A multi-city kite flying festival will be celebrated a year after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Kite flying at 15 places in Europe
Fly With Me will celebrate the ancient Afghan craft of kite flying at 15 locations across the UK and Europe in solidarity with the people of the country. Events on Saturday 20 August will include music, poetry and dance from Afghan artists and other community groups, and will highlight the cultural significance of kites in the history of Afghanistan. The project comes from Good Chance Theatre, the creators of The Walk with Amal, in which a giant puppet of a child refugee walked from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester.
Setting up a toy store in Brighton
It developed with master Afghan kite maker and refugee Sanjar Qiyam, who founded a toy shop in Brighton, as well as Afghan-born actor and director Elham Ehsaas and Afghan musician Ilaha Sour. AfghanAid and its Buy Every Side campaign to support women in Afghan communities.
Story of 12 year old boy Zaki
Through kite-making workshops, the project will tell the story of Zaki, a 12-year-old boy in Kabul who, in keeping with an 800-year-old tradition, flies kites each autumn. After his brother Bahram is forced to flee by the Taliban. After, Zaki is learning how to make kites alone with her younger sister Marva. London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow are among the cities participating in Fly With Me, along with Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen in Europe.
Manchester International Festival and the Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire will also participate.
Good Chance Theatre’s co-starring directors Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson said: “The kites remain attached to the ground via a thread but free from the boundaries that define the land.
Kites are the symbol of freedom and sport.
“Collectively, on the stage of the sky, the kites represent unity, our difference, and our shared humanity.” But the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, kites were banned—music, free journalism , with theater and dance.
“Flying with me is a reminder to the world: remember Afghanistan.
“And so, by making and flying kites in the Afghan tradition, led by the Afghans, who have created new life in Europe, and open to all, we will stand in solidarity with the Afghans in their latest opposition to their independence and the world. Will remind you of the devastating humanitarian crisis still going on in Afghanistan today.”
Flying with me is an act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan
master kite maker qiyam
Master kite maker Qiyam, an Afghan refugee based in Britain, said: “Kite flying is one of the oldest art forms in the world – cave paintings in Indonesia have depictions of kites that are 40,000 years old.
“They are universal symbols of expression, skill and cultural pride.
“Flying with me is an act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and an opportunity for all of us to come together and feel between our fingers what connects us to this incredible country, its culture and its people.” From politics to travel to sports, from culture to climate – The Independent has tons of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read in your inbox, and more, click here.