On the 31st of March 2017, about 65 Afghan Peace Volunteers and street kids went to a hill in Kabul to fly kites. The program, called ‘Fly Kites Not Drones’, was organized in solidarity with Voices for Creative Nonviolence UK and small communities around the world who oppose drone warfare.
Afghanistan is where drones are most frequently used in warfare, so she has been called the ‘drone capital’ of the world.
Freed by the Kites
Flying kites over a hill in Kabul
Inham dashing up and down the hill for his love of kites
When the kites soared above Kabul,
our collective awareness was also
lifting off from the gravity of normal beliefs,
our Orwellian realities dissipating.
We could see the resilient colours merging with the sky,
the wind sweeping away the cobwebs that blur our minds.
The kites whistled to our common sense,
easing us into a clearer analysis of war.
“Governments say that they kill the Taliban with drones but…,”
I said, thinking I’ll share my thoughts with Inham.
Instead, it was he who completed my sentence,
with the promise of a kite-loving child
and sage-like eyes,
“…they also kill innocent people.”
The energy and wisdom of Mursal, Zahra and Deeba ( from left to right)
“What did you fly kites for?” I asked.
“…we have a message about planes…
planes without pilots!”
The children’s energy was contagious,
as they dashed up and down the hill,
their faces lighting up,
their small, labour-hardened bodies taking a deserved break.
Mursal and Deeba may not quite understand the robotic technology
that passionate humans have designed to eliminate passionate humans.
But they understood enough to say,
“They shouldn’t drop bombs.”
“Many people die!’
Fly Kites Not Drones in Afghanistan 2017
Just as Benjamin Franklin used the kite
to learn about the thunderous discharge
of atmospheric charges,
we were learning too,
as we gazed upon the elegant acrobats
helped along by the pull and release of young wrists.
Ah…human hands control those hornet-like planes,
guiding them to hover over GPS numbers,
releasing weapons naughtily named ‘Hellfire’ missiles,
decimating mud village houses and their occupants,
or incinerating women and children collecting branches or plastic for fuel,
or snuffing out other such ‘targets’
from yet another week’s ‘kill list’.
And this would make the world less vengeful, more peaceful?
How did we digress so far from Benjamin’s
search for evidence?
Our minds being freed by the kites
Even General Stanley McChrystal,
former chief of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan,
said, “The resentment created by…
is much greater than the average American appreciates.
How is it that we no longer understand what we can see?
“…even by people who’ve never seen one
or seen the effects of one.”
So what does his government continue to do?
No wonder a counter-terrorism guru didn’t answer
the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas,
when she asked about Abdulmutallab’s Christmas motivation to down an airliner,
Afghan children enjoying a day flying kites
On the high slope overlooking fortress Kabul,
sound-surrounded by picnicking families and dancing kites,
I felt much safer
than walking along alleys with Afghan kids wielding toy guns
which their parents had bought,
emulating Amerikistan with her Second Amendment Rights?
While Nawid is upset that his young cousin in Helmand
is now petrified by the hornet-hum of drones,
crouching in fear each time,
that afternoon, neither male nor female
hid their faces from the sun,
as they looked up,
and enjoyed each other’s company,
freed by the kites.