Four letters, a strand of hair and several pictures not seen before, could link Um Kulthum in a love affair to Mohammad Al Tabi, a journalist who died in 1976.
The Prince of Journalism, as Tabi was nicknamed in Egyptian literary circles, was constantly featured in the tabloids because of his romantic relationship with Syrian songstress Asmahan.
This recent discovery was made by Editor in Chief of the ‘Akhar Sa’a’ weekly magazine, which Tabi established in 1934.
Salah said that “after a quarter of a century, Tabi’s wife Huda found four letters, three of them in his handwriting, written in 1936, in an envelope titled ‘Karawanat and Karaween,’” (or Nightingale of all Nightingales), a nickname given to the late Um Kulthum.
He added that “the third letter was written and signed by Um Kulthum herself and dated 1946.”
Furthermore, Salah said that Huda also found “a collection of rare pictures of Um Kulthum that have never been published as well as a small package containing strands of her hair and a handkerchief.”
Salah verified that the letters written by Tabi, which did not reveal the receiver’s name, “were riddled with love, especially a letter he wrote during a trip to Europe with director Karim Thabet and his wife.”
“The letter had an air of affection to a woman he misses, misses her voice and is unable to forget.”
Salah also stated that “this letter and every aspect revolving around it, verifies that it was all aimed at Um Kulthum.”
Huda Tabi is also convinced of the affair, since she “only saw Tabi cry once, and that was when he read of Um Kulthum’s death. He went down to the ground and cried, shaking all over.”
“This was the first and last time I ever saw him cry before he died, less than a year later,” she added.
Huda also said that she “felt this affair but was never sure until now.”
It is well known that Um Kulthum was surrounded by many admirers, both from the cultural and intellectual arenas of Egypt. Her admirers included musician Mohammad Al Kasubji and poet Ahmad Rami.
Tabi, was also well-loved.
A bachelor throughout his young life, Tabi was known as a bit of a Don Juan, famous for various romantic trysts and relations with Egypt’s most famous celebrities. His most well-known relationship was with Asmahan.
Sadly, Asmahan died in a car accident on her way to meet Tabi -Albawaba.com.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )