New York, NY - The Friends of Gibran Council (FoGC), concerned with
misuse of the great legacy of Lebanese-American author and poet Kahlil
issues the following release.
The proposed Kahlil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), based on
received to date by the FoGC, would not honor the legacy of a great
artist who achieved greatness in the US as an emigrant fleeing Lebanon
his community has been suffering persecution in their ancestral home
at the hands of religious powers.
Gibranís ancestry was Lebanese, Christian and Maronite (Aramaic-Syriac).
has authored works in English and Arabic. Therefore, the claims of
Arabic under the name of Gibran ring hollow as he is not ethnically
there are many great Arab poets. Gibran, although a great artist and
fluent in Arabic was not an Arab poet or painter. To analogize in a
manner, Americans speak English but are not English.
The founders of the KGIA could easily change the name of the school to
great Arabic writer or poet, of which there are many, if that is their
Gibran was a believer in the universality of human rights and the
dignity of the
individual. Therefore, the board of trustees of the KGIA should
values and ideals. Appointing radicals and Imams who have been
with extremist and Jihadist groups is an affront to these ideals.
The teaching of Arabic in public schools is a laudable goal; many more
students should be proficient in this largely spoken language. However,
way should the Arabic language and Islamism be mixed.
The great name of Kahlil Gibran is not owned by anyone. Until recently,
or individual has taken advantage of this situation. To allow the KGIA
to use his
name now under clearly false pretenses would, in effect, rewrite
would do grave harm to the students of NYC.
ABOUT THE FRIENDS OF GIBRAN COUNCIL Ė The Friends of Gibran Council
is a new international organization with chapters in Lebanon and the
States. We organized as a group in early 2007 to counter the cultural
political exploitation of Gibranís name and legacy. Our mission now
expanded to achieving four goals: to advance worldwide recognition of
life and philosophy of Kahlil Gibran; to encourage support of the
Committee in Lebanon and particularly the Gibran Museum in Bsharri; to
strengthen the social, economic and cultural development of the
region; and to
protect Gibranís legacy from cultural and political exploitation.
Tom Harb, Chairman, Advisory Board for Friends of Gibran Council
John Hajjar, Advisory Board member, Friends of Gibran Council