Thousands of people gathered across the UK on Saturday to celebrate the Afghan kite-flying craft through festivals in multiple cities, one year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

Afghan kite flying, music, poetry and dance were performed not only in London but also in other cities across the country and around the world, showing solidarity with the people of the country.

The project was from the Good Chance Theater, creators of The Walk With Amal, in which giant puppets of refugee children walked from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester.

It was developed by master Afghan kite maker and refugee Sanjir Kiam, who founded a toy store in Brighton, along with Afghan-born actor and director Elham Ehsus and Afghan musician Elah Solor.

Funds raised will go to Afghanistan and its By Her Side campaign to support women in Afghanistan’s rural communities.


Hasib Mohamad, 23, at the launch of Fly With Me at Parliament House, Hampstead Heath (Claudia Rowan/PA)

Among those who came to Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath were Nawab Stanikzai, 53, a doctor from Jalalabad, and his three children Jawad, 15, Safina, 8 and Sana, 53. 3 years old) were included.

Mr Staniqzai came to the UK as a refugee with his family after last year’s Taliban takeover and now lives in Islington, north London.

He said the country’s collapse was “horrible like the apocalypse, but luckily we got here” and said he wanted his children to see kite flying in the Capitol and Afghan music.

Afghan-born actor Eathus, who played young Asef in the 2007 film The Kite Runner and was involved in organizing the event, said kite flying is an integral part of Afghan culture.

Ehsas, who left Kabul at the age of 10 and now lives in London, told PA News Agency: The world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.

“The 24-hour news cycle is moving forward, but the country hasn’t changed.”


People fly kites at an event marking the first year of the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Afghans have been flying kites for over 800 years,” added Ehsas. “If you go to Kabul and look up in the evening, you will see pigeons and kites…I used to play with kites when I was young. My father grew up playing with kites.”

Anahita Shafay, 25, a psychologist who came to the UK from Afghanistan when she was five, says: They cannot oppress the Afghan people. ”

Musician Yusuf Mahmoud, 47, was also present at the London event. His family hails from Karabat, Kabul’s musical district, and has been performing traditional Afghan music for 200 years.

“Since the Taliban came again, there is no music in Afghanistan, nothing is allowed anymore, so I am very happy to be here. Afghan culture, especially music and musicians during the most devastating time of their lives. , because they have no money and cannot support their families,” he said.

Mahmoud, along with his 14-year-old son Aliz and 15-year-old nephew Roman, performed Afghan music for the kite-flying crowd.

“We should always unite and work together and try to bring Afghanistan back to life,” he said.

Actor and model Hasib Mohammad, 23, said he used to teach children how to fly kites at the festival and said he wanted to give people a taste of Afghan culture. That is not what Afghanistan is for.”

Good Chance Theater co-artistic directors Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson said:

“Kites are the embodiment of freedom and play.

“Seen collectively on an empty stage, kites represent unity, our differences, and our shared humanity.

“But when the Taliban last took control of Afghanistan, kites were banned, along with music, free journalism, theater and dance.

“This simplest apparatus of play and wonder, of game and competition, is also one of the most contested spaces in recent world history.

“With the Taliban back in power, it is clear that the insults against freedom of expression have been renewed.

“Fly with Me is a reminder to the world: Remember Afghanistan.”

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