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Glenn Ashton Blog
Should Lawrence of Arabia have been put on trial? Why?
Every now and then a convulsive heave of History throws up a man or a woman who steps forward, grips History by the scruff of its neck, and makes it move in a direction he or she has chosen.
Such a man was T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia.
Driven by forces within him, Lawrence found himself able to play a major role in one of the vital theatres of the conflagration we now call World War I. From his station in Cairo, Lawrence plunged into the events taking place in Arabia, meeting and befriending and finally advising and leading the leaders of the Arab resistance against the rule of Turkey.
His story is legendary; his exploits documented in his own writings and the writings of others.
This play is set in Arabia. It places Lawrence in the dock of an imaginary court, charged with the theft of the souls of some of the men he lead. It uses his own words, from his writings, especially The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, to lay out the case against him, and in his defence.
This play is dedicated to Lawrence, and to all those who have read about him and about the war in Arabia.
Please read more about this book at Glenn's Amazon site by clicking here: https://www.amazon.com/author/glennashton
P Let me remind you of the charges, Mr. Lawrence. You stand in the dock because you are accused of the theft of the souls of men you led into battle.
You have built your theft on the foundation of three lies.
You lied to the Arabs.
You lied to your government.
You lied to yourself.
The only people you did not lie to were your readers. Your own hand will convict you.
You duped all the men you came across, from Feisal down to the men who rode with you through the desert ...
L Don’t say anything about Feisal, you know him not. If you had walked where he walked! Heard the rope-sounds as his friends were hanged, while he stood next to his host, Jemal, invited to join the festivities. He ran a double life, on orders of his father. Messages from son to father in cakes, in the soles of shoes, in sword-hilts...
In the background the chorus of Orrence! Orrence! Orrence! swells then dies out. The Prosecutor waits a moment, her eyes steady on Lawrence. She unconsiously mimics his toying with his robes.
P You and your fellow Boy Scouts in Egypt; you called yourselves the Intrusives. How apt! You intruded upon the Arab world, you intruded upon the homes of the ignorant, you intruded upon a war that was not your war.
L You were not there. They - the ones in Whitehall - they were wrong; so wrong. Like you, they were not there. They thought the smashing of Turkey would be a promenade.
P But you were a prophet - you could see things as they were, as they were to be ... “... so they required a prophet to set them forth.” And you were their prophet?
L If you say so.
P Their self-appointed prophet ...
L Leaders are not appointed. They arise.
P From what?
L From history.
L Will you give me no peace? Will you not stop your hounding?
P It is you, Orrence, who hounds yourself. Your honest self