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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

May Zeyada... By Dr. Hadi Eltonsi


Tue 07 Apr 2020 | 12:26 PM
By Dr. Hadi Eltonsi, Retired Ambassador and Medical Doctor

By Dr. Hadi El-Tonsi – Former Ambassador and Medical Doctor

Is it possible for an idealistic romantic lady to live a happy successful life in the real world, albeit brilliant?

Could it be those rare safe and deep relationships and loved hobbies, form an escape for that character, which makes up for a gray world with relationships that are ambiguous, whether good or bad?

And does the world do justice to the memory of those who truly love, passionately deal with sincerity,  and generously give unconditionally if fate and fans turned against or ignored them and if betrayed by relatives?

May Zeyada is the name of Mary Elias, the brilliant poet-writer who mastered nine languages and has hosted the most famous literary salon almost a century ago in Cairo, and who treated nicely elegantly with courtesy with her famous thinkers and writers guests as their beloved but didn’t associate with any of them.

She is the pioneer of feminist literature and the enlightenment and emancipation of women, for whom a beautiful adoration of nineteen years has been known through correspondence with the writer Gibran Khalil Gibran who lived in New York, and he has never met her.  She spent her last years in psychological collapse and isolation, suffering the treachery of those close who gave up the loved ones, and for that, there are stories and reasons.

Mai was born in Nazareth to an ideal Palestinian mother who loves culture and a Lebanese father who is financially affluent and socially influential. The father settled in Cairo in the early twentieth century and had connections that enriched and benefited her with the notorious of thought and culture as the owner of Al-Mahrousa newspaper.

Mai had studied at a school for nuns and knew celibacy in her isolation, with a passion for learning poetry, literature, Arabic and French history, and knowledge of nine languages ​​and a hobby of drawing and music; her innocent world did not know falsehood and hypocrisy and did not experience cunningness and intrigues.

Her origins and culture taught her the Arab culture and traditions, the western tendency to love life and freedom, style, elegance, clothing, tenderness, and decency to act.

May began her literary production under a pseudonym, so she wrote poems in French, then books titled Bahethat Al Badia, Aisha Taymour and Warda Al-Yaziji, and articles on the conditions of women, and she seemed interested in the enlightenment and education of women to obtain freedom and independence through feminist literature that sparked controversy, and was among the first of its pioneers.

Linked to Mrs. Hoda Shaarawi, she drew attention to her liberation, her tenderness, and her attractiveness in a conservative society, whose leading thinkers did not trust ideas of woman’s equality. And when she was tasked with reading a message from Gibran Khalil Gibran for a cultural occasion, that contained excerpts from his book Broken Wings, she was dazzled by his passionate love and his beautiful attractive images with a reassuring feminine character.

Although her famous cultural salon gathered various stature of thought, culture, and literature who loved her as a beautiful attractive woman, she only delivered her heart to Gibran, as they were united with unconditional spiritual love, mystical tendency and intellectual gratification, in addition to a passion for music and art and literature.

Although Gibran in America sometimes had other romantic relationships, he loved her and was her only love, and their correspondences represent a unique example of chaste flirting in Arabic literature, characterized by honesty and longing for alienation, wisdom, romance and profound spiritualism that is devoid of materialism and superficiality, as "Whoever you love is you somewhere else," Gibran said.

Both of them live in the other, reflecting his thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, and as she said she pities his death in 1931 before he fulfilled his promise to meet her in Lebanon.

Destiny sent him to her and destiny took him from her, and between the two destinies, she said she lost her heart. "  It is love without hope, but it seeks perfection, and transcends fears, pain, nostalgia, loneliness, and confusion.

Love is the beginning and the end, bringing them together in thought, heart, and soul, and her life no longer meant without him especially after she lost her father a year earlier, and her mother a year later.  She had a nervous breakdown and lived in isolation, failing to distract herself by studying and traveling.

To control her wealth, her relatives brought her into a mental hospital in Lebanon to quarantine her, until Lebanese parliamentarians brought her to a sanatorium and then to another house, and she returned to Cairo between rumors of depression or schizophrenia, and her friends and fans abandoned her, so her funeral was not attended in 1941 except by three inpiduals.

A sad story that evokes contemplation, contemplation of a tragic fate that seems unworthy or unexpected, contemplation of an angelic figure who was abandoned by those who loved her in vain, lived with a nobleness that she did not share, and was conscious of, except with her lover that she did not see.

Her highness was not understood by those willing to take her wealth who betrayed her, because she insisted on her humanity, and did not pollute her innocence, or disturb her soul tranquility.

A story that shows that there is no place on earth for angels; sooner or later, because those who benefit from them, and those who did not understand them, or tolerate their purity feel weak and explain it to weakness, even if they realize their motives.

A story that confirms that we cannot impose our conditions on life and not to be hostile to destiny, and not to protest against real life on the ground. Rather, we must welcome life with its ups and downs, otherwise, we would be losers.

A story dissipating the despair of the mature of finding the right lover, as it exists somewhere sometime, even if we do not know. A story that shows that no matter how great love is, attachment is the path to collapse if fate does not preserve love.