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Mata Hari

Mata Hari - Picture 4 Everybody knows the name "Mata Hari" but mutch people don't know some about the life and history of this woman.
On the belly-dance site' toples you can see a Picture of Mata hari since a view times and may give you some impression of the oriental dance history.

"Mata Hari" is only a artistsname meaning "Eye of the rising sun" in Indian's Hindu language, her real name was Margaretha Mac Leod. Margaretha whas born at August 7. 1876 in the city Leeuwarden, Friesland a district of the Nedderlands north, her maiden name was Margaretha Gertrude Zelle. She was the daughter of an hatmaker named Adam Zelle. As wonder the girl looks like an asian people but her family comes really since many generations from the nedderlands country. Betwen here dancers career she tells some stories by herself about her alleged origin from India, education betwen Indian buddhist priests and the introduction of indian templedances. This all gives a aura of secrets about her person who goes on after her dead since today.

Some time ago a oriental-dancer from germany send me some E-mail.. She write "Between the picture you write -Mata Hari,oriental dancer and Agent- i belief she was from India and have dance indian temple dances!"

Something this woman tells is rigt and something not.
For Europeans the orient is a region in Noth Africa and the middle East only. American people see the orient in china, india and so on. At the beginning of the 20 century in Europe means this term also the region at India. What is now the meaning of oriental dance? Where he come from?

Mata Hari never learn real temple dances or oriental bellydance before she begins with here carrier. She only has some talent for dancing and interpretation of dances she have seen on Java. In the salons of Paris at 1905 nobody can be asses, how good or real she dance. Her show was full of smells and wonderfull mutch exotic so the athmosphere make the public like be whiched. The people whould be excitemental watch her dance. Final she takes off her clothes more and more, dancing naked at end and charmed moving her hands and body, she makes the public enchant. At this time this kind of dance was a real sensation.

The french journalist "Marcel Lami" gives this description about her appearance:

She is strong, brunette and full of blood, her dark teint, her shadowed mouth and the light wet eyes tells about the sun of exotic countries and powerful rainfalls. She winds her Body like a snake under veils who simultaneus covering and showing her naked skin
We have nerver see some like this. Her breasts go up and down the eyes wet shining. The hands go up and sinking finaly down, like she are tired from sun and heat. In front of her there is an golden Goodssculpture, a old wooden Goodspicture. Hands go in the air for praying to him who never be alike our hands. Mouthes beseech with betelblack tooth who not be alike than our mouthes. Her dance is praying like; the voluptuousness whould be to praying self. We dont know what she do pray.
The dancer beware the mistery of her praying hands like the goodspicture with his strong looking eyes. It is everytimes demand for the undecidet who goes up to the unknown. The pretty body prays, winds and give himself: it is like the disperse from desire in the request.

Mata Hari - Picture 2
Masrgaretha become some contact to the indian culture between her husband John Rudolf Mac Leod, an soldier she find with some anounce for married in a newspaper.
From 1898 to 1900 the Mac Leods are staying in India and the ilands of Java in some military garnisons at Ambarawa Tempoeng and Medan.
After they have disolved in 1902 and some misterious tragedy in 1899 as her son Norman died by an poisoning and Her daughter lives after this along she began her dancers carrier glory 1904 in Paris.

Her glory whould be more and more and she prefers events in hole Europe but since 1910 Mata hare whould be forgotten by the People. In this time she begins some affairs mostly with high military officiers. She loves the uniforms and the men in it so much. She begins the relations only with men who spend the money for her expensive rooms in Hotels and some much more she need for a good life.

Mata Hari - Picture 3 Many wifes began with the same art to spend a carrier like Mata Hari
"Colette" dance in Moulin Rouge the "Egyptian dream", same like Mata Hari with metallic Armrifes and Bras, clothes like her and undressing while dancing. In Berlin the marokkean dancer "Sulamith Raha" prefers sworthdance, veildance and bellydance nacked like Eve and the american dancer "Maud Allen" you can see with her "Vision of Salome".

After 1910 Mata Hari became more and more in to a world of prostitution and bad people. She want to go out there and want to come back as the great dancer she was before, but she comes not out. In this time the world war one begins in 1914.

In Berlin the germans Secret service get Mata Hari as Agent with the codename H21 and only a short time later the french Service do the same. Now Mata Hari was an double-Agent between germany and france and some time later this fact whould be the end of Mata Hari but her occupation for the two Services was not significant.

At february 13. 1917 she was arrestet in Paris by the accusation of spying for the oppositet Germany. Sometime she sit in Jail and after an lawsuit Mata Hari - Margaretha Zelle was executed at the firing range of Vincennes near Paris oat October 15. 1917.
She dont want to have some bandage on her eyes. Eleven projektils goes in to her Body (only one shoot past) so she goes down bindet at a wooden pile with some wire. She tells her last words the chief officier "Monsieur, i thank you." Another officier shot her a projectile more in to the ear in the head of her dead Body.

Mata Hari - Picture 1

The legend of the dancer and spyer Mata hari begins and many rumors, wrong informathions and exagegerations, also by her own telled lies and a Film about her life make she immortal and more mysterious as she was at her time of life.

Said Bustany, January 2001


From the Book "Mata Hari - Träume und Lügen - Dreams and lies" from Fred Kupfermann Germany (Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-7466-1575-5)
-Mata Hari, Dancer, Kurtisane, Spyer, Femme fatale - really the legendary doubleagent between germany and france, or only an adventurer and swindler who build her own mythes in a dangerous time so she must perish?



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