Druze Princess, Interwar Spy and Songstress from Cairo – Remembering Asmahan||& Using Affinity Photo ||

Updated as of 24 of Jan

  • Remembering Asmahan
  • Setting the Scene
  • Fortune Teller
  • An unconventional figure of her time & StageScreen
  • Taqasim & Solfeggio SongBird
  • BLACKRABBIT
  • Lovelife
  • Queen Nazli & Asmahan
  • Brief account of using Affinity Photo

Remembering Asmahan

November 25, 1912 – July 14 1944

Interwar spy, Druze Princess, Songstress. She was born from the Mediterranean sea and a fortune teller predicted that she would die from the element that she was born in. Water. She is from aristocracy and her father fought in the Arab Revolt against the French. Asmahan is a woman who defied the norms of Hollywood and her community’s. She dabbled with dangerous situations and men who hold political power, as a means to help her people (true or not). But sometimes caring too much is a pathway to hell. Quote Shantideva on empathy, the karmic cycle and the afterlife- the role of a bodhicaryavatara – to help others even if it means throwing yourself at the deepest depths of hell

Setting the Scene

Suspended in time by the water, she was born on the Mediterranean Sea and drowned.

She became “a moral and cultural warning to other women.”

Zuhr, S.

Some Players:

  • Druze
  • Vichy French
  • Free French
  • Axis – WW1 Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Germany. WW2 German, Italy & Japan
  • Allied/Allies – WW1 British, French & Russia . WW2 US, China, British, Soviet Union
  • Turshan – another family name for the Al Atrash
  • Ottoman – the empire that once encompassed the Arab states and Israel, that came into power after the conquest of the Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, Turkey.

The Druze are feared amongst and allied with than to be an enemy amongst neighbouring clans.

Hailing from Turshan origins, Amal al Atrash, known by her stage name Asmahan is an icon swept by cultural amnesia, and her bizarre attitude speaks beyond her time

The society which surrounds her infused the nuances of her character. And because men spoke the majority of the authorship about asmahan, it is suggested, that some sources in relation to her, may describe her as a person lacking agency and sometimes within their romantic interest. Which may saturate her immense leverage on the shaping of the world during and between the war periods. Because she had divorced several times and remarried, she defied even Hollywood’s standards by that time. Asmahan became “a moral and cultural warning to other women” of the occident and the orient.

Her talent rivals that of Umm Kulthum, but in our public consciousness, she lingers and whispers, then being very well recognised like her latter rival. So in this post, her memory would be well invigorated into our 21st century. Given that our era embraces unconventionality in attitude , personality and audacity, asmahan as an icon would be reanimated.

*Awra is a term coined by Ibn Al Hajj’s statement about how women’s voices are equal to the pleasure their bodies may instil, which can incite lust and gravitate meant towards deviance. This statement adds to the suspicion of female performers, who may be simply gaining money or agency over their economic situation [my bias].

Although elite women sing or entertain in courts, the female performers earning potential threatened the state because the income was not regulated, and they were worried about the influx of prostitutes (which, in my opinion, is reactionary). And to establish control over the prostitutes, they put a tax on all-female performers (not just the prostitutes). It was perceived that to be a female performer is to commit cross-dressing (viewed as a negative in medieval times), to possess a lower social ranking, or that one falls under the definition of a prostitute within the Ottoman Empire.

The negative sentiment of a female performer juxtaposes against the legitimised role of elite women who mesmerise men with power and influence. In the medieval Islamicate era, we refer to these women as Qiyan, that undergo rigorous training in art, poetry, song to enchant a vizier and court them to produce sons.

This practice of women entertaining men or courting them, to produce sons, or be endowed with royalty perhaps one day, in exchange for a better life, is not that different to the practices we see worldwide, for instance, the Geishas of Japan, the Sineliran (shortened version is Selir) of Java or the Concubines of England.*

French mandate for Syria and Lebanon in 1922 lasted until 1946. This had been mutually agreed upon between the UK and France in the Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916. Initially, six states were created here. France had Syria, Lebanon (Syria and Lebanon were before referred to as Ottoman Syria) and parts of Turkey. Whilst UK has Iraq (Ottoman Mesopotamia), Palestine and Transjordan

In this historical scene, and even now, the Druze are depicted as separatists (this means supporting the division of Arab regions ) although they only supported the revolt against the Ottoman encouraged by the British, where this revolt is the ancillary [cause of ] to declining the Ottoman influence of the regions.
However the nationalism that arose from the revolt, made the Druze an enemy of the British and the French. The British and French planned to take control of Iraq, Palestine and Egypt, but the Druze did not want to concede towards having an Arab nation under the British and French powers; they mutinied because they wished for independence away from the Ottoman, the British and French forces.

