KHAYRIEH Z. ALAME TINAOUI (1933–2005)

TO ALL WOMEN OUT THERE

Rami Alame, Serial Entrepreneur & Startup Lawyer

I was raised by this amazing woman who taught me the meaning of strength, persistence, honesty, and despite being misunderstood at times she kept fighting for what is right and never settled. This is a story to all women in my network reading this…

She got forced into marriage at the age of 14 to her second-degree cousin because he was very wealthy, she got pregnant at 15. She started getting beaten at home at night when her husband [Biological Grandfather] would come back drunk from gambling and would beat her. She ran away, got rejected by her family to whom she was so attached. She started working at the hospital for Mental Health at night and would sleep there. She never Stopped, continuing her studies in public schools and continued her education until she graduated in MEDICINE at less than 30 years old.

She was a single Mom, a doctor, the Director of the first Nursing school in Lebanon, working at Makassed, and refused to abide by social norms. Her family had disinherited her and she was on her own. To top it off, she met a Doctor who was just starting his career with no family assets and from another religion [Remember in the 1960s in Lebanon]. They got married after years of being together and defying all social norms. Both their parents had rejected their union but they pursued, rented a house, and imposed themselves as a power couple. A few months later both families were sitting all together having lunch.

In the 1960s, she founded the Nursing Association in Lebanon, was the second woman in Lebanese History to be awarded the Cavalier’s Honorary Legion by the Lebanese Presidency. She fought to liberate women from the Veil which in her belief should be a choice not an obligation. She met with religious leaders while refusing to wear the veil which was a huge revolution at the time. In the 1970s, she co built one of the biggest hospitals in Lebanon from scratch, she built the first Nursing School in Lebanon, she served on the board of major Lebanese and Regional NGOs defending women rights. At the same time, she never tried to act differently than what she was; she never neglected her family and was able to maintain an amazing structured family life throughout her lifespan. She raised her grandchildren in the 1990s while getting involved in Politics, was the first one PM Rafik Hariri reached out to for Nursing matters, medical aspects, and Humaniarian aspects.

Today, I understand why I tend to be selective in my life, to aspire for a high level of communication, for a high level of understand amongst people and I always try to push values into society and make sure to add value as much as I can. Today I know that I have 2 objectives in Life: Being able to build a strong family and “Add value” in the community I am in. These in my opinion are 2 objectives that could simplify what life can be. Think of the 2 main fears we all converge on, what are they? In my opinion we all share 2 fears: Death and Time. These 2 fears fuel our decisions and our life. This is why, if we were to understand life in a simpler way, we would be able to partially overcome those fears and make it through while enjoying the journey and not the end goal.

So to all women out there, do not get dictated what to do, do not underestimate your worth and believe in your potential to move mountains. Love yourselves and believe in the impossible to make it possible. Do not look to compare yourselves with any man or any woman, but rather decide on what you want in life and act upon it till the end.

A word to this iron lady who had a heart of Gold:

I love you and I love every value you have taught me and will stick to it as long as I am breathing.

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