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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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T. E. Lawrence (1918) - The real "Lawrence of Arabia"
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I watched the movie Lawrence of Arabia last night. I have to admit one reason was I wanted to see C&R rifles. It wasn't the first time I saw the film, but it's probably been 25 years since I watched the 1962 masterpiece. It seemed much different, not just because I was now interested in Enfields and Mausers.

Decades ago, I enjoyed "Lawrence of Arabia" as a captivating war movie. Exotic desert backgrounds and star performances by cinematic greats, such as Peter O'Toole, Omar Shariff, and Alec Guiness made the film an oscar-winning treat. It was also interesting to see some period Enfield rifles, though I wondered whether Arabs would have preferred Mausers captured from the Turks or obtained before the War?

However, watching it again gave me new perspectives. Before discussing it further, let's agree on one thing. The movie was Hollywood. T. E. Lawrence was not a tall, handsome, heroic figure. He was 5-4 and described as having a big head. Maybe, that makes his accomplishments more incredible? I'm sure liberties were taken with other figures, such as Faisal.

It has long been accepted that many of Lawrence's claims were contrived. Journalist Lowell Thomas probably played a wiling part in making Lawrence a legend. Still, he was a heroic figure among Arabs, some even wondering whether the was a prophet. Lawrence led a historic Arab assault on Aqaba, as depicted in the movie, and made a legendary trek from there through the Sinai Desert across the Suez Canal to Cairo. His efforts to destroy the Ottoman Empire's railroads tied down many Turkish troops. In fact, many military sources look at his campaigns as models for guerilla warfare.

Though the age of SMLE rifles may have passed, the film is relevant today. Maybe, Lawrence was a prophet. As Jesus said, "No prophet is well received in his own land." Actually Lawrence was well received, even celebrated, but his preachings were not. For one thing, T.E. Lawrence rejected Zionism. He would not have supported creating a separate Jewish state in a muslim world. Lawrence counseled one Zionist leader, Aaron Aaronsohn, that Jews in the Middle East would be better served by assimilation among the Arabs! Had Britain listened to him, there would been no Israel/Arab Wars, no Israel/Palestinian conflict. Lawrence also argued for an Arab Nation, but he understood Britain had other plans. yet, had they heeded his words, there would have been no post-war revolt in Iraq. Lawrence had to help broker peace there in the 20s. I remember watching interviews of Iraqis after Coalition forces invaded Iraq, and how they still remembered the "pink skinned" British. Resentment of foeign rule continued 8 decades later!

The movie demonstrated how colonialism plagued the world. It not only made second class citizens of people in their own homelands, but it constantly invited conflict between great powers. For instance, Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire had been allies and had no disagreements with one another, yet found themselves at war! And - Britain found herself allied with perennial foe, France! How would Britain divide the spoils of War with France, a longtime nemesis? She used Lawrence's exploits to deny Middle Eastern colonies to the French.

In the movie, Lawrence learns of an "agreement" between France and Great Britain. France would gain Syria after the War. The British never intended to do as they agreed. Probably, the French never really planned to live up to their side, either. I guess that's what "sophisticated" people do? Britain used Lawrence's exagerated exploits to explain to the French that they could not have Syria, because the Syrians had already liberated themselves.

One good source for information about T. E. Lawrence is - T. E. Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia.
 

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Lawrence wrote an account of his Middle East adventures, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom." I had heard that it was absolutely awful. I stumbled across a copy, though, and found it to be an interesting and highly entertaining read, strongly recommended.

One specific thing I remember from it was Lawrence's observation that two Arabs were the best soldiers possible, while 1,000 Arabs were the worst soldiers possible. Two Arabs with a couple of rifles would hide among the rocks and snipe at their opponents; 1,000 Arabs would instead promptly get themselves slaughtered in a glorious frontal assault.

The book also gives some insight into how the Ottoman Empire was broken up after WWI, with us still reaping the consequences of that including creating the Palestine and Iraqi mandates that the Brits try to create independent mult-ethnic democracies out of those two areas carved out of the Ottoman Empire.
 

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I read somewhere that ole Lawrence was gayer than Alexander the Great.

Discovered a penchant for Sado-Masochistic Sodomy whilst interred in a Turkish prison.
(Mighta been Egyptian, I dunno, dont really give a shit)
Anyway , if I remember right this article also showed a pic of him after his military years posing a la Maplethorpe dressed in leather and holding a whip.

:eek:
 

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Yep, in fact in "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" there's a passage that is quite a beautifuly and lyrical ode to sex between men, fairly early on in the book. I was quite suprised when I ran across that, given how old that book is (early 20's, I believe) - must have really shocked people back then.
 

