The Keffiyeh – Symbol of Resistance & Self Determination or Hipster Fashion Accessory?

The Akh has always had issues with people wearing The Keffiyeh. An all to common sight is of young trendy wannabe’s wearing them in fashion friendly colours, this has The Akh wanting to rip it off their puny neck’s and shout down “what’s wrong with you?”

You could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps The Akh is getting heated over a non issue, ask yourself this, did these fashionista hipsters sport the Keffiyeh when the intifadah popped off to show support?

Unless you know your politics and are rocking it as a symbol of your faith, belief and support for the injustices that are occuring throughout Palestine and the Middle East, then please, leave your headwraps at home.

The Keffiyeh is more than just a practical headdress and over recent decades it has come to symbolise the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. This documentary looks at the last keffiyeh maker in the West Bank. At one time, small factories in the West Bank were producing thousands of Keffiyeh’s a day, providing employment for locals, but the forces of today’s global economy means that a cocktail of competition from China, globalisation and Israeli occupation now threaten another vital cog of the self determination of the people in Palestine.

I could go on forever and a day about the commodification of culture due to belligerent war mongering and how war commodifies cultural symbols to normalise the advent of bombing and the cultural breakdown that occurs at the hands of an occupation, only for that very symbol of resistance to be re-appropriated as a fashion accessory.

When The Akh used to rock these through his university days, much to the chagrin of one particular pro zionist lecturer, whose allegiances were unbeknownst to The Akh at the time, would mean constant petty harassment, to the point of being ejected from one of his lectures on spurious grounds.

For The Akh it verges with being on par with white people having dreadlocks (trustafarians) not knowing that African slaves would grow out their Locks as a symbol of resistance to their oppressors.

The zionists know precisely what the Keffiyeh represents, so much so that an advert for iced coffee featuring the well-known US television chef Rachael Ray was pulled due to the fact that she was wearing a black-and-white checked scarf around her neck that resembled a traditional Arab keffiyeh.

If you are serious about equality and fairness, then tell me why Johnny the Emo-Hipster can wear one to cover his bare chest and yet I can’t without being interrogated with your disapproving eyes?

Just say no to cultural commodification.

If you want to purchase one, make sure you source it from an ethical and genuine source. Embroidery from Palestine is run by the Palestine Solidarity Project in order to connect the women’s embroidery co-op with the international market.

In a time of increasing economic crisis in Palestine it is crucial that we give trade and not just aid as a form of international support for small economic self-sufficiency projects such as this one.

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2 Comments

Filed under 4GW, Documentary, Experiences, Identity, Palestine, Resistance By All Means Necessary

2 responses to “The Keffiyeh – Symbol of Resistance & Self Determination or Hipster Fashion Accessory?

  1. Yasser Arafat's Keffiyeh

    You are so right about the “cultural commodification”

    Too many things lose their intrinsic value when they become a fashionable accessory, the iconic Che Guevara picture is a classic tale of a revolutionary whose image has been marketed crassly by those who exploit his image to make a quick buck.

    I’ve been following your blog for sometime, first time I’ve posted a comment, keep doing what you do, I like the varied content you put out there, funnily enough I tend to agree with what you have to say more then I disagree.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    A Supporter

  2. Moe

    Cool some kind of feeble human attachment to a piece of cloth. I’m still going to wear one.

    PS. I hate Jews/Christians/Muslims all the same so if you guys could all jump into a fire it’d advance us all a few hundred years. Thanks!

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