Update

Again, I apologize for the lack of posting; I have been busy in Boston with student government work and the affairs of women. I am also reworking a paper on Greater Morocco, searching for sources, contacts, etc. This has been rather time consuming. Posting will resume more regularly next week. I will also try to get what have written up (with respect to that paper) as well.

In any event:

I agree.

I am intrigued.

I am pondering.

I am rather interested.

I like this kind of campaigning.

I think this is an overreaction.

I am glad to have been directed towards this.

I am thoroughly impressed by the boldness of the Mauritania’s representatives in Morocco, who snubbed the King’s top Sahara adviser and declared that Mauritania wished to see Morocco adhere to “resolutions of international legitimacy” and reiterated their support for the self-determination of the Western Sahara; bold language and bold maneuvers from the underbelly of “Greater Morocco.”

I am absolutely floored by the idiocy of Michelle Malkin (I refuse to link to her website) and the spectacle she has made over a paisely scarff and the degree to which she is comfortable displaying absolute ignorance of what a kuffiyeh is and what it symbolizes. I am furthermore more irritated than ever that a symbol of Arab ethnic identity (even as it has been used as a symbol of Palestinian and Jordanian nationalisms) — a secular one at that — has been taken on as a “subversive” political statement and bastardized into hideous colorations and fashions (the individual or design team that decided that the purple, brown, blue, pink, olive, and yellow kuffiyehs were in some way “cute” and should be marketed to white teenagers and college students as peppy or brooding rags deserves a scolding). Finally, I was irritated and sickened by the foolishness of this statement, yesterday:

(For what it’s worth, the keffiyeh is a secular symbol of Palestinian nationalism, though the Palestinian movement has obviously become more Islamist in recent decades. Just because you wear it doesn’t mean you espouse violence, only that you take the Palestinian side in the conflict.)

The kuffiyeh is used as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, as well as Jordanian nationalism (both using different colors in the nationalist context). It is also part of the national dress of the Gulf region, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. It needn’t be checkered, and indeed it is often white, and it is the origin of the racist term “rag head” or “towel head”; it is used to construct turbans or to shield oneself from the blaze of the sun. It is worn by Muslim, Druze, and Christian Arabs. It is a symbol of eastern Arab identity, pride, and culture. In addition, non-Arabs wear them as well, particularly Kurds, who often wear red or black-and-white checkered kuffiyehs. There are many images of peshmerga fighters donning the kuffiyeh in such a manner, as well as tribesmen, and the elderly. It cannot be said that these people are simply showing their support for the “Palestinian side.” In fact, wearing the kuffiyeh has nothing to do with being pro-Palestinian except among some in the West, who perhaps purchased their garments while studying abroad in Cairo or Damascus, or, more commonly, bought a processed cotton and polyester rag for upwards of $25 at an over priced chain store in which indie music blasts from the in house stereo. And in the latter case, it more likely that the wearer is ignorant of the politics of their clothes. It can mean many things — especially when the colors are so atrociously altered as they often are — such that one has poor fashion sense or is drawn to the exotic. Or it could mean that one is an Arab, and proud of it. For some, such a concept might be far fetched though.

2 thoughts on “Update

  1. Looking forward to that paper. I have about a billion old articles in PDF on Moroccan irredentism and border issues stowed away on my laptop, if you’re looking for something in particular. You’ve got my e-mail somewhere, so if you’re interested, get in touch.

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