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Kite flying becomes popular way to kill lockdown time in Gaza

Published : 09 Jul 2020, 23:41

  By Sanaa Kamal, Xinhua

A Palestinian man flies a kite on a beach in Gaza City, on July 3, 2020. File Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua.

Mohammed al-Ghoula, 13, from the Palestinian Gaza Strip, was overwhelmed with happiness as he watched his kite flying high in the sky.

For al-Ghoula and his agemates, flying kites is a good way to amuse themselves amid tight anti-COVID-19 measures imposed by local authorities.

"This little handmade kite represents the besieged children of Gaza and me...I feel I am flying, not the kite," the little boy told Xinhua as he controlled his colored single-line kite.

Kite flying in Gaza almost disappeared over the past two years after Israel threatened to target those who fly kites after some Gazans released arson kites and balloons into Israel during the anti-Israel weekly protests dubbed the "Great March of Return."

But this summer, kites have increasingly dotted the sky of the coastal territory as the hobby spreads among children amid lockdown due to COVID-19.

"I feel bored at home. I want to play and have fun...flying kites was the best way to do so," the young boy said as he pulled the line and released it to make the kite dive.

Al-Ghoula showed skills in controlling and balancing his kite by using the nylon string, as his friends observed him learn to avoid colliding with other kites.

Showing off their kite-flying skills, children gather to compete and watch their kites of various sizes and shapes soaring overhead in the blue sky.

Kites are not only a way to have fun or kill time, but also a source of income for some people in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Ahmed Marzouk, a resident from Gaza city, has secured a temporary source of income out of making kites amid dire economic crisis that worsened due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Marzouk, a 27-year-old father of a baby girl, spends long hours making kites to sell them in public places, in addition to teaching young people how to fly a kite.

"I financially benefit from selling kites, but I also feel happy to see children laughing and having fun while practicing this hobby," Marzouk told Xinhua.

Zakareia Muhammad, from Gaza city, who also sells kites, said the lockdown caused by the spread of coronavirus has revived his work.

The 46-year-old father of six added that many parents encourage their children to fly kites from over the houses to ensure they are keeping social distancing.