Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 15th, 2014

Making shorts out of headdress designs: Like Palestinian keffiyeh

ZARA makes shorts out of stolen Palestinian kuffiyeh design

The kuffiyeh, typically slung over the shoulders and around the neck, (and used as a headdress too by men) is recognized around the world as a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Zionist Israeli occupation and oppression.

(The Palestian keffiyeh has black dots, the Jordanian has red dots)


To fashion retailer ZARA, the kuffiyeh is a design best worn around the hips, over the butt, and between the legs.

Printed shorts are all the rage this season, prompting ZARA to release a line of shorts printed with all kinds of colorful and unique patterns.

Of the 6 designs for sale on the company’s website, five of them have floral patterns. The sixth is a mock-up of the Palestinian kuffiyeh.

Both the product and the webpage it is featured on lack any context concerning the origin of the design or its connection to Palestinian history and identity.

The cultural appropriation of the kuffiyeh — be it in any form — is offensive not just to Palestinians but to all indigenous peoples who hold onto such designs as a sign of national, cultural, or historical identity.

Although television show producers and American military officers appropriate the kuffiyeh as a trademark way of identifying “terrorists” for audiences to stare at or soldiers to shoot at, ZARA’s appropriation of the kuffiyeh is yet another affront to the collective identity of a people struggling for an end to Israel’s occupation and a start to the observance, accommodation, and protection of their natural human rights.

Further inspection of ZARA’s designs reveals that cultural appropriation is no foreign game to them.

The fashion line currently sells Aztec-inspired clothing, such as this dress that makes absolutely no reference to the culture and history represented by this design, and this kaftan that is not attributed to the North African region from which it comes.

With ZARA commercializing these historically and culturally significant designs without offering any context, credit, or hint of sensitivity, the company is openly and willingly telling consumers that cultural sensitivity is secondary to fashion and that ultimately, disrespecting and stealing from the oftentimes tragic narratives of entire populations is acceptable if it can rake in a profit.

Are in love with the World Cup? Why the Lebanese should be in sync with most of the world?

Why is Lebanon so in love with the World Cup?

Sophie Spencer posted on this June 12, 2014,


As the world cup starts tonight with the Brazil – Croatia game at 11pm, attempts to understand Lebanon’s love for the tournament and the logic (if any) behind the teams the Lebanese are supporting.

Lebanon loves the world cup. Actually, that is an understatement. Lebanon adores the world cup and it doesn’t make sense because Lebanon is not even in it, and never has been! (And this is an excellent reason for going crazy, when not actually participating?)World cup fever has been heating up in the streets of Beirut for a while now.

You see the flags dominating shop displays, hanging from windows and covering various parts of cars. It is really going to shake up Lebanon. (You find dozens of different flags hanging from the same building)

Because of the time difference between Lebanon and Brazil, where the tournament is taking place, some games will finish at around 3 in the morning and speculators are already discussing how this, coupled with Ramadan, will affect productivity in the Middle East.

So what is it about the World Cup that has people so excited? Let’s consult the man (and woman!) on the street.

1. ‘will you be watching the world cup?’

A definit ‘akeed’ (of course) was the overwhelming response from men.

Most women too, affirmed their enthusiasm for the competition, although a few flatly refused to discuss the subject.

For many, the event represents a welcome distraction and change from daily life and as Johnny, 42, put it bluntly, ‘It’s better than watching the government.’ (As if they ever watched the government or cared what the government is doing)

The two clear favourite teams are Brazil and Germany.

People tried to assure me that their support for Brazil was not a passing fancy but in fact goes back a long way. For most it was due to their admiration of the skills of the team, others mentioned the diaspora ties between Lebanon and Brazil.

Until the conclusion of the championship on 13th July, Brazil will be the adopted (football) homeland. Muhammad, 35, said he would watch only as long as Brazil stays in.

Love for Germany also seems to have deep roots. The third most successful team in the history of the cup (after Brazil and Italy) is a reliable bet, sure to provide some quality football. For some, however, admiration for the team is only skin deep. 18-year old Rita told me she was supporting Germany because ‘Germans are hot’!

Of course peer pressure plays its role. Madeleine, 45, revealed to me that her first choice team was Italy but there is less hassle for her at home if she supports Brazil.

However, as most people prefer to watch matches at home with all the family, there are worries about whether this will be possible.

Despite efforts by Tele Liban and the Emir of Qatar to offer the world cup on state TV, exclusive broadcasting rights have gone to cable TV company Sama who are planning to charge $110 for the complete world cup package. (Most people goes to restaurants to watch the games)

Perhaps this means cafes screening the matches will over flow with customers or perhaps people will find legally questionable ways to keep up with their favourite teams at home.

One thing is for sure, Lebanon with its diverse allegiances will be transformed, for one month, into a feverish microcosm of the football-crazy world.

Note: If Lebanese have sense, they should support the State contingents in the UN peace keeping force who are offering great services and facilities to the people in the south.

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June 2014

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