Monday, 1 August 2022

Go … Fly a Kite … or 10,000 of them …#WATWB Hmb#4 ...

 

or Come-Fly-a-Kite with 'me' … another wonderful uplifting story …


Alice Denny showing a kite - from
the Good Chance Theatre site

Master Afghan kite-maker and refugee Sanjar Qiam is celebrating the cultural history of kites by inspiring a festival of kite-flying across the UK and Europe on Saturday 20 August.




Many will gather for story telling, music, poetry and dance from Afghan artists and community groups to highlight the cultural significance of kites in Afghanistan's history …


Qiam Sanjir with his wife,
in their toy shop 'Rocket Science'

Some kites will be tethered to the ground through a single thread but fly free of the borders that define the land …



and which are the embodiment of freedom and play … looked at collectively, on the stage of the sky, kites represent togetherness, our difference and our shared humanity.


Flying Kites ... 

With the Taliban in power … kites are banned, along with music, free journalism, theatre and dancing – all and any self-expression.



Qiam Sanjar, Master kite-maker, says:


Fly-With-Me is a reminder to the world:

Remember Afghanistan


while in Afghanistan, kites occupy a unique space between national art form and national sport.


They are a universal symbol of expression, skill and cultural pride.


Sanjar was a successful business man in Kabul … but decided in 2011 to move away … having married a non-Muslim wife … he first went to India and then flew here to the UK … with his 10,000 kites!


This ad for the festival ... says it all ... 

He now has a toy shop in Brighton, along the coast from here, on the south coast … as well as establishing a centre for creative ideas …



offering craft workshops, story-reading sessions in different languages, 'educative' toys from various countries … France, Australia, Russia, USA, Netherlands, China and of course his homeland … opening the doors to learning while playing …



With the Good Chance Theatre (link below)

The business concept can be rolled out for others to take up the mantle of helping new settlers in our country … combining work, with family time, while broadening their and our knowledge of life in another country …



Perhaps across our South Downs, Sussex

Go Fly A Kite … with friends, contacts and family is already opening so many doors for those looking to expand their horizons …




Funds raised will go to Afghanaid and its By-Her- Side campaign to support women in rural Afghan communities.


We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, Be Light




BBC - Kabul to Brighton ... video ... 

Independent article - Escaping the Taliban and finding security in the UK ... Kite Flying

Good Chance Organisation had kite making packs for sale, but here they describe how to make a kite - simple details by the look of it ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories




40 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's just so sad to think that such an emblem of freedom is banned in Afghanistan currently. Of course it makes sense, considering the twisted regime in power. Happy days at the beach with kites are some of my earliest memories.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
What a great initiative - it always surprises me that, with the wind we have up here, that there are not a lot more kites in the skies along the Clyde. I may have to ponder this one... YAM xx

Hels said...

I understand what you say about Afghanistan.. that is that kites are a symbol of their expression, skill and cultural pride. Strange, perhaps, but often we are not aware of other cultures and their symbols.

For me kites have a powerful association. My mother did most of the child care when my brothers and I were young. Except for Sundays, when dad took us to hockey, soccer and softball matches, swimming events and kite-making and flying. They were great days, those Sundays!

Damyanti Biswas said...

It really gets to me sometimes, the stark difference of reality we all live in and yet the same :(

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As always, an interesting post, Hilary. Have you read "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Husseini? It is an excellent book and provides great insight into the practice of kite flying and delves deeply into the flawed and often barbaric social customs of Afghanistan with religious intolerance and brutality at its core. How the west could have turned its back on Afghanistan, and especially on its women and girls is beyond me. The young man was both fortunate and wise to escape the barbaric country of his birth, administered by homicidal, religious fanatics. The mere act of marrying a non-Muslim would carry a death sentence. May he live long and prosper in Britain.

Inger said...

