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Khalil Gibran: The Foundations of Love

In Being a World Citizen, Cultural Bridges, Literature, Middle East & North Africa, Poetry, The Search for Peace on December 18, 2018 at 7:26 AM

By René Wadlow

Life without love is like a tree without blossom and fruit. And love without beauty is like flowers without scent and fruits without seed… For Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of seasons… Love is a rose, its heart opens at dawn.”

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) the Lebanese poet, whose birth anniversary we mark on January 6, in many ways represents the deeper spirit of Lebanon though he lived most of his life outside the country: in Paris as an art student and in the USA where he started to write directly in English. His best known book The Prophet was written directly in English.

In “My Birthday”, written in Paris on January 6, 1908 Gibran wrote “Thus have I walked round the sun twenty and five times. And I know not how many times the moon has encircled me. Yet I have not unveiled the secrets of life, neither have I known the hidden things of darkness… Much have I loved in these five and twenty years. And much that I have loved is hateful to people, and much that I have hated is by them admired… I have loved freedom, and my love has grown with the growth of my knowledge of the bondage of people to falsehood and deceit… Love is the only freedom in the world because it so elevates the spirit that the laws of humanity and the phenomena of nature do not alter its course.”

In a vision that was correct, he added in the 1908 birthday essay “And today, today I stand in remembrance as a tired wayfarer who stands mid-way on the ascending road.” He died in 1931 at the age of 48. (1)

For Gibran, Love and Beauty are the foundations of existence. As he wrote in an essay which gave the title to the book “A Tear and a Smile” Then my heart drew near to wisdom, the daughter of Love and Beauty, saying ‘Give me wisdom that I may carry it to humankind’. She answered ‘Say that happiness begins in the holy of holies of the spirit and comes not from without.

A Tear and a Smile sums up well Gibran’s attitude toward life which is always made up of contrasts: light and dark, knowledge and doubt.

How beautiful is life, beloved.
Tis like the heart of a poet,
Full of light and spirit,
How harsh is life, beloved
Tis like an evildoer’s heart
Full of guilt and fear.

In “The Hymn of Man”, nearly a credo of his views, he stresses the ‘both/and’ of contrasts:

I have hearkened to the teachings of Confucius and listened to the wisdom of Brahma, and sat beside the Buddha beneath the tree of knowledge. Behold me now contending with ignorance and unbelieving.

I have borne the harshness of insatiable conquerors, and felt the oppression of tyrants and the bondage of the powerful. Yet I am strong to do the battle with the days.

I was,
And I am.
So shall I be to the end of Time.
For I am without end.

(1) Quotations are from Khalil Gibran A Tear and A Smile. Translated from the Arabic by H.M. Nahmad (London: William Heinemann, 1930)

Painting: Age of Women by Khalil Gibran

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.


Day of Mother Earth – April 22

In Being a World Citizen, Environmental protection, Human Development, Human Rights, Poetry, The Search for Peace, United Nations, World Law on April 22, 2017 at 9:25 AM


By René Wadlow

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2009 through resolution A/RES/63/278, under the leadership of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, designated April 22 as the International Mother Earth Day. The Day recognizes a collective responsibility, set out in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with Nature so as to achieve a just balance among economic, social and ecological needs of the present and future generations.

In traditional Indian culture, according to texts as early as the Vedas, the Earth is home to all living species that inhabit it and must not be excluded as they all contribute to the planet’s welfare and preservation. Therefore, human beings must contribute to the web of life of which they are a part and find ways of using the elements to produce food without damaging other life forms as far as possible.

World Citizens stress that Earth is our common home and that we must protect it together. Loss of biodiversity, desertification, and soil loss – all are signs that there must be renewed efforts to develop socio-economic patterns that are in harmony with Nature.

World Citizens highlight that the protection of Mother Earth is a task in which each of us must participate. However, there have always been traditions that stressed that a more enlightened group of humans would come to show the way. One tradition was among the Natives of North America. The more enlightened were thought of as “The Rainbow Warriors” – the warrior being one who protects rather than one who goes abroad to attack others. Nicola Beechsquirrel recalls this tradition in her poem, a tribute to Mother Earth.


The Rainbow Warriors

Nicola Beechsquirrel

Come, all who ever loved our Earth

Who lived in peace amongst her creatures

Gentle, loving, caring folk

With healing hands, and wisdom in your souls.

Come, incarnate once more

Come to Earth in her greatest need.

