Ali Jameel’s – Pocket Squares

Following on from my blog about the Iraq War, thought I’d share a post from someone who has far greater insight into the conflict than I. My friend Ali Jameel recently posted on his blog a post called Pocket Squares. I have reposted this below:

Pocket Squares

On the 6th of August 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of its neighbor Kuwait, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against Iraq’s old regime which was close to a total financial and trade ban. This lasted for 13 years. The aim of the sanctions was to force Iraq to withdraw from its neighbor, compensate for everything, and get rid of any weapons of mass destruction. The sanctions were elaborated at the end of the war in 1991 and included the ban of trade.

Obviously, this sanction only affected civilians and when I say ONLY I mean who else would be affected by any sort of punishment? The old regime? They were living the same, maybe even better. The people who were supporting them? Of course not. Only the normal population had their life destroyed and dreams crushed. People can argue over the politics and motivations of sanctions but in the end it killed thousands of people who had nothing to do with the old politics and they didn’t even support old regime but ended up used as hostages.

War can take dreams away from a nation, a small family starting new life, young people planning for their future, from someone who wants to be an artist or dancer; but, there is always that small hope that can make a huge difference deep inside.

This post’s story is about what I collected when I was teenager. Every one of us used collect something when growing up. I knew people collected toys cars, some collected stones and I collected two things: Toto surprise eggs and napkins.

Growing up, napkins weren’t something we would get and use on an everyday bases, let alone throw away. My family – my grandmother, aunt, and mother – used to cut old clothes to use them as napkins. I had a proper fabric one which I remember I got for the first day of Eid. For some reason I started to collect napkins. I remember I had a fancy one that was red on the edges with flowers in the middle. When we would go visiting our relatives and when they had napkins I would take one and put it in my pocket without using it.

I still have that habit, whenever I see a nice unique one in a restaurant or at a friend’s place… Actually, the other day I was with my friends having a BBQ in the sunshine and my friend brought these yellow napkins. My first reaction was; “are we going to use these?” He looked at me and said; of course, that’s what it’s for, which triggered me to tell him them the story which inspired me to write this post.

Now, I have started collecting pocket squares made of fancy materials like silk. I will wear pocket squares with everything. With smart jackets, casual jackets; when I wear a shirt I will just wrap it around my neck or tie it on my wrist.

I think during conflict, we look for these small little things, sometimes  not even made from fabric, but paper, that can make you feel safe and give you hope that life is still safe and you forget about all the dark clouds that are covering your dreams. My dreams led me from paper napkins to silk pocket squares. Maybe others went from toy cars to real ones. At the end of the day war cannot stop what we are passionate about.

Next time when you see a unique napkin or pocket square that you think tells a story, think about me and take it, keep it until you see me to give it to me or just go to your closest post office and post it to me.

8 pm4 pm92 pm7

Pocket Squares – Fariba Soltani –; Jacket – COS; Trousers – Zara


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