The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement demonstrates the Great Powers plan to eliminate the Ottoman empire’s forces once and for all; this was a secret treaty between the French and the British.

British would have Transjordan Palestine, and Iraq.

Russia would lay claim to Strait islands (Turkey) and Jerusalem.

France to claim Syria Lebanon and North Africa.

Palestine would be under British and International Control.

After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks declared their disinterest in the land. They were followed by the leaking of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1917 due to the disbanding of the Tsars that made the information less privy.

The 1917 Balfour Declaration corroborates the Sykes-Picot Agreement about Palestine being under international control.

The Al Atrash family were secretive and well-respected nobility in the Druze community, who resided in the Jabal, and they possess royal lineage in Syria.


Alia and Fahd al-Atrash (parents of Asmahan) became acquainted due to the kidnapping of Alia, which perhaps refers to a rendezvous affair between Alia and Fahd that led to their marriage.


However, the relationship became strained, as her husband was too deeply involved in the Arab Revolt that it posed a threat to their lives.
The Al Atrash family thus made themselves hostile towards the French powers, and aerial bombardments ensued at the Al Atrash’s residence in Al Qrayya.
Alia reached a breaking point and left on a train for Damascus, even though her husband pleaded with her to come back. She moved several times, after Damascus to Beirut, Beirut to, then towards Egypt.

In that time Egypt was under French occupation.

In the move to Cairo, Egypt, Alia enrolled her children on a French Catholic school. And drawing upon the instance of Amal being bullied, Alia told Amal to scratch that girls face, like how a Druze would fight back.

Fortune teller

A fortune teller told Asmahan that she would die in water, Fu’ad [Asmahan’s older brother] his fate in not being married to the girl he loves (his extended family prevented him from marrying a Jewish girl that he fell in love with), and Farid [the younger brother] would die of ill health.

One day, al-Taba'i tells us, that Asmahan, himself, and their friend Jamal Jabr were driving from Cairo out to Ras al-Barr. . . . The road ran through an isolated landscape, with an irrigation ditch along the side. Asmahan was driving, and practicing a new qasida, set by Zakariyya Ahmad to the lofty medieval poetry of Abu al'-Ma'arri. Her beautiful middle tones rang out:
Ghayra majdin fi millati wa i'tiqadi
Nuhu bakin wa la tranimu shadi,

(Nothing but glory in my sect, or beliefs
[Neithe] wailing, crying, nor reciting my praises)

She reached another verse, and began:

Sahi. . . hadhihi quburna tumla]an al-rihab
Fa'ayna al-qubur min 'ahdi 'Ad?

(My friend, these are our graves which fill up the cemetery
So where is the grave from the era of 'Ad? [a pre-Islamic Arabian society])

Suddenly, the lyrics fell from her hand, and she slumped at the wheel. Her companions grabbed control of the car. Her face was sallow as she emerged from near-faint. She told her companions that she had the most unusual sensation--she had suddenly heard the distinctive music of a Druze funeral procession, just as it would have sounded in Suwayda, mixing with the sounds of the old mill the processions wended by. Al-Taba'i noted their locations: the incident took place in the same section of the road where her car would crash four years later [leading to her death]." The car crash itself was mysterious, the chauffeur managing to survive more or less uninjured, while Asmahan ended up drowning after the car plunge into water. In Asmahan's Secrets by Sherifa Zuhur, several theories about who might have had Asmahan killed are presented.

*

Then there's the Monte Cazazza/Tana Emmolo-Smith track, "Prescient Dreams," in which they read a passage from Mary Cervenka's (Exene's sister) diary which seemed to predict her own death in a car crash.

― Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Saturday, 22 November 2003 21:05

An Unconventional Figure of Her Time & STAGESCREEN

Fu’ad from the start was concerned about the honour that the woman in his family held, and thus disliked Asmahan and Alia’s [Alia is Asmahan, Fu’ad’s and Farid’s Mother] forays into music when they were first establishing themselves in Cairo growing up. He felt perhaps estranged with the Egyptian modern lifestyle and longed to foster connection with his father. And so he also set out to find a husband for Asmahan, a Druze Prince, Hassan to take her away from the modernity that Egypt gave her.

In addition to her musical prowess, she debuted two films in her life, to the dismay of her community, of a Druze displaying themselves publicly. Her family discouraged her in film, and tend to attribute her musical talents to her brother that sometimes composed for her.

The first film she starred in was called the triumph of youth embossed with contemporary themes of migration, and ironically explained the dilemma that both Farid and Asmahan, have as non Egyptians living in Egypt. There was a misconception at that time that Egypt was a hospitable place, perhaps due to the flourishing of art mediums consistent with the Nahda movement or the Arabic renaissance in music post napoleon time, with modernity burgeoning throughout the state. Egyptians at that time may have viewed migrants, especially Syrians with suspicion, despite the promotion of Egypt as inclusive and warm country. Bearing in mind that Asmahan’s mum fled due to aerial bombardments on their estate, it is not far from modern day discrimination against refugees perhaps, that they may take away the jobs of the locals or stifle the local economy.

The movie explored about how social mobility is granted through art, and the film featured prominently operetta.

The singer had an actor friend al Tabai’

He followed Asmahan to find that she went to Ahmad Badr Khan’s apartment once. And this was after she had left Jabal to go back to Egypt to continue her music profession after landing a role with the triumph of youth, the director that she fell in love with Ahmad Badr Khan may have had begun to see her outside of work. And they had both decided to marry.

From the start when Asmahan moved back to Egypt, she intended to divorce Hassan, but although he divorced verbally, they did not have it documented in a certificate, and her divorcee status was not permissible enough for her to marry the director. The added difficulty that she is a non Egyptian citizen, and her extended druze family who * opposed the marriage of the princess to a non druze, and pleaded with the the Egypt and France authorities , (because for a Druze to marry someone outside of their community is looked down upon) to prevent it from happening, including her brother Fu’ad, who had initiated this marriage from the start, ensured that she’d never marry a non druze.

(**her outside family and in addition her older brother Fu’ ad and his friends contacted both Egyptian and French officials to prevent the divorce.)

The law in Egypt also made it difficult for a foreigner to marry an Egyptian.

Asmahan was found by Hassan to be spending time with socialites in Giza at Mena House Hotel, and they officially divorced, which was in the period within the Triumph of Youth film surfacing.

This divorce gave Asmahan the opportunity to finally live by herself. She moved out to live on her own, into a flat called the imobilia building in Cairo, and wanted some space away from her family. This ignited the fury of Fu’ad as he tried hard to push Asmahan away from notions of modernity that Egypt offered, first with his dislike of his sister in music, then arranging the marriage of her to Hassan, then to monitoring her further when she embraced her own individuality.

Immobilia Building in Cairo, Egypt. Asmahan moved into this apartment to spend time away from her family.

After the divorce became official, Asmahan’s friend, an actor, Al tabai’ said that she became unhinged after the divorce happened. While she was embracing her freedom, she became out of control, smoked, partied often and could outdrink any man.

But her friend had reserved ideas of female artists and at the time it was not normal for a woman to live alone when she is not married. Asmahan’s threatened journalists with litigation who dared to defame her. Her family said that she had gambled, but it may be more likely that she spent money for her self instead. Given her status as one of the breadwinners in her family, she perhaps had wanted to establish more independent control over her finances whilst supporting her family.

Cairo nightspots became more crowded and khaki uniforms increased.

“She was and will always be to me one of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, Her eyes were immense, green as the colour of the sea you cross on the way to paradise… Later I was to learn that she had a glorious voice.. She bowled over British officers with the speed and accuracy of a machine gun. Naturally enough she needed money and spent it as a rain cloud scatters water”

General Jack Evetts, an Australian from the Allied Forces

BLACKRABBIT

“She was all woman. She knew how to manipulate men. Elle était diabolique avec les hommes”

*From 1941, the narrative of Asmahan as a spy, arose. *

The 1936 Anglo Egyptian treaty did not bring reprieve to the disenchantment between the UK and Egyptians as the British forces were still stationed in Egypt. The treaty was made to protect the UK’s interests in the Suez Canal, where the troops were stationed, until 1956. And also was created to grant Egypt to be an independent state.

As Asmahan became more involved in the Cairene party circuit, and sang more for elite events, she encountered an abundance of people in politics during her career.

Often it was said that Asmahan dabbled with the likes of Amina al Barudi, also a female actress. Amina al Barudi was known to the British as Black Rabbit. A code name for a spy.

Image of actress Amina al Barudi. Asmahan’s friend, who are both frequents at the Continental Hotel.

Asmahan had begun to wander around and Fu’ ad her older brother became worried about her activities, and he tried to monitor her. And to his horror she had one time went on an escapade towards the sand dunes at the Pyramids of Giza, sleeping under the blanket of the starry night sky.

From 1941, the narrative of asmahan as a spy, arose.

Continental Hotel Cairo

The Continental Hotel was said to be the eyes and the ears of the Allies and Axis forces, where socialites frequented.
After her first divorce from Hassan, where it was not on paper. Asmahan received a mysterious call from Mr Napier, to convene with him on a task.
He asked her to safeguard the passage of the Allied, as her position as a royal Druze could grant their safety. Her family recounts that Fu ‘ad or Farid had initiated for her meeting with the Allied forces, which was unlikely, because she had left Egypt quickly.

The motivations for Asmahan might have been monetary since Napier mentioned he would deposit 40 thousand to her if she took on this mission. Even though there are no record of payments to say so, common amongst spies. Her family beleived that it was her patriotic spirit that drove her to take on this task.

1915 image of the Grand Continental Egypt in Cairo, Egypt
Outside of the Continental Hotel. Notice how there is now fields of grass instead of necessarily gravel at the front, and there are trees that have grown bigger and more life. This photo may have captured one of the peak of the Continental Hotel’s life. This is one of the places that Asmahan, Amina Al Barudi, the Allied and the Axis powers convened and gathered intelligence during the world wars period in the Middle East.

Some said that she had left her belongings to be safe with her good friend Taba’i, and that she had signed the document to safeguard the passage, from the Allied, witnessed by Amina Al Barudi.

Inside of the Continental Hotel

Other sources suggests that Amina Al Barudi initiated the contact with the British, and convinced Asmahan to take on the mission.

Arches in the Continental Hotel

Before Asmahan had left Cairo, she celebrated at a party and met an acquaintance who would meet the same fate, in the same sequence and place, Mary Qilada.

She did not tell anyone that she was going, and she packed for the train to Palestine, the Jabal.
Her sudden departure prompted people to speculate that she had been deported from Egypt for corruption or spying. Given that she was not an Egyptian and is a Syrian, the suspicion is further added.
On Sunday the 23rd of May, Asmahan left Cairo.

Circassian squadrons on the 21st of May, two days before Asmahan’s departure, had left Syria and met the Allies at the south of Syria.
Iraq poured in brigades into the east of Syria.

Gardens at the Continental Hotel Cairo

The Allied force of British Australian, free French (fought against the axis powers, and are against the Vichy France), would encounter general Andre de Verdilhac (signed an armistice agreement as a Vichy representative France).

“Inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon! At the moment when the forces of Free France, united to the forces of the Bristish empire, her ally, are entering your territory, i declare that I assume the powers, responsibilities and duties of the representative of the France which is the traditional and real France, and in the name of her Chief, General de Gaulle. In this capacity I come to put an end to the mandatory regime and to proclaim you free and independent.”

“Inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon! A great hour in your history has struck. France declares you independent buy the voice of her sons who fight for her life and for the liberty of the world!”

