Fly Kites Not Drones 2018 coming to a town near you…

Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK

Fly Kites Not Drones 2018

Saturday 17th – Sunday 25th March

Nao Roz, the Persian New Year is nearly upon us, have you dusted off your kite???

This is the 5th Fly Kites Not Drones annual action which coincides with the Persian New Year 21st March. As usual we have loads of actions happening up and down the country, below are a few we currently have details on, more will follow. 

This campaign was launched by the Afghan Peace Volunteers, and is now an international campaign which shows solidarity with children living under armed drones, this year we will be joined by many groups in the USA.

If there isn’t an event happening in your area then organise your own with a few friends, and send us photos @KitesNotDrones @VCNVUK 

 Kite flying in Kabul

Fly Kites Not Drones UK
Upcoming Events 

Edinburgh FKND Festival 
1-4pm Sunday 1st April
The Pavilion Cafe Edinburgh
Jawbone Walk, Melville Drive EH9 1JU 
Always a massive turn out with great winds, Edinburgh holds award winning photos.

Leicester Flying Afghan Style
11-1pm Saturday 24th March
Victoria Park, near Queens Road, LE1
Afghan Community comes together with local peace group for Afghan kite making & picnic, bring food to share, and prepare for some serious kite running.

Hastings FKND Marathon Special
11am Sunday 18th March
Hastings Beach, in front of the Carlisle Pub TN34 1PE
Organised by Hastings Against War, schedule to coincide with the Hastings Half Marathon, they will certainly be spreading the message high and far.

RAF Wddington Lincoln 
Out of Sight But NOT Out of Mind
1-3pm Saturday 17th March
Grantham Road, Lincoln, LN5 9BN
Flying kites with pride, showing our solidarity for children living under drones, organised by Drone Campaign Network.

London FKND Collective
2pm Saturday 24th March
Parliament Hill
Co-organised by London Catholic Worker, Campaign Against the Arms Trade & War Resisters International, spectacular London views, the action will also be made into a short film.

Aberdeen Gets High
10am -12 noon Sunday 25th March 
Ferry Hill Community Centre, Albury Road, Aberdeen, AB11 6TN
Kite making, decorating and flying hosted by Aberdeen CND.

Fly Kites Not Drones 2018

Over the last 5 years UK anti-drone campaigning activities  have included: entering drone control base RAF Waddington to plant a peace garden and carry out a citizens’ inspection, blockading Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems and regularly hosting the London kite flying event to resist armed drones. This year, as Afghans celebrate their new year, on Nao Roz, Voices for Creative Nonviolence-UK invites communities to join the Fly Kites Not Drones campaign.

This peace campaign was launched 5 years ago by young nonviolent peace campaigners in Kabul who have firsthand experience of losing family members killed by drones. The campaign was created to highlight the fear and harm which armed drones inflict on children, so much so that they’re now too afraid to take part in Afghanistan’s much-loved pursuit of kite flying. The Afghan Peace Volunteers asked international campaigners to fly kites on the Persian New Year, 21st March, in solidarity with Afghan children.

Fly Kites Not Drones has since gone international with kite flying becoming recognised as an act of international solidarity for all young people living under armed drones, spotlighting civilian casualties and the psychological trauma inflicted by drones.

An urgent call is being put out to  to join with this action in the light of recent news that there will be a reallocation of U.S. military resources back to Afghanistan.  Army General John Nicholson, Top Commander in Afghanistan recently commented: “As assets free up from Iraq and Syria and the successful fight against [Islamic State] in that theatre, we expect to see more assets come to Afghanistan”. According to Brussels, allied officials say they have sensed a shift in U.S. priorities with pressure on NATO to focus less on the Middle East but more on Afghanistan. The Pentagon recently made moves to reallocate drones, other hardware and 1,000 new combat advisers to Afghanistan in time for ‘fighting season’ which traditionally starts in Spring.

In Afghanistan civilian casualties are at an all-time high. The last UNAMA report published July 2017 calculated 1,662 civilians killed in the first 6 months of the year with 3,581 injured, and of those killed 174 were women and 436 were children, a 23% and 19% increase respectively from the previous year. Trump’s August pledge to stop nation building and fight terrorists almost certainly translates to a ramping up in the use of aerial bombing and moreover drone warfare, which, by default means an increase in civilian deaths.

The act of flying a kite is simple but deeply symbolic. For Afghans it’s an integral part of their culture and social life; banned under the Taliban it now carries an additional symbolism of resistance. The underlying message of the campaign is that beautiful blue skies should be kept as a place of fun, wonderment and joy, not a means of reaping terror and fear with a deathly omnipresence which can last for weeks and even months.

Fly Kites not Drones is an ongoing campaign which the APVhead up every year. So, this Nao Roz, (beginning of the Afghan New Year), on the 21st March (or around that time) join your brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, invite some friends and go fly a kite in your local park, open space, beach or military base! Make a sign, a simple leaflet, take some photos and let us know @kitesnotdrones #FlyKitesNotDrones