This video installation explores historical concepts of honour and sacrifice in war in relation to the use of American drones in North and South Waziristan, Pakistan.
The phrase ‘Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori’ (‘Sweet it is and Honourable to Die for one’s Native Land’) comes from an ode by Horace, the Roman soldier and poet. It was made famous by Wilfred Owen writing about the horror of the new technology of gas in World War I. Using Latin, English and a Pashto version of this ode (made in collaboration with poets in Peshawar, Pakistan), Horace’s words are re-contexualised in relation to the technology of unmanned weaponry.
The imagery in this film is all from Waziristan. Noor Behram, a Waziri photographer and journalist contributed some; the rest is camera phone footage posted to the Internet by Waziris, and 1937 archival footage from a Waziri uprising to drive the British out of Waziristan. Filmed by a member of the Royal Air Force this imagery, of a largely forgotten operation, shows the use of propaganda, intimidation, and the aerial bombing of Waziri villages and crops.