There are many women role models in Syria, but this is the first time that I felt attached to someone from the past. Without hearing her, she gained a place in my heart with her pride and beauty, and to me she seems located somewhere between reality and a an eastern fairytale. Miss Sumayeh Attiyeh was a Syrian lecturer and a translator lived in USA in beginning of the 20th century.
Perhaps the translation part connected me to her, one of her achievements is the translation of “The Last Days of Pompeii” from English to Arabic. Or as a Hookah lover, maybe her picture with the Hookah. She brought her authentic identity to her audience and told stories of life and traditions in Syria and Turkey. No one denied her personal charm. US President Theodore Roosevelt said that “She is a remarkable girl.”
The Lyceum Magazine (which was published at the beginning of the 1920’s, wrote about Syrian orator Sumayeh Attiyeh “In ten years, Sumayeh Attiyeh has established herself as one of the most skillful and effective lecturers of the day…Many celebrated men and women, including President Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Brayan, have testified to the spell of her oratory. Her memory abounds with colorful and sparkling anecdotes of her childhood days in Syria, and she moves her audiences to smiles and tears. Not only by her dramatic eloquence, but also by the sheer power of her magnetic personality.”
Well, as a gold digger I just discovered this Syrian treasure, and I intend to find more about my grandmother from the past. Mainly her translated book into Arabic.