From the Washington Post:

At a time when Arab Americans are increasingly insistent on being heard in the public forum, and on a weekend that saw tens of thousands gather on the Mall to protest U.S. policy in the Middle East, a smaller but no less passionate gathering was happening in Northwest Washington. Convened at American University’s Washington College of Law, the first Ameen Rihani International Symposium to be held in the United States included scholars from around the world. They spent two days resurrecting, analyzing and praising the writings of a man they called “the father of Arab American literature.” It was a love feast — but with political implications.

Rihani, a Lebanese-born Christian Arab who immigrated to the United States in 1888 at the age of 12, was a friend and mentor to the far better known Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran, author of a prodigiously best-selling book of mystical poems called “The Prophet.” But while Gibran’s slender book of verse went round the world and has inspired more high school yearbook epigraphs than Led Zeppelin, Rihani’s works — poems, essays and, it seems, the first novel published in English by an Arab — have faded from view in this country. (…) Rihani articulated an inspiring sense of dual identity. He was an Arab and an American, a perceptive critic of both worlds, and his writings are a constant dialogue between two identities he refused to collapse with anything so simple as a hyphen.

For Writer Ameen Rihani, A Postscript and An Introduction


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