West News Wire: Nadia el-Nakla has found herself in the spotlight after her husband Humza Yousaf made headlines last Wednesday by becoming the leader of the SNP and Scotland’s new first minister.  

Since Nakla is of Palestinian descent and represents the West End of Dundee on the SNP council, she used the occasion to honor her background by donning a traditional Palestinian thobe.  

The embroidery on the thobe is in the tatreez design and is often hand-stitched by Palestinian women who reside in rural areas. The garment, which is thought to have its origins 3,000 years ago, has come to represent Palestinian history and culture.  

Hand-stitched and worn on special occasions, thobes are often passed down through generations and have become a bold statement of displaying Palestinian identity and resistance. 

Thobe styles vary from each region of Palestine, and have historically been used to convey messages of resistance in the face of occupation and hardship. They can be worn for any occasion, with different styles and colour variations being made for weddings as well as daily wear.  

El-Nakla received widespread praise from social media users, who commended her for her choice of dress. 

Farah Saleh, a Palestinian choreographer and dancer based in Edinburgh, said in an interview that after seeing el-Nakla wear the thobe, “I felt really proud because as a Palestinian it really represents our struggle for existence. 

“She’s representing herself, her own family, but it also means a lot as it represents resistance and the rights of all Palestinian people.” 

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Born in Scotland, el-Nakla, 39, whose father is Palestinian, is a mother of two and says she still has family in Gaza, including her brother and his family, who she has expressed concern about, particularly during the May 2021 Israeli offensives on the besieged coastal enclave. 

Prior to entering politics, el-Nakla was a qualified psychotherapist. 

This is not the first time a Palestinian thobe has been spotted in politics. 

In 2019, when Rashida Tlaib became the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in the US Congress, she also wore a striking red and black thobe at her official swearing-in ceremony and called it an “unapologetic display” of her culture. 

As the first female Palestinian member of the US Congress, the thobe worn by Tlaib belonged to her mother and sparked a social media movement under the hashtag #TweetYourThobe. 

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