Monday, September 13, 2010
Feryal Ali Gauhar served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund and is the only UN Goodwill Ambassador who quit over the invasion of Iraq.
Gauhar is a Pakistani actress, filmmaker, writer and human rights activist. Her most recent book is set in Afghanistan. It’s called No Space for Further Burials.
Gauhar told Democracy Now today:
Feryal Ali Gauhar: I just happened to stumble across a contractor ... the contractor who built the base, who inadvertently, actually, spoke about it.... So, he actually mentioned to me that the River Indus, which is one of the largest rivers in the world, carrying now a volume of water which has not been known in contemporary history, was breached on the left bank deliberately in order to protect the base, which is on the right bank. And the breaching caused, consequentially, the inundation of an entire district, which resulted in the displacement of millions, not thousands, but millions, because we have 170 million people in the country, and this particular district is one of the most densely populated. So, yes, there is a connect between, you know, what is considered to be a natural disaster, but then the management of that disaster is not natural at all.
Amy Goodman: And this is a base that is used, run by US military, to run its drone attacks?Feryal Ali Gauhar: Oh, absolutely. In fact, it is a base where non-US military personnel are not allowed. In fact, the person I was talking who was there, who built the base, actually said to me that one of the reasons why non-US military personnel are not allowed is not just for security of the US military personnel, but because they do not wish to share the technology. They are—you know, we’ve had a long historical and political tie with the People’s Republic of China. And so, there is this fear that was expressed while the contractor was working on the base that the drone technology, you know, should remain specifically in the hands of the US military, and it should not be replicated by any other nation. So there is that protection of the technology itself. It’s not just the protection of the personnel.
Even if Gauhar's allegation is true, she is not alleging that Americans caused all of Pakistan's flooding. Specifically, the flooding started in the Northwest part of Pakistan, and then spread to the middle and finally the southern-most province of Sindh. The incident which Gauhar addressed took place in Sindh.