The Reformer's Firebrand

*-{The New Canadian Colonist's Advocate }-* A commentary of fiery reformist sentiment from the spirit of it's 210 year old Canadian ghost publisher patron. This will be a home to the new wave of anti-partisan advocacy for defeating Canada's second "family compact" and reinstallation of responsible governance in this 21st century new Canadian democratic dominion.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Was T.E. Lawrence All that Wrong about "Arabia"?


I just recently put down one of the most politically timely reads, as well as the best Biography, I have ever read. This great reading came from a book called " A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence" by John E. MacK.

In it I was acquainted with the wonderful first hand understanding this British officer (of Lawrence of Arabia fame) had of the Muslim mindset and culture. Also in this book the author recounts a number of observations and predictions Lawrence made on such (now) timely subjects as, foreign imperialism's impact on Arab politics, Bolshevism's potential to keep an Arab state in constant factional conflict, the inherent factionalism of Islamic tribal culture and the reconciling with that and theocratic fervor by any Arab ruler hoping to nationalize Islam under a united states type of coalition. The parallels to the failings of UN, British, French, Russian and American foreign policy in dealing with the four major stumbling blocks contained in the Arab/Islam mindset is stark and brilliant in light of the global political situation and the way Islam's states have played since colonialization failed in the region.

Primary among these is Dr. Mack's insight into the generational psychological damage of constant regional/tribal/theological conflict has reeked on both Islamic and Hebrew cultures in the Middle-east. T.E Lawrence's observation that this "warrior" culture having to made culturally unpopular for more intellectual and productive pursuits, being central to "settling" the region is as pertinent today as it was in Lawrence's day...this point is validated by Dr. Mack's own observations.

A great read that I would recommend to anyone wanting a first hand insight into the mindset behind Islamic culture and politics.

3 Comments:

Blogger Aizlynne said...

Thanks for the excerpts. These days, that's about the extent of my reading.. whatever is posted on blogs and the net..

July 15, 2005 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Debris Trail said...

I'm wondering if Iraq will prove to be the seed that begins the changes needed in the Arab world; as mentioned. I hope it doesn't just end up being another failed Western intervention. What a waste of Iraqi and Coalition lives that'll be.

July 15, 2005 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger W.L. Mackenzie Redux said...

Syria & I ran are the key. These are the oldest common Arab cultures/tribes in a modern nation state. Problem is their nation is in the grips of the type of tyrannical autocratic political regime Lawrence feared finding its way to the Arab peoples. He felt thay could adapt all to well to tyranny and then they would never progress.

I think he admired them greatly but saw them as somewhat a once great delinquent children that needed help to mature back to their former level of greatness. He also realized they had to be made unaware they were getting help from the western super powers and in no way should they be subjugated to a imperialistic colonialization as the French, Turks and Brits were attempting.

Lawrence's attitude was a bit skewed and dismissive of some of the darker realities of Islamic life such as the “holy blood feuds” and acceptance of barbarism as a form of order and justice. Lawrence was a romantic and a historical scholar who studied the early Islamic empire, it's math, science, astronomy and technology.....he was in love with this image of Islam’s great past…he wanted to be the man who helped spark its revival. He realized Islam was a once great culture and nation when it was united....The city streets of their nation’ Capital had public lighting and libraries when Europe was still a mass of hide-clad warring tribes…..he was aware of the historical irony that the roles were now reversed.

One thing that has not changed from that day to this is the fact that Islamic culture is a culture of factious warring peoples. . The factionalism between clans and religious sects has held their maturation as a united nation back. Had Lawrence lived to see things today, he would also concur that the war-ridden intergenerational culture, and now criminal terror, had effected the very soul of his chosen peoples ( the "Arabs"). The Islamic peoples in the Mid east, may have been warring tribes in the past but they had a code of honor and respect for battle and their opponents and a fundamental sense of justice and fairness....even this has been obliterated by the warring faction’s adoption of errant post modern political ideologies and the ethics of the Bolshevik urban revolutionary.

July 16, 2005 at 6:22 AM  

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