27 February 2013

how to tie a headscarf - Arab woman attacked by Jewish women at a train station in Jerusalem

A woman was attacked at the train station on Monday by other women.

Four pictures, taken by Dorit Yordan-Dotan, depict the incident. There is only one way to interpret the pictures. The woman was attacked because she was wearing a headscarf. But then Jewish religious women also wear the headscarf.

The woman was attacked because she was wearing the headscarf in a way Muslim women wear the headscarf. She was attacked on account of being Arab.

A Jewish friend of mine shared one of the photos on her profile picture, with the words: “when can we begin comparing?” [I assume she was referring to the way Germans treated the Jews.]

I refuse to compare.

In this country, we are judged by our clothes/skin color/accent/the way we wear the headscarf.

A Jewish friend of mine was driving through a checkpoint from Israel to the Occupied West Bank, along with a Palestinian friend of hers. I don’t remember the details, if the Palestinian woman was from the West Bank or if she was a citizen of Israel, is she had a permit or not. These are minor details. They are irrelevant to the fact that the Palestinian woman was scared she’d be arrested/investigated/humiliated at the checkpoint on account of the way she was wearing her headscarf.

Sometimes, we have to resort to humor in our small everyday tragedies. As they approached the checkpoint, the Palestinian woman took off her headscarf, and tied it back on in the way Jewish religious women do. Both friends laughed.

With one small change, a different tying of the headscarf, she was immediately changed from a “Muslim prospect terrorist” to a “Jewish religious settler.” They passed the checkpoint smoothly. The boy-soldiers smiled at them and let them pass.

Did the woman compromise her identity? No. She laughed in the face of the occupier, proving the soldiers’ stupidity.

During OperationCast Led, my daughter would go to school wearing the Kafiya [the traditional Palestinian black-and-white scarf]. I would ask her to put it in her school bag and only wear it when she arrives at school, and not on the bus. Was I compromising her identity? No. I was simply ensuring my daughter’s safety.
(c) khulud kh, 2013


  1. yes indeed horrible reality. unfortunatly and without any allowances to israel, it exists all over the world this (and other) kind of racism and discriminations. i am not sure if we don't start ourselves to walk with these
    cultural costumes, will there ever be change?...i as a born jew israeli walked in the 70s with a cross on me as a political statement although i am atheistic. and i was always fighting that we keep the word " feminist" center in periods which would have opened more doors had we not mention this word. etc....

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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