Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – LXXXII. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Entertainment (8 of 30)


In the world of music the “What If” question often comes up. “Had Mozart lived a full life, how much more sublime music he would have left us?” “How much more of his unique brand of piano music would Chopin have left us had he lived longer?” “Would Bellini had rivaled Rossini, Donizetti, and Verdi in his operatic output had he not died so young?” (These three composers died in their thirties).

For Egyptian art the question is: “How much richer would the Egyptian film and music industries be today had Asmahan not died at such a young age?”

Her real name was Amal El Atrash. After the resounding success her brother, Farid El Atrash, had on radio, his sister’s talent was discovered by Mohammed El Qasabji who encouraged her to further her career. It fell upon Daoud Hosni to train her; he also gave her the classy name of Asmahan.

Asmahan was born in Syria in 1918 to a Druze family. At 6 she immigrated, with her mother and three brothers, to Egypt.

Her songs were influenced by the European way of singing, yet retained their classical Arabic character. Her interpretation was such that an Arabic listener was not disturbed by the foreign element introduced. Such was her genius.

Asmahan worked with different composers, thus introducing variety in her songs. My favorite is “Dakhalt Marra Fe Genena” (I Once Entered Into A Garden). It’s a song that was heard countless times many years after her passing. I still remember to this day the news of her tragic accident. I was only 8 when a grief-stricken nation said a final goodbye to this unique artist.

More than once, I asked my mother if it was the lady who sang “The Garden” song. And again and again she patiently confirmed it for me. She consoled me by pointing out that we were sure to hear on the radio her songs for many years to come. And indeed her songs continue to be heard to this day; songs such as “Ya Tuyur” (The Birds); and a song that will always live as long as there is a Haj to Mecca, “Alek Salat Allah Wou Salamou” (You have the Prayers And the Peace Of God With You).

It was 1944 when, crossing a bridge, the car she was riding in went through the guardrail and ended in the Nile. It was rumored that the war waged between the Secret Services in Cairo during World War II played a role in this suspicious accident.

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