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'Lawrence of Arabia'

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 0:17    Onderwerp: 'Lawrence of Arabia' Reageer met quote

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'Lawrence of Arabia' -- 70 years on

The British archaeologist-soldier, TE Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", died 70 years ago this year, and Britain's Imperial War Museum is marking the occasion, writes David Tresilian in London

Tucked away in south London in premises once belonging to the famous Bethlem ("Bedlam") mental hospital, Britain's Imperial War Museum is playing host to a major retrospective exhibition on the life of TE Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", who died in a motorcycle accident in England 70 years ago.

While the Lawrence legend, the story of a maverick British officer involved in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in the final years of world war one, is still well-known, the details of it have been given less publicity. Perhaps they have been lost among the epic performances lavished on the story by the cast of British director Sir David Lean's glamorous 1962 film account, Lawrence of Arabia. While the present exhibition does not fail to make reference to this film, among other things the vehicle by which Egyptian actor Omar Sharif (as Sherif Ali) broke into the international film circuit, the details of Lawrence's life turn out to be at least as interesting as the cinematic legend. It seems likely that the present exhibition will be the only place where these are put on show, possibly for another generation, and it gives an ideal overview of Lawrence's unusual career.

Lawrence was born Thomas Edward Lawrence into a sturdy middle-class British family counting four other sons in 1888. There were some doubts concerning his mother, a governess with whom his father had eloped, but this piece of late-Victorian scandal behind them, the family settled in Oxford where TE Lawrence began a promising academic career as an archaeologist and historian of the Middle East before world war one. He made a study of crusader castles in Syria and Palestine, drawings from which are included in this exhibition, and from 1911 to 1914 he worked on archaeological excavations in Syria under the direction of the distinguished archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley, later known for his work at Ur.

The outbreak of war in 1914 found Lawrence well- placed to spy on Ottoman military installations, something he had already been doing since at least early in 1914, and he spent the next two years at the British government's "Arab Bureau" in Cairo, lending his skills to the British war effort against the Ottoman Empire. The war in the eastern Mediterranean was not going well for Britain at this time, marked by disastrous campaigns such as that at Gallipoli in 1915, and in late 1916 Lawrence travelled to the Hijaz, then part of the Ottoman Empire, to meet Hussein Ibn Ali, the Ottoman Sherif of Mecca, and his four sons Ali, Abdullah, Feisal and Zeid.

Hussein had already declared his intention to lead an "Arab revolt" against Ottoman rule, and Lawrence helped to persuade the British authorities in Cairo to support this, seeing in it a way of tying down Ottoman forces in the Hijaz and perhaps the Levant more generally and thereby aiding the British war effort.

It was at this point that TE Lawrence, hitherto an obscure lieutenant with the British forces in Cairo, became "Lawrence of Arabia" and the self-styled leader of a nationalist revolt. Instead of occupying the modest role set out for him as British liaison officer with the incipient Arab forces, Lawrence upstaged his superiors and the Arab forces with which he worked by donning Bedouin robes, leading guerrilla-style attacks against the Ottoman-controlled Hijaz railway, and, if his own later account in his florid memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926) is to be believed, almost becoming the Arab national leader that the Arabs themselves had not yet got, even as he was schooling Hussein's third son, Feisal, to play this role.

As the accompanying book to this exhibition, written by the Lawrence specialist Malcolm Brown, puts it, though there may not at first have been any obvious hint of "manifest destiny" in Lawrence's activities as kingmaker to what he seems to have hoped would be an Arab kingdom covering what is now Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine, he did devise "an overall strategic plan that promoted the concept of a war without battle, avoiding head-to-head encounters, and thus not incurring the heavy casualty counts of normal warfare". He enjoyed an unusually close friendship with Feisal, and he helped the Arab forces to win some significant victories, such as that at Aqaba on the Red Sea in 1917, as well as promoting a form of guerrilla warfare, paid for by the British, that was later successfully copied elsewhere.

Yet, Lawrence's activities, together with those of the Arab forces he led, were little more than a sideshow in the larger scheme of things, which had already been decided by the colonial powers in London and Paris. Brown says in his book that Lawrence was present only "in the background of the official newsreels" when the British general Sir Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem in December 1917, as were the Arab forces he had engaged to lead, and the Arab territories of the former Ottoman Empire had already been carved up by the European powers long before Allenby entered Damascus, with Feisal and Lawrence behind him, in December 1918. The Ottoman state was to be broken up, France was to control what is now Syria and Lebanon, and Britain was to add the rest, under varying constitutional forms, to the zone of influence it controlled from Cairo.

Lawrence was disappointed that the promises he had made to Feisal had thus come to nothing, and Brown notes that from 1917 onwards he had begun referring to himself in letters as "the chief crook of our gang", forced to resume "the mantle of fraud in the East". However, in what Brown describes as a "portent", Lawrence met the American journalist Lowell Thomas in Jerusalem in the same year. Thomas was in search of an "uplifting war story", and from 1919 onwards, first in the United States and then in Europe, he was "the man who would turn this ...unknown archaeologist-soldier into 'Lawrence of Arabia'" through film spectacles, technologically advanced for the time, entitled "With Lawrence in Arabia and With Allenby in Palestine".

Allenby was later dropped, leaving Lawrence's image alone to fill the screen as a kind of early matinee idol and as evidence, as Thomas's publicity put it, of "the most amazing revelation of a personality since Stanley found Livingstone", an earlier American media coup this time managed by the New York Herald. Barely two years after the war ended, TE Lawrence was thus well on the way to immortality as "Lawrence of Arabia".

All this makes for promising exhibition material, and the Imperial War Museum's sober presentation does not disappoint. Here one can find fascinating original documents and other materials from the period, which illuminate not only Lawrence's own life and involvements, but also the history of the region as a whole. Lawrence's Bedouin robes, given him by Feisal, are on display, as are articles and memoranda he wrote on the "Arab question" first for the British Arab Bureau in Cairo and then as part of his work at the 1919 Versailles Conference, which settled the post- war order in Europe, and at the 1921 Cairo Conference, which drew up the map of the post-war Middle East.

Flags flown by Feisal's Arab forces are here, as is the flag he raised over his house in Damascus in December 1918, keeping it flying until evicted by the French colonial authorities some months later. Designed by Sir Mark Sykes, this flag reveals both the British involvement in Arab nation-building and the country's betrayal of it, for, aside from designing this flag, Sykes also negotiated the Sykes-Picot Agreement with France in 1916 that divided up the post-war Middle East. There is a laconic British cabinet memo in this exhibition saying that the British government would have "no objection" to this arrangement, despite the influence it gave to France in Syria, provided that the French government cleared it with the Russians first.

Public documents of this sort, scattered throughout the exhibition amid items from Lawrence's private life, testify to the extent and limits of his involvement and the ways in which what seems to have been for him a private fantasy -- "a big game, and at last one worth playing" -- either coincided or failed to coincide with the wishes of his political masters.

As is well-known, Lawrence felt that he had "betrayed" the Arabs after the war, or, less grandly put, that the undertakings he had apparently given them had not in fact been authorised, or, if they had been, that the British government had no intention of carrying them out. Thus, Lawrence was already saying in print as early as 1920, in a newspaper article included here, that the post-war settlement of the Middle East and the ex-Ottoman Arab territories was "a disgrace", imposed, he claimed, on a supine British government by France.

Having failed to get Feisal a hearing at Versailles or Cairo, and seeing him evicted from Damascus and himself implicated in the eventual settlement as a member of the British staff, Lawrence settled instead for brokering the installation of Feisal as king of the newly created kingdom of Iraq, formerly the Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia, and his brother Abdullah as king of Trans-Jordan, created out of bits of the ex-Ottoman Levant. All this map-making seems to have been a rather hit-and-miss affair, the exhibition including sketchy maps with "Feisal" or "Abdullah" scrawled across them by Lawrence, as well as, in other parts, large question marks.

There is a fascinating memo here, written by Lawrence in Cairo in 1921, explaining why Feisal, having lost Damascus, should now be considered for Iraq. The Sunni minority, "High Church" according to Lawrence in a bizarre appropriation of the language of the Oxford Movement, would accept him as the son of the Sherif of Mecca, and the Shia, "mainly Persian", would do so because of what Lawrence described as their love of hierarchy.

The last part of the exhibition concentrates on the remaining 15 years of Lawrence's life, as well as on the prodigious afterlife he has since enjoyed. One learns, for example, that the original manuscript of Seven Pillars of Wisdom was lost at Reading railway station and has never been found and that Lawrence was obliged to write the whole thing again from scratch. He had an unusually large circle of friends, from George Bernard Shaw and Robert Graves on the literary side to Winston Churchill on the political, his former boss at the British Colonial Office. Lawrence's own instincts were for anonymity and he invested efforts, to no avail, into trying to escape the "Lawrence of Arabia" legend; "backing into the limelight" his American promoter called it. He was several times painted by the leading society portraitist of the time, Augustus John, also responsible for a magnificent portrait of Feisal included here, and even before his death plans were afoot to film his life, eventually realised in 1962 with Peter O'Toole as Lawrence, a travesty according to his surviving friends, and Alec Guinness as an unlikely Feisal.

Finally, Lawrence seems to have felt that his foray into power politics had been a mistake, compromising his sense of himself even as it defined the outside world's perceptions. He conformed to a familiar British ruling type of the period, even if his ambiguous origins would have been enough to exclude him from the real centres of power. Unable to find a stage for his ambitions on the grey stage of English society, he projected them outwards elsewhere. Yet, Lawrence's interest in the peoples whose lives he helped to organise does not appear to have lasted beyond 1921, raising the suspicion that he was most concerned to save not the Arabs to whom he gave his efforts but himself.

Brown almost says as much in his remarks on the security that the highly regulated, all-male world of the British Royal Air Force apparently gave Lawrence in later life, something like the camaraderie he had earlier found among Feisal's Arab forces in the desert. Though this exhibition contains some marvellous images and fascinating documents drawn from British archives, it seems a pity that the curators have not also paid attention to what the peoples of the region through which Lawrence blasted his way might have thought.

Lawrence of Arabia, the Life, the Legend, 14 October 2005 -- 17 April 2006, Imperial War Museum, London.


http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/772/cu2.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 11:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Bezit het boek van T.E Lawrence



Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Een paar maal vruchteloos verzocht dit te lezen
geraak er maar niet door , Mad
in omslachtig Engels geschreven
zal me wel eens lukken . Laughing

hier het boek digitaal op het net
http://www.wesjones.com/lawrence1.htm

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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

De mythe van Lawrence of Arabia PDF Afdrukken E-mail
T.E. Lawrence en the Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Bijgedragen door Dirk Tang
zondag 11 september 2005
Pagina 1 van 10
Op maandag 13 mei 1935 omstreeks elf uur 's morgens fietsen twee Engelse jongetjes over een stille en smalle weg in het Engelse graafschap Dorset. Hun vrolijke gesprek wordt onderbroken door het aanzwellende geluid van een zware motorfiets. Seconden later wordt de achterste fietser door de snel naderende motor aangereden. Fiets en motor raken daarna gezamenlijk de eerste fietser. Als de klap voorbij is en de jongens opgekrabbeld zijn, zien ze dat de motorfiets verder is doorgeschoven. De berijder van de motor ligt er met een met bloedend gezicht en bewusteloos naast.

De twee jonge fietsers waren ongewild getuigen van de laatste seconden uit het leven van Aircraftman T. E. Shaw, eerder T.E. Ross genaamd en beter bekend als T.E. Lawrence en nog beter bekend als 'Lawrence of Arabia.’

Zij zijn getuigen en onderdeel van een mythe, die tijdens het leven van de verongelukte motorrijder al was ontstaan. Een mythe die na zijn dood tot ongekende proporties zou uitgroeien. Frank Fletcher (één van de overlevende fietsertjes) weet zich de hele scene 55 jaar later nog haarscherp te herinneren. Hij vertelt het, in zijn rol van kroongetuige, aan de Nederlandse journalist Michiel Hegener.' Kroongetuige’ omdat de dood van T.E.Lawrence, vanaf het moment dat de lijkschouwer de doodsverklaring ondertekende, tot de meest wilde speculaties zou gaan leiden.

Was het wel een ongeluk of was er een complot? Had de bewierookte oorlogsheld aan de vooravond van zijn pensionering wellicht de hand aan zichzelf geslagen? Zaten geheime diensten achter een aanslag? Had een afgewezen minnaar zich gewroken? Wie had de zwarte auto bestuurd die vIak voor het ongeluk voorbij was gekomen? Zoveel vragen, zoveel theorieën.

Wie was T.E.Lawrence en wat deed hij op dat moment op een motorfiets in Dorset is de eerste vraag die beantwoord moet worden. Verder wordt de totstandkoming van zijn meest beroemde boek ' The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' beschreven.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Jeugdjaren
Thomas Edward Lawrence werd op 16 augustus 1888 geboren in Tremadoc in Wales. Hij was de tweede zoon in een serie van vijf jongens. Feitelijk was hij de zoon van een ongehuwde moeder. Zijn vader, Thomas Chapman, was een welgestelde lerse grootgrondbezitter, die zijn wettige echtgenote verlaten had om een nieuw leven te beginnen met Sarah Maden, de gouvernante van zijn dochters. Om de druk van het Victoriaanse Engeland te ontlopen hadden hij en zijn nieuwe vrouw hun naam, bij wet, veranderd in Lawrence. Het gezin was desondanks bijna voortdurend op de loop om roddel en achterklap te vermijden. Toen Ned, zoals Thomas door de familie werd genoemd, acht jaar was vestigde het gezin zich in Oxford. Ned had toen al in Wales, Schotland, het eiland Man, Jersey, Frankrijk en Zuid Engeland gewoond.
De eerste jaren in Oxford waren niet bijzonder. Ned was een gevoelige jongen die gesteld was op rust en eenzaamheid. Dat laatste bleek een flinke handicap binnen het Engelse schoolsysteem. Hij doorliep weliswaar de middelbare school maar kon, wellicht op grond van zijn behoefte aan privacy, niet een briljante leerling worden genoemd., Toen hij zeventien jaar was geworden, liep hij van huis weg en meldde zich als gewoon soldaat aan bij een trainingsbataljon van The Royal Artillery. Zijn gealarmeerde vader kocht hem kort daarna vrij voor 30 Pond.
Hij liet in de tuin van het huis in Oxford ten behoeve van T.E., zoals hij voortaan genoemd wilde worden, een speciaal tuinhuisje bouwen. T. E. maakte daarna zonder al te grote problemen de middelbare school af.

In oktober 1907 ging hij aan het Jesus College in Oxford archeologie studeren. Hij verdiepte zich speciaal in de bouw van Kruisvaarder kastelen. Tijdens vakanties maakte hij lange fletstochten in Frankrijk, waar hij ter plekke veldonderzoek deed en oude kastelen opmat. Gedurende deze tochten van vele honderden kilometers ontzag hij zichzelf niet.

T.E. ontwikkelde een merkwaardige behoefte om zichzelf te ‘harden’.
Hij gebruikte slechts twee maaltijden per dag, die voornamelijk bestonden uit noten en fruit. Aan zijn moeder schreef hij op 23 juli 1908: " For myself I am riding very strongly and feel very fit, on my diet of bread, milk and fruit. I begin on 2 pints of milk and bread and supplement with fruit to taste till evening, when more solid stuff is consumed.”

Hij maakte bij voorkeur geen gebruik van hotels of andere geciviliseerde slaapgelegenheden maar sliep zoveel mogelijk in de open lucht. Daarbij moet overigens, opgemerkt worden dat van slapen niet veel terecht kwam. Zijn behoefte om te experimenteren leidde ertoe dat hij zonder slapen of eten probeerde zoveel mogelijk kilometers te fietsen. Op een van zijn tochten stortte hij dan ook letterlijk van uitputting van zijn fiets.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pagina 3 van 10
Tijdens zijn studie raakte hij geinteresseerd in het Midden Oosten en maakte hij kennis met de befaamde woestijnreiziger Charles Doughty, schrijver van het klassieke reisboek 'Travels in Arabia Deserta’, een boek dat hij zijn leven lang zou blijven koesteren.

De interesse voor het Midden 0osten leverde hem een onderwerp voor zijn scriptie op. T.E. besloot de architectuur van de Kruisvaarder kastelen tot onderwerp te nemen. Hij leerde eenvoudig Arabisch spreken en vertrok in de zomer van 1909 naar Syrië.

Daar reisde hij honderden kilometers te voet. Onderweg verzamelde hij het materiaal voor zijn scriptie. Hij kleedde en gedroeg zich als een Arabier. Dit gedrag leverde hem in het algemeen de gastvrijheid op die hij zocht maar op een dag liep het minder voorspoedig en werd hij door Koerden in elkaar geslagen. Eenmaal teruggekeerd in Oxford maakte hij zijn scriptie, met de titel 'Crusader Castles' snel af.

In 1910 werd hij door de archeoloog D.G. Hogarth uitgenodigd om, tegen een bescheiden vergoeding, mee te helpen aan opgravingen in Garchemisch aan de boorden van de Euphraat in Syrië. Hij bleef daar tot juni 1914 werkzaam, slechts onderbroken door korte bezoeken aan Engeland.

Door zijn belangstelling voor de Arabische taal en cultuur was hij in staat om zich snel aan te passen aan zijn omgeving. Tussen het graafwerk door maakte hij lange tochten te voet. Meestal reisde hij alleen maar soms werd hij vergezeld door zijn Arabische bediende.
Gedurende deze reizen vatte hij het plan op een reisboek te schrijven over de zeven oude Arabische wereldsteden. (Caïro, Smyrna, Constantinopel, Beyroet, Aleppo, Damascus en Medina). Aan het Bijbelse Boek Spreuken (9 : 1) ontleende hij de tekst : "Wisdom hath builded her house, she has hewn it out of seven pillars". Het boek zou dan ook The Seven Pillars of Wisdom moeten gaan heten.

Garchemisch stond zoals het grootste deel van Arabië onder Turks gezag. De Turken behandelden de lokale Arabieren met grote verachting. T.E. kreeg in deze periode een hevige afkeer van de Turkse overheersers. Naast afkeer rijpte bij hem de gedachte om “iets” tegen de Turken te ondernemen en Arabië onderdeel van het 'British Empire' te maken. Het was dan ook niet zo vreemd dat hij in de zomer van 1913 zeer bereid was een uitnodiging te aanvaarden, samen met de Engelse legerkapitein Newcomb, de karavaanwegen en waterplaatsen van de Sinaï woesfijn in kaart te brengen.

De werkzaamheden van de 'tijdelijke ' spion' waren bedoeld om in geval van oorlog het Engelse leger, dat aan het Suez kanaal was gelegerd, van deugdelijke landkaarten te voorzien. Nadat het gebied precies in kaart was gebracht vertrok T.E., via een omweg, naar Engeland. Kort nadat hij was aangekomen, schoot Gavrilo Prinzip in Sarajevo de Oostenrijks Hongaarse troonpretendent en zijn echtgenote dood.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:24    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pagina 4 van 10
T.E. en de Eerste Wereldoorlog
De golf van vaderlandsliefde die Engeland overspoelde na het uitbreken van de Eerste Wereldoorlog liet ook T.E. niet koud. Hij meldde zich dadelijk als vrijwilliger aan, maar werd vanwege zijn fyseke gesteldheid (hij was te klein) afgewezen voor actieve dienst. Een brief naar Newcomb met het verzoek om opnieuw te mogen spioneren leverde slechts een beleefd antwoord maar geen aanstelling op.

Wanhopig riep hij tenslotte de hulp van D.G. Hogarth in. Hogarth was een invloedrijk lid van The Royal Geographic Society en dat hielp. T.E. werd geplaatst als tweede luitenant bij de Generale Staf en belast met het tekenen van landkaarten van het Midden Oosten. Zijn kennis van het gebied overtrof dat van ieder andere beschikbare stafofficier en hij werd dan ook snel uitgezonden naar Caïro. Daar werd hij ingedeeld bij de Inlichtingendienst van het Engelse leger. Hij nam zijn werk buitengewoon serieus.

Zo serieus dat hij samen met enige andere stafofficieren het plan opvatte om de stammen van het Arabische schiereiland te bewegen in opstand te komen tegen de Turkse overheersers. Het plan richtte zich vooral op Sherif Hussein van Mekka, die algemeen werd beschouwd als de geestelijke leider van de Islam. Het was de bedoeling de Sherif te bewegen actie tegen de Turken te ondernemen. De oproep van de Sherif moest dan leiden tot een opstand van de stammen in de woestijn.

De Turkse bezettingsmacht in Arabië was gelegerd in de garnizoenen van de steden en was voor bevoorrading afhankelijk van de Hejaz spoorfijn, die van Damascus in het noorden naar Mekka en Medina in het zuiden, dwars door de woestijn was aangelegd. Het behoeft geen betoog dat deze 'levenslijn' gezien de lengte en het landschap buitengewoon slecht te verdedigen zou zijn.

Het was met andere woorden een ideaal aanvalsdoel voor de matig getrainde troepen van de Sheriff. Hussein voelde, nadat hij door de Engelsen was benaderd, in eerste aanleg echter weinig voor de plannen.

In november 1915 vernam T.E. dat twee van zijn broers bij gevechtshandelingen in Frankrijk waren omgekomen. Hij nam zich vervolgens voor om het veilige baantje bij de generale staf te ruilen voor een actiever rol in de oorlogsvoering. Het Turkse leger had in Mesopotamië een Engelse divisie onder leiding van generaal Townsend omsingeld, bij de stad Kut. De Engelse generale staf te Caïro zag geen kans het ingesloten leger met reguliere middelen te ontzetten en was daardoor gedwongen een weinig orthodox middel in te zetten.

Vanuit Caïro werd een kleine delegatie naar de Turkse legercommandant ter plaatse gezonden. T.E. werd, op eigen verzoek, lid van de delegatie die de bevoegdheid kreeg de Turkse generaal Khalil met een bedrag van maximaal 2 miljoen Engelse Pond om te kopen. Het plan slaagde echter niet en de Engelse divisie moest zich aan de Turken overgeven.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:24    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Eenmaal terug in Caïro werd T.E. opnieuw geconfronteerd met afwijzing van zijn plannen om de Arabieren in opstand te laten kornen. De heersende mening binnen en buiten de generale staf was dat Arabië na de oorlog, door de Engelsen als een kolonie zou moeten worden bestuurd. Daarbij kwam dat de Engelse en Franse regering inmiddels in het geheime Sykes Picot accoord de toekomstige na oorlogse Arabische wereld onderling hadden verdeeld.

Naast de inlichtendienst van het leger in Caïro was, in de vorm van een onderdeel van het Engelse Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, het zoganaamde ’Arab Bureau’ actief. Daar vond T.E. na zijn terugkeer een veeleisende werkkring. In een brief aan zijn moeder schreef hij op1 juli 1916: " I feel written out, for now I have two newspapers (both secret!) to edit, for the information of Governors and Governments, and besides heaps of writing to do: and it is enough."'

Het Arab Bureau probeerde, o.a. door het horen van reizigers, zoveel mogelijk gegevens over de actuele situatie in Arabië te verzamelen. In het voorjaar van 1916 bracht het Bureau het 'Arab Bulletin' uit, dat de verzamelde inlichtingen publiceerde ten behoeve van de officiële kaders.

Uit het blad bleek dat de Turken de onderdrukking op het Arabische schiereiland opvoerden en dat als gevolg diverse opstandige bewegingen zich begonnen te ontwikkelen. Turkse represailles riepen op hun beurt steeds meer verzet op. Toen sherif Hussein vernam dat een groot Turks leger op weg was naar Medina om daar orde op zaken te stellen, besloot hij in actie te komen.

Zijn zoon Ali deed als eerste een mislukte poging het garnizoen van Medina aan te vallen. Geconfronteerd met deze mislukking besloot de Sherif, gesteund door Engels goud en wapens, in juni 1916 zelf in actie te komen.
De Arabische opstand

T. E. was in een jubelstemming toen hij van de ontwikkelingen hoorde. Hij schreef aan zijn moeder: " that if it succeeded it would be the biggest thing in the Near East since 1550”. De opstand van de Arabieren verliep, aanvankelijk succesvol. Binnen korte tijd werd een aantal steden, waaronder het heilige Mekka, op de Turken veroverd. T.E. probeerde dadelijk overgeplaatst te worden naar de Engelse militaire missie in Arabië om zo de opstand van nabij mee te maken en daadwerkefijk te steunen.

Dat lukte aanvankelijk niet. De chef van T.E., kolonel Holditch, “did not like his manners”. Hij had zich bij voonduring gemengd in de rapporten en artikelen die T.E. voor het Arab Bulletin schreef maar hij bleef zich desondanks verzetten tegen de gevraagde overplaatsing.

T.E. vroeg verlof (dat hem niet kon worden geweigerd) en reisde in het gevolg van Sir Ronald Storrs, onder minister voor Oosterse Zaken mee toen deze op weg ging naar Jeddah om met de tweede zoon van Hussein, Abdullah, te overleggen. Op 16 oktober 1916 kwam hij te Jeddah aan. De besprekingen begonnen onder een slecht gesternte. Abdullah had in een eerder stadium aan de geallieerden gevraagd om ondersteuning door een Britse brigade en Britse vliegtuigen.

Het was de taak van Storrs om in voorzichtige bewoordingen uiteen te zetten dat dit niet kon worden gerealiseerd. Wel kon worden gezocht naar andere methoden om de Arabische opstand daadwerkelijk te ondersteunen. Tijdens de besprekingen toonde Abdullah zich onder de indruk van de kennis die T.E. tentoonspreidde van de posities van de Turkse legereenheden.

Om hun troepenmacht te verplaatsen maakten de Turken gebruik van de Hejaz spoorweg. Zij waren daar zo succesvol in dat zij het leger van de derde zoon van Hussein, Feisal, op, de terugtocht hadden gedreven. T.E. vroeg en kreeg van Abdullah toestemming om naar Feisal te gaan teneinde de lokale situatie te bezien.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

T.E. in de Arabische opstand
Drie dagen later vertrekt T.E. met een paar Arabische gidsen naar het kamp van Feisal, dat ongeveer 400 kilometer verder is gelegen. Nu komt zijn eerder opgebouwde 'gehardheid' van pas. Hij rijdt van drie uur s'morgens tot middernacht door.

Over deze tocht schreef hij later in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: “The long ride that day had tired my unaccustomed muscles, and the heat of the plain had been painful. My skin was blistered by it, and my eyes ached with the glare of light striking up at a sharp angle from the silver sand, and from the shining pebbles."

De ontmoeting met Feisal was het begin van zijn persoonlijke betrokkenheid bij de Arabische opstand. In Feisal herkent T.E. de persoon die in staat is de Arabische opstand te leiden.

De eerste ontmoeting met Feisal wordt ook in The Seven Pillars beschreven. "As my eyes accustomed to the shade, I saw that the little room held many silent figures, all looking at me and Feisal steadily he inquired how I had found the journey. I spoke of the heat, and he asked how long from Rabegh, commenting that I had ridden fast for the season. "And do you like our place here in Wadi Saffl?” “Yes, but it is far from Damascus." There was a quiver and everybody present stiffened where he sat, and held his breath for a silent minute. Some, perhaps, were dreaming how far off success seemed to be, others thought my words a reflection on their late defeat. It had fallen like a sword into their midst, but Feisal at length lifted his eyes and smiled at me and said, “Praise be to God, there are Turks nearer us than that”. We all smiled with him, and then I got up and excused myself for the moment.”

Na een aantal jaren strijd in de woestijn bereikt hij samen met Feisal's 'geallieerde Arabische eenheden' op 31 september 1918 de magische stad Damascus. In zijn boek The Seven Pillars of Wisdom beschrijft hij uitvoerig de periode tussen de eerste ontmoeting met Feisal en de uiteindelijke triomfantelijke intocht in Damascus.

Aan de orde komen ondermeer de guerillastrijd in de woestijn maar ook de wonderlijke schoonheid van het landschap, de strijd om Akaba, het door middel van 'hit and run' tactiek opblazen van stukken van de Hejaz spoorweg, de onderlinge strijd tussen de stammen, de verhouding met Allenby en de klassieke frontenoorlog, zijn gevangenneming door de Turken en de wreedheden die de betrokken partijen begaan.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het Arabische hoofdstuk gesloten
Aan het eind van de oorlog had hij de rang van kolonel bereikt. Hij had grote invloed op de Arabische leiders en was als gevolg van allerlei kranten en tijdschriftartikelen enorm populair in Engeland. Deze artikelen schilderden, soms met voorbijgaan van de werkelijkheid, de rol die hij zou hebben gespeeld als romantische legeraanvoerder van half wilde stammen. Na afloop van de oorlog werd hij door de Engelse regering aangezocht om de Arabieren die betrokken waren bij de vredesonderhandelingen in Versailles bij te staan.

Het inmiddels openbaar geworden Sykes Picot verdrag belemmerde echter de aspiraties voor een vrij en onafhankelijk Arabië. Pas tijdens de conferentie die hij als adviseur van het Colonial Office in 1921 op verzoek van Churchill te Caïro bijwoonde, slaagde een deel van zijn missie. Feisal werd door de Engelsen erkend als koning van Irak.
Het leven van T.E. kreeg nadat hij in de laatste dagen van 1921 Egypte had verlaten een nieuwe wending.

Zijn activiteiten voor het Colonial Offiice beschouwde hij als afgerond. Wanneer hij in Engeland is teruggekeerd schrijft hij in januari 1922 aan de opperbevelhebber van de RAF (Royal Air Force) Sir Hugh Trenchard " You know I am trying to leave Winston [Churchill] on March the first. Then I want about two months to myself and then I'd like to join the RAF with the ranks of course".

In de brief zette hij uiteen dat hij zich zelf niet geschikt acht om officier te worden. Hij geeft er de voorkeur aan om te schrijven en zo stelt, hij : "The best place to see a thing is from the ground". Over zijn motieven om bij de RAF te gaan dienen is niet zo veel met zekerheid te zeggen. Wel blijkt uit de verzamelde brieven dat hij zijn inlijving zag als een vorm van 'brain sleep' waarmee hij hoopte dat hij uiteindelijk sterker zou worden.

Wellicht is zijn voorkeur om een niet reguliere carriére te volgen de sterkste motor achter zijn handelen geweest. Alhoewel Trenchard de bereidheid toonde om T.E. in de RAF op te nemen werd dat streven door Churchill gedwarsboomd. Churchill zag voor hem nog een belangrijke rol weggelegd bij het oplossen van de problemen in het MiddenOosten. T.E. hield echter vol en in juli van het jaar 1922 kreeg hij eindelijk de verlangde toestemming.

