RAMALLAH, Aug 2 (JMCC) - Kaffiyehs, the most recognizable symbol of Palestinian national identity, is under threat of extinction in the Palestinian territories.
Only one factory remains in the ancient city of Hebron, where the traditional headscarf has been produced by the same family for over 50 years.
In a rundown office to the side of a gloomy and deserted breeze-block factory, 76-year-old Yasser Hirbawi is hunched on a low couch turning his life's work over and over between his fingers.Read
In his lap – and on his head – are specimens of what has become the internationally recognised symbol of the Palestinian national struggle, the kaffiyeh, the chequered headscarf worn by politicians and militants alike and adopted not just by their supporters but by fashionistas across the globe.
But the kaffiyeh's ubiquity is of small comfort to Hirbawi, his two sons and the sole employee left in the last factory making the headscarves in the Palestinian territories. After almost 50 years, the family business is struggling to keep afloat amid a flood of cheap Chinese imports.
The Chinese kaffiyehs are like a cigarette paper, says Jouda Hirbawi, 44. They are cheaper, but the quality is lower.
According to the Hirbawis, the Chinese manufacturers use polyester and poor-quality cotton in their kaffiyehs. In contrast, a Hirbawi kaffiyeh is laboriously produced with high-quality material and – just as importantly – a sense of history...
the full article at the Guardian