Keffiyeh: The Palestinian Garment That Became A Symbol Of Resistance

The Palestinian Keffiyeh is a black and white checked scarf consisting of 3 main patterns, bold, sea waves, and fishnet.

The bold represents the routes of trade through Palestine which played an important role in Palestine’s culture, the sea waves symbolize the strength and resilience of persevering 73 years of oppression and occupation, while the fishnet embodies the sea and the Palestinian fisherman and to many it also means freedom.

The Palestinian keffiyeh is commonly worn around the neck or head and although it is commonly used as a symbol of resistance it didn’t originate as a symbol of that. 

The Keffiyeh is now widely worn as a symbol of resistance of the Palestinian people and as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, worn by both men and women dating back to the Arab revolution in Palestine from 1936 to 1938. 

During the British mandate on Palestine, the rebels tied it around their faces to disguise their identities and escape arrest. The British government responded by outlawing the keffiyeh. Banning a display of Palestinian identity did not sit well with its people, therefore as a gesture of resistance, all Palestinians began wearing it to make it more difficult to distinguish the rebels from the wider population.

From the late 20s, the garment grew to the global scale where it is being worn by celebrities and activists alike to show support for Palestine as well as the Palestinian cause. The keffiyeh is now recognized as an effective way for international supporters to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian fight for justice and freedom.

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