Westminster Student Attends Summit in Washington, DC on US Drone Attacks

For Westminster student and Yemen native Sanaa Khan, drone attacks are more than political – they’re personal.  She’s determined to spread awareness of the emotional toll that drone use takes on real people and families.

Sanaa represented Westminster College at the 2013 Drone Summit, held November 16-17 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.  The Drone Summit was hosted by CODEPINK (link), a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupation.

US government drone use has increased since 9/11.  CODEPINK offers this history:

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks the U.S. government has increasingly deployed drones in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. While the U.S. military and the CIA initially used drones primarily for surveillance, these remotely controlled aerial vehicles are currently routinely used to launch missiles against human targets in countries where the United States is not at war, including Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. As many as 3,000 people, including hundreds of noncombatants and even American citizens, have been killed in covert missions.

At the summit in Washington DC, Sanaa was most inspired by the opening remarks made by Cornel West, a well-known philosopher and activist who entreated the audience to kill hatred with kindness, encouraging the inclusion of all races and faiths to produce peace.

A panel of Yemeni delegates deeply impacted Sanaa with their messages of suffering and loss caused by drone strikes.  Several panel members and summit attendees gave emotional accounts of losing family members in US drone attacks.

Sanaa returned to campus ready to spread awareness about the emotional devastation drone strikes can cause.  As president of the Westminster chapter of Amnesty International, Sanaa is planning a movie event to show the film “Wounds of Waziristan” which highlights the stories of those directly impacted by drone attacks in Pakistan.

Sanaa, pictured below in front of the White House, is a junior pursuing a self-designed major in women’s studies with an emphasis on women’s status in the Middle East and a minor in organizational leadership.


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