“Your sovereign and independent status will be guaranteed by a treaty which will also define our mutual relations… for … we shall not allow the centuries-old of France in the Levantine to be handed over to the enemy”

General Catroux from FreeFrench broadcast translated

Through her estranged husband, Hassan and her connection to Abd Al Ghaffar Al Atrash, a man who holds a strong moral and political standing to the Druze. She informed the Druze that the Allies were moving north, and she required them to not hinder the Allies from passing through. This would help to subside those against the FreeFrench and allow both UK and France to pass through unscathed.
Hassan, however, would agree but wanted her word that she would remarry him, which is unordinary for a Druze to remarry or even to see who they had divorced.
This plays well into the motivation for fu’ ad in seeing his sister take on the family tradition and leave Egypt.

After Abd Al Ghaffar agreed to grant a safe passage, they instructed the Allies to move north of Haruan to the West of Jabal to set for the invasion (and prevent agricultural wreckage on other sides of the Jabal ).

But the word was not put in time, and some hadn’t been readily notified, as one of Asmahan’s cousins fought the Allies for two days.

Some viewed Asmahan’s drive as mercenary as she would be granted 40 thousand, but Asmahan emphasised her nobility before fulfilling her financial needs. Although the there aren’t financial records of this transaction it is said that agents who are recruited by the British do not have a record of payment. Her family declares that her motivations were purely patriotic.

At this time, the Druze inclined toward the British than the French. They would instead be incorporated into Transjordan than be affiliated with the French.

Some people opposed Hassan and Asmahan’s remarriage. After the marriage, Asmahan left the Jabal a week later, residing in Damascus, the Orient Palace Hotel. Then returned to the south spurred by a series of events.

Asmahan had been imperiled with a death sentence by a visitor who told her that some people from Beirut or Lebanon were out to get her, and the authorities know this declaration. It may be that the Druze, who supported Vichy France or were a nationalist was out to get her. In two weeks the secret police in Syria was said to know her spy status. The British General, an Australian man, knew of Asmahan’s status as a spy.

Amir Fa’ur and Asmahan rode in the night, and the Amir asked Asmahan if she felt a longing for Tarab (music from Cairo). Asmahan said she felt a longing for a safe passage to their escape than Tarab. Fa’ur had to ultimately part with Asmahan because he couldn’t go beyond the Palestinian frontier, and Asmahan had to gallop on her own. Fa’ur convinced her that the Allied could defend her if she could go independently.
Her papers could grant her safety. Otherwise death she would confront. At this stage, some speculate that Asmahan was pushed to the extremities, of pondering and fearing for her life, riddled with thoughts about her nights spent in Cairo, Egypt, the dunes of the pyramids, her loved ones, and her ‘ad nauseam”.

As she continued riding, there were others on horseback approaching and who overtook her. She recognised that they were Druze, by their dress, but they were fighting for the Vichy French.

They spoke to her in French, and Asmahan did not answer, but instead, she sang a song that conveyed her Druze identity and gave her the strength to make this through. The song is called Ya Dairati.

“Oh my village, there is no shame for you. Don’t blame your shame upon those who are treacherous. We quench our swords’ thirst with he blood of the tribe.
Like the agreement, we do not cheapen you for the [sake of the ] Ottomans
We must mount the steeds of the night of evil.
And strengthen the heat of Sultan’s leadership.
I claim our trampled rights for us.
O my village , we are your guiding force…..)

Asmahan then reached a border controlled by the British and was given a safe passageway. Asmahan was taken to Tel Aviv to recuperate, and the next night, Asmahan went with the allied in the car, where a firing incident ensued, and the vehicles were pursued.

Fuad views his sister as not an emissary but a participant in igniting the invasion of the French and the enemies of the French.

“Asmahan reached her zenith when she controlled the strings of the strain game. Once the situation in the Levant stabilised for the Allies, they began competing amongst themselves. During that time, it seemed that Asmahan was not able to support either side (The British nor the French). She tried to reach an equilibrium, but failed, and loss any power in decision-making, and influence. When she directed to side with the French, being furious with the British, then the political balance was against her. The French appeared to give her the prestige she required, but actually they restrained her, denied her influence and money”

Abdul Al Atrash

Taqasim & Solfeggio Songbird

She has a mezzo soprano and contralto voice, and she embeds classical arabic music with influences from classical Italian music.

