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Rosemarie Said Zahlan and brother, Edward, 1940

Rosemarie Said Zahlan (Arabic: روزماري سعيد زهلانRōsemarē Sa‘id Zahlān) (August 20, 1937 - May 10, 2006) was a Palestinian-US Christian historian and writer on the Gulf states. She was a sister of Edward Said. In addition to her books, she also wrote for the Financial Times, the Middle East Journal, the International Journal of Middle East Studies and the Encyclopedia of Islam.

Said Zahlan was born in Cairo in 1937, as the eldest of four sisters. Her father, Wadie Said, was a wealthy Anglican Palestinian businessman and a US citizen, while her mother was born in Nazareth of Christian Lebanese and Palestinian descent. She attended the women's college, Bryn Mawr, USA, where she took a degree in musicology. In a serious car accident her hands were injured and several vertebrae broken. This made a musical career playing the piano impossible.

After Bryn Mawr, Rosemarie taught for a while in Cairo. She then went to Beirut, where she lectured on cultural history and music at the American University of Beirut and the Beirut College for Women. After Beirut she went to London to take her PhD (about the Red Sea route to India and its 18th-century history pioneer, George Baldwin), at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Said Zahlan married the Palestinian physicist and academic from Haifa, Tony Zahlan. Together they championed the Gaza Library Project for supplying books to Palestine. Said Zahlan was also a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain, and, according to "The Times", her "abiding concern throughout her life was for Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinian people."



  • Zahlan, A. B.; Said Zahlan, Rosemarie: Technology Transfer and Change in the Arab World: The Proceedings of a Seminar of the United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia ISBN 0-08-022435-0 Oxford, United Kingdom: Published for the United Nations by Pergamon Press, 1978,
  • Said Zahlan, Rosemarie: The Origins of the United Arab Emirates. A Political and Social History of the Trucial States Macmillan, NY, 1978
  • Said Zahlan, Rosemarie: The Creation of Qatar. London: Routledge 1979, (reprinted, 1989)
  • Said Zahlan, Rosemarie: The Making of the Modern Gulf States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Quatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Ithaca Press, 1998, ISBN 0-86372-229-6


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