Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gaza's Kite Runners

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....Born and raised in Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, I remember my first kite. It, like most kites, carried the colors of the flag. The kite was the work of my older brother, now a successful medic in the West Bank. He obliged before my incessant cries for a kite despite my father’s objections. But why should a father object to something so seemingly harmless? Simple......

During the Uprising’s summers, there would be dozens of kites, all red, black, green and white wavering atop the Israeli military camp and temporary detention center. The soldiers would often fly into a rage, storm the camp, seeking their target: children with kites. We could determine the location of the raid when all the kites from a particular location would fall from the sky in unison.......

....Out of nowhere, Israeli jeeps leapt into the open area, separating my house from the Martyrs Graveyard. Children ran in panic. Teargas grenades were lobbed in frenzy. Kites fell all around like wounded eagles. I too ran, in circles, without letting go of my kite......

It was because of this bittersweet memory, perhaps, that the news reports of Gaza’s children aiming for the world record on the number of kites flown stimulatingly in the same place, captured my attention. John Ging, the director of operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency assured reporters that the 5,000 children who gathered by the beach in northern Gaza, on July 30, have indeed broken the record. The previous record was set in Germany in 2008, and if the new feat is verified by Guinness, Gaza’s kids will have taken the lead with “flying colors”.

UN officials in Gaza, media reporters and others saw the kite flying event as an expression of innocence in a time when Gaza lives its harshest periods yet: suffocating siege, massacres, and collective humiliation. But the message was, of course, neither about kites, nor about world records. It was about the children of Gaza, in fact, Gaza itself, that tiny, subjugated, yet ever resilient, defiant, proud and somehow still hopeful place......"

No comments: