Relevance of the Book “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” Essay
Updated: Nov 5th, 2018
Based on a movie by David lean the book “Pillars of Wisdom” is a reflection of a British soldier, Lawrence of Arabia experiences when he worked with the rebel forces as a liaison officer during the revolt by the Arabs against the Ottoman Turks between 1916 and 1918.
According to the story, just before the World War one, Lawrence as a British official had begun his scholarly work in which he focused on the seven great cities in the Middle East. The consequent event was a break out of wars between the Arabs and the Turks. He then claimed to have spoilt the manuscript containing his work.
The war broke in a location called Wadi Rum also known as the valley of the moon. The location of this place is cut into the granite and sandstorm rock at 60 km south east of Akaba. This wadi is the largest in the city of Jordan with the name originating from an Aromatic meaning “elevated” or “high”. The Arabs continued with their revolt against the Ottoman Turks with the situation worsening and everywhere as depicted there blood and murder.
Some of the Englishmen are heard claiming that they feel that the consequence of the revolt against the Turks would be to allow England, in its fight with Germany, to also defeat Turkey. Since they knew the nature, power and the Arabic-speaking people country, they felt that the concern of such a rebellion would be good. This is what made Britain to support the rebellion by enhancing the Arabs rebellion against the Turks.
Due to its natural strength, it was not easy to capture the port of Akaba from the inland. It is the devotion the British troops had to Feisal of Auda Abu Tayi that gave them hope of enrolling sufficient tribesmen from the desert in the east so as to enhance their strength. Lawrence of Arabia and his colleagues Auda and Nassir decided to be part of the struggle.
Even though Fiesal had been the leader of the public, his support of the “sejh” made Lawrence not comfortable with the issue of the northern expedition. As depicted, it seems accepting the situation was the only way to be victorious in the ongoing battle. The British troops then were successful in tricking the Turks allowing them to access the Akaba with wonderful fortune.
By the end of 1917, Allenby’s troop was ready to ambush the Turks through a general attack along his whole front. Lawrence and his Arabs were in a passion to do the same in their side, but as he claims, he was afraid of acting without deliberating upon it first. As an alternative, he designed the operation of cutting the railway along the Yarmuk valley so that they would make the Turkish troops to retreat. It was very unfortunate that this measure failed.
After Jerusalem was captured, Allenby assigned Lawrence and his colleague a limited objective so as to seek his emancipation. At the beginning it was all well, but after they arrived at the Dead Sea, they met challenges such as unfavorable weather, bad temper and conflict of interest which blunted their motivation and togetherness which resulted to break up and the force was distorted.
Lawrence of Arabia differed with Zeid and surrendered, and then decided to return home to search for an alternative job since, according to him, they had failed. This time Allenby had a prospectus project to begin in the coming spring. Lawrence was sent to Feisal with new duties and power by Allenby.
In 1918, Lawrence and his troops organized ways of reinforcing the Arab Army for operations during the autumn near Daara and Sakhr and Beni country. Unfortunately this plan was put aside after one month of preparations due to its risk and the provision of a better alternative.
During the 20th Century, the Arab countries in the Middle East suffered much trauma and dislocation especially during the World War I. During this conflict, the Turkish Empire led by Ottoman sided with central power to overcome their enemy. To Bin Ali, this was seen as a superb opportunity to reclaim Arab’s land. The British helped Bin Ali in this endeavor.
In 1908, following the Young Turk Coup, pluralistic and pan-Islamic policies were abandoned by the Ottomans and instead pursued a policy of nationalism for secular Turkish. Ottoman agreed to side with the central power and, in 1914, upheld the vow to ban the use of Arabic language both as an official language and as a subject to be taught in the education system.
This was seen as an attempt to seek for support from one of the foreign European powers to ensure that the new power was protected. The British leadership was seen as opportunistic and was in most occasions engaging with the newly established leaderships so that it can get reciprocated favors.
The British leadership also targeted the prominent people who could have some clout to ensure that they influenced the policies and the much needed support especially during the war. The Great Britain also ensured that it won the favor of locals and thus they ensured that they supported what was perceived to be the prominent ideals of the locals.
This was well exemplified by the support Britain accorded to Rothschild. Arthur Balfour, the British Secretary, issued a letter to a British Jew of prominent status, Lord Rothschild, in 1917, making a promise that British had committed to support Palestine as a Jewish home (Wilson 123).
The story revolves around the Arab countries in the Middle East and how the Arabs through the Great Arabic revolution attempted to seek for emancipation from the Turkish oppression. The main players in reality as depicted in the book are the Arabic leader Sharif Hussein who was nationalist and his sons Abdulla and Feisal who led Arabic forces to war. In the story, there is Feisal and the Emirs Abdulla and Allenby.
The Arabs are fighting against oppression by the Ottoman’s rule and it is during the struggle that Britain come in with reasons that it will help the Arabs get emancipation from the Turkish oppression. Germany, Turkey, Britain and France are interested with the land and that is why they are struggling in battles. Lawrence of the Arabia is depicted as the main actor in the story and a British officer in the liaison department (Graves 10).
Events of this narrative happen to be a reality of what had happened years ago during the great Arab revolution which happened in Damascus, Bagdad, Anatolia and Yemen in Palestine. The seven pillars of wisdom even though claimed to have borrowed the title from the bible, has a factual meaning with relation to the seven Cities of the Arabic countries as targets by the colonialists.
These cities are believed to be, Cairo, Aleppo, Smyrna, Medina, Damascus, Beyrout and Constantinople. Lawrence was a British official who collaborated with the Arabs to seek for emancipation which made him to be known as Lawrence of the Arabs (Graves 19).
The narrative plays a very significant part in helping understand the culture, religion, political, social, economics and other aspects of people in the Middle East. As depicted in the narrative, once the Turkish rule gained control over the land, Arabic as the official language in the country was abandoned. The language was before used even in schools as a tool for societal integration.
The soldiers of the Islam background seems to be very united through the teachings of Quran as they enter into holy war seeking for their people and land’s emancipation. We can see how the central political power in the country is organized when the King authorizes a revolution against the Turks. Through the narrative we further learns a lot concerning political and economical and religious significance to the Arabs attempt to emancipate them from colonial rule.
The series of events as depicted in the book led to several impacts to the society. First, severe drought appeared which forced many people to migrate. Many Arabs workers also lost their jobs at the expense of the Jews. Many customary Palestinian industries failed to compete in the global market when led to unprofitability. The Arab tenant farmers were displaced by the Zionists who bought the land.
Graves, Robert. Lawrence and the Arabs, London: Jonathan Cape, 2010. Print.
Wilson, Jeremy. Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence, London: William Heinemann, 2003. Print.
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