Help us rid her of her burdens

Cleanse her of all poisons

Close up the deep sores on her sacred body

And cover it once more in soft green.

Walk amongst us again

That we may relearn ancient skills

And long-forgotten wisdom

And tread lightly upon our Mother Earth

Taking from her only what we need

Living her ways in love and joy

Treating her creatures as equals.

Teach us how to reach those who exploit her

How to open their souls to the beauty of Life

That they may destroy no longer.

Come to us, Rainbow Warriors

Share with us your wisdom

For we have great need of it.


Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

With the Worlds Inside, Turning Exhilarating Life …

In Poetry on September 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM



By Lida Sherafatmand

AWC Artist for Peace



As the worlds turn inside,

The world of hell,

Where we want to die,


The world of hunger,

Where we don’t get enough,


The world of animality,

Where we fear

The stronger ones who bully,

The jungle of animals,


The world of anger,

Where we fight for supremacy

With aggression we move,


The world of tranquility,

Where we laze passive,


The world heaven,

Where we enjoy desires satisfied,

Our houses bought, our jobs given,


The world of learning,

Where we search meanings,

Knowledge to learn and discover,

But we get lonely there,


The world of realization,

Where we find wisdom

Reach insights,

But we get lost in intellect,


The world of compassion

Where we feel the pain of others,

Do all to help,

But lose energy and sink with those who suffer,


The world of holiness,

Where we feel freedom inside,

Happiness in the realities

Of daily life,

A flow of pure life force or consciousness;


When in leadership

The holiness world

Leads the right sides of the other worlds:


In the world of hell,

We understand the pains

And sufferance of people;


In the world hunger,

We drive for a better the world;


In the world of animality,

We strife to protect the weak;


In the world of anger,

We fight for justice;


In the world of tranquillity,

We regain our energies;


In the world of heaven,

We exhilarate being alive;


In the world of learning,

We learn from everyone;


In the world of realization

We digest our experiences;


In the world of compassion,

We devote ourselves

For the happiness of all,


In the world of holiness

We reach the core of life,

That harmony and force

Which keeps us alive,

Brings together the other nine worlds inside,

To lead and to live…


In the ten worlds inside,

What travel we do,

What turnings we lead,


In the ten worlds inside,

Let’s keep the holy world

The leader of all inside,

For all the ten worlds, to turn alive

Exhilarating happiness

Exhilarating life…


With the worlds inside,

Turning exhilarating happiness,

Exhilarating life…



Lida Sherafatmand

June 2011

الأرض هي بيتنا المشترك

In Middle East & North Africa, Poetry, The Search for Peace on May 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM
 الأرض هي بيتنا المشترك

رينيه وادلو

حياتي مشتركة
مع حياة أخرى لا تحصر،

سوى بشرية أوغيرها ؛

معا يمكننا أبداع الكمال

هذه هي الأرض.

لا استطيع ان اكون إلا كجزء

هذا الكمال؛

بسبب ذلك الكمال

أنا مواطن عالمي.

في الإنسانية،

ويمكن أن تعكس على من هو

وبالتالي يمكن فتح البوابة

لإمكانيات جديدة ولدت

معرفة النفس.

أنا المبدع.

كما الحياة ، وأنا احد قوة

النمو والتقدم.

كما وعي، ويمكنني مباشرة

هذه القوة من الخيال و

ن العلم، من الحكمة والمهارة.

يمكنني بناء ما لم

تم بناؤه من قبل.

يمكننا أن نحب ونعرف

الحلم والتغيير.

معا ، يمكننا أننخدم

واطلاق العنان للامكانات عميقة.


هيمفتاحهويتنا الإنسانية.

ومنخلالهذه الكفاءة

أستطيع أنأداء دوربلدي

(Drawing: Evgueni Bosyatski)


ويمكنأنتنعكسعلىمن هو معي

وبالتالي يمكن فتحالبوابة

لإمكانيات جديدة وولادة

نفس مطلعة.


  كالحياة ، وأنا احدقوة

  النمو والتقدم.

بوعيي، ويمكنني أستثمار

  قوة  الخيالو

العلم، معالحكمةوالمهارة.


تمبناؤهمن قبل.

يمكننا أن نحبونعرف


معا ، يمكننا أننخدم

واطلاق العنان للامكانات عميقة.



ومنخلالهذه المهارة

أستطيع أنأدي دوري فيبلدي


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