I think Gibran moves me because his poetry makes taking the high road seductive again:
“Life without freedom is like a body without a soul, and freedom without thought is confusion”
“That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space”
Elsewhere he wrote to the Levantine diaspora:
“I believe in you, and I believe in your destiny.
I believe that you are contributors to this new civilization.
I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream, a song, a prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of America…
I believe that it is in you to be good citizens.
And what is it to be a good citizen?
It is to acknowledge the other person’s rights before asserting your own, but always to be conscious of your own.
It is to be free in word and deed, but it is also to know that your freedom is subject to the other person’s freedom.
It is to create the useful and the beautiful with your own hands, and to admire what others have created in love and with faith.”
Gibran immigrated from Lebanon to Boston at an early age, writing in both English and Arabic to revive Arab culture, uniting all the various sects of the Levant. Gibran didn’t just give feel-good messages — he advocated for unity in order to overthrow Turkish and French domination.
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