I have no experience with kites, but I did read The Kite Runner and learned they are important in the culture of Afghanistan. They are certainly beautiful to see flying colorful toward the sky.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - yes it's awful what we're seeing happen to Afghanistan ... I so feel for them. I'm just so pleased Sanjir Qiam is here and promoting his homeland so vividly ...

Yes, as kids we flew kites not very successfully ... but it kept us occupied for a few days ... so glad I've triggered your early memories - fun to think of those holidays on the beach ...

@ Yam - yes ... a wonderful initiative ... possibly too much wind (if that's possible?!) ... if there's an Afghan community - they'll have heard about it ...

@ Hels - you're so right ... we're not aware of what's important to each country - each country's culture ...

That's great I've reminded you of your parents and those early days of growing up - Sundays ... important ... as well as those kite days ...

@ Damyanti - I'm sure it gets to you sometimes ... early home life - is so important ... away from home can be stark ... I understand that ...

@ David - I'm ashamed to say I haven't read Khaled Hussein's "The Kite Runner" - I'm fairly certain I have it here ... so must do so.

Thanks for the overview ... I will now definitely read it and learn. Qiam Sanjir is most definitely wise and thoughtful in his approach to his future ... and if he's continuing on educating us in the West that will be so worthwhile ... making us think ...

@ Inger - that's great you have read The Kite Runner - I must do so ... they always look wonderful when up in that blue sky ...

Thanks so much to you all for coming by and commenting - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kites ad artistic expression banned - what a shame!

Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful event. Echoing David on The Kite Runner, and loving this beautiful symbol of creativity, hope and freedom.

Anabel Marsh said...

Sounds wonderful.

John Holton said...

I had a few choice words for how we (the US) left Afghanistan, but I erased them. I'm happy this guy has gotten out, and he does beautiful work.

Liz A. said...

The Taliban banned... kites? Kites!?! I just... I don't...

What a great event. It sounds like a worthwhile endeavor.

Nilanjana Bose said...

So sad they banned such an important, innocuous and fun part of their heritage! Kites are hugely significant in my culture as well. Glad that there are individuals who are working to preserve our common heritage, I wish Sanjar much success.

Pradeep Nair said...

Kite flying is such a common past time in India, especially among children. Here on the 14th of January every year, kites are flown as a part of the Uttarayan festival. There is also an International Festival of Kites in Ahmedabad, which is attended by kite-flyers from around the world.

This Wikipedia page will give more detals:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Kite_Festival_in_Gujarat_%E2%80%93_Uttarayan

Sandra Cox said...

Banning kites. What a joyless way to live.
Great post. Thanks, Hils.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - the Taliban's authoritarian, fundamentalist, militant political government ... is appalling - banning women too ...

@ EC - I must read The Kite Runner - I know about the book ... so if I can't find it here - I'll get it from the library ...

I do hope they have a wonderful festival in the various cities where it is scheduled, later on this month. The kite is a wonderful symbol of creativity, hope and freedom ...

@ Anabel - I imagine it'll be a great day ...

@ John - yes I don't express my feelings that much here ... so appreciate you curtailing your thoughts for this post. I'm delighted he's managed to leave with his wife and child and is able to develop a business as well as inspiring others.

@ Liz - yes ... you need to 'understand' their (The Taliban) lack of openness as 'they rule by gun' ... no women, no fun, no excitement ...

I do hope they have fun at the festivals ... I'm sure they will, as long as the weather plays game!

@ Nila - I know ... banning things that are part of their culture and tradition for over centuries is just so unfair ...

I understand kites are of cultural significance in the Asian part of the world ... I must read the book.

I agree - it's excellent that people who feel they need to leave the country, are then able to bring and promote those entrepreneurial skills in other countries, where they settled.

@ Pradeep - I can see that kite flying is so important to the culture in India too, as in Nila's Bengali heritage ...

Thanks for the link to the festival ... I must read 'The Kite Runner' to further my limited knowledge ...

