Thursday 29 November 2012


When kites fly
across blue skies
and border divides,
Gaza and Israel unite.

We make the kites,
We fly the kites, 
over the wells of hate.

Our borders are planks of wood -
We carve the sails,
We choose the colours for the tails
in ribbons of orange and red
and green -
We speak across the steel.

When we fly kites
across blue skies,
Gaza and Israel unite.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2011

I wrote this poem a year and a half ago in response to the Dispatches documentary on the children of Gaza. Thousands of children flew kites over the Gaza strip in July 2011, claiming a new world record for most kites flown simultaneously. A competitive spirit was alive in the children, ready to sharpen their sails against their Israeli kite fighters. The poem feels so naive, so childish, in the face of what appears to be a systematic genocide of the people of a tiny strip of land. But the voice is accurate - the kites were everything that day. Slogans were written on the kites calling on Israel to end the four year blockade, calling for peace. It is painful that children are supposedly always at the heart of ending or restraining a grown-up war. And yet no-one actually listens to children.   


Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is so moving, Shaista. I, too, think of the children and their families, who are trying to live there. You spoke my very thoughts here and the thought of children who have always lived in war conditions flying kites is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I am feeling the lightness of the kites flying over two warring countries...I WISH YOU PEACE. Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Cait O'Connor said...

A wonderful poem, a wonderful concept.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Amen! Little sister.

Noelle Clearwater said...

Thank you for posting this! I am showing the film documentary, "Flying Paper" by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill with the director coming to speak to raise money for children to get help from Gaza Community Mental Health programme. I just happened on your page. Your poem is beautiful. I love your photo of Naomi shihab Nye as well.
Blessings and Peace,

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