Learn all about how my grandfather, Ahmad Al-Bulbul began his journey in the keffiyeh textile industry, all the struggles along the way, and finally the impact the factory has today.
This blog is written by our founder - Seevana Hawari
The Start - Palestine
This is the story of how my grandfather Ahmad Al-Bulbul began one of the first keffiyeh and textile factories in Palestine and Jordan. He was born in Bait Dajan, Yafa in 1933 where he lived up until the Nakba (Arabic for the Palestinian “catastrophe”). When the Nakba began, my family among the majority of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and relocate somewhere more safe. My grandfather, who was in his teens at the time, was forced to move between many Palestinian cities, including Nablus, Al Ramla, and Al Lid. In the end though, he and his family finally resided in Ein Al-Sultan Refugee camp in Jericho. He began working in the textile industry in the early 1950s, where he was a worker at a manual loom textile factory in Hebron, learning all of the basics of managing a textile factory. Once he became an expert in the field, he and his brothers decided to open their very own textile factory in Jericho, Palestine in the year of 1952, where they primarily manually produced keffiyehs.
National Symbols of Palestinian Liberation
After the state of Israel was officially established, resistance efforts grew more than ever before, and the keffiyeh scarf was worn by many to hide their identities from the Israeli occupation forces who would arrest, brutalize and expel Palestinians. The scarf became so widespread and eventually turned into one of the most iconic national symbols of Palestinian liberation, resistance, and solidarity. It is still worn to this day and at KUVRD we proudly produce, sell and educate to all of you worldwide.
The Second Nakba
My grandfather proudly worked and collaborated with other craftsmen in Palestine, including the Herbawi family who is famously known for their quality keffiyehs which are still being made to this day in the last remaining keffiyeh factory in Palestine. Although my grandfather found great success and happiness operating his factory in Jericho, Palestine, it was unfortunately cut short once the 1967 war broke out. This point of time is commonly referred to as the second Nakba, as it caused thousands upon thousands of Palestinians to become Refugees once again, including my grandfather Ahmad and the rest of my family. Palestinians who resisted the occupation and demanded a free Palestine like my grandpa were arrested and deported by Israeli authorities.
First Keffiyeh Factory in Jordan
After being forcefully kicked out of Palestine, he knew he had to start over, but was still dedicated to continuing his passion for making keffiyehs and keeping the Palestinian heritage alive. He ended up starting a new chapter in the country of Jordan, where he re-established his textile factory again in Al Wehdat, Amman. He named it “The Golden Textile Factory”, which actually turned out to be the first operating keffiyeh factory in Jordan. My grandfather proudly helped to pioneer the keffiyeh industry as well as the beginning of a widespread movement of Palestinian solidarity outside of Palestine.
Until the last years of his life, my grandfather Ahmad operated and managed the keffiyeh factory and his hard work thankfully garnered great success. He passed away in 2006, but lived a very rewarding and inspiring life, leaving behind his legacy with his wife, his 9 children, and his 19 grandchildren, myself included. Today, his 2 sons Yaseen Al-Bulbul and Zakeria Al-Bulbul operate the factory in Jordan and continue to produce authentic keffiyeh textile and other fabrics and materials.
My grandfather Ahmad Al-Bulbul was always so passionate about Palestinian resistance and wished to see a free Palestine, which we hope we are able to see within our lifetime. We also hope to continue his legacy, which is why we exclusively sell keffiyehs made in The Golden Textile Factory owned by the Bulbul family. My grandfather was a huge advocate for giving back, which is what we at KUVRD strive to do every chance we get, while also honouring and spreading awareness on Palestinian and the Middle East.
I’d like to thank everyone who has and continues to support KUVRD, as you are not only supporting a small business, but you are keeping alive a family legacy that is over 60 years old.