Text: H.Res.608 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

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Introduced in House (03/29/2012)


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[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 608 Introduced in House (IH)]

112th CONGRESS
  2d Session
H. RES. 608

  Honoring the life and work of Arab-American writer Ameen Rihani and 
celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first Arab-
        American novel, ``The Book of Khalid'', by Ameen Rihani.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 29, 2012

   Mr. Rahall (for himself and Mr. Boustany) submitted the following 
   resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and 
                           Government Reform

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
  Honoring the life and work of Arab-American writer Ameen Rihani and 
celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first Arab-
        American novel, ``The Book of Khalid'', by Ameen Rihani.

Whereas Ameen Rihani was born in Freike, Lebanon, in 1876 and moved to New York 
        City with his family at age eleven in 1888;
Whereas Rihani mastered English and Arabic in his youth and wrote many novels, 
        nonfiction books, plays, essays, poems, and travelogues in both 
        languages during his lifetime;
Whereas Rihani became a United States citizen in 1901;
Whereas Rihani became an interlocutor between Arabs and Americans, meeting with 
        Arab leaders, representing the Arabs at important international 
        conferences, and reporting on the situation in the Middle East to the 
        Department of State and several United States presidents;
Whereas by writing in popular American publications and giving lectures at major 
        institutions, Rihani educated the American public about the lives and 
        ambitions of Arabs;
Whereas Rihani introduced free verse poetry into Arabic in 1905, inspired in 
        particular by the American poet Walt Whitman;
Whereas Rihani became a model and mentor for the ``Mahjar'' writers of Arab 
        descent in the United States, whose work has become extraordinarily 
        influential and popular around the world;
Whereas his 1911 masterpiece ``The Book of Khalid'', the first Arab-American 
        novel, is an important record of Arab immigration to the ``Little 
        Syria'' community of Lower Manhattan and today is a powerful example of 
        the potential of the United States to inspire the Arab world in its 
        democratic aspirations;
Whereas Rihani's travels in the Arabian peninsula in the 1920s and close 
        relationships with the leaders of the region made him, according to 
        scholar Irfan Shahid, ``the apostle of the Arab-American relationship'';
Whereas Rihani was quoted by President George W. Bush about the power of the 
        Statue of Liberty in 2008, stating that ``[g]azing at her lamp held 
        high, [Rihani] 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?''';
Whereas Rihani's protagonist in ``The Book of Khalid'' argues: ``To these United 
        States shall the Nations of the World turn one day for the best model of 
        good Government; in these United States the well-springs of the higher 
        aspirations of the soul shall quench the thirst of every race-traveller 
        on the highway of emancipation; and from these United States the sun and 
        moon of a great Faith and a great Art shall rise upon mankind.''; and
Whereas Rihani died in his hometown of Freike, Lebanon, in 1940: Now, therefore, 
        be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) honors the life and work of Arab-American writer Ameen 
        Rihani; and
            (2) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the publication of 
        the first Arab-American novel, ``The Book of Khalid'', by Ameen 
        Rihani.
                                 <all>