12 November 2010

Go fly a kite

In Stones into Schools, Mortenson talks about the Draconian regime when the Taliban held power in Afghanistan. Some of their more bizarre edicts included forbidding people from listening to music, laughing in public, and flying a kite.

To me, these were truly soul-destroying prohibitions. Listening to music can invigorate lethargy, calm anger, cheer sadness, and so much more. And you have only to witness the huge numbers of people walking around with earphones virtually embedded in their ears to know how very important music is in people’s lives.

And who could live without laughter? There is nothing so good as the genuinely overwhelming belly laugh that results in tears streaming down your face and leaves your diaphragm feeling pained, your body exhausted. To be prevented from sharing a public laugh with a fellow human being would be so demoralising, and who hasn’t smiled involuntarily at the sound of someone laughing?

I read Mortenson’s passage about the Taliban prohibitions in bed one night this week and the very next day one of my Facebook friends posted this quote from Ana├»s Nin:
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.’

The coincidence of the kite image struck me immediately. Forbidding someone from flying a kite seems like forbidding them from following their dreams.

So, my wish for today is for everyone freely to listen to some music, to laugh in public, and – I mean this is the nicest possible way – to go fly a kite!