Kahlil Gibran's Message To Young Americans Of Syrian Origin

From Syrian World

July 1926

By G.K. Gibran

This was published in the first issue in the New York Arab community’s first English language newspaper, in 1926. It is on display at “A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City,”at the Museum of the City of New York March 2 – September 1, 2002.

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 you can say to the founders of this great nation, “Here I am, a youth, a young tree, whose roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon, yet I am deeply rooted here, and I would be fruitful.”

And I believe that you can say to Abraham Lincoln, the blessed, “Jesus of Nazareth touched your lips when you spoke, and guided your hand when you wrote, and I shall uphold all that you have said and all that you have written.”

I believe that you can say to Emerson and Whitman and James, “In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands.

I believe that even as your fathers came to this land to produce riches, you were born here to produce riches by intelligence, by labor.

And 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 thought 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.

It is to produce wealth by labor and only by labor, and to spend less than you have produced that your children may not be dependent on the state for support when you are no more.

It is to stand before the towers of New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco saying in your heart “ I am the descendant of a people that builded Damascus and Biblus and Type and Sidon and Antioch, and now I am here to build with you, and with a will.”

It is to be proud of being an American, but it is also to be proud that your fathers and mothers came from a land upon which God laid His gracious hand and raised His messengers.

Young Americans of Syrian origins, I believe in you.

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