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T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") - A Troublemaker And a Worthless Legend


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Author Topic: T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") - A Troublemaker And a Worthless Legend  (Read 58 times)
Zeynab
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« on: September 21, 2020, 02:17:46 pm »






The appalling manner in which this ordinary man has been glamorized into a stupendously over-rated celebrity makes it necessary to discuss a little on who he actually was - a moral failure. 

As a notorious narcissist his obsession with fraud was remarkable, hellbent on grabbing credit for what others accomplished in Arabia.  All those dashing recounts about Lawrence's swashbuckling battlefield adventures, epic travels across deserts, the bold attack on Aqaba and the 'heartwrenching' stories of his own suffering during his missions are all uncorroborated stories with not a shred of evidence and not a single witness except Lawrence himself who was known to be a dreamy storyteller with a penchant for fantasy since his days in senior school.

Born out of wedlock, he knew little about his paternity until his father died in 1919.  His family was dysfunctional and his childhood  troubled.  In early 1880s, an 18-year-old British woman named Sarah Lawrence went to work as a governess (nanny) in the mansion of an Irish elite, Thomas Chapman.  They had a raving affair and Thomas Edward Lawrence  was born in 1885.  Chapman left his wife and moved to Britain with his young lover.  They lived together for some years, never married and the children were given the mother's surname.  They had at least four more children excluding T. E. Lawrence.  Chapman obviously had no intentions of long term commitments;  he never gave his surname to his children with Sarah.   Back in those days a man had no financial responsibilities towards a woman without a legal marriage even if they had that many children, though it's likely Chapman may have supported them monetarily for a while. 

It was widely rumored that T. E. Lawrence was homosexual (a gay in modern terms) which might have been the reason he never married, though myths and tales have arisen of a female lover or two he may have had.  The strangest of such tales claim he had a brief marriage lasting a few months in Lahore (today's Pakistan) in late 1920s to a woman parented by a British businessman residing in Lahore and his Punjabi girlfriend, a milkmaid, who became his wife.  A little known story with no reliable sources, yet you can read it for amusement at blog Lawrence of Arabia married to a Lahorite.

T.E. Lawrence was not a tall guy as represented by the six-foot and three-inch Peter O'Toole in the 1962 movie "Lawrence of Arabia."  The real Lawrence was only five feet six inches in height, something that made him somewhat self-conscious.



T.E. Lawrence and his journalist friend, Lowell Thomas, the person who made him famous as "Lawrence of Arabia."   As can be seen, T.E. Lawrence was a person of short stature unlike the movie portrayal.

Many thinking minds wonder if the name of "Saudi" Arabia officially given to the Arabian Peninsula in 1932 was the brainchild of T.E. Lawrence

Here is a quick wrap-up of the Saudi history to get an idea of later developments and the situation in which Lawrence carried out his missions, assisting the Saudis to topple the Ottoman Turks.  The Saudi clan's origins can be traced to Najd near Riyadh.  The initial Saudi state was conquered in 1818 by the Ottoman Pasha, Muhammad Ali.  Between 1824 and 1902 many battles were fought between the Saudi clan and its local predecessors.  History vividly highlights a pattern of using and dumping its own fighters by the House of Saud.  In 1902 (almost eighty years after being sacked by the Ottomans), Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud with some sixty of his brothers and cousins rode out into the desert to restore the rule of Al Saud.  He re-captured Riyadh.  But to conquer all of the Arabian Peninsula he needed the help of the nomadic Bedouins called ‘Ikhwan’ or Muslim Brothers who were renowned warriors and fervent "puritans" wanting to spread their distorted brand of 'Islam' throughout the Middle East.  With the help of the Ikhwans, Abdul Aziz captured province after province of the vast desert with the sword and plenty of bloodshed.   But the Ikhwans were still restless and wanted to take over regions beyond Arabia.  When Abdul Aziz disagreed, the Ikhwans rebelled.  With the endorsement of his theological ally, al-Wahab, Abdul Aziz crushed the Ikhwans, declared himself “king” and in 1932 gave his family name to the entire Arabian peninsula.

Going back into the past, from 1824 onward the growth of the Saudi clan was stunted.  But by 1924 the Ottomans were weakened. Taking advantage of the situation, the Saudis attacked Hejaz and stormed Makkah.  That's when the ambitious Muhammed bin Saud (Sultan of Nejd) allied himself with the theologian, Muhammad ibn al-Wahhab.  Wahab preached the deviated Salafist ideology.    He was particularly scornful of Shiia Islam, being largely responsible for gradually deepening the Sunni-Shiia divide.  Oil was discovered in the so-called kingdom in 1938 when the Bedouins began rolling and basking in wealth.   But prior to that, finances were precarious; the major sources of income were the annual Muslim pilgrimage - the Hajj - to Makkah and Medina, customs and taxes, and international aid and loans which also depended on the  global situation and the interests of foreign parties.   

