Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kites Rise Above Divisions

By Mohammed Omer

"GAZA CITY, Jun 15 (IPS) - Mahmoud Abu Teior (13) knows it's Abdullah's kite up in the skies, though he has never seen Abdullah. But that kite rises into the skies from just that place on the Egyptian side of the border across from Gaza. And, Mahmoud knows Abdullah's voice because they speak sometimes. They have never met, and likely never will, but they are connected through their kites.

It's that time of the year. The holidays bring scores of children to play together – across the dividing line. And despite the iron wall of separation, they form friendships.

Mahmoud has always known the border as playground. This is where the family home was before it was demolished to make room for the border wall. "I always come here because this is where our house used to be," he says, launching his kite.

Most children still play from 'home', where Block O, Yebna, Block J, or the al-Salam neighbourhood used to be. The playground is that strip of no man's land known as the Philadelphia corridor, created over 2,400 homes razed ahead of the 'disengagement' by Israel in 2005. That 'disengagement' made about 16,800 people homeless here, according to UN figures......."

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