Tuesday, February 14, 2017


The Prophet, by Kahil Gibran, was first published in 1923; it remains at or near the top of the all-time best-seller lists in both the Arab world and the West. With its aphoristic style, it was mandatory reading in the '60s. It was a small book--and not heavy.
"The whole Prophet is saying one thing," he summarized. "'You are far greater than you know -- and all is well.'" Words and a view to live by.
Born in Lebanon in 1883, Gibran spent most of his life in America, his boyhood in Boston and then, from 1912 until his death in 1931, in New York City.

This  is from "The New Frontier," one of Gibran's more political writings. He preached harmony and inclusion, peace and contentment so these lines are a bit alarming when seen in today's context and the final line is argued to be the source of Kennedy's famous line:

"There are in the Middle East today two challenging ideas: old and new. The old ideas will vanish because they are weak and exhausted. There is in the Middle East an awakening that defies slumber. . . . It is growing and expanding; it is reaching and engulfing all sensitive, intelligent souls; it is penetrating and gaining the sympathy of noble hearts. The Middle East, today, has two masters. One is deciding, ordering, being obeyed; but he is at the point of death. But the other is silent in his conformity to law and order, calmly awaiting justice; he is a powerful giant who knows his own strength, confident in his existence and a believer in his destiny.

There are today in the Middle East, two men: one of the past and one of the future. Which one are you? Come close; let me look at you and let me be assured by your appearance and conduct if you are one of those coming into the light or going into the darkness. Come and tell me who and what you are. Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country?. . ."

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