Friday, February 27, 2009

misc. #8756

Time to post, at least in shorthand, some of the items that I've been saving up.

1. This just in, from the blog Hipster Runoff: "Are Palestinian Scarves Still Authentically Alt?" This is so hipster that I feel I can't really decode it. I think the blog's answer is, no, it's now "cool" to support Israel. Only blacks are still wearing (faux) kufiyas. Really, after Gaza, it's cool to support Israel?? (Thanks, Laine.)

2. Three students at Gateway High School in Monroeville, PA (near Pittsburgh), were banned from wearing kufiyas to school on February 17, after 35 Jewish students signed a petition against the scarves. The next day, the ruling was reversed. Read more, from al-Arabiyya, here. (I'm underwhelmed with the quality of al-Arabiyya's journalism, lots of misspellings and goofs.) And a commentary from the Muslim American Society here.

3. This is dated, but for the sake of completeness, for the sake of the archive, I include it. An article from Columbia News Service, April 29, 2008: "Militant fashion? A Palestinian scarf becomes hip-hop chic,"by Lawrence Delevingne. (It quotes me.)

All the kufiya-garbed people who Delevingne interviewed for the story denied there was any political meaning to it. One claimed it had to do with his Muslim identity. And yet, Tracy Thompson owner of the Harlem clothing store, Connection One Fashion, was prompted to start selling kufiyas after several people came into the store asking for “A-rab,” “Taliban” or “Bin Laden” scarves.

Hmmm, low Palestine consciousness levels, eh? Check out the photos that accompany the article, shot by Delevingne. I especially like this one, which shows a display at Connection One Fashion.

4. Mother Jones has a very short piece on taqwacore in the Jan/Feb ish. Why so short?!

5. Please check out the music that Dave Watts (aka WattsRiot aka Impi-D) of Fun'Da'Mental has put up on his Myspace page. I particularly like "The Aziz Visitation Demo." And then there is "Plaything Demo," which Dave posted to commemorate the departure of W from DC.

Here's what Dave posted on Facebook about it--I think it's probably ok with him that I repost. A lost-found track from FDM's All Is War.

Since the frat-boy that is George Dubbya has packed up his shit and is departing from our faces as POTUS, I thought I'd post PLAYTHINGS, over at

It was done three years ago for the FDM album 'All is War'. We were gonna do the album in two parts...but things got a bit outta hand regarding the reaction. So we moved on.Playthings was my hard drive 'til it crashed, taking all my work, thousands of samples to digital heaven or hell!Found a copy though...

Crying and marketing your one fucking hit.
Crying and hollering 'cos of one fucking hit.
We took away your playthings 'cos of too many hits.
Took away your plaything 'cos of too many hits.
Tired of just surviving in this man made shit.
Wise men of old knew of better and more.
Than living of bent knee, nailed to the floor.

Took away your plaything 'cos of too many hits.
Always read the label, still tasted like shit.
Texas crude dude what's a piece that's bigger.
That's my oil under your sand*******

Count them, one, two, three, four, five hundred years of tears.
Morning breaks, hunting calls, mourning cries No surprise.
Atta-boy threw back your bouncing ball.
Patriots to the shopping malls.
Buy a flag, funeral shawl.
Combat soldiers got new toys.
Hand 'em out to the boys.
Night vision, tunnel vision, System failure, animation.
Digitize real lives, skin-slapped high five.
Body parts six feet under'cos of blue-eyed plunder...and so it goes.

Inspiration came from The Bolivarian Experiment, Franz Fanon, the First Nation Movement in North America, EZLN, Black Panther Party for Self-Defence, Malcolm X, Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the countless and nameless Rebels that have fought back tried to turn us onto a new path for human development

Over, but not out.

6. For those who can read French, check out this post by Yves Gonzalez-Quijano, who authors the terrific blog, Culture et politique arabe. You should check it out regularly. He surveys recent uses put to the kufiya in the Arab world, mostly through a careful reading of the Arab mass media. I'm going to have to come back to this one (someone remind me, ok?), but for the moment, just check out this piece of kufiya art by Mona Hatoum, from an exhibit (Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking) at MOMA, February 26-May 22, 2006).

"Keffieh," by Mona Hatoum, (1993-99), human hair on cotton, 1993-1999, collection Peter Norton, Santa Monica

Here's an excerpt from a review of the exhibit:

Mona Hatoum is well known to international art viewers, and a particular favorite of this reviewer for her head-on collisions with conformity - including this re-creation of the traditional headscarf or "Keffieh" worn by Arab men that interweaves strands of women's hair with the Arab symbol of machismo.

"Can you for instance imagine a man wearing it with trailing hair?" asks Hatoum. In an interweaving of two genders in one fabric Hatoum recognized "a kind of quiet protest in the art of embroidery, which like Reichek and Amer she specifically associates with women" writes Feresteh Daftari. "In 'Keffieh' then, she is subtly giving women visibility through both the work's medium and its technique."

Homi Bhabba also gives an interpretation of this enigmatic work:"The macho style is an externalized response to the powers of domination; but it is also a form of domination turned inward, within the community poised against the presence of women, whose voices are either repressed, or sublimated in the cause of struggle. Hatoum's feminized headscarf reveals this disavowal of the place of women and re-inserts their point of view through the embroidered strands of hair that hang loose beyond the boundary, breaking the pictorial grid of the material in the process of redefining the symbolic surface of political struggle."

You can read a shorter English version of Gonzalez-Quijano's kufiya post here. But best to read it in French and, if you've got Arabic skills, check out the articles he links to.

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