Open letter to the Zahid Family about Dahesh’s Cane 

are we publishing this announcement on our website

So as to remind the heirs of Doctor Dahesh, MervatZahid and her four children, Amira, Hoda, Amr and Mahmoud Zahid, of their duty.

So as to leave a penned trace of their irregular and capricious behavior in a matter that touches from close the Founder of the Daheshist Mission, of whom they claim to be the faithful disciples. And most of all, try to obtain a precious object that has been kept arbitrarily in their possession, which, in truth, belongs to me … a relic that Doctor Dahesh has bequeathed me in a written Testament. (Quite an impossible feat to pan out, I must own — for even the mighty gods themselves, could not “force a donkey to drink … when he is not thirsty.”)New York, September 2, 2001


A week after reading the Twentieth Travel of Doctor Dahesh (in India 1983), I prayed Hoda, afterdiscussing the matter with her, to contact her mother about the Cane (that Doctor Dahesh promised me it will bemine after his death). Seeing some hesitation on her part, I wrote a letter to her mother (Mervat Zahid), a letter which her daughter Hoda founded somehow insulting. On the advice of my brothers Chucry and Saad, to whom I had sent a copy, Hoda proposed in the end to indulge my request by promising to relay my message to her mother (but verbally,) albeit softened and courteous. I agreed on condition she let her mother know that, should the Family Zahid deny me my rights, I will act accordingly. Being conciliatory by her good nature, the gentleness of Hoda finally got the best of me. (Such gentle nature is made to calm the storms… alike the voice of the prophets). Great was her surprise when her mother told her:

« But my dear, I have no need to read what Doctor Dahesh wrote in the book that was just published, I was present when he promised Georges his cane. The will of the Prophet is sacred. This cane should belong to Georges! As soon as your sister Amira is back home, I will ask her to retrieve it from Doctor Dahesh’s room. »

She wanted to make sure, as she said to Hoda, to get me the right Cane and not a wrong one. Windblown, two weeks have passed on this beautiful promise, and I still have not obtained any satisfaction. One day it was this, another day it was that. Finally, on the 2nd of September, Hoda went to visit her family in Greenwich, and of course I didn’t fail to remind her of the pending question. But it was to no purpose: I got nothing but fancy words and hollow promises. “I will give it to him as soon as I find it…” But still no Cane, none whatsoever. Having obtained no satisfaction up to this date (not even the assurance of a set date whereby the Cane could be handed to me) and with Hoda still refusing to tell her mother about the legal action and consequences that could result from such a behavior, I thought, before making public this issue, to send the brothers and sisters of the DaheshistMission, the letter in which I warned Mervat Zahid about the social and legal consequences of this childish behavior, which is so unbecoming of her and the situation at hand.

Second Claim to the Zahid Family (Mervat Sahloul A. Zahid and her children: Amr, Amira, Hoda and Mahmoud Zahid)


In the course of a trip I made with Doctor Dahesh to India, in 1983, he promised me to bequeath me his Cane. He gave me his solemn word while we were in the Museum of Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi. And to my great joy, seventeen years later, I discoverded(though in my mind I thought it was naught but a moon promise made to a pretentious child) that the Founder of Daheshism had actually left a written record of his engagement (probably as a forethought on his part) in his journal of our voyage that you, the Zahid Family, have published (seventeen years later): Voyage Around The World of Doctor Dahesh, a book which came out in December 2000 (according to the date registered in the volume per se: 2001).

This Cane, which by the way is of a great sentimental value to my heart, should have been mine ever since his regrettable passing away in 1984. Now, should we make allowance for the fact that you might not have been theninformed of his will to bequeath me this precious item, you have no excuse now, nor any pretext—certainly not after the publishing of this text, which is as clear as daylight, and of which, to boot, you yourselves are the sole publishers.

            Some twenty years have passed since, and this matter is still slumbering in the snugly arms of your total negligence, and I daresay in a crass avoidance on your part. Indeed, it has been kept inexcusably hostage of lack of integrity on your part for nearly a year since I last brought it to your attention.

            Twice this year, MervatZahid has been advised that, should she still keep a deaf ear to my claim, I would act accordingly.

            Owing to my unrelenting insistence, I finally received the Cane by the 13th of September 2001 — or rather what I believed to be the Cane — folded in newspaper wrap as though a mere vulgar object of no value. When, on the morning of the 15th, I unwrapped the said package, great was my surprise to discover —and this after I reviewed the photos I had taken during my trip to India with Doctor Dahesh — that MervatZahid had not forwarded to me the right Cane. This flagrant larceny, this dubious slight-of-hand, if not monkey business masquerade—and as inoffensive as it may seem, is beneath a woman who deems herself respectable, and is certainly unworthy of her standing. And let me point out here: the mere fact that a “cane” that soi-disant belonged to Doctor Dahesh was sent to me is the very proof that MervatZahid, the matriarch of the Family, is fully aware of this pledge made to me by DoctorDahesh. Otherwise she would not have responded to my claim. The problem is: she thought she could fool me or fool herself into believing that I might be satisfied with a subterfuge cane, rather than ending up with no cane at all.

            Since you and the members of your family (as it is stated in Doctor Dahesh’s Will and Testament) are universally recognized as Doctor Dahesh’sheirs, you are duly bound to respect this engagement that was made to me in person (in front of Mervat Zahid and her daughter Amira while we were in India). Therefore, it is only meet that I should address myself to you concerning this matter, a matter that has been kept hostage of your negligence and insouciance—if not unforgivable ignorance, as I am drawn to believe; for there is no doubt in my mind that I am dealing now with an ill-will on your part.

            That is why I reiterate my claim, Doctor Dahesh has dedicated this cane to me, and he did it in the presence of Amira and Mervat Zahid while we were in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s Urn containing his ashes. Henceforth, it must belong in due form and physically to me. That is why I insist on my claim: this historic object of most significant and high value to me, against which the Beloved leaned while walking in the sunset of his life, especially during his trip to India, must be passed on to me, and this on account the Beloved has specifically indicated that it shall be mine “at the end of his materialistic life.” This engagement made by Doctor Dahesh is penned down in the personal journal of his voyage, which you, the Zahid Family, have published in a book. I am sure you are already aware of this text, since you are the ones to have published it. Then again, you might still choose to act as though you have no cognizance of this passage, thereby refuse to honor it; for to acknowledge it is to be bound legally and spiritually by it to me. All I want is to draw again and again your attention to the following words written by Doctor Daheshhimself in his book (Volume I of the Voyage to India) that your Publishing House has released, wherein he clearly states:

            « The promise of the free is a binding and sacred debt. »

This Cane should be mine, and mine alone. Again, I am not asking you here to “humor” my resolve in pursuing this matter wherever it would take me, but to honor a pledge the Beloved made to me in front of Mervat and Amira. Both you and I will be responsible for our deeds and thoughts, whatever reasons we care to endorse or hide behind. I am ready to shoulder mine for eternity before God and the Beloved.

            There’s no more room for excuses. This is a debt that you, his heirs, are bound to honor, providing you still bearany respect for him of whom you pretend to be the disciples. Don’t let this matter drag any longer, and stop taking advantage of your position. Rather, dread that this obstinacy of yours might enrobe you with ridicule. The rights of the people is a sanctum one cannot violate without impunity, and without being submerged in derision. Most of all, such unacceptable behavior is unworthy of the Zahid Family, whom I have known to be people of confidence and integrity.

      Please accept my sincerest respects.

Georges Henri Chakkour

(To be continued soon…)

Copyright © 2009 Georges H. Chakkour – Tous droits réservés