Coming back to the story of T. E. Lawrence, such was the setting in the Arabian peninsula during his disruptive mission assisting the Bedouins with insurgency against the Ottomans.

Lawrence worked for the British intelligence.  He visited Syria and Palestine in early 1900s supposedly as an  Oxford archaeology student, but his real assignment was that of a spy.  He was sent for a secret military survey of the region which was then ruled by the Ottoman Turks.  In 1914 Lawrence worked at the office of the British intelligence in Cairo.  Two years later in 1916 he was sent to the Arabian peninsula to lead battlefield expeditions and military missions to help the Arab revolt against the Ottomans though Lawrence didn't have any formal military training.  Throughout WW1 this man was an unknown figure and no one even knew what he looked like.  People began to know him soon after WW1 in 1920 when a little-known American war journo, Lowell Thomas, launched a lecture tour with photographs and trailor-films labeling the untrained British 'colonel' as "Lawrence of Arabia" that people began glamorizing this man as a hero in a way he never really was.

Birds of a feather flock together.  In 1921 the divide-n-rule top-dog, Winston Churchill, who was then Colonial Secretary employed Lawrence as an advisor on Arab affairs.  The two men got along fine and became lifelong friends.

After WW1 from 1922 onward, his existence became totally dubious under more than one false identity.  He first joined the British air force under a pseudonym, John Hume Ross.   Few months later when the media revealed the secret, he was discharged from the job.  He then joined the British tank unit, Royal Tank Regiment, under the fictitious name, Thomas Edward Shaw, after consultation with his Irish (author) friend, George Bernard Shaw.  In case you didn't know, the so-called "Royal" Tank Regiment specializes in 'shock action' which refers to the use of sudden and horrifying violent force to overwhelm and destroy the opponents. 

Then a sudden change of profession by this sleuth.  He claimed to have translated the Greek epic saga, Homer’s Odyssey, into English under the same pseudo name, T.E. Shaw.

In late 1920s, Lawrence also reportedly carried out plenty of subversive activities disguised as an Arab cleric to destabilize Afghanistan under King Amanullah who was firmly anti British.

He was known to be a motorbike enthusiast.  Probably that was the only thing in his life that was true about him.  It finally killed this incendiary spook in 1935 when he sped across the narrow road of a countryside in Britain on a spring morning, mid May.  Two young boys riding their bicycles approached from the opposite end.  As he swerved to avoid them, he grazed against one of the bikes and was thrown over the handlebars of his motorbike.  He sustained massive head injuries and died six days later on May 19 at age forty-six.

The British government was getting increasingly uneasy over his “real” ambitions.  People involved in subversive activities outside their country tend to make trouble at home too, one way or another .. 'you reap what you sow' kind of a story.   In unspoken words the British Foreign Office breathed a sigh of relief when it learned he was killed in a motorbike crash one fine morning.  The reaction was good riddance rather than any love lost.
   

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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2020, 01:19:58 pm »


This man was terribly dubious.  A true troublemaker, right title.   And just the sort of scumbag the incompetent Bedouins would love. 

😅 Also reminds me, the current so-called King Abdullah of Jordan is often called the "Lawrence of Arabia" king because if that movie wasn't made in 1962, he wouldn't have been born in 1961.  His mom, Avril Gardiner, was a secretary of one of the directors of the movie working on the sets when it was being filmed in Jordan.  That's how she met Hussein bin Talal the womanizer.  But Avril Gardiner was very ordinary looking so Hussein fell out of love with her after few years of marriage. 


 
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2020, 01:13:36 am »




These are the type of people that are turned into celebrity-heroes and legends and saddest of all, many in the Muslim world accept these as the stories of "great ones."


 

All those dashing recounts about Lawrence's swashbuckling battlefield adventures, epic travels across deserts, the bold attack on Aqaba and the 'heartwrenching' stories of his own suffering during his missions are all uncorroborated stories with not a shred of evidence and not a single witness except Lawrence himself 

 

Temperamentally he seems a lot like Abu Huraira, a tale-teller with only himself as the witness ... "Abu Lawrence" 😂


I too heard that bit about Abdullah's mother working with the L of A film team.  Is that really true?   Speaks much about Hussein's wandering eyes for just about any woman.

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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 11:04:42 am »




Temperamentally he seems a lot like Abu Huraira, a tale-teller with only himself as the witness ... "Abu Lawrence"   

😄 Yes I'm sure Lawrence and Huraira would both qualify for 'liars wimbledom' finals.



I too heard that bit about Abdullah's mother working with the L of A film team.  Is that really true?   ......


O yeah, absolutely true ..



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