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Wednesday, March 08, 2021

I think I’ve found the next primetime event for the X Games:

Kite-flying.

That would be kite-flying as practiced on the Indian subcontinent, where aerial duels involve “fighter kites” that are tethered by taut, razor-like strings coated with crushed glass or metal.

Death from the skies! Actually, often literally:

Every year, Pakistani media report dozens of deaths and injuries caused by kite flying, mainly of children and motorcyclists whose throats are sometimes cut by metal or glass-coated string.

“It is a matter of concern that a healthy sport is being turned into a game of death,” the official APP news agency quoted Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi as saying Tuesday.

Elahi said a crackdown had been launched against the sale of sharp kite string and threatened a permanent ban on kite-flying if deaths continued.

“Action under the Anti-Terrorism Act would be taken in case of deaths due to … dangerous kite-flying string,” he was quoted as saying.

This actually provides an explanation to a long-ago strange new item out of Afghanistan, when it was still under Taliban rule. The government banned all kite-flying, and that edict was reported in the West without what must have been this regional context.

Now, it makes sense. But at the time, it was presented as just another irrational action by an ultra-extreme, backward regime. It did lead to a funny quip by Jerry Seinfeld, when he heard about the kite-flying ban:

“What are they afraid of? That someone might discover electricity?”

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 02:20:00 PM
Category: Other Sports, Comedy | Permalink |

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  1. Wasn’t this the plot of a Hardy Boys book?
    Or was it Encyclopedia Brown? I just distinctly remember reading a story about kids who stole other people’s kites this way. In 1985.

    Comment by tim in tampa — 03/09/2021 @ 03:02:51 AM

  2. Doesn’t ring a bell. I’d remember Encyclopedia Brown decapitating someone.

    Comment by CT — 03/09/2021 @ 05:37:57 PM

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