In Attire

I was born in Jordan, to a Jordanian father. My mother was born in Kuwait, but she is not Kuwaiti. My grandfather was born in Palestine in the early 1930s, but he and his family were forced to leave in the late 40s. As a result, my mother's generation can be characterized by rapid migration, across the Middle East, to somewhere where they could be accepted - which ended up being Jordan. My grandfather, now passed, used to keep this Keffiyeh on him at all times. When I used to ask him why he wore it, he would jokingly say to keep the sun out of his eyes, and talk about how it was his symbol of living. "I wear this so the world knows that I am a strong man, coming from a strong nation." When we immigrated to the United States, he put this in my suitcase, and told me to make sure I never lost the fire that runs through our heritage and our family. This was the last time I saw my grandfather, whom I deeply revere as the strong man he is. He used to tell stories about his childhood in Palestine, how they would have tournaments in soccer and the winner was allowed to wear the keffiyeh. Following his neighborhood's involuntary migration out of their homes, he and the other teenage boys would wrap these scarves around their arms and raise them high, to demonstrate their refusal to be taken down as humans - this keffiyeh is the symbol of my grandfather's struggle, it is a piece of me that I will never let go of.

Year: 2004

– Ahmad Alnasser

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