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Saturday, June 7th, 2008 22:32

Well...a day late, but:

International Wear Your Kaffiyeh With Pride Day

Happy International Wear Your Kaffiyeh With Pride Day.

This whole thing started with the OMFG-the-crazies-on-the-right-think-Rachael-Ray's-wearing-a-keffiyeh incident. Getting my hands on a keffiyeh instinctively seemed like the right thing to do, but I wanted to give it some more considered thought -- not least of all because hipsters have apparently started sporting them in an effort to appear rebellious and badass or some such.

My rationale is fourfold:

  1. Solidarity with those affected by anti-Arab racism, and
  2. Solidarity with those affected by anti-Muslim discrimination. If there is anything that my youth exchange experience taught me, it's that the similarities between nations or groups of people are far more substantial than their differences. The overwhelming majority of people everywhere want to shape the world in a meaningful and positive way, provide a good life for their families, and spend time with those they love. Even with all the reactionary overreaction going on right now, we as a society should be well past the point where anything with any hint of an Arabic or Muslim tie should be so demonized.
  3. Solidarity with the common people affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even moreso than any association with Islam or Palestine, the keffiyeh to me is symbolic of the ordinary folks of the Levant. It existed long before Arafat, before any modern conception of Palestine or Israel, and has been worn by folks of all nationalities and creeds. It's the pragmatic headwear of the commoner. If you take the TV as a guide, though, you'd be convinced that Israel and Palestine are populated solely with gun-wielding Hamas members, IDF soldiers, rock-throwing kids, stern-sounding Israeli policiticians, and Fatah party mucky-mucks. There are ordinary people trying to make their lives amongst the upheaval. I think their voices are too seldom heard and their presence too often forgotten.
  4. Sometimes a scarf is just a scarf. In my admittedly brief time in the military, we used to use our army-issue scarves for pretty much the same reason folks wear them in the desert -- to keep the sun off and the sand and bugs out. The keffiyeh is a pragmatic piece of attire, akin to the Hitchhiker's Guide towel -- it is hat, balaclava, scarf, shawl, blanket and towel, all in one.

On a closing note: a scientific study conducted yesterday found that after several hours of keffiyeh exposure, none of the approximately 4,500 participants had developed any propensity to terrorist activity. =)

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