¹⁴ Watching kites through the window.
Mardin rises above the plain: houses of stone, clear-cut, chiseled, antique churches and mosques, lone faces from every window following every step in the courtyards, in the hallways, up and down the beige limestone stairs. We — there are both of us, still — do not understand most words in the market: they use dialects rather than Turkish, and behind closed doors Aramaic and Syriac can still be faintly heard. When the wind rises in Mardin, a kite sprouts from every roof.
I had a kite made and took it with me as I headed further South.
Further South, Nusaybin. With its shining new neoclassical Kurdish architecture, the ruins of what is perhaps the world’s oldest university; the ancient Assyrian Churches; tea houses, coffee houses, full through the afternoon; Kurdish families living on both sides of the divide; minefields; and children playing football next to them.
I had the fantasy of flying my kite over the border. I waited days for a wind that wouldn’t come. Shortly before I departed, I gave the kite to my host, a customs officer.
I headed East, to Cizre, the city of Noah.
A few days later, I called my host to ask if he had managed to fly the kite. He told me there was still no wind and that he gave it to his nephew who lived a bit further North.
Who knows what remains of the kite
And who can say a few years later, what is left, of these houses, of the tea-houses, stone-houses and streets, what have
CURFEWS, OPERATIONS, CLEANSING, TERRORISTS, COUNTER-INSURGENCY
the telephone numbers have been lost and the email addressed do not answer
Who can tell me if the kites still fly as they used to.