Zijn fysieke conditie was echter een probleem. De stress die tijdens en na, de oorlog was ontstaan eiste zijn tol. Met name de periode die direct vooraf ging aan zijn keuring voor de RAF was hectisch geweest. Hij was in deze periode druk bezig geweest de eerste druk van The Seven Pillars te verzorgen. Het was dan ook niet verwonderlijk dat hij bij de keuring dadelijk werd afgewezen. De interventie van een bevriende relatie loodste hem uiteindelijk langs de keuringsartsen.

Door de activiteiten van de Amerikaanse journalist Lowell Thompson, die een boek schreef over T.E. en zijn avonturen in de woestijn en een door hem geexploiteerde theatershow met lichtbeelden, werd hij waanzinning populair bij het grote publiek. Om aan de aandacht te ontkomen mat hij zich een nieuwe naam aan.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pagina 8 van 10
Onder de naam Ross werd hij opgenomen in de rangen van de RAF. Direct na zijn indiensttreding begon hij aan het boek dat wilde gaan schrijven. Een reeks incidenten veroorzaakte echter dat zijn werkelijke identiteit bekend werd.

In de kerstperiode van 1922 werden de kolommen van de Engelse kranten gevuld met berichten over de merkwaardige en romantische legeraanvoerder die zich als soldaat had teruggetrokken om een boek te schrijven. Deze voondurende aandacht bracht de leiding van de RAF in ernstige verlegenheid.

De leiding was van mening dat zijn aanwezigheid storend werkte op de discipline. Aan het eind van de maand januari 1923 was T.E. opnieuw, gedwongen, burger.
Opnieuw proberen

Na een mislukte poging om te dienen bij de marine probeerde T.E. dienst te nemen bij het Tank Corps. Het Tank Corps was niet de slechtste vervanger voor de RAF. Ook hier ging het om een dienst met een nieuwe traditie en een sterk 'technische' inslag. Opnieuw werden hooggeplaatste relaties succesvol ingezet.

Op 12 maart 1923 kan hij ditmaal onder de naam T.E. Shaw in dienst treden. Het is een periode in zijn leven die wordt gekenmerkt door depressies. In het boek 'Solitary in the ranks' ` beschrijft één van zijn lotgenoten, Alec Dixon, de gemoedstoestand van T.E. als volgt : “Then he became critical of the Tank Corps, saying that it was run by a gang of superannuated infantrymen who overruled those who were trying to build up an efficient service. Tanks as weapons amused him; he thought them 'museum pieces' and a burden to the taxpayer."

Na zijn basistraining in Bovington Camp werd hij ingedeeld als klerk bij de intendance. Hij werd al vrij spoedig belast met de boekhouding en voorraadbeheer, een functie die toch niet direct kan worden geassocieerd met het glorieuse tankwapen. Wel kon hij tussen de bedrijven door zijn aandacht richten op het schrijven en publiceren van The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Ook bleef hij proberen terug te keren naar de RAF. De boeken die over deze periode in zijn leven zijn verschenen beschrijven alle een sterk, haast obsessief, verlangen naar de geborgenheid van de RAF. Om dat doel te bereiken speelde hij zelfs met de gedachte zelfmoord te plegen. Opnieuw boden zijn hooggeplaatste relaties uitkomst. Het lukte hem de ellende van het Tank Corps te verlaten.

Op 18 augustus 1925 werd hij opnieuw in de rangen van de RAF opgenomen. Tijdens de diensttijd bij de RAF werkte hij vooral aan de ontwikkeling van een snelle motorboot die in staat moest zijn om te water geraakte vliegeniers te redden.

Hij heeft dan een klein huisje gekocht in de buurt van zijn basis. In het huisje, Clouds Hill genaamd, dat niet voorzien was van enig modern comfort, ontving hij zijn literaire vrienden en andere relaties. Zijn dienstverband met de RAF zou echter spoedig eindigen. Onvermijdelijk naderde de datum dat hij (gedwongen) met pensioen zou moeten gaan.
Op 5 mei 1935 schreef hij aan een vriendin: "It is quiet here now, and I feel as though I were fixed in my cottage for good. It is as though something is finished with me leaving the RAF."
Zijn passie voor een gevaarlijk en snel bestaan kon hij slechts voor een deel met de snelle motorboten bevredigen. Voor de overige tijd schafte hij zich een zeer snelle motorfiets van het merkc Brough Superior aan. Op deze motorfiets reed hij op 13 mei 1935 met grote snelheid op een landweg in Dorset.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:26    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pagina 9 van 10
De geschiedenis van een boek, T.E. als schrijver
In de zomer van 1917 rijpte bij T.E. de gedachte om zijn ervaringen in de woestijn te boekstaven. Tijdens zijn verblijf bij Feisal was hij begonnen met het maken van aantekeningen. Een Franse liaison officier bij de staf te Caïro beschreef ongeveer in dezelfde periode in een vertrouwelijk rapport aan Parijs zijn ervaringen met T.E. Lawrence. In zijn brief stelde hij ondermeer : " Op een dag zal hij in staat zijn om een uniek boek te schrijven. In het algemeen zijn mannen die deze avonturen beleven niet vaardig genoeg om hun avonturen adequaat te beschrijven. Gelukkig is Lawrence op beide terreinen begiftigd met talent".

T.E. arriveerde op 9 januari 1919 in Versailles als adviseur van de Arabische delegatie bij de vredesbesprekingen. Wanneer de eerste schermutselingen rondom de status van die delegatie voorbij zijn, begint de routine van eindeloze besprekingen. In deze periode gebruikte hij zijn vrije tijd om een begin te maken met het schrijven van zijn boek. Medio mei 1919 heeft hij in een moordend tempo ongeveer 160.000 woorden aan het papier toevertrouwd.

De vredesbesprekingen te Versailles verlopen teleurstellend voor de Arabieren. Op verzoek van het Engelse Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken trok T.E. zich eind 1919 uit de besprekingen terug. Eenmaal in Engeland aangekomen werkte hij gestaag door aan zijn boek, dat in de zomer van 1920 inmiddels een omvang van ongeveer 400.000 woorden heeft gekregen.

Tijdens een treinreis in november van dat jaar liet hij het manuscript, op weg naar een kennis die het zou lezen, achter in de stationrestauratie van Reading. Het manuscript is nooit meer teruggevonden.

Vrienden probeerden hem te overtuigen een nieuwe poging te doen. Eén van de vrienden zorgt ervoor dat hij de beschikking krijgt over een rustige flat in Londen. In de eerste twee maanden van 1920, schreef hij, grotendeels uit het hoofd, opnieuw The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Later zou hij verklaren dat hij ervan overtuigd was dat 95 % van het boek overeenkomt met het oorspronkelijke manuscript.

Tot aan zijn dood zou hij blijven worstelen met de vraag of hij verantwoordelijk kon zijn voor de uitgave van The Seven Pillars. In 1922 schreef hij aan een vriend:" It is not for present publication, partly because it's too human a document for me to disclose, partly because of the personalities, partly because it's not good enough to fit my conceit of myself.

The last is a weak point, but the first in my mind: though it's difficult to judge one's own work". Slechts na hevig aandringen van ziin vrienden zette hij de eerste stappen op weg naar een publikatie op beperkte schaal.

T.E. beschikte als boekenliefhebber over een bescheiden verzameling 'Private Press boeken'. Kenmerk van deze boeken is dat veel aandacht is besteed aan illustraties en typografle, dat zij met de hand worden gedrukt en dat de oplage derhalve beperkt is. T.E. nam zich voor dat ook de The Seven Pillars in deze stijl zou worden uitgegeven. Hij kocht een kleine drukpers en benaderde de kunstenaars Augustus John en Eric Kennington met het verzoek om portretten te tekenen van de voornaamste personages uit het boek.

In deze periode deed Churchill een beroep op T.E. om zich in te spannen voor de Arabische zaak tijdens de conferentie van Caïro. Na terugkornst wijdde hij zich opnieuw aan de bibliofiele uitgave van zijn boek. Hij drukte acht exemplaren af en liet deze circuleren onder vrienden, met het verzoek om commentaar.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:27    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pagina 10 van 10
In 1926 verzorgde hij na de nodige aanmoedigingen een tweede uitgave. Ditmaal op basis van een intekensysteem. De deelnemers aan dit 'project' betalen 30 pond per boek en alhoewel dat een behoorlijke prijs is bedragen de feitelijke kosten het dubbele. Na afloop, van het project moet hij dan ook constateren dat hij een flinke schuld heeft. Een jaar later zou overigens voor deze uitgave antiquarisch al 300 pond worden betaald. De huidige antiquarische waarde bedraagt ongeveer 30.000 Euro.

Op aarnraden van uitgever Jonathan Cape verzorgde hij in 1927 een verkorte populaire versie van het boek met ongeveer 130.000 woorden. Deze uitgave verscheen onder de titel "Revolt in the Desert" bijna gelijktijdig in Engeland en in Amerika. Het boek was dadelijk een enorm succes. Literaire bladen en kranten besteden uitvoerig aandacht aan het verschijnen.

The Times Literary Supplement noemde het boek: "A great story, greatly written. Below a standard higher than most men's best he never falls; and the book leaves from first to last an impression of absolute truth". The Daily Telegraph berichtte: “Revolt in the desert is the great story of a truly great adventure .... It has lasting value as a war record. It certainly stirs one's emotion's .... It's literary technique is of a high order. It will be avidly read, for page following page giving one of the most stirring stories of our time".

Ook gevestigde auteurs zoals George Bernard Shaw lieten zich horen. Shaw noemde het boek: ' positively breezy' maar Leonard Woolf schreef: “ so imitative of Doughty as to be near parody “. In een artikel zette hij uiteen dat de tekst van Lawrence hem voortdurend deed denken aan 'Arabia Deserta' van Doughty. Maar hij kwam uiteindelijk tot de conclusie dat dit went en dat :" it did not take fifty pages before I had lost my irritation with Colonel Lawrence’s style”. Overigens was Woolf niet de enige die de vergelijking met Doughty maakte.

T.E. hoopte met de opbrengst van Revolt in the Desert een deel van zijn schulden die ontstaan waren als gevolg van zijn kostbare uitgave van The Seven Pillars te kunnen dekken. Hij verwachtte daarmee zijn schuld binnen twee tot drie jaar te kunnen voldoen. De verkoop, van het boek was echter dermate spectaculair dat dit doel reeds binnen een paar weken was bereikt. Van het boek verschijnen in diverse talen vertalingen. Uitgeverij H.P. Leopold te Den Haag verzorgde in 1927 een Nederlandstalige uitgave onder de titel "Arabië in opstand".

De positieve reacties op zijn boek stimuleerden T.E. om met nieuwe energie aan de uitgave van de Seven Pillars te werken. Winston Churchill was een van de intekenaars op de bibliofiele uitgave van 1926. In mei 1927 schrijft hij aan T.E. :" when I put down your book I felt mortified at the contrast between my dictated journalism (hij bedoelde zijn recent verschenen boek The World Crisis) and your grand and permanent contribution to English literature."

Churchill was niet de enige die zich in dit soort superlatieven uitte. Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy en E.M. Forster lieten zich eveneens in lovende bewoordingen uit over het boek. Rudyard Kipling daarentegen behoorde tot de weinige kritikasters die zich in het openbaar negatief over het boek uitlieten.

T.E. raakte persoonlijk bevriend met de schrijver G.B. Shaw en zijn echtgenote. De vriendschap voor de oudere Shaws leidde ertoe dat, toen hij in 1927 opnieuw besloot zijn naam te veranderen, hij koos voor de naam Shaw. Met zijn naamsverandering probeerde hij opnieuw in de anonimiteit onder te duiken. Hij werd, vrijwillig, naar een verlaten buitenpost van de RAF in Karachi overgeplaatst.

De opbrengsten van zijn boek zijn dan inmiddels door hem ondergebracht in een fonds dat is bedoeld om ex leden van de Royal Air Force die gebrek hebben te ondersteunen. Merkwaardig genoeg besloot hij tevens in hetzelfde jaar, ondanks bezwaren van het bestuur van het fonds, nieuwe uitgaven van het boek in Engeland te verbieden.
In deze periode, het jaar 1928, werkte hij aan de definitieve versie van zijn boek The Mint dat zijn recrutenperiode bij de RAF beschrijft.

Omdat het boek nogal een kritische ondertoon ten aanzien van de gebruiken binnen de RAF heeft, geeft de opperbevelhebber van de RAF, Trenchard, geen toestemming het te publiceren. Overeengekomen werd het boek niet eerder dan 1950 aan de openbaarheid prijs te geven. Feitelijk zal de eerste uitgave pas in 1955 het licht zien.

Inmiddels was hij, terwijl hij de publikatie van The Mint voorbereidde, door een Amerikaanse uitgever benaderd met het verzoek een nieuwe bewerking/vertaling van de Odyssee van Homerus te verzorgen. Hij besloot aan het verzoek te voldoen. Aan Charlotte Shaw schrijft hij : " Translating Homer is playing with words, which as you know, has always fascinated me: playing with them like a child with bricks".

De vertaling kwam echter niet eerder dan de zomer van 1932 gereed. Het boek werd in november van dat jaar gepubliceerd. In Engeland trok het nauwelijks aandacht. De Amerikaanse uitgave daarentegen was voorzien van zijn naam en werd mede daardoor een onmiddellijk succes. Het was het laatste succes op literair terrein dat hij zou ervaren.

Na zijn plotselinge dood in 1935, werd broer A.W. Lawrence conform de wens van T.E., beheerder van de literaire nalatenschap. Eveneens in overeenstemming met de wens van de overledene kwam bij uitgeverij Jonathan Cape, bijna tien jaar na de eerste beperkte publikatie, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom eindelijk beschikbaar voor het grote publiek. De rest van het verhaal is redelijk bekend.

De literaire commentatoren probeerden de superlatieven die eerder van stal waren gehaald bij het beschrijven van Revolt in the Desert te overtreffen. Het boek was een doorslaand succes en zou in verschillende talen, met uitzondering van het Nederlands, tot aan recente datum eindeloos veel herdrukken beleven. Geheel in de stijI van de opvattingen van T.E. kwamen en komen de opbrengsten van het boek ten goede aan een liefdadigheidsfonds.



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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote




http://www.realclassic.co.uk/news04011600.html


En dat is vermoedelijk de motor waar hij zijn ongeluk op kreeg. Brough Superior.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 12:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

De site behorende bij deze expositie in het Imperial War Museum te Londen.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/54/Lawrence/about.htm
http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/54/Lawrence/index.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Dec 2005 21:12    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het beeld dat ik van hem krijg is dat van een naive romanticus. Die misschien ook nog wel eens misbruikt zou kunnen zijn door de heren in Londen.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Mei 2006 7:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

22 August, 1920
A Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence


Ex.-Lieut.-Col. T.E. Lawrence,
The Sunday Times, 22 August 1920

[Mr. Lawrence, whose organization and direction of the Hedjaz against the Turks was one of the outstanding romances of the war, has written this article at our request in order that the public may be fully informed of our Mesopotamian commitments.]

