose villages were destroyed and family members killed by drone strikes. He said the widespread killing of innocent civilians creates hostility towards the United States, paving the way to blowback.

“Every time an innocent civilian is killed or maimed by a U.S. drone strike or another targeted killing, it is felt by Yemenis across the country,” Al-Muslimi said. “These strikes often cause animosity towards the United States and create a backlash that undermines the national security goals of the United States.”

Al-Muslimi, who spent a year of high school in the U.S. on a State Department scholarship, said the U.S.’s targeted killing program in Yemen makes him rethink the warm feelings he has toward his former host country. He’s also become more hesitant to share his connection to America with Yemenis.

“In some areas of Yemen, the anger against America that results from the strikes makes it dangerous for me to even acknowledge having visited America, much less testify how much my life changed thanks to the State Department scholarships. It’s sometimes too dangerous to even admit that I have American friends,” Al-Muslimi said.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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