The kufiyah, originally from the city of Kufa in Iraq, was the traditional headdress of Arab farmers and Bedouins.

During the 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt against the British presence, the kufiyah became crucial for the Palestinians who they used to hide their face and it became explicit emblem of Palestinian solidarity since Yasser Arafat gave it global exposure in the 60-70’s.

Nowadays, in West Bank, only one factory stands against made-in-China kufiyahs. Yasser Hirbawi opened the Hirbawi Textile Factory in the city of Hebron in 1961; and it had been producing annually up to 150,000 scarves.

Mahmoud Hussein Hamandi pose dans sa maison-grotte où il vit avec sa femme et ses douze enfants, dans le hameau d'Um Faqarah

Market liberalization measures following the 1993 Oslo Accords caused a slump in sales as cheaper options are available from China, Jordan and Syria for a cost as little as $3 whilst a Hirbawi Textiles scarf costs around $6.

Village troglodyte de Jinba dans le sud de la Cisjordanie

The original Palestinian kufiyah is a 48 inches square made of a lightweight natural cotton fabric with a traditional woven black and white pattern and knotted tassels on 2 corners.

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Read Article "How Palestine’s last keffiyeh factory is helping olive trees to flourish"

Eloise Bollack
June, 2014