It’s that time of the year. The holidays bring scores of children to play together — across the dividing line. And despite the iron wall of separation, they form friendships.
Mahmoud has always known the border as a playground. This is where the family home was before it was demolished by
Most children still play from "home," where Block O, Yebna, Block J, or the al-Salam neighborhood used to be. The playground is that strip of no man’s land known as the
Only kites can now cross the border. And up in the skies one can tell some of the
Khalid Zanoun, 12, like the others, always picks the spot where his house once stood. Up in the skies, he suddenly loses his kite in a dogfight. "He ran away from me!" he screams, looking at his disappearing kite, fists clenched. But soon he is beaming again, preparing another kite for the next battle with his unseen mates on the other side.
Curiosity led him some time back to scale the wall and see what his mates look like. "This is not allowed any more," he says. "The Hamas guards on our side and the Egyptian border guards on the other stop us."
Not entirely, though, because boys will be boys. If nothing, they climb up just to say hello to the Egyptian guards.
It’s the better world on the other side. The Egyptian boys have better kites, and they have shoes. In
Mahmoud has four brothers working in
But he’s not so sure he can become an engineer. The family has no money to send him to university. His family came here as refugees in 1948 when
The UN agency for
Another boy comes up to join Mahmoud. He lifts his shirt to show a wound he received from shrapnel during an Israeli assault. He too lost his home. Everyone knows why. But for the moment, his thoughts are on his kite.