Making a Palestinian symbol

At a time of crisis, the work of the Hirbawi brothers in Hebron has rarely been more vital.

Ezzaat Al-Hirbawi
A symbol of Palestine, made by Izzat Hirbawi [Mosab Shawer/Al Jazeera]
A symbol of Palestine, made by Izzat Hirbawi [Mosab Shawer/Al Jazeera]

Hebron, occupied West Bank - Izzat Yasser Hirbawi, a balding 55-year-old man, stands smiling at the entrance to the Hirbawi Factory in Hebron, the only place in Palestine, its website proudly proclaims, that produces Palestinian keffiyehs.

Three Hirbawi brothers, Izzat, Abdullah and Jouda, who now own and operate the factory, started working there as children, accompanying their father, Hajj Yasser, who had founded it in 1961.

A merchant turned entrepreneur, Hajj Yasser began his career importing keffiyehs from Syria before deciding to start his own factory with two looms imported from Japan.

Hajj Yasser was deeply passionate about the keffiyeh, something he transferred to his boys at an early age, instilling a deep respect for its symbolic value among Palestinians everywhere, as well as the importance of it being made in Palestine by Palestinian hands.

“We’re happy … we love our work, no matter how long or hard we work,” Hirbawi tells Al Jazeera.

Source: Al Jazeera