Gertrude is the fourth story in the series Voices of women from infinite universes. Like the previous ones, it addresses issues of diversity and inclusion through stories of extraordinary women active “in the field”, bearers of values that have helped bring out the heritage of humanity and still today transmit fundamental and timeless teachings.
It tells the extraordinary biography of Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, a woman who was able to play the leading role in the creation of Iraq, first ignoring and then overcoming any obstacles or preconceptions that the male “dominant gender” had placed in front of her. She was also the first woman to graduate in the history of a highly conservative university like that of Oxford.
Scholar, writer, archaeologist, head of strategic offices of British Intelligence in the Middle East during the period of the First World War, Gertrude Bell made her life a masterpiece of intelligence, sensitivity, love for history (think of how many archaeological treasures he saved thanks to the Baghdad Museum, which he founded) and intimate understanding of the mentality of distant peoples (Arabs, Bedouins, Druze, Jews, Chaldeans etc.). Qualities that allowed her to direct the course of history and be loved, honoured, and regretted, even today, by people of the desert.
Called by the Iraqis Al Kathun (Crownless Queen of Iraq), she was fluent in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian and Turkish. She embarked on journeys and expeditions to dangerous places, armed only with courage, empathy, culture and intelligence. She arrived where no one had dared to venture. She spoke an equal footing with the deserts of ancient Persia (now Iran) and Mesopotamia (now Iraq, thanks to her). He helped build the careers of kings, emirs and British officers who became famous (such as the legendary T.H. Lawrence of Arabia). Everyone owed her glory and honours. He published essays, correspondence articles and intelligence reports – cornerstones of a passion for the Middle East and an unrivalled professional determination. But, she held neither power nor money nor love, only the satisfaction of having built a bridge between local cultures and contributing to a pacification, which now remains a regret.
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