May Moussa

Prestige issue 4, September 1993

May Moussa. Speaking to her is going back a few decades. A return to the past inevitably laden with melancholy and nostalgia, you say; Yet I had the ineffable pleasure of finding a vibrant watercolor colors, decorated with abundant wit, chili gossips of yesterday, the reunion with a past not so distant, still living. May Moussa, born Ghanem, wife of lawyer and CEO of Casino du Liban, Victor Moussa was herself without ever being paid, director of the programs of the theater and public relations of the company. Real conductor of the worldly life of the sixties, President of the Musical Youth of Lebanon, she was charming ambassador of her country to other nations, the best of which Lebanon can dream and certainly the most beautiful. May was educated in California, lived with her uncles and thanks to her mother obtained American citizenship. She was distinguished from other girls too sorted by her beauty, vivacity of her mind and ease of communication with her surrounding.

1 Lady May in front of her magnificent portrait made by the painter Edmond Sousa. 2 Moussa’s family: May, Victor, Nadine and Khalil.

© Archives May Moussa

Her star look opened to her the doors of Hollywood, but a career at the movies failed to seduce her. Her father Joseph Ghanem, man of letters and historian, received in his salons the high society of Beirut, politicians, diplomats, cultural figures. May was always there, received, conversed with this indescribable ease with words; easy repartee, the word that charms for a personality that asserts herself over days. Later, she held herself a political salon, appointment of the political aristocracy of the time. Her charisma and the aura of distinction around her made her the undisputed queen of all parties. The Casino was not content to open its doors to fans of gaming and entertainment but maintained for years, a mecca of culture, witnessed many performances: the troupe of the Paris Opera, the troupe of Helen Hayes sent at the request of President Kennedy and subsidized by the U.S. government. Echoes of the festivities, the warm welcome took such an extent that it became useful to see scrolling at the Casino, kings, presidents from worldwide…


© Archives May Moussa

Along with Johnny Hallyday.

The election of Miss Europe was beautifully organized; more than one million lines describing this event in the international press, the words of praise of Elsa Maxwell, the dreaded New York Times columnist, set the Casino du Libanas “forum” of celebrities. This achievement was due to the Moussafamily. Familiar with the world of show biz, it earned them the hijacking of an American ship cruise in the Mediterranean; board, a handful of stars who were relaxing away from the rush of Hollywood. In their itinerary, no Lebanon, May and Victor Moussawill do so that the ship comes to dock at the port. Stars have spent some unforgettable days with us. From the 60s, the golden age of Lebanon, dear to all memories, May Moussa says: “The party was in full swing everywhere, in everyone.” An incredible succession of feasts where the pomp and elegance led the dance. Alluring make up, formal dress code, dizzying necklines perfectly expressed the happiness of life. Bibis, hats and gloves were indispensable accessories. The Lebanese were beautiful, so women and offered an image of good taste and enviable ease as today. If May Moussa proved to be a knowledgeable businesswoman, her house Chantal exclusively representing the store and perfume Dior, she perfectly plays her role of wife and mother of two children,Khalil and Nadine married today to a U.S. diplomat. Accomplished hostess, she has this unparalleled and subtle art of receiving, to create a warm atmosphere that makes her guests overwhelmed with ease. May Moussa is also and above all a friend; sincerity in her relations and discretion, rare qualities in a woman of the world, admittedly, aroused the admiration even among her rivals. Claustrophobic, May hatesdarkness, closed rooms; Nature bathes her in a quiet euphoria, but she fears the sun, so discourteous with women skin. Without any complex, the Lebanese Woman, multicultural, excels in everything she does. She remains away from politics like May whose husband was still firmly opposed to any active participation in political life.


© Archives May Moussa

Received by Pope Paul VI at the beatification of Saint Charbel.



May says.

And is if nothing belonged anymore to the past. As if the memory finally escaped. Chronicle of a lifetime, witness of a country. Itinerary cleverly drawn of a great lady of Lebanon, the alluring glitz of the sixties.Magazines and shows of great artists.The whirlwind of years of dreaming, dizziness of exhilarating dances, the brightness of a generation in love with life. And to paraphrase Said Akl: “In a whistle from its pen, history becomes a snake dancing. Dancing love, dancing extinct empires and hunger of a great day».”


© Archives May Moussa

May Moussa has the right to a hand kiss by President Camille Chamoun.

It lacks the Lebanese woman to go to the conquest of the government and parliament … “. May has contributed to the formation of a Lebanese lobby in the United States during the terms of Reagan and Bush. A strong presence in the world of diplomacy led her to be invited to prestigious receptions including that of General de Gaulle in honor of President Charles Helou. The eyes of the famous general did not resist the deep neckline of the dress style superbly worn by May. He lingered chatting with her, asked her questions about their residence in Baabdat that the general had, it seems, visited during the Second World War and wasbased as a military hospital at that time. And May continues to reminisce this: Mr. Moussa is personally responsible for the Shah of Iran to settle the case of Shapur Bakhtiar, refugee in Lebanon; he performs very well this challenging task, and following his talks with the Lebanese state, Bakhtiar is extradited. Victor and May Moussa are then invited to Iran and welcomed royally by the Shah. The visit was marked by an incident that May still evokes with fun anda hint of emotion: “Invited by the Shahbanou for a tea, I went there in my finest outfit, headed, gloved. I was received by the chamberlain and asked to wait to be ‘announced in a sumptuous lounge. Suddenly, I found myself with all my spread along the ground, legs in the air, attacked by a huge dog. Frightened, unprepared, I cried and sobbed without restraint when two strong arms lifted me and to my shame, with mascara running on my cheeks, I was carried and calmedby… Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. I strove to regain my composure and tried to repair the damage sneak in my makeup and my hair, furious of having missed my entry. ” May Moussa, a great Lady of Lebanon and one of its most beautiful figures is omnipresent in the diplomatic and cultural society. Blending natural charm to her judicious mind, she continues to participate in all social events helping to restore a facet of Lebanon, which sparkled in the firmament of the great world. May Moussa has also unwavering faith in a prosperous Lebanon whose scars have only strengthen the determination. How can we doubt while its patriots knew, beyond the events, to save their heritage and fiercely overcome the intrigues leading to partition. The credo of May Moussa: “I believe in the return of the Lebanon of the sixties, country of understanding, Friendship and Hospitality, Lebanon, the country of Civilization and Culture. I believe in Lebanon. ” JACQUELINE RIHANA

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