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

The sins of commission are those of the British civil authorities in Mesopotamia (especially of three 'colonels') who were given a free hand by London. They are controlled from no Department of State, but from the empty space which divides the Foreign Office from te India Office. They availed themselves of the necessary discretion of war-time to carry over their dangerous independence into times of peace. They contest every suggestion of real self- government sent them from home. A recent proclamation about autonomy circulated with unction from Baghdad was drafted and published out there in a hurry, to forestall a more liberal statement in preparation in London, 'Self-determination papers' favourable to England were extorted in Mesopotamia in 1919 by official pressure, by aeroplane demonstrations, by deportations to India.

The Cabinet cannot disclaim all responsibility. They receive little more news than the public: they should have insisted on more, and better. they have sent draft after draft of reinforcements, without enquiry. When conditions became too bad to endure longer, they decided to send out as High commissioner the original author of the present system, with a conciliatory message to the Arabs that his heart and policy have completely changed.*

Yet our published policy has not changed, and does not need changing. It is that there has been a deplorable contrast between our profession and our practice. We said we went to Mesopotamia to defeat Turkey. We said we stayed to deliver the Arabs from the oppression of the Turkish Government, and to make available for the world its resources of corn and oil. We spent nearly a million men and nearly a thousand million of money to these ends. This year we are spending ninety-two thousand men and fifty millions of money on the same objects.

Our government is worse than the old Turkish system. They kept fourteen thousand local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats, and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this rising this summer. We cannot hope to maintain such an average: it is a poor country, sparsely peopled; but Abd el Hamid would applaud his masters, if he saw us working. We are told the object of the rising was political, we are not told what the local people want. It may be what the Cabinet has promised them. A Minister in the House of Lords said that we must have so many troops because the local people will not enlist. On Friday the Government announce the death of some local levies defending their British officers, and say that the services of these men have not yet been sufficiently recognized because they are too few (adding the characteristic Baghdad touch that they are men of bad character). There are seven thousand of them, just half the old Turkish force of occupation. Properly officered and distributed, they would relieve half our army there. Cromer controlled Egypt's six million people with five thousand British troops; Colonel Wilson fails to control Mesopotamia's three million people with ninety thousand troops.

We have not reached the limit of our military commitments. Four weeks ago the staff in Mesopotamia drew up a memorandum asking for four more divisions. I believe it was forwarded to the War Office, which has now sent three brigades from India. If the North-West Frontier cannot be further denuded, where is the balance to come from? Meanwhile, our unfortunate troops, Indian and British, under hard conditions of climate and supply, are policing an immense area, paying dearly every day in lives for the wilfully wrong policy of the civil administration in Baghdad. General Dyer was relieved of his command in India for a much smaller error, but the responsibility in this case is not on the Army, which has acted only at the request of the civil authorities. The War Office has made every effort to reduce our forces, but the decisions of the Cabinet have been against them.

The Government in Baghdad have been hanging Arabs in that town for political offences, which they call rebellion. The Arabs are not at war with us. Are these illegal executions to provoke the Arabs to reprisals on the three hundred British prisoners they hold? And, if so, is it that their punishment may be more severe, or is it to persuade our other troops to fight to the last?

We say we are in Mesopotamia to develop it for the benefit of the world. all experts say that the labour supply is the ruling factor in its development. How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil? How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?

*Sir Percy Cox was to return as High Commissioner in October, 1920 to form a provisional Government.

http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1918p/mesopo.html
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Biografie van Lawrence van Arabië geschreven door Anthony Nutting, minister van Buitenlandse Zaken onder Eden. Scheltens & Giltay, Amsterdam, 1961. Vertaling Dolf Koning.

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The importance of T. E. Lawrence
by David Fromkin


The New Criterion home page



In 1988, on the centenary of Thomas Edward (“T. E.”) Lawrence, The Economist observed that he “remains—in the curious company of James Dean—the most widely publicized folk-hero of the century.” Especially in Great Britain, but in the United States and Europe as well, books about him continue to flood the market. The BBC, which broadcast a television documentary about him in the 1960s, broadcast another in 1986; and the haunting David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia was re-released recently, in a fuller version, to continuing acclaim. A new selection of Lawrence’s letters was published in 1988. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his partly fictional account of the Arab Revolt and his role in it, continues to sell in bookstores more than a half century after its first publication, and is said to be one of the most widely read books in the English language. A massive authorized biography of him published in 1988 did not succeed in saying the final word, although it was intended to do so; yet another biography—perhaps the fortieth to be published in English or French—appeared the following year. [1]

The puzzles he set, and the ambiguities of his life and thought, continue to fascinate and to baffle. They are likely to do so well beyond his second centenary. In a slim volume of scholarly essays [2] that appeared in 1989, he was compared to Homer, Xenophon, Rousseau, Kipling, Lord Byron, Goethe, Rimbaud, James Joyce, and T. S. Eliot. Liddell Hart, theorist of military strategy, compared him to the Great Captains: a select group that, most would say, includes only Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, and no more than a handful of others.

So important was his prestige to that of the British Empire that when a book exposing some of his personal secrets was about to appear two decades after his death, there was a movement to stop it; the artist Eric Kennington wrote to Sir Ronald Storrs, “Would not publication … do great harm to Great Britain (and the white races) … among friend & enemies, & weaken our prestige & power with all dark-skinned races?”

He was idolized. The novelist John Buchan, who ought to have known that some of Lawrence’s tales were fabrications, wrote: “I am not much of a hero-worshiper … but I would have followed Lawrence over the edge of the world.” The historian James Shotwell, an American delegate to the Peace Conference (1919), called Lawrence the “successor of Muhammad.” An Anglican clergyman, conducting Oxford services for T. E., said he was making no direct comparison, but did so anyway: he claimed that in life and work, Lawrence was another Jesus Christ.

Who was Lawrence? What made him so important?

Lawrence, as the world now knows, was not Lawrence. The illegitimate child of an illegitimate child, he was the son of Thomas Chapman, later to become Sir Thomas Chapman, the seventh Baronet of his line. The Chapmans were Protestant squires in Ireland, where they had acquired their first lands centuries before through the patronage of their kinsman Sir Walter Raleigh. Chapman, who already had a wife and daughters, ran away with Sarah, the family governess. The offspring out of wedlock of a Norwegian father and an English mother, she was a woman as powerful and almost as fiercely religious as his wife. Thomas and Sarah took the surname “Lawrence” and had five sons together, of whom the second was T. E., born in 1888.

Unlike his brothers, who grew up in ignorance of the deception, T. E. learned at some point during his boyhood that his outwardly respectable churchgoing parents, despite all his mother’s puritanical religious sermonizing, were living in sin, using assumed names, and acting out a lie. Aspects of T. E.’s behavior often have been explained as an outgrowth of this: of his knowledge that his parents were frauds, and of his having to play a false role himself by answering to the name Lawrence. Decades later he tried calling himself by other names—Ross and Shaw—but they seemed wrong, too. Writing of himself in the third person, he said: “The friends of his manhood called him ‘T. E.’ for convenience and to show him that they recognized how his adopted surnames—Lawrence, Ross, Shaw, whatever they were—did not belong.”

He was a born double agent. He loved deceptions, puzzles, and disguises. But so did others in the England of his time. It was the age of Frederick Rolfe, who passed himself off as Baron Corvo and wrote an autobiographical fantasy in which he became Pope Hadrian the Seventh. When Lawrence was a child, impersonation took its timelessly best-selling form in Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda (1894).

All his life, Lawrence told tales, passing off his inventions or exaggerations as the truth. But so did a surprising number of his noted contemporaries. It is notoriously difficult to find a completely true sentence in the multi-volume memoirs of David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister under whom Lawrence served. Ford Madox Ford, who was central to London’s literary set when Lawrence tried his hand at writing, bragged of friendships with people he did not know, and described encounters that never took place. Harold J. Laski, theoretician of the Socialist Left, friend and correspondent of Justice Holmes, did the same thing.

In fabricating stories, Lawrence cheated as a child cheats, with no essential dishonesty, meaning no harm, but passionately desiring the attention and recognition that the achievements bragged of will bring. He sought the approval of adults. As a boy, he was the perfect Scout (though the Scout movement had not yet started), disciplining himself to learn stealth, craft, and all sorts of survival skills that he was unlikely to be called upon to use in his home town of Oxford. He taught himself self-denial and endurance, gave up eating meat for years, practiced going without sleep, built muscles, and rode a bicycle a hundred miles a day. Later he learned to be a crack shot.

With a head disproportionately large, he looked shorter than his five feet four inches. With his puckish grin, his impish love of teasing, and his irreverence, the shortness made him look like a boy who never grew up. Indeed he was in some ways a case of arrested development. Emotionally he never reached puberty; typically, his lifelong attitude toward the opposite sex was that of a twelve-year-old who thinks that including girls in activities spoils the fun.

Perpetual boyhood was a theme that ran strongly through the British imagination in his time (and afterward). It found its full expression in Barrie’s Peter Pan, which appeared in 1904, when Lawrence was in his teens. Adult Britons lingered, in continuing fascination, in the world of their childhood, as witness the enormous hold on public attention exercised by Kipling’s tale of school days, Stalky & Co., and by Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Lawrence’s contemporaries P. G. Wodehouse and A. A. Milne (creator of Winnie-the-Pooh) were like him in refusing to become adults; and like him, too, in creating imaginary worlds—for the Arabian desert portrayed by Lawrence is a work of art— into which the schoolboy in every reader can escape. So T. E. Lawrence’s strong appeal to the imagination of Englishmen, at least in part, may well have been due—may still be due—to his having tapped this powerful vein of sentiment buried beneath the surface of British life.

The heroines in Wodehouse’s novels win approval only if they are good sports: one of the lads. Lawrence’s tastes ran in similar directions. As a very young man, without preliminaries, he proposed marriage to a girl he knew only slightly; what seems to have been distinctive about her was that she was a tomboy.

It is not that he was homosexual, at least in the usual sense, although he often appeared to be, perhaps unconsciously, flirting in that direction. Vyvyan Richards, a friend of his young manhood who felt a homosexual passion for him, later wrote: “. . . for me it was love at first sight. He had neither flesh nor carnality of any kind; he just did not understand. He received my affection, my sacrifice, in fact, eventually my total subservience, as though it was his due. He never gave the slightest sign that he understood my motives or fathomed my desires.” Of sex with other men, Lawrence said: “I couldn’t ever do it, I believe: the impulse strong enough to make me touch another creature has not yet been born in me.” Of sex with women, “I haven’t ever: and don’t much want to.” Concern with “our comic reproductive processes” should not be “a main business of life,” he wrote; but it bothered him a lot, and, in army days, he found the coarse sex talk in the barracks more than upsetting: to him it was maddening.

His sexual puritanism was not dissimilar to that of his religious mother— which is ironic, for he directed his life toward freeing himself from her. Even in the last phase of his life, he spoke bitterly of how she tried “to break into the circle” of his “integrity.” He wrote her: “You talk of ‘sharing my life’ … but that I won’t allow.” He wrote of her: “I have a terror of her knowing anything about my feelings, or convictions, or way of life. If she knew they would be damaged: violated: no longer mine … Knowledge of her will prevent my ever making any woman a mother …” But at last, because she survived him, she won; above his dead body she placed a tombstone with a text from the Bible—her holy book, not his. [3] All his life he had fought to free himself of her, but at the end of it he found himself entombed forever beneath his mother’s pieties.

At university—Jesus College, Oxford—Lawrence found a mentor in David Hogarth, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, who led him to a career as an archeologist in the Middle East. When the First World War broke out, Lawrence became a junior officer and was sent out to Cairo as an interpreter and mapmaker—and Hogarth appeared as Lt.-Commander in the Royal Navy and a key figure in British intelligence in the Middle East, who later was assigned to head the Arab Bureau, the special unit established to deal with the Arab Middle East. As such Hogarth worked under Gilbert Clayton, who in the autumn of 1914 was made head of all British civilian and military intelligence in Egypt, and alongside Ronald Storrs, a Foreign Office official who held the especial confidence of Lord Kitchener, England’s proconsul in Egypt, “temporarily” in London as War Minister.

Though destined for eventual independence, Egypt was then a British protectorate. It was at the front line in the war that had broken out against the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish sultanate which then ruled the Arab Middle East as well as the lands now called Turkey and Israel.

Cairo seethed with intrigue. Arab exiles from Syria and elsewhere dangled alluring possibilities of action behind enemy lines before British intelligence officials who were credulous and ill-informed. The Turks had extensive spy networks behind British lines, but the English had none behind theirs: the British commanding general in Egypt confessed to Kitchener that “I can get no information …—our agents cannot get through —those we had on the other side have been bagged.”

It was from the Cairene world of schemes and dreams, in which things were rarely what British officialdom believed them to be, that tiny young T. E. Lawrence began his rise to world fame.

Lawrence did not come in at the beginning of what he called “the show”; he came in at the middle. To understand what he achieved, and why his government found the exploits he invented as useful as those he actually accomplished, one must know what had come before.

There was no good reason for England to be embroiled in a war with the Ottoman Empire, which had been her ally and protégé for a century. The war against Germany and Austro-Hungary had broken out in Europe, between Europeans, and had no connection to the Ottoman Sultan or his domains. It was an accident, the details of which need not be gone into here, that brought the Empire into collision with the Allies— who had no quarrel with the Sultan, and no desire to fight him.

Britain underestimated the Ottoman Empire, and regarded the Sultan’s war against England as a nuisance rather than a danger. Britain’s War Minister, Lord Kitchener, was determined not to allow the Middle East to distract attention from the real war: the war that raged in Europe. All forces would be concentrated on the western front. Only when Germany and Austria surrendered would the Allies send troops to the Middle East.

Kitchener and his lieutenants in Egypt, who were Lawrence’s mentors, had grown up in the service of the Great Game, the century-long conflict that pitted Britain against her rivals France and Russia in the Middle East. In the 1914 war, France and Russia were England’s allies; but Kitchener and his followers looked ahead to the postwar world, in which the Middle Eastern rivalry with Russia and France would resume. It was in this context that Kitchener in 1914 initiated a secret correspondence with Hussein ibn Ali, the Turkish-appointed Emir of Mecca. As Emir, Hussein was the protector of the Holy Places of the Mohammedan religion located in the Hejaz, a province in the west of what is now Saudi Arabia, then governed by the Ottoman Empire.

Anticipating that, when the war was over, Russia would seize control of Islam by setting up a puppet Turkish Sultan as Caliph of the Faithful, Kitchener schemed to set up the Emir Hussein as a rival, Arabian, Caliph who would be Britain’s puppet—a sort of anti-Pope, to be used as French monarchs once employed the Pontiffs of Avignon.

This madcap scheme had to be kept secret, for in India, Britain ruled the largest Moslem population in the world, and were it to be known that the English were meddling in their religion, Mohammedans there and everywhere might rise in rage against Britain.

To his dying day, Lawrence kept the secret. In the introductory sentence to Seven Pillars of Wisdom, he wrote that “some Englishmen, of whom Lord Kitchener was chief, believed that a rebellion of Arabs against Turks would enable England, while fighting Germany, simultaneously to defeat her ally Turkey.” On the contrary, Kitchener’s was the strategy of not fighting the two simultaneously, but of defeating Germany first. For most of his tenure at the War Office, he was not interested in pitting Arabs against Turks but in pitting Britain’s Moslems against Russia’s Moslems. He did not believe in Arab nationalism.

