The speech of Wassim Massoud, WLCU LA President, during the unveiling of the statue of Gibran.
Wassim Massoud first from right during the WLCU world council meeting
The great poet, artist and painter, Gibran Khalil Gibran, was not only a great proponent of the development of poetry during his time, but also wrote poetry to appeal to all, even people in the modern era. He is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of the fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. The book sold well despite a cool critical reception, gaining popularity in the 1930s and again especially in the 1960s counterculture. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. Gibran’s writings were so detailed and personal that I felt like I was the main character and could really connect with everything he was saying. In his early writings, “Tears & Laughter” or “Broken wings” I sense him being loving, generous and tender. I can feel his youthfulness and his exploration in life love through his writings.
As Gibran became older his evolved writing made me feel a sense of revolution, like in The Storm. He looked at things differently. For example, he started to pay more attention to the injustice meted out to the poor and the weak; the beauties of nature needlessly destroyed by man; and the innocent purity of young love, so often crushed underfoot by society.
In his book The Madman, he unveils the fake masks worn by different people and reveals who he truly is by taking off his own mask. In being wise, he started facing the cruelty of reality around him more, but this did not stop him from continuing to spread his love to people like Mary Haskell, who was with him most of the time. Since I cannot discuss all of his books, I have to, of course, mention his most famous book, The Prophet. Gibran wrote this at a time in his life when he was very experienced and well-informed about philosophical beliefs. In his book, what he writes about is absolutely out of this world. He speaks about various subjects, but my favourite one was freedom. “You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief”, “And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you”. It overwhelmingly delights me to see Gibran invite the reader to believe what they want to believe and not let anyone impose a belief upon them.
In conclusion, I invite everybody to celebrate the real Gibran within themselves and hopefully keep the ideas of peace, love, wisdom and perception in our minds as
reminders of this great man.
The WLCU would like to thanks Mr Wassim Massoud and family for their generous donation of the pedestal of the statue of Gibran