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Saturday, 01 October 2022
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  • 'Under the Shades of Jasmine'; A book by Syrian writer Mayada Kayali

  • In her book, Mayada Kayali contributed to the history of woman. She said that "the path towards my target wasn't paved, and the opportunity didn't come to me on a silver plate."
'Under the Shades of Jasmine'; A book by Syrian writer Mayada Kayali
Mayada Kayali

The following lines are an introduction to the book of the Syrian researcher and writer Mayada Kayali. She holds a BA in Civil Engineering from Damascus University, a MA in Ancient Civilizations from Van Holland University in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from Van Holland University in the Netherlands.

Translated by Nora Al-Sharabi

When I made the decision to embark upon the sphere of anthropological sciences, and to study civilizations and ancient religions, my aspiration was to fulfill a dream I have once sworn on my mother's grave to achieve, in order to prove to her and to myself that I am the woman who is able to handle the burden of the workload, seeking knowledge and the responsibilities of motherhood and parenting all together, yet without losing any of my humanity and femininity through the journey of rejecting all sorts of stereotypes instilled and used as a frame reference by the patriarchal society.

When I went into this field, it never crossed my mind that I will stumble on the history of my great grandmothers and females in general, furthermore, I have never planned for that to happen, however my experience inspired me with the path to take.

The dawning of the new stage of my life set off with my first station when I prepared for my master thesis entitled: "The Woman's Role in Sumerian civilization", at this stage I came to terms with the fact that the power within is not an individual case that has grown in the middle of nowhere, however it had its origins from time immemorial and ancient eras when the woman came to know the world and embraced the new creation that comes out of her with all the love and attention, moreover, she was certain that she is the perfect lifeguard to this being till it attains the age of full strength.


She fed and secured her child, and taught it love till the latter submitted to her like one submits to god, from whom light shines, sculptured the statues of reverence, held the ceremonies of dedication and turned her into an everlasting legend.

This book continues the uninterrupted dialogue and presents the questions I was asked in press and televised interviews. Hence, I have made it part of my remit to publish them in a book so that we look deeper in this problem manifested in all walks of life with its fluctuations and complications that exist.

Nonetheless, the reader might notice some repetition in certain ideas that are raised here or there, which I am fully aware of, yet I didn't interfere in editing or omitting them, based on the timeless quote of Heraclitus "You cannot go into the same river twice".

I hope I was successful in presenting a content that might shed a light on the issues related to the woman and in which I kept myself busy tackling, besides sharing sides of my experience in order to contribute to the history of woman.

Virginia Woolf said once: “A woman must have money and a room of her own" and according to her advice I worked hard to have that, given it wasn't an easy task.

I had to make every effort and to struggle in order to make a living and own money with which I would have my own place wherein I could raise my twins and practice my motherhood, and sometimes take the role of the father whenever it is needed.

I looked forward to having my own room where I can use whatever time I can spare to search, read and write.

I admit that the path towards my target wasn't paved, and the opportunity didn't come to me on a silver plate, to the contrary, my determination was my only supply to endure the ups and downs of that difficult road till the end.

As for the reason behind choosing the title "Under the Shades of Jasmine" for my book, the pictures kept flowing in my head upon choosing it, some of them were about the Allies and narrow roads of Damascus that are filled with the transcendent scent of Jasmine sneaking from the fences of houses and from the streets.

Furthermore, Jasmine is like the female, as it sends out its odor without giving away its whiteness, aroma and secrets, much in the same line, these dialogues were like a cruise in the head of an Arabic woman who came from the time of Jasmine and who hopes to keep sending out her scent, besides staying loyal to her origin and to her utmost destiny manifested in freeing women to whose struggle and beauty I present this book.

Under the Shades of Jasmine; A book by Mayada Kayali