Kitchener and his followers believed that in the Middle East religion was everything. But—and here, though misleading, Lawrence’s introductory sentence is literally accurate—from the autumn of 1915 until the summer of 1916, they were tricked into believing otherwise. Retelling the details of it would take too long; suffice it to say that British officials in Cairo now believed—for about nine or ten months, until they realized that they had been deceived—that a vast nationalist Arab network existed behind Ottoman lines, including several hundred thousand Arab-speaking Ottoman troops (perhaps as much as half the Ottoman army); and that they would rebel against the Ottoman Empire and come over to the Allied side of the war at the call of the same Hussein of the Hejaz whom Kitchener had imagined to be a religious leader. Moreover Hussein was willing to do it; unbeknown to the British, he had discovered that the Ottoman government planned to depose him, so he had no choice but to rebel while he could.

In June 1916, supported by Abdullah, Feisal, and his other sons, Hussein proclaimed the Arab Revolt. It proved to be a dud. Hussein, it turned out, had no following at all. Moslems did not respond to his call, nor did Arabs. Under his banner—or rather, the one that a British official designed for him—those who rallied were closer to one thousand than to one hundred thousand, and they were tribesmen, not soldiers.

The Arab Revolt was supposed to rescue Britain, but instead Britain had to rescue it. Kitchener died before he could be blamed; but the reputation of Clayton, Storrs, and its other British sponsors in Cairo plummeted. In the autumn of 1916, Storrs journeyed to the Hejaz to see what could be salvaged from it. Clayton apparently wanted Lawrence— who was far more enterprising than Storrs—to go along, but could not get official permission; so Lawrence took his accumulated leave time, and traveled with Storrs as a vacationer. He had never been to Arabia before.

In the two years that followed, Lawrence was to be instrumental in keeping Hussein’s movement alive and in directing it along lines that proved helpful—though not of any vital importance—to the Allied war effort. It was creditable service that, however, had no material effect on the conduct or outcome of the war. It was rather in shaping the peace that T. E. and the Hejaz movement that he inspired made their mark. Britain’s new Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, wanted to take the whole of the Arab Middle East for the British Empire in the postwar world; and it was here that Lawrence, with a gift for self-glorification that served his country’s purposes, was to prove so useful. Lawrence’s real achievement in his two years with the Arabians in the World War was to invent a role for the Emir Hussein’s small band: a role so visible, that commanded so much attention and proved so easy to exaggerate, that, when the war was over, Britain could make claims on Hussein’s behalf, could pretend that she could not honor her promise to deliver Syria to France, because Hussein (said the British, lying outrageously) had won Syria in the war. Hussein was Britain’s man; in pushing Hussein’s claims, Lawrence was advancing Britain’s.

At 7 A.M., October 16, 1916, the vessel bringing Storrs and Lawrence from Egypt docked at the port of Jeddah on the coast of Arabia. Lawrence—his own master, for he was on leave—made it his business to go upcountry to meet the sons of the Emir Hussein. Having done so, he became convinced that Feisal was the son who should lead the Arab cause. Lawrence also was converted to the views of the then-commander of Hussein’s forces—a former officer in the Ottoman army, brought in by the British to try to make soldiers out of Hussein’s tribesmen—that the bedouin of the Hejaz would be better employed in fighting a guerrilla war than in trying to fight a conventional one.

On his return from Arabia, Lawrence persuaded his superiors of these views. Consequently Prince Feisal became the Arab field commander; at Feisal’s request, Lawrence was assigned to be British liaison officer with him; and the campaign they waged was a guerrilla one. Their object was to take the city of Medina, which lay to the north of them and blocked the Hejaz forces from riding north to Palestine, where the Middle East war was to be fought. To force Medina’s surrender, Feisal’s forces raided the single-track railway from Transjordanian Palestine that was Medina’s sole source of reinforcements and supply. A British officer named Herbert Garland taught the Arabs how to dynamite the railroad, and Garland and other officers (including Lawrence, who later received most of the credit for it) went on to dynamite it repeatedly.

But the campaign failed. The Turks repaired the railway after each attack, and kept it running. Medina never fell to the Arabs or the Allies; its garrison held out until the end of the war, blocking the land road to Palestine.

So Lawrence thought of another plan. Since Feisal could not take Medina, he would go around it. Like others, Lawrence had noted the importance of Aqaba, the sleepy fishing port at the southern tip of Palestine. But Lawrence, who had seen aerial photographs of it, was alone in realizing that it could only be taken from behind: from the land, not the sea. Lawrence therefore purchased the support of a bedouin sheik—a desert raider of local renown—who executed the plan. When Aqaba fell to the sheik’s war band, Lawrence, who rode with them, performed feats of endurance and courage in crossing enemy-held Palestine and Sinai to report the news to the new British commanding general, Edmund Allenby.

Now that the Arabs had a port in Palestine, the Royal Navy could bring Feisal and his followers to it by sea. Feisal no longer had to keep trying to fight his way there by land—which was a good thing, because Medina continued to stand in Feisal’s way, and had Lawrence not thought of a way around it—the sea road—the Hejaz movement would have remained bottled up in the Hejaz for the rest of the war. As it was, Allenby, at Lawrence’s request, sent ships to bring Feisal and about a thousand followers to Aqaba. There they were fleshed out by about twenty-five hundred Arab deserters from the Ottoman army to form a camel-cavalry corps that harassed the Turkish flank when Allenby’s Egypt-based army invaded Palestine and marched on Syria.

The camel corps contributed something to the campaign, but much more to the pretense that Syria was liberated by the Arabs themselves. Pretense indeed: there were a million British troops fighting in the Middle East in 1918, and only thirty-five hundred Arabs, so on the face of it, it was Britain’s war. In part to dramatize the role of the Arabs, Allenby’s headquarters ordered the Australian and New Zealand (Anzac) cavalry spearheading the Allied advance to go around Damascus, the metropolis of Syria, not through it, so as to let Feisal take the city. But the plan miscarried. The Ottoman armies fled Damascus, and local Arabs unfriendly to Feisal took possession of it. Then Anzac units, unaware of orders or ignoring them, rode into the city and occupied it. The Allies now had it. Feisal and his cavalry were still three days away, while Lawrence, who had been transferred to the staff of the Australian commander, went A.W.O.L. and had to drive into the Allied-occupied city in his battered Rolls-Royce to find out what was going on.

A few days later, Feisal and a few hundred followers arrived in Damascus and staged a media event: a triumphal camelback entry into the city. Out of this material and some inspired lies, Lawrence fabricated the liberation of Damascus by Feisal and himself, in anonymous dispatches to the London Times, and in the several books written by him or with his help. Lawrence’s account was backed up by the personal secretariat of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, whose instructions in briefing the press were to emphasize that the cities of Syria had been liberated by Feisal’s forces, which were largely made up of Syrians; so that Syria had freed herself, and in conscience Britain could not turn her over to France.

Sour grapes, distilled in the imagination of T. E. Lawrence, became an intoxicating brew for the twentieth century. The more Lawrence thought about his failure to destroy the Hejaz railroad or to take Medina, the more he realized he was better off not having done so. He had diverted Turkish resources, and had tied down tens of thousands of enemy troops, who had to be on the alert at all times because they did not know when or where he would attack.

Lawrence, working with the military thinker Liddell Hart, developed what became one of the most influential strategic theories of our time in a magazine essay that was later made into an article for the 1929 edition of the Britannica. To a world coming out of a senseless European trench war in which battles had been little more than mass butchery, Lawrence offered an attractive alternative strategy of warfare without battles. Instead of attacking enemies, he wrote, you go around them, immobilizing and isolating them, wearing them down as their sentries peer into the darkness searching for attackers who might or might not be lurking in the night.

Lawrence skirted the question of why Allenby’s campaigns rather than his own had won the Middle Eastern war. He wrote that Allenby’s “too-greatness deprived the Arab revolt of the opportunity” of defeating Turkey. In fact, Aqaba aside, the bedouins with whom Lawrence rode were never able to defeat the Turks at all; it took a million-man British army to deliver a knockout blow to the Ottoman Empire—a blow the hit-and-run bedouins were not remotely capable of delivering themselves.

It was to a different kind of war that Lawrence’s strategy applied. Lawrence did not know how to destroy or even defeat an enemy, so that his strategy was of no use against a country fighting for survival: a country that will not or cannot give up or surrender and has to be crushed by force. Lawrence taught how to wear down an opponent: a strategy that will win only against an enemy that will surrender if tired, an enemy, therefore, fighting to hold on to something it can afford to give up. In situations to which it applies, the advantage of Lawrence’s strategy of attrition is that it permits a smaller, weaker force to sap the resources—and therefore the will to continue fighting—of a Great Power that cannot be defeated face-to-face in the field.

So Lawrence’s strategy suits the particular needs of rebels against colonial powers; and his writings have stimulated the thinking of revolutionary strategists throughout the century and are studied alongside the works of Mao Zedong, the campaigns of Vo Nguyen Giap, and the theories of Che Guevara. It is an aspect of Lawrence’s special genius to have created a theory that would be so relevant in the years to come. And it is a typical paradox of his career that he, the hero of British imperialism, should have become an inspirer of the Third World’s revolt against the imperial West.

It was an ambitious young American showman and jack-of-all-trades, Lowell Thomas, who invented “Lawrence of Arabia” and made him into one of the world’s first film stars. Thomas was about twenty-five at the end of 1917, when he raised enough money to send himself and a cameraman to the Middle East in search of a story with romance and local color that he could sell. He had been pointed toward the Middle East by Britain’s information director, John Buchan, author of the novel Greenmantle (1916), in which a young Oxford scholar in native turban leads a Moslem uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

Almost immediately on arriving in the Middle East, Thomas found his man. At first even Thomas questioned the far-fetched tales that Lawrence told him, but (according to Thomas) T. E. “would laugh with glee and reply: ‘History isn’t made up of truth, anyhow, so why worry?’” Later, Lawrence was to remark: “On the whole I prefer lies to truth, particularly where they concern me.” Lawrence claimed that the fictions he passed off as accounts of his adventures satisfied his “craving for self-expression in some imaginative form”; and when a friend objected, he countered with “What does it matter? History is but a series of accepted lies.”

Lawrence, with his romantic fantasies, and Lowell Thomas, with his hyperbole and ballyhoo, together concocted a story that took the world by storm. Using the photos as lantern slides as he narrated, Thomas created a show that toured the globe and broke entertainment-business records. In London alone, a million people came to see it.

To an audience sickened for years by the sordid grime and hopeless slaughter of trench warfare on the western front, Lowell Thomas brought a hero in gleaming white robes who rode to victory. Thomas’s story of a young Oxonian in native garb becoming a warrior-prince of the desert, to some extent prefigured in Greenmantle and A. E. W. Mason’s Four Feathers, struck a deeply responsive chord, much like that struck by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzan. It was as though the story had been there all along, waiting to be told; and the role of Oxford’s desert prince was there, too, waiting for Lawrence to play it.

But the story was false fundamentally. Neither T. E. nor any of his colleagues could have passed for Arab in the Middle East. As Lawrence admitted in 1927 to his biographer, the poet Robert Graves, “I’ve never heard an Englishman speak Arabic well enough to be taken for a native of any part of the Arabic-speaking world, for five minutes.”

Mrs. George Bernard Shaw, a confidante of Lawrence’s, to whom he confessed much that was false, once exclaimed in exasperation that “he is such an infernal liar!”; but her husband disagreed. T. E. “was a born and incorrigible actor,” wrote Shaw. “He was not a liar. He was an actor.”

The celebrity brought about by Lowell Thomas’s “Lawrence of Arabia” show propelled T. E. into the political limelight. Long before George Murphy became a U.S. Senator or Ronald Reagan became America’s President, Lawrence was a sort of actor in politics. He threw himself into his roles wholeheartedly. Dressed in the uniform of a British officer, he spoke cynically of how he would manipulate the peoples of the Middle East, but wearing his native robes, he was the only prominent Englishman in favor of genuine independence for the Arabs.

In 1919 Lawrence was Feisal’s confederate at the Peace Conference, maneuvering to get Hussein’s son the crown of an independent Syria and causing some on the British side to wonder whose team he was on. In 1920, T. E. became a public critic of Britain’s Middle East policy. Attacking the central justification of imperialism—that native peoples are incapable of self-rule—he wrote to the Times that “Merit is no qualification for freedom.” Of the Arabs in Syria and what is now Iraq, he wrote that “They did not risk their lives in battle to change masters, to become British subjects or French citizens, but to win a show of their own.”

In 1921–22, Lawrence was called back into public service, despite objections that he was unconventional, chronically insubordinate, and not a team player. Appointed an assistant by the new Colonial Secretary, Winston Churchill, Lawrence helped Churchill to turn around the government’s approach and devise a changed Middle East policy that gave Feisal the newly created kingdom of Iraq and gave Transjordanian Palestine (now Jordan) to Feisal’s brother Abdullah. Lawrence was proud of the settlement, and admired Churchill for making it possible; he remarked repeatedly that the Arabs now had been given what they had been promised—and more.

But while his public life prospered, his private life disintegrated. He was overcome by guilt. One can only guess at the reasons. Guessing was what he wanted us to do; he only flirted at telling. He confessed frequently, variously, and inconsistently. In this he was much like a ballerina widely known in New York City during the 1940s, who required the services of a particular psychiatrist because he was the best, but dared not tell him about herself because he was a notorious gossip. Her solution was to tell the doctor invented stories of what she had done: things that, to her way of thinking, were exactly as sick or as bad as what she had actually done, so that the doctor’s analysis of her fictional behavior would apply equally well to her real behavior. That is more or less what Lawrence did, providing enough employment to psychohistorians to last well beyond the turn of the next century.

Whatever the reason, Lawrence discovered a need to be physically beaten. His descent into the sexual underworld of sado-masochism was dizzyingly dangerous. While still very much in the public eye as a Middle East peacemaker, he took to attending flagellation parties in Chelsea organized by a German panderer who went by the name of Bluebeard. Soon Bluebeard was offering his confessions for publication, and Lawrence was driven to use government connections to stop him.

Seemingly driven by inner forces, T. E. made a sudden turn in life. He had been a romantic, writing of the peoples of the Middle East as though he were an artist and they, his work; seeking to make them in some sense an extension of his personality. But in 1922–23, he turned his back on such nineteenth-century aspirations, in favor of yearnings more appropriate to the eleventh or twelfth centuries. His aim—or at least so he wished his public to believe—was to annihilate his individuality: to merge his personality, as medieval man had done, in collective efforts. In that quest, under assumed names to achieve anonymity, he cloistered himself as a simple trooper in the Tank Corps, and later, in the airforce. But whereas monks of the church had been capable of mortifying the flesh without assistance, Lawrence brought along with him a hired hand whose duties were to beat him—in accordance with letters from a fictitious relative, produced by Lawrence, detailing his latest sins and prescribing punishments for them.

The public knew nothing of this. What the public knew was that he was pursuing a life inspired by some vague and undenominational spiritualism—the sort of thing the twentieth century finds immensely appealing. Moreover his attempts to avoid publicity, journalists, and photographers—like the similar efforts in later years of Greta Garbo and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—kept him constantly in the news.

