Tributes to Rihani

Below is a select listing of tributes to Rihani:

"...I should have to write you an essay in order to answer your very courteous inquiry. I send you the last volume of my Public Papers. There you will find out what my views are."
President Theodore Roosevelt
Letter to Rihani
New York, USA, 1901

"I think of you a while and speak of you whenever I find a pure ear worthy of hearing your name. How happy I will be when the days reunite us in one city, to stand together before the face of the sun and to reveal to our conscience what God has laid within our soul."
Kahlil Gibran
Letter to Rihani
Boston, MA, USA, 1910

"I will not bid you a happy new year, but will bid the new year happiness in having you, and I will not wish you what people wish each other, but I will wish for people some of what you possess -- for you are rich in yourself, and I am rich in you."

Kahlil Gibran
Letter to Rihani
New York, 1911

"In The Book of Khalid Mr. Rihani writes a critique of our Western civilization as it appears to the wisdom of the East, ambition against contentment, activity against sweet idleness. Mr. Rihani is a man of ardent poetic temperament, a clever poet, and a man of unwordly ideals. He thinks nobly of life and writes with ease and grace. His hero, Khalid, explores many creeds seeking to find a way through the labyrinth of human thought."
Edwin Markham
New York, 1912

"Ameen Rihani has discovered a literary genre where the East and the West, Arabic and English, can almost touch... It is a most entertaining genre. This is the [Book of Khalid] book of confessions crossed with Carlyle, Gil Blas, Walt Whitman and Rousseau. This is the keen-brained writer sprung of a stock calling itself Arab and Phoenician, but mixed with blood from Scandinavia, Central Asia and North Africa, skeptical, philosophical, cynical and yet a dreamer."

The Nation
New York, 1912


"I found in the great nationalist and reformer, my dear friend Ameen Rihani, a real concern in the Arabs and the Arab League. I admire his literature, knowledge, and sincere citizenship."
King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1923

"Venice makes me think of you always. Here, where the East and West have mingled and created a rare and perfect loveliness, I can always find something of your spirit."
Charmion Von Wiegand
New York, 1925

"It is through the eyes of Doughty and of Lawrence... that most of us have peered into the actualities of Arabia. But in these present volumes of Ameen Rihani [Maker of Modern Arabia] it is our excellent fortune to share the vision of the Oriental himself. The command over the subtleties of our anomalous language, revealed in theses pages, is uncanny. The read [this book] is to enjoy the pleasure of music. From Ameen Rihani we have a portrait of that formidable chieftain, Ibn Sa'oud."
P. W. Wilson
The New York Times
New York, 1928

"It is with a fortunate prescience that Mr. Rihani should have chosen the present moment for writing his eminently informing book about the Wahabi King [King Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud] and his people. Mr. Rihani early gained the friendship and confidence of the Wahabi King whom he had come to see for the purpose of advancing his theory of Arab unity."
The Times
London, England, 1928

"Arabia to Rihani was a land in which he hoped to find sources of vitality that might be put to the service of a vigorous and useful Arab civilization."
Elizabeth MacCallum
New York, 1929

"The leaders of the Arab countries who are meeting at this moment in Cairo to sign the treaty of the Arab League are, at the same time and by this specific act, paying tribute to Ameen Rihani."
Gibran Tweiny
Beirut, Lebanon, 1945

"Had it not been for Ameen Rihani, today the richest oil fields in the world (the Arabian Peninsula) would be in british rather than American hands."

Leonard Mosley Power Play

"Ameen Rihani was to the Arab nation what Tagore was to the Indians, and what Emerson and Thoreau were to the United States of America."
Zaki Najib Mahmoud
Cairo, Egypt, 1980

"Rihani made it his life's mission to try to kindle among his fellow Arabs the ambition, idealism, and cohesion that he so admired in the USA."
Robert Lacey
The Kingdom

"Ameen Rihani shaped and revitalized the modern Arab intellectual renaissance, and his views remain an important legacy for the Arabs and, indeed, for the world as a whole."
Suheil Bushrui
Library of Congress Lecture
Washington, DC, USA, 1990

"Our generation, while looking for the shape of its coming achievements, is proud to inherit an outstanding legacy such as the one of the great Ameen Rihani."
Ghassan Tweiny
Freike, Lebanon, 1999

"Ameen Rihani, one of the earliest Arab Americans, devoted his life to bringing the East and the West together. "We are not of the East or the West", he wrote. "No boundaries exist in our breast: We are free"."
Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General
Arlington, VA, 2000

"...A revealing account of Abdul Aziz's court in the 1920s by Ameen Rihani, a Lebanese-American author, remains just as valid today"
Max Rodenbeck
The Economist
London, 2002

"There are some important liberal Arab intellectuals who firmly beleive a broader rivival of Rihani's work would be a balm for the world... Rihani articulated an inspiring sense of dual identity. He was an Arab and an American, a perspective 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... There is an openness and sincerity in his writing that is charismatic. Rihani is the voice that trumps any notion of a fundamental incompatibility between East and West."
Philip Kennicott
The Washington Post
Washington, DC, 2002

"For most of the world, there's no greater symbol of America than the Statue of Liberty. It was designed by a man who traveled widely in this part of the world -- and who had originally envisioned his woman bearing a torch as standing over the Suez Canal. Ultimately, of course, it was erected in New York Harbor, where it has been an inspiration to generations of immigrants. One of these immigrants was a poet-writer named Ameen Rihani. Gazing at her lamp held high, he wondered whether her sister might be erected in the lands of his Arab forefathers. Here is how he put it: "When will you turn your face toward the East, oh Liberty?""
President George W. Bush
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2008