Friday, November 07, 2008
Kufiya-clad American Leftist, circa 1987
I found this in Fred Davis' book, Fashion, Culture and Identity (1992), in his chapter on Antifashion (p. 163). Jennifer Berman's cartoon, from In These Times, is entitled "The American Leftist (Progressivus Sandinistis Supportoris)." It features two male leftists in stereotypical late 1987 attire; I show (of course) only the one wearing what the cartoon calls a "Palestinian style scarf." (Unfortunately, it's not drawn very accurately. At the time it would have been a real black-and-white checked one.)
Among the other international characteristics of these two stereotypical leftists, according to the list at his left, is that they know: "some of the words to 'the Internationale'"; "at least 5 people who have been to Esteli [Nicaragua]"; "protest chants in Spanish" and "love Thai food."
More evidence that the kufiya was everyday eighties leftist attire, especially in the key movements of the era, the Central American solidarity movement and the nuclear disarmament movement. Contrary to what some accounts I've been reading say (including wikipedia--at least, as of today), its use in the US pre-dates the first Palestinian intifada, which broke out in December 1987.