Though he wrote a distinctive novel, The Mint, and an ever-popular prose translation of the Odyssey, the work in which Lawrence made his bid for immortality was one in which he told of his wartime adventures: Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He wrote it—confusingly, since it dealt with real events—as a novel, intending it (he told Edward Garnett) “to make an English fourth” to an exclusive bookshelf that contained only The Brothers Karamazov, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Moby-Dick. In writing to E. M. Forster, he lengthened his bookshelf, omitting Zarathustra, but adding War and Peace, Leaves of Grass, Don Quixote, and Rabelais.

It has been greatly praised. “It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language,” said Winston Churchill, who was not alone in that view. But if it ranks so high, it can only be because it was written in a century in which its flaws increasingly are regarded as virtues.

It is the work of an author unwilling to tell which of his statements are fact and which fiction, and unable to decide what story, whether fact or fiction, he wants to tell. So he outlines several stories, but they contradict one another.

The title is from a quotation that Lawrence loved and long had wanted to use as a title for something. But it did not suit this book. “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” refers to the achievement of wisdom: wisdom made complete and perfect. But the book of which it is the title tells no such tale. So the title suggests one story, the text, another.

Lawrence prefaces the book with a poem that Robert Graves helped him write and that tells a story of its own. In the poem, the hero strives to win a victory for the sake of someone or something he loves, does in fact win, but finds the victory hollow because the someone or something for whom it was won has died. An afternote repeats this account.

But that story, too, is inconsistent with those told in the text. In the original first chapter of the text, deleted at the suggestion of Bernard Shaw, but subsequently published, Lawrence told two more stories, which were mutually inconsistent. In one of them, the Arabs had been used as pawns by the British during the war, and he was guilty of acting for his government in this, and of making promises to the Arabs that he knew his government had no intention of keeping. In the second story, he was not guilty; his government had duped him as well as the Arabs. The idealistic young men of whom he was one, he wrote, had won a bright triumph, but then “the old men came out again and took our victory.”

In a later chapter he amplified this second story. The Arabs, he wrote, “had begun to dream of liberty,” and a small group of Englishmen (“We were not many; and nearly all of us rallied around Clayton …”) had determined to help them achieve it. In addition to Gilbert Clayton, he listed Aubrey Herbert, Sir Mark Sykes, David Hogarth, and several others associated with the Arab Bureau in Cairo—“all of the creed,” he wrote. He claimed that “we meant to break into the accepted halls of English foreign policy, and build a new people in the East.”

That was factually false; that was not their creed. Apart from Lawrence himself, none of them believed in an Arab nation or in Arab independence. Aubrey Herbert was pro-Ottoman Empire and happy with the notion of Arabs being ruled by Turks. Sir Mark Sykes was an author of the Sykes-Picot-Sazanov Agreement, the treaty that Lawrence regarded as a betrayal of the Arabs and the promises made to them. Hogarth and Clayton both believed that Arabs could not govern themselves and ought to be ruled by Europeans.

Lawrence was equally muddled about his own role. At different places in the book he makes three claims: that he secretly intended, when the moment came, to keep faith with the Arabs by defeating his own government’s machinations; that, on the contrary, he had lost his soul in the greed for victory and did not intend to keep faith with the Arabs; and that, again on the contrary, betraying the Arabs was justified by the overriding need to win the war. In other words: he did not betray the Arabs, and that was good; he did betray the Arabs, and that was bad; and he did betray the Arabs, and that was good.

In reality the issue was false. Hussein had never trusted Britain, and therefore had not been deceived; he never relied on the heavily qualified phrases in which British officials suggested they would do great things for the Arab peoples after the war. Feisal knew of the secret treaty in which Britain supposedly betrayed the Arabs to France; Lawrence had told him of it. Each on his own (for they betrayed one another, too), Hussein and Feisal had negotiated to betray the Allies and go back to the Ottoman side. T. E. told Liddell Hart that “Feisal was definitely ‘selling’ us”; so he knew his one-sided story of betrayal was fiction.

In any event, the story had become moot. Since the events recounted in Seven Pillars, Churchill, with Lawrence’s help, had negotiated new arrangements for the Middle East that T. E. believed provided full justice for the Arab claims. So in the end there was no betrayal, and Seven Pillars —a cry of political guilt—was politically out of date long before it was published.

But as literature it broke new ground. In the Ashenden stories, Somerset Maugham took up Lawrence’s theme that the role of an intelligence agent, even for our side, is morally tarnished. Others then took it up, too, in a line that leads to the novels of John Le Carré. Similarly Lawrence’s story of officers in the field (such as himself) acting in good faith, but then discovering that their own political or military or intelligence leaders are at least as cynical and immoral as the enemy’s, is one recounted time and again in American popular literature and films of the past few decades. The exploration of the moral ambiguity, or even moral guilt, of our own side, a province taken as his domain by Graham Greene, can be traced to Seven Pillars.

Lawrence’s obsession with guilt as a personal theme runs parallel to the political one throughout Seven Pillars, which begins in a Nietzschean spirit with the author’s observation that in the extreme circumstances of the desert war he and his companions were driven to actions that in normal circumstances would be immoral. Did their exceptional circumstances license them to transcend the moral code? The author—it is his essential weakness that he will never commit himself—gives no clear answer.

The emotional center of the book is a story that Lawrence began telling in 1919, giving several different accounts of it, that explained why he had whip marks on his body. Lawrence claimed that, unknown to others, he had been taken prisoner for a time on the night of November 21–22, 1917, in a place called Deraa, and was homosexually assaulted, bayoneted, and beaten by command of a sadistic Turkish commander. Lawrence told it in several versions, admitting that some of them were untrue; and there has always been a strong case that the whole tale was false. That case is strengthened by the apparent discovery of documentary evidence detailed in the Lawrence James biography of Lawrence. It seems that the official War Diary kept by a British army unit shows that Lawrence and a fellow officer, Colonel Joyce, were in Aqaba, some four hundred miles away from Deraa, on November 21 and 22; and that the memory of a Lieutenant Samuel Brodie, who met Lawrence and Joyce in Aqaba then, confirms this.

Does it matter if the Deraa story is fantasy? or that Lawrence misrepresents the politics of his characters? or that the three reasons he gives to deny that the Anzacs liberated Damascus are—all of them—false as well as inconsistent?

If Seven Pillars is indeed a novel, it is disqualified from greatness because its author fails to pay the price of admission: he refuses to run the risk of saying who he is or what he believes or what story he is telling. As history, it lies and distorts; T. E. knew that, but somehow did not feel guilty—here, where he should have felt it—for giving his Arabs credit for what the Australian/New Zealand cavalry in fact had accomplished.

Nietzsche, an intellectual hero of Lawrence’s who taught that history consists of myths rather than facts, provided a link with André Malraux, who placed Lawrence, the writer and thinker, beside the exemplary twentieth-century hero, the Arab nationalist, and the guerrilla strategist. Malraux, who seems to have known about Lawrence since 1920, modeled himself after Lawrence and wrote of himself as T. E.’s spiritual son.

Malraux became obsessed by Lawrence. The parallel ran closer than Malraux knew, for, believing Lawrence’s lies, Malraux himself lied by claiming to have accomplished similar feats. Malraux falsely claimed to have been a leader of the Chinese revolution, in Canton in 1925 and in Shanghai in 1927, although (other than a trip to Hong Kong) he had never been in China at all. Just as Lawrence sat down to write a novel about his leadership of the illusory Arab revolt as a “fourth” to Karamazov, Zarathustra, and Moby-Dick, so Malraux sat down to write a masterpiece flowing from his claimed participation in the Chinese revolution, Man’s Fate, as a “fifth gospel” to Lawrence and the other three. Like Lawrence, Malraux did perform acts of valor, but also claimed to have performed others that he had not.

Lawrence’s boyhood dream—doing great things both “active and reflective,” as he told Liddell Hart—became Malraux’s adult creed of the intellectual committed to action, a creed that also informed the works of Ernest Hemingway (if in somewhat debased form), and of which Lawrence was at once the inspirer and the exemplar. Liddell Hart, while writing that “the perfect balance may be unattainable,” claimed of T. E. that “no man has come so close to equal greatness in action and reflection.” In the world of the 1920s and 1930s, as fascism, Nazism, and Communism rose from the embers of a Europe ravaged by war, social strife, and depression, Malraux portrayed Lawrence as the last liberal hero of the West.

In the first chapter of a book he was writing about T. E.—a book, the existence of which has been doubted for years, but which is now scheduled for publication—Malraux quotes Lawrence as saying “somewhere there is an absolute, that’s the only thing that counts; and I haven’t succeeded in finding it. Hence this pointless existence.” That is the great theme that Malraux wanted to explore: Lawrence’s quest for meaning in a universe in which, as Nietzsche’s Zarathustra proclaimed, “God is dead!” In this conception, Lawrence became an existentialist hero; and both Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir are said to have been fascinated by him.

T. E. died, like Albert Camus, to whom he bore resemblances, in a traffic accident. Speeding as usual, he veered on his motorbike to avoid hitting two children, and was thrown over the handlebars to his death. It was 1935; parliamentary regimes all over Europe were falling to men on horseback whose military dictatorships promised national greatness; and there were forces interested in using T. E. as their figurehead in coming to power. So there were rumors that he had been murdered, and others that —tempted by the immortality that fame as a dictator would bring, but unwilling to compromise his democratic ideals—Lawrence had crashed deliberately, committing suicide.

A few years later, Liddell Hart wrote of Lawrence: “Not long ago the young men were talking, the young poets writing, of him in a Messianic strain—as the man who could, if he would, be a light to lead stumbling humanity out of its troubles. … [I]t is difficult to see any way, compatible with his philosophy, in which he could have played such a role. … But at least I can say that, so far as I knew him, he seemed to come nearer than any man to fitness for such power—in a state that I would care to live in.”

In the one meeting he claimed to have had with T. E.—but which it now seems Malraux invented—Malraux provides a clue as to Lawrence’s enduring interest and appeal. “He was extraordinarily elegant. With an elegance of today, not of his own time. A roll-neck sweater, for example, a kind of nonchalance and distance.”

It was his special quality: he does not age or date. He belongs to today. Even his theory of strategy is as current as this morning’s headlines. He had a genius for taking the road we would want to follow. His attitudes and interests anticipated those of the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s; and so did his style. He was casual. He was cool. He never stopped being young. He shared the modern crazes: motorbikes; speed; celebrity.

Like public figures of today, he was launched by the news media and the entertainment industry, now so intertwined and pervasive. In writing fiction in which real characters make an appearance, he looked ahead to the popularity in our time of novels, television series, and films that are situated on the frontier between fact and fiction; in some ways Seven Pillars is like a Costa-Gavras movie—a setting of apparent historical truth into which untruths are inserted without being labeled as such.

As a citizen of the twentieth century, Lawrence valued history little and entertainment a great deal. Fiction is stranger than truth, and T. E. found it more fun: due to him, there are those who believe that Damascus was liberated in 1918 by a band of Arabs led by someone who looked like Peter O’Toole.

Though he wrote and read a great deal, his imagination was more graphic than literary, more concerned with images than with words: that too is a hallmark of this part of the twentieth century. He was at least as much concerned about the design of a book as about its contents, and as a young man planned to found a private press. A sometime vegetarian; self-exiled, and engaged in a vaguely spiritual quest; like the generations beginning with 1960, he wanted to rediscover artisanry, craftsmanship, handmade work.

His themes were those popular with today’s readers: confusion of sexual orientation; illicit sex practices; and identity crisis. He was an intelligence agent—and we adore spy stories. When he sped to his death, he left behind the sort of ending that most intrigues the twentieth century— the officially denied conspiracy—and, as with President Kennedy’s assassination, there were troubling details that did not fit with the official account.

Bernard Shaw wrote that “through an accident in his teens Lawrence never grew up. He looked like a boy. His great abilities and interests were those of a highly gifted boy. He died, not as a great thinker, but as a boy tearing along on a motorcycle at 80 miles an hour.” Only a fine line separates an existentialist hero from what the London press has taken to calling “a crazy, mixed-up kid”; and T. E. was so much of his century that he could be said to be on either side of the line.

Lawrence could not have been further from the towering figures of his time. The great men of the century—Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle—were creatures of another age, born out of time. The awe they inspired, and their ability to impose themselves, derived in large part from qualities and resources they brought with them from the past.

T. E., in contrast, was of his time and ours. Of all the public figures of the twentieth century, across a wide range of interests, issues, and attitudes, he best expresses the century, and it is best studied through him. He is a prism through which the spectrum of twentieth-century tastes, fads, foibles, insights, and outlooks can be sorted out. If his life were a work of art, some collector a thousand years hence might take it down from its shelf, saying: “Now here is a pure example of twentieth century— a perfect specimen!” For that, if for nothing else, T. E. Lawrence is, and will remain, important.

It is the answer to his prayer. Lawrence was haunted by the knowledge that life is ephemeral. Insofar as anything endures, he believed, it is the art of a Dostoevsky or the fame of an Alexander, and he aspired to both; indeed he wanted them so much that he cheated to get them. Seven Pillars is a cheat either as a novel—for a novelist’s job is to decide what he wants to say, but T. E. would not run the risk of doing that—or as history, for it does not tell the truth; and the campaigns of Lawrence of Arabia were a cheat because T. E. fabricated them. So it may not be for his works or deeds, considerable though their influence has been, that he will be known in distant ages.

It is as a voice of our time that he is certain to be heard. As other men lust for power or wealth or women, he craved to be noticed and to be remembered—and he was and he is, and he will be.



Notes
Go to the top of the document.

1. Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T. E. Lawrence, by Jeremy Wilson (Atheneum, 1989), and The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, by Lawrence James (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990). Go back to the text.
2. T. E. Lawrence: Soldier, Writer, Legend, edited by Jeffrey Meyers (St. Martin’s Press, 1989). Go back to the text.
3. An observation made in 1977 in T. E. Lawrence, by Desmond Stewart (Harper & Row, 1990). Go back to the text.

From The New Criterion Vol. 10, No. 1, September 1991
©1991 The New Criterion | Back to the top | www.newcriterion.com
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Okt 2006 10:14    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lawrence of Arabia mementoes fetch £264,000

Maev Kennedy
Thursday September 28, 2006
The Guardian

The compass which helped to create the legend of Lawrence of Arabia, steering him across the desert on a camel during the Arab revolt against the Turks in 1916-18, was sold yesterday for £264,000, together with a cheap watch and an inscribed cigarette case.

The startling price at the Christie's auction - paid by an anonymous telephone bidder, vastly over a top pre-sale estimate of £16,000 - was testament to the world's enduring fascination with a slight, awkward man, who died in a motorcycle crash in 1935, aged 46.
His immortality was ensured by his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, more often admired than read cover to cover, and by a film made long after his death - David Lean's 1962 Lawrence of Arabia, with Peter O'Toole.

Though every aspect of his character has been challenged, nothing has diminished his allure. Lawrence, illegitimate son of an Irish landowner and a governess, was an archaeologist working in the Middle East when he was co-opted into the British army, both for local expertise and as archaeological cover for a military reconaissance exercise.

When the first world war began he worked in military intelligence, before being sent into the desert to report on the rise of Arab nationalism and the rebellion against the Ottoman empire. The close friendships he made with Arab leaders, the flowing robes he adopted, and the guerrilla skirmishes he joined on camel and horseback, made him so famous that the first film of his life was made in 1918.