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D.B.Cooper said:
I read somewhere that ole Lawrence was gayer than Alexander the Great.

Discovered a penchant for Sado-Masochistic Sodomy whilst interred in a Turkish prison.
(Mighta been Egyptian, I dunno, dont really give a shit)
Anyway , if I remember right this article also showed a pic of him after his military years posing a la Maplethorpe dressed in leather and holding a whip.

:eek:
Ah, thank you for that highly uninteresting, yet irritating post there DB. Don't you have a defensless animal to go molest or something?

Lawrence was indeed a brave and resourceful fellow, and understood the Arab mind better than just about anybody in the world at that time.
World War I still confuses historians to this day. Possiby the most pointless, worthless war ever fought, the real causes of that war are vague enough to confound even specialists to this day. Basically it was a case of "seemed like the right thing to do at the time" although everybody knew it wasn't the right thing to do. The strangest part of all: The Kaiser, The Czar, and the King of England were all related, cousins actually, and all were frequent guests at one another's courts. It's enough to give one a headache.
 

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cammobunker said:
Ah, thank you for that highly uninteresting, yet irritating post there DB. Don't you have a defensless animal to go molest or something?
Nope, your Mommy left me plenty satisfied last night.
:thumbsdow


archiebunker said:
Lawrence was indeed a brave and resourceful fellow, and understood the Arab mind better than just about anybody in the world at that time.
What in the hell does that have to do with Sexual Preference and/or orientation??? Are you saying that **** aren't allowed to be brave and/or resourceful? Alexander was as queer as a three dollar bill and conquered the better part of southwest Asia and northeast Africa.
:whack:

cammobunker said:
World War I still confuses historians to this day. Possiby the most pointless, worthless war ever fought, the real causes of that war are vague enough to confound even specialists to this day. Basically it was a case of "seemed like the right thing to do at the time" although everybody knew it wasn't the right thing to do. The strangest part of all: The Kaiser, The Czar, and the King of England were all related, cousins actually, and all were frequent guests at one another's courts. It's enough to give one a headache.
Cant say I dont argree with you there. John Keegan has a couple of decent books out about it, and I still try to find books involving first-hand accounts, but havent had much luck.
:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lawrence of Arabia, Jr?

I wasn't going to do this after making such a well-researched topic, but someone suggested that John Kerry missed an opportunity to claim kinship with Lawrence of Arabia, to wit:





Could it be?
 

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D.B.Cooper said:
...I still try to find books involving first-hand accounts, but havent had much luck.
:cheers:
DB, you gotta pick up Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. Readily available. I think it's still in print, and, if not, you should be able to get a copy through the public library's inter-library loan. (That's where I got it - buying books is too expensive, I save up my pennies for those I can't get through the library.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dzerzhinsky said:
DB, you gotta pick up Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. Readily available. I think it's still in print, and, if not, you should be able to get a copy through the public library's inter-library loan. (That's where I got it - buying books is too expensive, I save up my pennies for those I can't get through the library.)
It's available online for free at:

http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/l/l42s/
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
I save up my pennies for those I can't get through the library.)
You mean the ones on the rack next to fine periodicals such as Hustler and Juggs?
;)

I'll look into it. Olympia is even more radically leftist than...well...just about anywhere. Even Eugene, Berkeley, or even Elko. There's a dozen small bookstores all over town that deal in hard to find, banned, and out-of-print books. You should come visit some day. Maybe check out The Procession of the Species.


Now you aren't suckering me into buying a book chock full of homoerotic prose are ya?
 

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D.B.Cooper said:
You mean the ones on the rack next to fine periodicals such as Hustler and Juggs?
...Now you aren't suckering me into buying a book chock full of homoerotic prose are ya?
Well, any store that carries "Leather Boys in Bondage", "Pre-Teen Pink", and "Farm Fun" should have it.

AClay posted a link to where you can read it on-line. Very cool. Thanks, AClay!

DB, if you're into 1st person accounts of WWII, Goebbel's diaries have been published. Volume 1 is great, Volume 2 ("Final Entries") sucks. Both available in paperback.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
DB, if you're into 1st person accounts of WWII, Goebbel's diaries have been published. Volume 1 is great, Volume 2 ("Final Entries") sucks. Both available in paperback.
Thanks.
Another one worth mentioning is "Frontsoldaten" which is primarily a collection of letters sent home from Wehrmacht soldiers on The Eastern Front, with a bit thrown in from survivors of that massacre (all three of 'em).

Very hard to find, The copy I read came from a former Hitler Youth post-war refugee from Heidelburg who had procured the English edition for his son to read.
 
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