Thursday 19 October 2023


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.

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, 2023

In 2011, when I watched the Dispatches documentary on the Children of Gaza, I wrote two poems. The first was for a little girl named Amal, who was nine years old, and suffering terrible migraines from the shrapnel in her head. The second was about the kite flying festival set up along the border, to foster some kind of fun and relief for Palestinian children. A competitive spirit with Israeli children followed, but years later, members of both Hamas and the IDF, grown men, used kites to set fields and warehouses alight. There was an escalation. People died, including a 15 year old Palestinian teenager. The festival was in danger of being cancelled. 
Moments after I had located this second poem, I learnt that last Saturday, the 7th of October, the Israeli family who were responsible for setting up this year’s kite flying festival, were shot by Hamas. Their kibbutz was on the border. My friend, the writer Joanne Limburg, tells me, ‘It is better to have a breakable heart than a hard one.’ So I, we, must find a new way to hope.


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