Sunday, February 05, 2017

The New Colossus

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - Emma Lazarus

This sonnet was written to raise funds for the construction of the Statue of Liberty. It remains a reminder that the United States was not founded as some closed door society but rather as a place of refuge for those persecuted for their beliefs in other lands. It is there on a plaque near the base of arguably one of the greatest sculptures one nation has gifted to another. The original copy is held and deeply treasured by the American Jewish Historical Society.

When I travel to distant places, as I often do, I deliberately seek out the 'tired, the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' I do not encourage them to move to America, as many have falsely assumed, instead I prefer to open their minds to the possibility, however remote at the time, that their lands and people can enjoy such freedoms as the people living in the United States.

Since I was a young man I have dreamt of the day when I might be issued a world passport, as I am first and foremost a world citizen. Over time, this dream of mine has grown to the point where I wish someday that all passports become obsolete. Borders are man-made, rarely, if ever, reflecting the true nature of the people sometimes trapped within them. Greed and fear dominate the minds of those who wish to waste money on so-called 'Great Walls.' There will always be more people like me willing to build tiny ladders of hope, still tall enough to allow any who wish to climb over the opportunity to do so.


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

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