Monday, September 20, 2010

The Last Palestinian Scarf

This whole blog post is dedicated to Herbawi Texteal Factory in Al-Khalil.


For the simple reason that it is sad and a little heartbreaking that the last factory in Palestine that produces the hatta, or the Palestinian scarf that Yasser Arafat made world famous back in his revolutionary days, is going out of business.

Old Herbawi works six machines this week. Six out of the 16 that used to weave kilometer after kilometer of the famous black and white (or the Jordanian-style red and white) fabric under ear-defening jingling, metallic clamor in the 1990s.

Two months ago, he only had two machines going, so even though this month is a little bit better, the future of Herbawi's factory still looks bleak. Because people would rather pay 10 or 15 shekels for a cheap polyester "Palestinian" hatta made in China, than 35 or 40 for a 100 % cotton hatta made in Palestine.

So who knows when Herbawi's six running machines will be two again? And when two machines will be one? Or when the whole factory will go quiet?

The day when the last Palestinian scarf will be cut, hemmed and packed will come soon, and will not only be the end of a family business, but of a Palestinian tradition that became a national symbol and the very hallmark of the Palestinian revolution. 

This day will come unless people start buying Palestinian again.

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k said...

hi Ruby

Thank you for reporting.

Do you know how to buy a scarf from this factory?

Best regards


Ruby said...

Hi Klaus,

Yes, it depends on where you are. If you're in Palestine, I'll give you directions. If you're not, you can order it from me. I'm currently based in Sweden and I'm starting up a website where you can order traditional Palestinian handmade items, such as the scarf.

Email me at

Anonymous said...

Hi ruby

I was wondering if I can purchase a lot of the fabric. I wanted to make a duvet with it. Is this possible?? I live in Dubai

Thank you,