In the contemporary world Asmahan’s voice is described as having the force and power of Kulthum with the tenderness of Fairouz.

She is often compared to Umm Kulthum, in how she is descended from a respectful lineage than Umm Kulthum but has an unconventional attitude.

The composer Al Qasabji had found that after Asmahan’s hiatus, she had come back to Cairo; upon her first divorce with Hassan, he contacted her to start recording.

The first two songs at that time of recording was ‘Layla bint al Sahara’, followed by Asqaniha bi abi inta wa ummi.

Al Qasabji is the estranged composer of Umm Kulthum, and he composed for Asmahan, so a feud or rivalry brewed between both Kulthum and Asmahan. The song ‘Farq Ma Bayna Leh Al Zaman’, a song that he wrote for Asmahan, rivalled that of Umm Kulthum because whilst she could master Taqasim, Asmahan could master in addition to that solfeggio. Merging both oriental and occidental timbres in her music.

Mental health

Asmahan attempted suicide twice. In the second attempt she dropped two pills and became pale only to be revived. After the incident she found that her mother grew sick so she went back to Cairo which prompted Al Qasabji to contact her to record her first three songs after her hiatus. She is also said to have been a heavy drinker and smoker, where accounts from her friend said she could outdrink any man.

LOVELIFE

Asmahan married Hassan twice, once because her brother pressured her and wanted her to be rid of the modernity that Egypt provided and live a traditional life, even though she and Farid were the breadwinners of the family.


In between the divorce that was not in papers, with Hassan, she wanted to marry the director Ahmad Badr Khan of the first film she was in. Still, due to her family lobbying through Egyptian authorities, the marriage did not materialise.
Hassan Pasha was said to be smitten with Asmahan, which made it troublesome for her remain in Egypt; And as he has caught the eye of Queen Nazli, ultimately Asmahan would bear the wrath of jealousy.
And also, the Australian General Jack Evetts was said not to observe his duties and went on a dinner and nightclub escapade with Asmahan after he found that British forces pursued her and uncoupled her train cart to prevent her from giving military secrets to General Von Papen, the German representative.

Fu’ad, the oldest of all three siblings, missed his father dearly due to the estrangement he experienced in Egypt perhaps, compared to his childhood spent with his father. He aimed to strengthen his ties with his family, to the extent that he arranged Asmahan’s marriage to their cousin, Prince Hassan Al Atrash. He did so in ignorance of his family’s wishes, his mother, his sister, and his younger brother.

Because Asmahan and Farid provided much-needed funds and supported for the mother, Alia. Alia disagreed, seeing that money would be tight.

But after Fu’ad convinced his mother, she agreed to get a benefit to this marriage monetarily.


Asmahan at this stage had never married nor had a relationship perhaps and she agreed after seeing Hassan.

But the marriage did not last for more than 40 days.

Queen Nazli & Asmahan

Queen Nazli grew fond of Hassanyn Pasha, in the account of Farid who had witnessed Pasha reading the Quran to Queen Nazli in Kubbah Palace, signifying her romantic interest in Pasha perhaps. It was said that Nazli hated Asmahan, when Hassanayn Pasha made known of his adoration of Asmahan. Al Taba’i confirms this stating that Asmahan had once made a phone call to Hassanyn, only to be interrupted by Queen Nazli.
(In the years after Hassanyn was mysteriously killed in a lorry accident. And at the time when Egypt was under French rule, he could have been seen as a traitor thus his assassination)

Asmahan became associated with the ruin of the king David hotel, although her death happened long before the hotel’s destruction in 1946. Asmahan’s death was in 1944.

When she failed to get funding from the British or French, she wanted to return back to film and leave Hassan.

The hotel management held the royal suite for Asmahan, when she went to Jerusalem but the hotel management found itself in a dilemma because Queen Nazli was to stay at the hotel and needed that room.

…..

