Kite-flying festival marks one year since the Taliban took over Afghanistan

Crowds gathered across the UK on Saturday to celebrate Afghanistan’s craft of kite flying through a multi-city festival, a year since the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

In London, as in other cities in the country and around the world, Afghan kite flying, music, poetry and dance were performed to show solidarity with the people of the country.

The project comes from Good Chance Theatre, the creators of The Walk With Amal, in which a giant puppet of a refugee child walks from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester.

It was developed with Afghan-born master kite-maker and refugee Sanjar Qiam, who founded a toy shop in Brighton, and Afghan-born actor and director Elham Ehsas and Afghan musician Elaha Soroor.

The money raised will go to Afghanistan and its By Her Side campaign to support women in rural Afghanistan communities.

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Hasib Mohammad, 23, at the premiere of Fly With Me on Parliament Hill by Hampstead Heath (Claudia Rowan/PA)

Among those arriving at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath was Nawab Stanikzai, 53, a doctor from Jalalabad – along with his three children Jawad, 15, Safina, eight and Sana, three.

Mr Stanikzai came to Britain as a refugee with his family after the Taliban took over last year and now lives in Islington, north London.

He said the country’s fall was “terrible, like the end of the world, but luckily we got here” and he wants to take his children to see kite flying and Afghan music on the air. Parliament Hill.

Afghan-born actor Ehsas, who played a young Assef in the 2007 film The Kite Runner and organized the event, said kite flying – now banned by the Taliban – is an integral part of Afghan culture. .

Ehsas, who left Kabul at the age of 10 and now lives in London, told the PA news agency: “We are here today to bring people together and celebrate Afghan traditions, Afghan culture, the wings. kite Afghanistan, and to remind the world that Afghanistan is still facing one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

“Although the 24-hour news cycle has continued, the country has not yet.”

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People fly kites at the event to mark one year since the Taliban took over Afghanistan (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Afghans have been flying kites for more than 800 years,” Ehsas added. “If you ever go to Kabul and you look up in the evening, you see pigeons and you see kites… I used to play with kites when I was little, my father grew up playing with kites.”

Psychologist Anahita Shafai, 25, who came to the UK from Afghanistan at the age of five, said: “We wanted to show that we are remembering this, that we are preserving our culture and traditions. We can do this even if the Taliban are there, they can’t oppress the Afghan people.”

Also present at the London event was musician Yusuf Mahmoud, 47, whose family is from Kharabat, the music district of Kabul, who has played traditional Afghan music for 200 years.

“I am very happy to be here, because the Taliban is back, there is no music in Afghanistan and nothing is allowed anymore – it is just to support the Afghan culture and especially the music and the musicians. are in the most devastating period of their lives. , because they don’t have the money and support for the family,” he said.

Mahmoud performed Afghan music to the kite-flying crowd, accompanied by his 14-year-old son Ariz and 15-year-old grandson Roman.

“We should always be together and work together and try to bring Afghanistan back to life,” he said.

Actor and model Hasib Mohammad, 23, who was teaching children how to fly kites at the festival, said he wanted to give people “a taste of Afghan culture, because of the way Afghanistan has been shown.” what’s been in the media for the last 30-40 years is not about Afghanistan”.

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, co-artistic directors of Good Chance Theater, said: “The kites remain attached to the ground through a thread but fly without crossing the borders that define the land.

“The kite is the embodiment of freedom and fun.

“Overall, on the stage of the sky, the kites represent our unity, our differences and our common humanity.

“But the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, kites were banned – along with music, free press, theater and dance.

“This simplest amusement and wonder, gaming and competition facility is also one of the most controversial spaces in recent global history.

“That affects the right to freedom of speech that is clearly being continued once again when the Taliban return to power.

“Fly With Me is a reminder to the world: Remember Afghanistan.”

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/kite-flying-festival-marks-year-since-talibans-afghanistan-takeover-41925539.html Kite-flying festival marks one year since the Taliban took over Afghanistan

Fry Electronics Team

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