Friday, January 04, 2013

revolutionary headgear: liberty caps and kufiyas

"Among the Romans the cap of felt was the emblem of liberty. When a slave obtained his freedom he had his head shaved, and wore instead of his hair an undyed pileus. Servos ad pileum vocare is a summons to liberty. In late Republican Rome, the cap of freedmen served as a symbol of freedom from tyranny.

The Liberty Cap as an emblem of liberty was used by the Sons of Liberty as early as 1765. During the American Revolution, particularly in the early years, many of the soldiers who fought for the Patriot cause wore knitted stocking liberty caps of red, sometimes with the motto "Liberty" or "Liberty or Death" knitted into the band."

via the blog, Liberty Hat.

From my book, Memories of Revolt, regarding the campaign of the revolutionaries of the 1936-39 rebellion to impose the kufiya on urban Palestinians.

"The Igal [that is, kûfiya] of the Arab today is surely a liberty cap but conceived in an original and native fashion. By making Supreme Court judges, big Government officials, important merchants and the entire professional class and in fact every body, wear an igal the rebels have made a grand sweep in the direction of democracy. The fellahin do not concel their delight at seeing their "uppers," the effendis, come down a peg and look like them in the matter of head dress. They feel proud of having raised themselves on the social scale." (Khalil Totah, director of the American Friends School, Ramallah, writing in 1938).

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