Kahlil Gibran: “Pity The Nation of Lebanon” – Audio

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Bcharre, Lebanon. Photo taken from Kahlil Gibran’s family home (photo: Wendy Coory Gretton 2014)

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Even Kahlil Gibran, Lebanon’s most famous poet, understood his country’s multiple personalities.

“No Man Is An Island” nor is a country.

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The following is a short story and poem taken from:

Kahlil Gibran, The Garden of the Prophet (written 1934)


Sketch by Kahlil Gibran

And Almustafa came and found the Garden of his mother and his father, and he entered in and closed the gate that no man might come after him.

And for forty days and forty nights he dwelt alone in that house and that Garden, and none came, not unto the gate, for it was closed, and all the people knew that he would be alone.

And when the forty days and forty nights were ended, Almustafa opened the gate that they might come in.

And there came nine men to be with him in the Garden; three mariners from his  ship; three who had served in the Temple; and three who had been his comrades in play when they were but children together. And these were his disciples.

And on the morning his disciples sat around him, and there were distances and remembrances in his eyes. And that disciple who was called Hafiz, said unto him: “Master, tell us of the city of Orphalese, and of that land wherein you tarried those twelve years.”

And Almustafa was silent and looked away toward the hills and toward the vast ether, and there was a battle in his silence.

Then he said:

My friends and my road-fellows

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion,

Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest,

And drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine press.

Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity the nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except among its ruins, and will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another with trumpetings again.

Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.

Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.

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Sketch by Kahlil Gibran

AUDIO-Pity The Nation

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2 comments
  1. ezieke samuel said:

    so good. I love it!

    Like

  2. frandi said:

    Hi there Ezieke, Khalil Gibran knew his country, Lebanon, to its core. Anne

    Like

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