………

One day, al-Taba'i tells us, that Asmahan, himself, and their friend Jamal Jabr were driving from Cairo out to Ras al-Barr. . . . The road ran through an isolated landscape, with an irrigation ditch along the side. Asmahan was driving, and practicing a new qasida, set by Zakariyya Ahmad to the lofty medieval poetry of Abu al'-Ma'arri. Her beautiful middle tones rang out:
Ghayra majdin fi millati wa i'tiqadi
Nuhu bakin wa la tranimu shadi,

(Nothing but glory in my sect, or beliefs
[Neithe] wailing, crying, nor reciting my praises)

She reached another verse, and began:

Sahi. . . hadhihi quburna tumla]an al-rihab
Fa'ayna al-qubur min 'ahdi 'Ad?

(My friend, these are our graves which fill up the cemetery
So where is the grave from the era of 'Ad? [a pre-Islamic Arabian society])

Suddenly, the lyrics fell from her hand, and she slumped at the wheel. Her companions grabbed control of the car. Her face was sallow as she emerged from near-faint. She told her companions that she had the most unusual sensation--she had suddenly heard the distinctive music of a Druze funeral procession, just as it would have sounded in Suwayda, mixing with the sounds of the old mill the processions wended by. Al-Taba'i noted their locations: the incident took place in the same section of the road where her car would crash four years later [leading to her death]." The car crash itself was mysterious, the chauffeur managing to survive more or less uninjured, while Asmahan ended up drowning after the car plunge into water. In Asmahan's Secrets by Sherifa Zuhur, several theories about who might have had Asmahan killed are presented.

*

Then there's the Monte Cazazza/Tana Emmolo-Smith track, "Prescient Dreams," in which they read a passage from Mary Cervenka's (Exene's sister) diary which seemed to predict her own death in a car crash.

― Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Saturday, 22 November 2003 21:05

Who – the people in Asmahan’s life

  • Alia
  • Fahd
  • Fu’ ad
  • Farid
  • Munir
  • Hassan
  • Sultan Al Atrash
  • Al Taba’i
  • Amina Al Barudi
  • Al Qasabji
  • Hassanyn Pasha
  • Queen Nazli
  • Umm Kulthum
  • Jack Evetts
  • Edward Spears
  • General Wilson
  • Catroux
  • Afaff
  • Mary Qilada

Sources:

Manuel, P. (2010). Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean. Hatchette UK.

Zuhur, S. (2000). Asmahan’s secrets. Woman, War and Song. the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. The University of Texas at Austin.

Brief account of using Affinity Photo

Paint

Layers

Select and crop tool for export (to get rid of your background and keep only what you have selected for export)

Vectors – when you can move an object, export it in it’s form without the background, and animate it in an animation software like alight motion or after effects

Layers – are like sheets of paper that you can hide or show or adjust opacity for

If you were looking for a comprehensive step by step of affinity, I say that its better to follow the YouTube videos and do it rather than read my account of it. Skip this brief account to read about Asmahan. I started using affinity after my friend suggested that it’s a better medium than adobe. Because it is accessible and has a one time payment. I have to admit though using it is quite confusing without the aid of videos (in saying that adobe photoshop is more complicated than affinity when it comes to learning how to use the software and expensive). I bought a Udemy course based on affinity, but my hands are not that patient like when I learn coding, and I couldn’t keep up with the lessons.

I like to see the individual parts of the forest before I scale it. I would be nowhere without the YouTube videos (the individual trees) I watched, of how to find the palette, the brush, the smudging tools, the cropping of images , selecting what vectors is to be exported, resizing and the layers. I may not be sure but apparently you may or may not be able to animate what you have created as affinity has an option for sending out gifs, but this may be already ready made gifs you import into affinity to put a quote (like a meme).

I’ve suppressed my love of art for ages and also in actually finding the authentic time to want to do things like create, instead of doing it for a mere assignment to tick off. I highly don’t like that transactional relationship with tests and assignments, though they provide form, they also feel stagnant and a chore. None of which anyone likes. 😦 Here are some videos that may be useful in your journey towards learning affinity photo if you just wanted to paint, crop, layer & select what you want to be exported. (Affinity can do beyond this)

Author note. 22nd of December. It’s coming close to Chrissy and I have been mainly trying to learn how to use affinity and for my hustle. Fingers crossed I pass my drivers test tommorow, if not it’s okay. Third time may be the charm. I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas with friends, family, and your loved ones 🙂

I have passed my drivers test as of Christmas Eve 🙂

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