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Comox Valley residents fly kites for Palestinian Fathers

Kites fly in solidarity with Palestine at Comox Valley's Goose Spit park

Over 30 people came down to Goose Spit park on Sunday to fly kites, albeit for a slightly different reason than the usual father's day kite event.

Held just before the City of Courtenay event, Comox Valley for Palestine's event was designed to uplift the stories of Palestinian fathers and raise awareness for the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

"We hear a lot about the women and the children of Palestine that are suffering," said Elmar Nabbe, one of the organizers of the event. "But there's the fathers a lot of fathers that have have died as well.

"Each of the kites that we have here carries the name of one of the fathers who are no longer there to be fathers for their children."

The kites bore names of men like Dr. Abdul Rahman Alhelou, a dedicated dentist and father of young children, and Badr Abu Hamad who died while trying to move his wife to a place where she could safely give birth.

Labbe said the idea came from a poem written by Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer, called "If I Must Die" which reads: "If I must die / you must live / to tell my story / to sell my things / to buy a piece of cloth / and some strings, / (make it white with a long tail) / so that a child, somewhere in Gaza / while looking heaven in the eye / awaiting his dad who left in a blaze— / and bid no one farewell / not even to his flesh / not even to himself— / sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above / and thinks for a moment an angel is there / bringing back love / If I must die / let it bring hope / let it be a tale"

Alareer was killed in an airstrike by the Israeli military on Dec. 6, 2023.

"I read that poem and then was was inspired to start building kites again," Nabbe said. "He inspired me to build a butterfly kite and then approach other people to build kites."

Kites have a strong significance for Palestine. In 2011, children in Gaza broke a world record by flying 12,000 kites at one time, and according to a report from Aljazeera, kites made an appearance again in Feb. 2024 above Rafah.

"There was one children's story about a kite and how it helped ... the children get over their fears over their fears of the F-16s screaming over overhead. They dreamed of the kite that then came along and carried them off and and helped them get away from those the fighter jets."

In all, there were 30 kites flying above Goose Spit on Sunday. The kites were built and painted by volunteers leading up to the event.

A release from Comox Valley for Palestine says that "more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the last eight months, and almost 85,000 are wounded. The UN says that hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are on the brink of starvation."

Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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