Written in the 1910s when the Levant was under Ottoman rule, this poem by Gibran still rings too true.
Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine-press.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bull as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity the nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice except when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except among its ruins, and will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another with trumpetings again.
Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.
Gibran Khalil Gibran
The garden of the Prophet (published 1934)