@ Sandra Cox - oh yes the Taliban seem to be joyless in all things - except guns and bullying ... Glad you enjoyed it ...

Thanks so much for reading and commenting - cheers to you all - Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'd love to visit that kite shop. He brought a lot of kites.

There is a kite shop chain called Catch the Wind in Oregon that we stopped at every time we hit the beach. So magical.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Hilary,

What an inspiring idea! Using kites shows creativity and solidarity for one's former country and their adopted one.

I hope it is a HUGE success and funds are raised for Afghanistan's poor and suppressed women.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

The Taliban banning any self expression and freedom speaks volumes.

We used to fly kites with our kids. So much fun.

Teresa

Jacqui Murray said...

It's been a long time since I thought much about kites, but that's what you do, Hilary--you remind me. Great article. I wish him well on Aug. 20nd

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - I agree it'd be fun to meet them and to see their kites. He certainly brought over lots of kites didn't he. How lovely to know you would stop at that kite shop in Oregon when you were on the way to the beach ... and yes magical early days ...

@ Michael - yes ... he tried to pursue his technical business that he'd set up in Kabul, but when that didn't work ... they moved over to toys and kites; then added the idea of allowing others to tap in to appreciate and learn about the culture and history - like you I too hope it's a huge success with many funds being raised for the poor and suppressed women of Afghanistan ...

@ Teresa - that's their modus operandi ... defeat the culture of yore and as you say speaks volumes. I expect many of us tried to fly kites as kids ... just great fun trying again and again!!

@ Jacqui - I agree ... kites only occasionally pop into my mind and then I remember the early days when we were a family and as kids.

Delighted the post reminded you of earlier days ... so pleased. I hope the 20th will be a great day for many ...

Cheers and thanks for being here ... remembering back to your early days when kites were flown - all the best Hilary

Jeff said...

I need to take up kite flying again. With four acres of hay, I have enough space. I enjoyed the book, "The Kite Runner" which dealt with Afghan refugees.

https://fromarockyhillside.com

Michelle Wallace said...

I love those multi-colored kites!
It's so sad that the kites have been banned by the Taliban. It's such an important symbol of freedom and not forgetting the endless hours of running around with such joy and abandonment, that kite-flying activities afford many children. Really sad.

cleemckenzie said...

Now that's an inspirational story! My heart aches for Afghanistan, but it's wonderful to see that something like this being done to help the people. Great post, Hilary

Tyrean Martinson said...

This is beautiful. I didn't know about the cultural connection with kites, but I love the way you've written about it and glad to know now. Thank you for sharing!

Sandra Cox said...

Doesn't a kite flying festival sound fun? It makes me smile just thinking about it.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!

A Wonderful story about kites. Hard to imagine them being banned anywhere. So glad Sanjar was able to move to a better place for he, his wife and his kites!
The field in the picture of South Downs looks like a great place to fly a kite.
Happy August!

Joanne said...

I love kites. The book The Kite Runner is in my heart as a great book, and now this kite festival is a joy. Such a good story and cause. How can a kite be banned? Beyond my fathom but I guess if you just want to squash a soul, ban anything that brings joy. Well, human spirit wins out every time and I hope this cause helps. Thanks for the post

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

The embodiment of freedom and play. I love it!

Vallypee said...

I remember reading The Kite Runner. Such a lovely book, but I don’t remember that it was the symbol of freedom. How sad that it’s banned now, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jeff - you certainly have the space to 'run a kite' - I will be reading the book shortly ... so I learn more ...

@ Michelle - yes - they're beautiful and we had such fun as kids playing with our kites. The Taliban brook no challenge to their totally authoritarian way of life ... without any pleasures or freedom ... very sad for the peoples.

@ Lee - yes I thought it was a lovely idea for sharing Afghanistan's kite flying to a larger audience and promoting some of their culture ... and to remember Afghanistan ... so desperately sad ...

@ Tyrean - so glad you've taken on board the cultural connection with kite flying that Afghanis have had through the centuries ...

