Palestinian Scarf, Resistance 'a la mod'

Scarf

Picture taken from a magazine ad for a local radio station.

Today, you can hardly walk the streets of Damascus without passing by quite a few young men and women wearing Palestinian scarves, which at one point became a symbol of the resistance and the “Fida’ees”, a symbol of freedom fighters and an ever lingering dream of returning to Palestine which constituted an integral part of the identity of many Arab generations.

But are they really wearing Palestinian scarves? as I recall the original scarf was white with black patterns exclusively, while the ones you see everyone wearing on the streets of Damascus come in a variety of wild colors to appeal to the different tastes of fashionable Damascenes, and to mix and match with any colors of the shirts or shoes they might be wearing. The symbol is now reduced to a mere fashion statement, it is what the “cool kids do.” and the irony of it all is that you can hardly find anyone wearing the original white scarf, which is by their standards plain and totally not cool!

This reminds of something that happened with a friend of mine; he saw someone (a college student) wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, so he asked him: “why are you wearing this T-shirt?” and that guy replied: “أخي بالمجمل أنا بحب المطربين الأجانب” [dude, I like foreign singers]!

My friend and I developed a habit of yelling “حيو الفدائية” every time one of those fashionistas pass us by in the street.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are suffering a brutal Israeli siege while the whole world is looking the other way. In good faith I have to say that this is a way of saying “Be strong, are hearts are with you.” But that’s just me and my wishful thinking.




  1. it’s not only in Damascus, it’s here as well.

    i usually wear one most of the times, but since i saw it in the stores like a month ago, i felt uneasy about wearing it, though as u mentioed, the ones in the stores are with vivid colours while the original is black and white.

    i think it’s a matter of a month or three, and they’d forget about it.

    Regards

  2. أمنية says:

    but i like حيو الفدائية comment.. smart one.: )

  3. Finally, you show up in my RSS!

    The colored ones have totally become trendy here too (but not the black and white ones) – I had a couple, but now only wear my “authentic” one (yeah, bought in Morocco, made in Korea, WTF?) in solidarity.

    I also make a point of wearing it into Dunkin’ Donuts.

  4. uramium says:

    Somehow, these young people need something to believe in, a symbol or celebrity, an icon for their dreams and the one they want to be, to express them as they can’t do this with a depressive circumstances.
    Unfortunately, The market and media controls this Dreams and icons.

  5. أنا says:

    حيو الفدائية
    i think i’ll start using it :)

  6. Anas says:

    Hey All,
    Thanks for your comments.. glad you liked حيو الفدائية

    Jill,
    if American flags are made in China.. I don’t find it strange that Palestinian scarves are made in Korea ;)

    Uramium,
    If they were wearing the scarves as a symbol, I would’ve kept my mouth shut! To them it’s all about being trendy..

  7. Orientalista says:

    I have been seeing these all over – powder blue, hot pink, yellow. Kuffiyehs were popular in New York last time I was there (summer 07) and being sold as “peace scarves” at Urban Outfitters. I have one (black and white) that I bought in Palestine but I’ve never worn it because it had lost its meaning as a symbol and just become a hipster trend. Sad it’s happening in Damascus too. Especially when some one I know who loves his blue scarves says a lot of the Palestinians are shawaya.

    • Anas says:

      hey Orientalista,
      thanks for the comment, you were in palestine? hmm so you had to get a new passport to enter syria, right?
      as for “shawaya” word, do you know the origin of the word? it’s from the word شوي to grill meat, and the “shawaya” were originally the “people who honor their guests by always offering meat to them… so it’s not all bad ;)

  8. Renata Avila says:

    Hey Anas! First time visiting your blog!
    Yes, the thing with the Palestinian scarfs is “trendy” in here too… everyone is wearing them… even when our weather is up to 22C!!!!

    Same with T shirts… and even when Che Guevara actually lived here and got the nickname of Che in here … teenagers do not have a clue about the history and struggles behind…

    • Anas says:

      Hey Renata, Welcome to my pathetic excuse of a blog ;)
      I guess human memory works the same way with history and fashion, only what’s ” happenin’ ” now is stored.. other than that.. well, you know what it is.

  9. dina saadi says:

    hey annos kefak?
    3ajabni kalamak (m3′ayer el3adi)he he

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