The Swiss-made brass compass was included, with the watch and cigarette case, in an exhibition last year at the Imperial War Museum in London. The inscription in the case, which carries his own portrait, explains that they were given to his driver, Corporal Albert Richard Evans, after the Paris peace conference in 1919.

The watch was a cheap one bought in Paris, but the copper case, polished so that it shone like gold, attracted a thief in Syria who tried to rob Lawrence.

Nick Lambourn, Christie's expert, said: "With Lawrence, as with Stanley or Captain Scott, these are often very idiosyncratic, eccentric figures - but they push the boundaries beyond what us mere mortals could ever achieve."

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1882571,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=6
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Okt 2006 21:49    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence

T.E. Lawrence
from The Arab Bulletin, 20 August 1917

Twenty-Seven Articles

The following notes have been expressed in commandment form for greater clarity and to save words. They are, however, only my personal conclusions, arrived at gradually while I worked in the Hejaz and now put on paper as stalking horses for beginners in the Arab armies. They are meant to apply only to Bedu; townspeople or Syrians require totally different treatment. They are of course not suitable to any other person's need, or applicable unchanged in any particular situation. Handling Hejaz Arabs is an art, not a science, with exceptions and no obvious rules. At the same time we have a great chance there; the Sherif trusts us, and has given us the position (towards his Government) which the Germans wanted to win in Turkey. If we are tactful, we can at once retain his goodwill and carry out our job, but to succeed we have got to put into it all the interest and skill we possess.

1. Go easy for the first few weeks. A bad start is difficult to atone for, and the Arabs form their judgments on externals that we ignore. When you have reached the inner circle in a tribe, you can do as you please with yourself and them.

2. Learn all you can about your Ashraf and Bedu. Get to know their families, clans and tribes, friends and enemies, wells, hills and roads. Do all this by listening and by indirect inquiry. Do not ask questions. Get to speak their dialect of Arabic, not yours. Until you can understand their allusions, avoid getting deep into conversation or you will drop bricks. Be a little stiff at first.

3. In matters of business deal only with the commander of the army, column, or party in which you serve. Never give orders to anyone at all, and reserve your directions or advice for the C.O., however great the temptation (for efficiency's sake) of dealing with his underlings. Your place is advisory, and your advice is due to the commander alone. Let him see that this is your conception of your duty, and that his is to be the sole executive of your joint plans.

4. Win and keep the confidence of your leader. Strengthen his prestige at your expense before others when you can. Never refuse or quash schemes he may put forward; but ensure that they are put forward in the first instance privately to you. Always approve them, and after praise modify them insensibly, causing the suggestions to come from him, until they are in accord with your own opinion. When you attain this point, hold him to it, keep a tight grip of his ideas, and push them forward as firmly as possibly, but secretly, so that to one but himself (and he not too clearly) is aware of your pressure.

5. Remain in touch with your leader as constantly and unobtrusively as you can. Live with him, that at meal times and at audiences you may be naturally with him in his tent. Formal visits to give advice are not so good as the constant dropping of ideas in casual talk. When stranger sheikhs come in for the first time to swear allegiance and offer service, clear out of the tent. If their first impression is of foreigners in the confidence of the Sherif, it will do the Arab cause much harm.

6. Be shy of too close relations with the subordinates of the expedition. Continual intercourse with them will make it impossible for you to avoid going behind or beyond the instructions that the Arab C.O. has given them on your advice, and in so disclosing the weakness of his position you altogether destroy your own.

7. Treat the sub-chiefs of your force quite easily and lightly. In this way you hold yourself above their level. Treat the leader, if a Sherif, with respect. He will return your manner and you and he will then be alike, and above the rest. Precedence is a serious matter among the Arabs, and you must attain it.

8. Your ideal position is when you are present and not noticed. Do not be too intimate, too prominent, or too earnest. Avoid being identified too long or too often with any tribal sheikh, even if C.O. of the expedition. To do your work you must be above jealousies, and you lose prestige if you are associated with a tribe or clan, and its inevitable feuds. Sherifs are above all blood-feuds and local rivalries, and form the only principle of unity among the Arabs. Let your name therefore be coupled always with a Sherif's, and share his attitude towards the tribes. When the moment comes for action put yourself publicly under his orders. The Bedu will then follow suit.

9. Magnify and develop the growing conception of the Sherifs as the natural aristocracy of the Arabs. Intertribal jealousies make it impossible for any sheikh to attain a commanding position, and the only hope of union in nomad Arabs is that the Ashraf be universally acknowledged as the ruling class. Sherifs are half-townsmen, half-nomad, in manner and life, and have the instinct of command. Mere merit and money would be insufficient to obtain such recognition; but the Arab reverence for pedigree and the Prophet gives hope for the ultimate success of the Ashraf.

10. Call your Sherif 'Sidi' in public and in private. Call other people by their ordinary names, without title. In intimate conversation call a Sheikh 'Abu Annad', 'Akhu Alia' or some similar by-name.

11. The foreigner and Christian is not a popular person in Arabia. However friendly and informal the treatment of yourself may be, remember always that your foundations are very sandy ones. Wave a Sherif in front of you like a banner and hide your own mind and person. If you succeed, you will have hundreds of miles of country and thousands of men under your orders, and for this it is worth bartering the outward show.

12. Cling tight to your sense of humour. You will need it every day. A dry irony is the most useful type, and repartee of a personal and not too broad character will double your influence with the chiefs. Reproof, if wrapped up in some smiling form, will carry further and last longer than the most violent speech. The power of mimicry or parody is valuable, but use it sparingly, for wit is more dignified than humour. Do not cause a laugh at a Sherif except among Sherifs.

13. Never lay hands on an Arab; you degrade yourself. You may think the resultant obvious increase of outward respect a gain to you, but what you have really done is to build a wall between you and their inner selves. It is difficult to keep quiet when everything is being done wrong, but the less you lose your temper the greater your advantage. Also then you will not go mad yourself.

14. While very difficult to drive, the Bedu are easy to lead, if: have the patience to bear with them. The less apparent your interferences the more your influence. They are willing to follow your advice and do what you wish, but they do not mean you or anyone else to be aware of that. It is only after the end of all annoyances that you find at bottom their real fund of goodwill.

15. Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is.

16. If you can, without being too lavish, forestall presents to yourself. A well-placed gift is often most effective in winning over a suspicious sheikh. Never receive a present without giving a liberal return, but you may delay this return (while letting its ultimate certainty be known) if you require a particular service from the giver. Do not let them ask you for things, since their greed will then make them look upon you only as a cow to milk.

17. Wear an Arab headcloth when with a tribe. Bedu have a malignant prejudice against the hat, and believe that our persistence in wearing it (due probably to British obstinacy of dictation) is founded on some immoral or irreligious principle. A thick headcloth forms a good protection against the sun, and if you wear a hat your best Arab friends will be ashamed of you in public.

18. Disguise is not advisable. Except in special areas, let it be clearly known that you are a British officer and a Christian. At the same time, if you can wear Arab kit when with the tribes, you will acquire their trust and intimacy to a degree impossible in uniform. It is, however, dangerous and difficult. They make no special allowances for you when you dress like them. Breaches of etiquette not charged against a foreigner are not condoned to you in Arab clothes. You will be like an actor in a foreign theatre, playing a part day and night for months, without rest, and for an anxious stake. Complete success, which is when the Arabs forget your strangeness and speak naturally before you, counting you as one of themselves, is perhaps only attainable in character: while half-success (all that most of us will strive for; the other costs too much) is easier to win in British things, and you yourself will last longer, physically and mentally, in the comfort that they mean. Also then the Turks will not hang you, when you are caught.

19. If you wear Arab things, wear the best. Clothes are significant among the tribes, and you must wear the appropriate, and appear at ease in them. Dress like a Sherif, if they agree to it.

20. If you wear Arab things at all, go the whole way. Leave your English friends and customs on the coast, and fall back on Arab habits entirely. It is possible, starting thus level with them, for the European to beat the Arabs at their own game, for we have stronger motives for our action, and put more heart into it than they. If you can surpass them, you have taken an immense stride toward complete success, but the strain of living and thinking in a foreign and half-understood language, the savage food, strange clothes, and stranger ways, with the complete loss of privacy and quiet, and the impossibility of ever relaxing your watchful imitation of the others for months on end, provide such an added stress to the ordinary difficulties of dealing with the Bedu, the climate, and the Turks, that this road should not be chosen without serious thought.

21. Religious discussions will be frequent. Say what you like about your own side, and avoid criticism of theirs, unless you know that the point is external, when you may score heavily by proving it so. With the Bedu, Islam is so all-pervading an element that there is little religiosity, little fervour, and no regard for externals. Do not think from their conduct that they are careless. Their conviction of the truth of their faith, and its share in every act and thought and principle of their daily life is so intimate and intense as to be unconscious, unless roused by opposition. Their religion is as much a part of nature to them as is sleep or food.

22. Do not try to trade on what you know of fighting. The Hejaz confounds ordinary tactics. Learn the Bedu principles of war as thoroughly and as quickly as you can, for till you know them your advice will be no good to the Sherif. Unnumbered generations of tribal raids have taught them more about some parts of the business than we will ever know. In familiar conditions they fight well, but strange events cause panic. Keep your unit small. Their raiding parties are usually from one hundred to two hundred men, and if you take a crowd they only get confused. Also their sheikhs, while admirable company commanders, are too 'set' to learn to handle the equivalents of battalions or regiments. Don't attempt unusual things, unless they appeal to the sporting instinct Bedu have so strongly, unless success is obvious. If the objective is a good one (spammer) they will attack like fiends, they are splendid scouts, their mobility gives you the advantage that will win this local war, they make proper use of their knowledge of the country (don't take tribesmen to places they do not know), and the gazelle-hunters, who form a proportion of the better men, are great shots at visible targets. A sheikh from one tribe cannot give orders to men from another; a Sherif is necessary to command a mixed tribal force. If there is plunder in prospect, and the odds are at all equal, you will win. Do not waste Bedu attacking trenches (they will not stand casualties) or in trying to defend a position, for they cannot sit still without slacking. The more unorthodox and Arab your proceedings, the more likely you are to have the Turks cold, for they lack initiative and expect you to. Don't play for safety.

23. The open reason that Bedu give you for action or inaction may be true, but always there will be better reasons left for you to divine. You must find these inner reasons (they will be denied, but are none the less in operation) before shaping your arguments for one course or other. Allusion is more effective than logical exposition: they dislike concise expression. Their minds work just as ours do, but on different premises. There is nothing unreasonable, incomprehensible, or inscrutable in the Arab. Experience of them, and knowledge of their prejudices will enable you to foresee their attitude and possible course of action in nearly every case.

24. Do not mix Bedu and Syrians, or trained men and tribesmen. You will get work out of neither, for they hate each other. I have never seen a successful combined operation, but many failures. In particular, ex-officers of the Turkish army, however Arab in feelings and blood and language, are hopeless with Bedu. They are narrow minded in tactics, unable to adjust themselves to irregular warfare, clumsy in Arab etiquette, swollen-headed to the extent of being incapable of politeness to a tribesman for more than a few minutes, impatient, and, usually, helpless without their troops on the road and in action. Your orders (if you were unwise enough to give any) would be more readily obeyed by Beduins than those of any Mohammedan Syrian officer. Arab townsmen and Arab tribesmen regard each other mutually as poor relations, and poor relations are much more objectionable than poor strangers.

25. In spite of ordinary Arab example, avoid too free talk about women. It is as difficult a subject as religion, and their standards are so unlike our own that a remark, harmless in English, may appear as unrestrained to them, as some of their statements would look to us, if translated literally.

26. Be as careful of your servants as of yourself. If you want a sophisticated one you will probably have to take an Egyptian, or a Sudani, and unless you are very lucky he will undo on trek much of the good you so laboriously effect. Arabs will cook rice and make coffee for you, and leave you if required to do unmanly work like cleaning boots or washing. They are only really possible if you are in Arab kit. A slave brought up in the Hejaz is the best servant, but there are rules against British subjects owning them, so they have to be lent to you. In any case, take with you an Ageyli or two when you go up country. They are the most efficient couriers in Arabia, and understand camels.

27. The beginning and ending of the secret of handling Arabs is unremitting study of them. Keep always on your guard; never say an unnecessary thing: watch yourself and your companions all the time: hear all that passes, search out what is going on beneath the surface, read their characters, discover their tastes and their weaknesses and keep everything you find out to yourself. Bury yourself in Arab circles, have no interests and no ideas except the work in hand, so that your brain is saturated with one thing only, and you realize your part deeply enough to avoid the little slips that would counteract the painful work of weeks. Your success will be proportioned to the amount of mental effort you devote to it.

http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1917/27arts.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Dec 2006 22:11    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Net van Benjamin deze tip gekregen!
http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/search/lawrence%20of%20arabia/video/xo0a7_lawrence-of-arabia-part-1
Geweldige mini-film/docu
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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Dec 2006 22:16    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het hele verhaal van Lawrence laat zich lezen als het verhaal van hoe de Britten de Arabieren voor hun karretje spanden om ze daarna genadeloos te verraden.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Dec 2006 22:30    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Kijk de docu maar, goed gedaan!
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Dec 2007 9:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote


Vertaling:
'Hij heeft in de jaren van de eerste wereldoorlog (1914-1918) onder 11 verschillende namen namen geopereerd als Engelse spion tegen het Ottomaanse rijk'

MIT = Milli Istihbarat Teskilati = Nationale inlichtingen dienst.
Ozel arsiv = Privé archieven.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Dec 2007 9:34    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Zie ook. Smile

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=10922
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Jan 2010 22:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse

Exhibition catalogue now available for free download: http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/lawrence/LoAcatalogue.pdf

Meer over deze tentoonstelling: http://www.awm.gov.au/blog/category/exhibitions/lawrence-exhibitions/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Jan 2010 18:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The telawrence.net project -
putting T.E. Lawrence's writings online


Welcome to telawrence.net - a project that would have been inconceivable a few years ago and is certainly beyond its subject's wildest dreams.

Yet Lawrence, throughout his life, was both a communicator and a committed technophile. Were he alive today, I have little doubt that he would have seized the opportunities presented by the Internet.

We are adding material frequently and expect to complete most of the content during 2006.

Lawrence biographers have often based controversial arguments on carefully-selected quotes from his writings. This has been especially true in Britain, where trade publishers and the media generally expect biographers to come up with novel and/or sensational findings. Visitors to telawrence.net will have access to a much wider sample of Lawrence's writings - and can therefore hope to reach a more balanced view.

Jeremy Wilson
January 2006

http://telawrence.net/telawrencenet/index.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Apr 2010 10:18    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lawrence and the Arab Revolts 1914-18 (Men at Arms Series, 208) (Paperback)

Product Description
The Great War of 1914-18 is often seen as one major battleground – the Western Front – with numerous ’side-shows’. The other battle zones were not side-shows to those involved, however, although the local inhabitants often fought for motives which remained a closed book to their European allies or foes. David Nicolle relates the story of the Arab revolts, and discusses just how important (or unimportant) was the role of T. E. Lawrence in the affair, in a fascinating text backed by a fine collection of contemporary photographs and eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook.

http://tn.exoticdubai.com/2010/04/lawrence-and-the-arab-revolts-1914-18/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Sep 2010 20:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lawrence of Arabia's secret 'X-flights' revealed in diary
Published: 8:02AM BST 24 Aug 2010

Details of secret missions flown by Lawrence of Arabia almost 100 years ago have been uncovered by a retired lecturer.