@ Sandra - I'm sure the festival will make many young and old happy to fly the kites, or to see them fly ... and many smile with happiness ...

@ Diedre - yes ... the banning of things - certainly hurts the freedom and thoughts of Afghanistan's citizens ... but it's great he was wise enough to leave the country he loved, yet now here ... determined to let the world know how culturally beautiful it is ...

Delighted you've noted the South Downs image - it's extraordinary views like that we have down here - beautiful part of the world ...

@ Joanne - I have to get the Kite Runner book and read it ... your comment rings so true - excellent one: thank you. Your words ring so true ... human spirit does win through - but sometimes a few generations of horror will occur - scarring many souls. I'm sure having a festival, where Afghanis can get together and remember their culture ... must bring sadness, yet happiness of remembrance ...

@ Lynda - as people we need freedom and the ability to play ... a festival is such a wonderful idea to broaden others' knowledge ...

@ Val - great to see you ... and I'm ashamed now I haven't read The Kite Runner - to be addressed and read shortly. The Taliban's way of life is very sad ... mostly paternal ... and cruel.

Thanks to you all for coming and commenting - also being interested in the Afghani's way of life (as it was) ... I'm sure the kite festival will be a fun event letting us see many other cultural aspects that have been left behind as the Taliban took over ... thank you - Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a wonderful idea. I love kites and fly them with my granddaughter. How shameful that they are banned by the Taliban for the simple reason that they are fun.

Zimbabwe said...

What an interesting post and so much of this I did not know. It is years since I flew a kite at least 70!!!!
I hope you are well, sorry I am being a bad blogger but one day......
Cheers Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - they look to be fun events, bringing together displaced peoples ... who can learn, or remember their culture. The Taliban are an appalling regime ... freedom of thought is so important to humans ...

What fun to fly kites with your granddaughter - sounds like many happy play hours ... great to think about ...

@ Diane - no worries about not being around ... your wonderful garden and home are a joy to see, but take time and deserve your attention.

Thank you - I'm glad the post highlighted a little of the importance of kite flying embodying culture and freedom for Afghanis ...

I am going to get The Kite Runner book from the library ... to read ... now an essential I feel.

Cheers to you both - thanks for visiting - Hilary

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a wonderful organization/business, and I love the philosophy: "In darkeness, be light." My husband is from India and he talks about making and flying kites as a youngster. It was a really big sport/pastime. I think Sanjar's story and what he has done with his life and business is wonderful. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I'll be back here, too.

Debbie D. said...

How fortunate that Sanjar was able to set up this wonderful initiative in the UK! Not only does it offer insights into different cultures, it also draws attention to the plight of his fellow Afghans.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - how kind of you to pop over - thank you. Damyanti Biswas was one of the major promoters of this blogfest https://www.damyantiwrites.com/) - she writes fascinating novels, and here is the reason for the blogfest:

“We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.

https://www.damyantiwrites.com/we-are-the-world-blogfest/

It's great to have the blogging world around ... and it's been interesting to have the comments re their experiences and one or two who are from India. Thanks for letting me know about your husband's roots ... and his love of flying kites and that it's a really big sport/pastime in India.

Sanjar's story is fascinating and I was happy to come across his backstory and present life ... reminding us of how Afghans used to live ...

@ Debbie - I know it's brilliant Sanjar is reminding us of how Afghanistan used to be ... its culture and traditions - and exactly as it reminds us to look at others' culture - and draws attention to the plight of Afghanis today.

Thanks to you both - so good to see you - cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Hope you're enjoying your weekend, Hils:)

DMS said...

I bet the sight of all the kites is beautiful! I remember reading The Kite Runner and learning about kites in Afghanistan for the first time. This is such an interesting post. So many restrictions! Wishing Qiam Sanjar and his wife the best of luck!
~Jess

Sandra Cox said...

That's fascinating that kites play such an important role in Afghanistan, isn't it?