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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Khalil Gibran (1883–1931)
QUOTATION: Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in the desert.
ATTRIBUTION: KAHLIL GIBRAN.A Third Treasury of Kahlil Gibran, ed. Andrew Dib Sherfan, p. 53 (1975).

“This statement appeared in an article written by Gibran in Arabic, over fifty years ago. The heading of that article can be translated either The New Deal or The New Frontier” (p. 52).

The following translation was made before John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address:

Are you a politician who says to himself: “I will use my country for my own benefit”? If so, you are naught but a parasite living on the flesh of others. Or are you a devoted patriot, who whispers into the ear of his inner self: “I love to serve my country as a faithful servant.” If so, you are an oasis in the desert, ready to quench the thirst of the wayfarer.—Kahlil Gibran, The Voice of the Master, trans. Anthony R. Ferris, p. 34 (1958).
SUBJECTS: Government—citizen participation