Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another report on the last Palestinian kufiya producer--plus hair gel

An AFP report on the Palestinian kufiya, with an overview of its recent uses in the West, the controversies, and the story of the last remaining Palestinian producer, Yasser al-Hirbawi, who faces severe competition face from Chinese producers. I like the fact that French reporters find it worthwhile to actually go to Hebron and talk to real live Palestinians. The report covers much the same ground as one that appeared in Le Monde this February.

But I do like this statement:

Even here [Hebron] most Palestinians, including the politically active, have cast off the traditional keffiyeh in favour of a more modern look.

"The young guys prefer to wear hair gel," Abu Rumilah, another merchant says.

It's been probably three or more decades, in fact, since anyone other than older men, especially those in traditional or rural garb, routinely wore kufiyas on their heads in the West Bank. But it has been very common for those wearing "modern" clothing to wear kufiyas as scarves, in much the same way as hipsters and politicos do in the West.

Abu Rumilah's statement has more to do with the fact that some in the older generation are quite critical of the younger generation for their modern and trendy hairstyles. It's true that many young men in the West Bank are quite concerned with keeping their hair looking smart, and with global clothing styles. This doesn't keep them from covering their necks with kufiyas in cooler weather, however.

(I found this via The Angry Arab.)

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