The diary of one of the British officers's colleages records the existence of the so-called ''X Flights'' led by Lt Col TE Lawrence across the former Ottoman empire.

James Hynes, 80, discovered the documents after his cousin told him that her father served alongside Lt Col Lawrence during World War One.

She revealed that she had kept typed up copies of his journal.

The diaries describe everyday life in the Turkish desert during World War One, including how one of Lawrence's aristocratic men managed to burn breakfast for the squadron after being ordered to cook an English fry up.

Lt Col Lawrence had led the '''X flight'' sorties in 1918 against the Turks accompanied by a handpicked team of colleagues which included the sixth Earl of Winterton who was then a sitting MP.

The secret missions helped Lt Col Lawrence capture Damascus in 1918 where he became instrumental in setting up an Arab government.

But the flights were so sensitive the RAF were said to have known nothing of them and they remained a secret - eluding depiction in the 1962 Hollywood movie Lawrence of Arabia starring actor Peter O'Toole.

Now details of the flights have emerged in diaries complied by an aircraft mechanic George Hynes who was one of Lawrence's closest aides during the Arab revolts.

In one entry Hynes flight sergeant air mechanic wrote: ''All who took part in the Desert Operations had a great respect for Lawrence the Amateur soldier.''

Mr Hynes's nephew James, 80, of Mold, North Wales, who has now written a book based on his uncle's diaries said: ''"As the years went by, I wondered what had happened to Uncle George's stuff.

"When I got in touch with my cousin Ellen, she said she had a 220 pages of typed script pages. He had typed them from his original notes and they were very faint because he had typed them up on a typewriter in the 1930s.

''It is obvious George wanted to rush to Lawrence's defence because there were times when people dismissed him as a bit of a romancer.

''But it was amazing to see details of the X Flights. A lot people obviously know about Lawrence himself but nobody really knows about the X flight - not even the RAF.

''The only people that really knew about the X flights were the people conducting the war in the desert. As soon as they got orders to move after Lawrence had taken Damascus they were simply whisked away.

''It was so secret in fact that after George had been demobbed in 1919 he tried unsuccessfully for two years like the other flight members to get back pay for taking part in them but they didn't get it as the RAF knew nothing about it.''

'X Flight' was a small group of planes used by Lt Col Lawrence and his company to carry out secret missions after taking the town of Aqaba in 1917 during the Arab revolts against the Turks, who had sided with Germany.

Missions included bombing Turkish railway lines, cutting off supply routes and telegraph wires. George Hynes was responsible for keeping the aircraft airworthy. The crew worked in difficult desert conditions, living and working in temperatures that varied between freezing and 100 degrees.

But the diaries detailed the camaraderie between the troop made up of people from different walks of life.

One of his entries said: ''Lord Winterton said to one of Rigger mechanics: ''Wheeler what about breakfast this morning?'' in that English long drawn pronunciation as he would state the perfect English in that peerage manner.

''Lawrence said in his short but polite low voice: 'yes what about you Winterton making breakfast this morning? These men have a rough time getting here.''

Lord Winterton replied: ''Good idea give me the bacon etcetrah!'' and Wheeler settled down to light the fire built of scrubs in desert method and commenced operations.

''Winterton fried the bacon strips that they must have scrounged, for our parties never had such a luxury in advance operations.

''He was doing his best but it caused much humour that us British soldiers relish because Winterton had damned near burnt it all to a cinder as they say in Lancashire.

''That was an incident that Lord Winterton, Lawrence and our ranks fitted into the picture with a true spirit of comradeship on the desert for Lord Winterton was a recruit to desert warfare in Arabia.''

James Hynes a retired English and education lecturer, added: ''Their task on a daily basis was to take reconnaissance photographs to bomb, to machine-gun, and very often to convey Lawrence about to secret airbases.

''The only time the aircraft could fly was 4-6am when the air was cool. The Turks would be at their busiest in the latest time of day when they knew they weren't going to get attacked. The afternoon temperatures might be 100 degrees so it was too dangerous for them to fly.

"Very often these young men would be sleeping in the desert with not only their grey coats but also blankets as it was so cold.

"The x-flight aircraft would take pictures, they would bomb, they would machine-gun and they would attack.

"'Very often Lawrence, would stay on the secret airfield with the fliers and their airmen. But it was made sure he was getting certain messages would dropped for him in bags.

"At one time George had to go out to an aircraft that had gone down in the desert with Lawrence onboard.

''He got a message to go down, George went as a mechanic in charge they saw where the aircraft had come down with Lawrence as passenger. George then fixed the mechanical fault and helped to get the aircraft going again with Lawrence onboard. If he hadn't have fixed it Lawrence would never have survived.

George Hynes maintained contact with Lawrence before the army officer died in a motorcycle accident in 1935 aged 46. George himself died in 1973 aged 78.

"When the Lawrence of Arabia film was shown in Liverpool in 1962, George thought it was a pity nothing was ever shown about X flights. He died without knowing that people are reading about it now.''

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/7961742/Lawrence-of-Arabias-secret-X-flights-revealed-in-diary.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Jan 2011 14:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Disputed Sexuality of T.E. Lawrence
John Godl

In recent years the life and achievements of Thomas Edward Lawrence have been somewhat overshadowed by controversial claims published in posthumous biographies concerning his sexual orientation, accusations that he had been a closet or self repressed homosexual.

The claim was first made by author Richard Aldington 20 years after his death, controversial at the time because none of Lawrence's friends or family supported it. In the wake of his being immortalized in the 1962 David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia a host of other biographers rode Aldington's coat tails, making the titillating claim that he had been both homosexual and sadomasochistic.

Claims seemingly given credence by newspaper interviews with privates of the Tank Corps who confessed to having had flogged Lawrence at his solicitation between 1925 to 1934, combined they set the seal on the alleged secret life of Lawrence of Arabia.

However those making these claims only told half the story, deliberately neglecting or downplaying the effect his having been raped had on his thoughts and actions. The base details of Lawrence's life are already well covered on this site so I won't go into superfluous detail, suffice to recap he was captured by Ottoman Turk's in Deraa in 1916 and subjected to humiliating beatings and sexual assault at the instigation of Governor, or Bey.

Rape in time of war is age old, most people are aware of the suffering of woman and girls during hostilities; however since ancient times it has been a weapon of war used against men. The word itself is derived from the Latin rapere meaning to steal, seize or carry away. In the military context it was a means of stealing a man's honour, a victorious soldier emasculating a vanquished foe in the belief that by forcibly penetrating him he lost his manhood.

This indignity was more often inflicted on members of the officer class in the belief it robbed them of their authority as a leader of men, sometimes resulting in the victims suicide. Gang rape was also considered a means of punishment in some cultures, the Romans, Persians, Ottomans and other societies practiced it.

The Ottoman Turks were infamous for inflicting it throughout the Great War on captured enemy troops, beating and gang raping enemy officers often as a matter of due course. Prisons and garrisons often had personnel who specialized in this abuse, although there was nothing homosexual about it.

The Turkish soldiers perpetrating this war crime certainly never considered themselves gay, like male rapists in prison the act has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the attacker or victim. "It's not about sexual gratification, rather a sexual aggressor using somebody else as a means of expressing their own power and control". [1]

It was a remarkable manifestation of courage, perhaps cathartic release, that Lawrence detailed what happened to him in his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom in 1926. Then as now the fear of being labelled homosexual as a result of such disclosure was a legitimate fear, society having the tendency of blaming the victim of sexual assault rather than the perpetrator.

Homosexuality was a taboo subject at that time, same sex rape was even more taboo. The suspicion Lawrence was homosexual is likely to have been a natural by-product of his shocking disclosure, some readers finding a homo-erotic undertone to his retelling of events.

Then as now few understood the incident in its historic context, the consensus being only homosexuals are victims of same sex rape, that a man can protect himself and if he's raped it's because he wanted to be.

If the 28 year old Lawrence was a virgin at the time of his assault, as many biographers believe, the experience would have had a profoundly negative affect on his concept of self and sexuality. Alas in his lifetime there were no counselling services available to men who had suffered sexual assault, they were expected to get on with their lives with a stiff upper lip.

The post traumatic effects of same sex rape often last a lifetime, T.E. Lawrence manifested all the classic symptoms: workaholism, "depression, anger, increased sense of vulnerability, destructive self image, emotional distancing" [2]

In the wake of the Great War he had difficulties with intimacy, withdrew from relationships or carried them out via mail, had problems trusting people and a defunct sex drive. Not that he ever had much interest in sex at earlier stages of his life, there is no concrete evidence of him having had an intimate relationship with anyone male or female, and he seems to have willingly chosen celibacy as many academics of his class and generation did. His family and friends attested to his sense of horror with regards to sexual subject matter in the years following the war.

Many heterosexual rape survivors question their sexual orientation, "it's not uncommon for a victim to blame himself for the rape, believing that he in some way gave permission to the rapist [3].

Recollection of involuntary physiological responses, erections or ejaculations, etc, during the event often make them question whether they deserved or wanted to be assaulted. There are certainly aspects of this post traumatic introspection in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which many readers have mistaken as homo-erotic influences.

Contrary to popular belief Lawrence's notorious floggings aren't indicators of homosexuality, the fetish is more common with heterosexuals than homosexuals. According to noted psychologist and rape trauma therapist Dr. Michael Hunter Lawrence's "behaviour was a recreation of the experience which marred his life, a repetition compulsion, an attempt to take control of an event which had previously been out of his control".

His victimology isn't unique, "people often repeat their prior traumas, literally or symbolically, both conscious and unconscious". [4] Psychologist's also believe Lawrence changed his name twice because he felt emasculated by his experience and wanted to escape the macho, action man image being forced upon him by popular culture increasingly obsessed with "Lawrence of Arabia". By changing his name he took on another persona, left the wounded rape victim behind and became someone else for a period of time.

Over the past few decades pop biographers, historians and gay activists have made an art form of deliberately misinterpreting biographical information on notable people to sell their otherwise repetitious tomes or push an agenda.

Any figure who remained unmarried, had close same sex friendships or acted in a way perceived flamboyant by modern standards is automatically presumed homosexual.

Evidence is not required, only innuendo, few figures escape sensational revisionism: Alexander the Great (356BC-323BC), Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), General Kitchener (1850-1916), Howard Carter (1837-1939) who discovered Tutankhamen's tomb, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) and even the fictional Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson have been reclassified as homosexuals; whilst General Gordon (1833-1885) of Khartoum fame is recast a suspected paedophile for having helped homeless boys get off the streets of London; Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898) recast a sexual deviant and Jack the Ripper suspect for having helped save woman from prostitution in 1888.

Few historic figures escape contemporary insinuation, T.E. Lawrence was one of the first casualties of it, the psychological after effects of having been brutally raped portrayed as sexual deviancy to sell books or justify someone else's modern lifestyle.

In the final analysis his sexual orientation shouldn't be an issue, if he was homosexual it wouldn't add or subtract from his legacy, but in the interests of historical scholarship it's important to view facts in their proper context.

References:
1. Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender, Dr. A. Nicholas Groth
2. Silent Victims: Bringing Male Rape Out of the Closet, by Sue Brochman (1991)
3. Adult Male Sexual Assault in the Community: A Literature Review and Group Treatment Model, Paul Isley. (1991)
4. Dr. Jim Hopper Ph.D. Research Associate, Boston University School of Medicine Trauma Center, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.

Sources:
University of Texas Counseling & Mental Health Center
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. USA
Dr. Micael Hunter, Ph.D.


http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/telawrence.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Mei 2013 16:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Quote:
On This Day: World War I hero Lawrence of Arabia dies

May 19, 1935: The celebrated British military hero Lawrence of Arabia died on this day in 1935 after being catapulted from his motorbike as he swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles.

Colonel T.E. Lawrence, whose First World War desert adventures inspired a 1962 movie that won seven Oscars, succumbed to his injuries six days after the accident.

The former liaison officer, who famously dressed as a Bedouin while leading an Arab revolt, insisted on having a simple funeral near his home in Dorset.


But it was still attended by a host of celebrities, including future Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was filmed arriving at the church in Moreton.

A British Pathe newsreel also captured Albert Hargreaves, 14, who was one of the cyclists Lawrence had tried to avoid after coming over a blind hill.

Lawrence, the illegitimate son of landowner Sir Thomas Chapman, refused a knighthood for himself in 1918 and famously hated conformity.

Yet his valiant deeds and indomitable spirit helped him win the hearts of many he encountered.

The former Oxford University scholar, who had extensively travelled through the Middle East doing research, was recruited by British intelligence in Cairo in 1914.

In 1916 he was sent to present-day Saudi Arabia to help insurgents fight the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, which then ruled the region and had sided with Germany.

He helped Hashemite forces to carry out guerrilla attacks and – to the astonishment of his hosts, who called him ‘El Aurens’ – took great pride in living like a Bedouin.

Most famously, he led a daring raid on Aqaba - in present-day Jordan – after a tortuous eight-week camel trek across the desert.

Lawrence, who at the time was ranked captain, realised the remote coastal city’s fixed guns faced only the sea and therefore could not repel an inland attack.

He was revered by Arabs, who he hoped might establish an independent pan-Arabian state after the war.

Yet his dreams were dashed after the Britain and France largely divided the region following the death of the Ottoman Empire.

After the war, Lawrence joined the RAF and, as well as learning to fly, enjoyed high-speed boats and motorcycles. He retired from the forces in 1935.


http://uk.news.yahoo.com/on-this-day-lawrence-of-arabia-dies-133948415.html

De link naar de video van de begrafenis in het artikel werkt niet, dus zelf even opgezocht: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/lawrence-of-arabia-simple-funeral

Zie ook: http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?p=89768#89768
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BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Mrt 2018 12:37    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918

James Barr - W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 - 382 pagina's

It was T. E. Lawrence's classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom that made the Arab Revolt a legend and helped turn the British intelligence officer into the mythical “Lawrence of Arabia.” But the intrigue behind the revolt and its startling consequences for the present-day Middle East have remained a mystery for nearly one hundred years.James Barr spent four years trawling declassified archives in Europe and crossing the hostile deserts of the Middle East to re-create the revolt as the international drama it really was. A colorful cast of Arab sheiks, British and French soldiers, spies, and diplomats come together in this gripping narrative of political maneuvering, guerrilla warfare, and imperial greed. Setting the Desert on Fire is a masterly account of a key moment in the history of the Middle East, and a portrait of Lawrence himself that is bright, nuanced, and full of fresh insights into the true nature of the master mythmaker.

Online te lezen... https://books.google.nl/books/about/Setting_the_Desert_on_Fire.html?id=8z4aqCjfCyYC&redir_esc=y
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BerichtGeplaatst: 05 Jun 2018 10:14    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Welcome to the website of the T. E. Lawrence Society

The International Society for all those with an interest in the life and works of T. E. Lawrence.

http://www.telsociety.org.uk/
Ook op FB: https://www.facebook.com/telawrencesociety/

Relive Lawrence’s War - 100 years on - in a blog using excerpts from his letters and other writings.

http://www.telsociety.org.uk/about-lawrence/centenary/
Or follow Lawrence at www.facebook.com/lawrenceswar
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"Omdat ik alles beter weet is het mijn plicht om betweters te minachten."
Marcel Wauters, Vlaams schrijver en kunstenaar 1921-2005
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