The Treehouse + The Cave


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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

My Keffiyeh

Keffiyeh

I'll admit it, a couple of years ago it crossed my mind that it might be cool to start rocking a traditional Keffiyeh. It was an interesting time in New York, saturated with irony, electroclash and constant fear of additional terrorist attack. For that brief second, all of those factors seemed to condense, and I humored the idea of heading off to Queens to pick one up. Then my better judgment took over, and I immediately realized that it wasn't ironic, nor was it clever. It was distasteful, disrespectful and ill conceived. Who am I to reassign meaning to an object that represents a struggle I can only hope to understand? Let alone pair it with a Surface 2 Air T-shirt and a can of Sparks?

What the fuck are these kids thinking? Has the cultural wisdom of today's urban youth changed that much in 3 or 4 years? Are they just oblivious to the single most influential culture war in history? Do they think fashion is worth ignoring the larger questions?

Or, am I overanalyzing things, and this is an appropriation that was bound to emerge in a postmodern environment soaked with Islamic imagery?

Image 1: The Cobra Snake
Image 2: The Misshapes Gallery
Image 3: The Cobra Snake

Blogger hipp-o thought:

i think they are identifying with the palestinian armed conflict as a parallel to their vicious, bloody fight for better food delivery options in the greater williamsburg area.

February 1, 2005 at 12:45 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger michael thought:

that last "kid" on the right is actually a Marine and got his while he was in Iraq.
not so much on the trend-spotting wagon....

February 7, 2005 at 1:59 AM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Andy thought:

Michael,

Thanx for letting me know. That definitely changes the meaning here. Unfortunately, I think I may be even more uncomfortable with it's reinterpretation as a scarf in this instance. If it's not being worn with irony, nor even aesthetics in mind, than is it as a trophy, a spoil of war?

Now obviously, I'm missing a lot of the story here and I won't presume to know anything about the real motivations behind him wearing it (for all I know, it was a genuine gift from an Iraqi). However, I find it a pretty confusing and distasteful decision from afar.

A.

February 7, 2005 at 7:37 AM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

i found this blog after a google search for "keffiyeh trend"... after getting dirty looks from strangers on an elevator, i figured it might be my scarf, which i wear not as a political statement but because i just moved back to america from eastern europe, where everyone wears them for the sake of keeping their necks warm (imagine that.) it's simply a piece of woven houndstooth fabric with some strings hanging from the ends. you're definately assigning too much meaning to it.

February 23, 2007 at 1:54 PM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

i found this blog after a google search for "keffiyeh trend"... after getting dirty looks from strangers on an elevator, i figured it might be my scarf, which i wear not as a political statement but because i just moved back to america from eastern europe, where everyone wears them for the sake of keeping their necks warm (imagine that.) it's simply a piece of woven houndstooth fabric with some strings hanging from the ends. you're definately assigning too much meaning to it.

February 23, 2007 at 1:54 PM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Robert S. thought:

I'm relatively new to NY, but had heard about this craze. Then I saw a girl at the coffee van in Union Square wearing one tonight. I think it's in bad taste, too. Anonymous, you may be wearing yours as a simple accessory, but that doesn't change the fact that many of the hipsters think they're wearing them as a form of protest. A rather clueless form of protest, methinks. That's the shame about many of the hipster set - they pride themselves in being intellectual, but they often seem be a bunch of sheep, who don't think beyond the initial excitation they feel at discovering yet another "ironic" take on something. It's kind of grotesque and anti-intellectual if anything. Cheers for the post.

April 1, 2007 at 3:05 AM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

im all for teh shemagh/keffiyeh if the wearer knows the significance behind it.

April 8, 2007 at 1:04 AM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

really interesting and intellectual responces, thanks for the post. I'm still gonna rock mine with pride and if anyone asks me why i wear it I hope they have a spare half hour

June 17, 2007 at 5:18 AM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

ok... i kinda dont like when ppl define the scarf wrong, and or just wear it as a fashion statement. the keffiyah has a strong meaning for many people. for example myself. I am a Palestinian American ( born in NY)
the palestinian keffiyah represents the ongoing struggle that Palestinians have faced since 1948. Its not an "anti jew" scarf, its not a "anti war" scarf, its not a "fashion statement."

Its apart of our culture, and its something that other arab nations have also adopted.

I have many friends that came from the war in Iraq that wear it AND UNDERSTAND THE MEANING BEHIND IT.
thats why they wear it, they wear it in their support of the ongoing struggle that they have faced, and the Iraqi people have faced.

thats why I wear it, as a Palestinian American, who's family was pushed out of palestine in 1948 and forced to live as refugees and are now scattered all around the world. to express my family and my peoples ongoing struggle that we must face in our everyday lives.

but seriously, google and search the true meaning of the keffiyah... the on going struggle of Palestinians living under occupation and living all across the world.

if we learn to understand each other then their will finally be a chance for peace.

it wont be anytime soon that is why its up to us, the next generation...

September 9, 2007 at 2:02 PM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous Anonymous thought:

I don't own a keffiyah scarf though i think the pattern is cool. i do understand and support the struggle but through non-violence.
I collect music by a band called Muslimgauze (muslimgauze.org). Bryn Jones 1961-1999 a.k.a. Muslimgauze also felt the struggle and created Muslimgauze in '82 but he never visited the places he uses for the source of his music, a support through proxy.
Now, should i not buy his cd's? Dose his support through music and sound offend people who support the jewish occupation of Palestine?
Images, design, symbols etc. can offend others if they are use for evil but they are what they are. If you wear a keffiyah scarf as fashion, thats ok because its used by a lot of middle eastern foke that have no political belief. But i must say that people who wear Che Guevara shirts most likely don't know how brutal he really was. It's like wearing a Hitler or Pol Pot shirt.
But an item of clothing that is worn buy millions of people should not be condemned because a small but vocal violent group co-oped it.
The whole Rachel Ray thing is stupid. I hate her for be so annoying not because of the ad with the scarf. If D&D didn't pull the ad and stood up to the NeoCon fascist blogers (who spread fear of their own making) who look for terror in any little thing i would cheer D&D, but now that D&D folded i will never buy a munchkin again.

May 29, 2008 at 1:22 PM - Comment Permalink  

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