Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts on Edward Said and T.E. Lawrence

By Sodium

The late Dr. Edward Said is a giant of giants, when it comes to the subject of orientalism. His book titled, “ ORIENTALISM ”, is the gold standard when it comes to exposing the English language orientalists for what they actually were and are. He had to take two years sabbatical from his university job to do the researches required, in order to write “ORIENTALISM”.

Something else was impressive about Dr. Edward Said: He was born to a Christian family and he was raised as Christian. And to my knowledge, he never changed his religion, but he understood the essence of Islam as it should be understood; and he defended Islam more effectively than any Muslim could in the United States of America. If one wishes to explore this point further, one should read his book entitled, “ COVERING ISLAM ”.

The British and French governments before, during, and after the First World War wanted to achieve the following accomplishments in the Middle East:

~ Defeat the Ottoman empire which colonized the whole Middle East, under the banner of Islam and clean the region from all influences of the Ottoman empire.

~ Divide the whole region into separate political entities with political borders, customs and passport controls, in accordance to the SECRET agreement signed by Britain’s and France’s officials during the war. This SECRET agreement, later on, became well known as the Sykes-Picot Accord, based on the names of the British and French offials who signed it. What was known geographically then as “Greater Syria” under the Ottoman colonialism was divided into the following states:

Syria, Lebanon, Palestine,Trans Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait which was really part of Iraq before the discovery of oil in it, ( for objectivity, I must say that Saddam Hussein was correct when he claimed in 1990-1991 that Kuwait was an integral part of Iraq. )

What had helped T. E .Lawrence, ( Lawrence of Arabia ), in tricking and deceiving “those Arabs” was the fact he was very fluent in the Arabic language and knew very well the essence of the Arabic culture, especially the culture of the Bedouin Arabs who admired him for that, at the time.

I had read the monumental book titled, “ Seven Pillars of Wisdom ”  by T.E.Lawrence. I do recall that there was a point in the book where Lawrence was honest with himself, expressing doubt in fulfilling Britain’s promises made to the Arabs. It is good for one to be honest with oneself, but what is the use of that honesty when one cannot be truthful with his/her friends and the Arab people who trusted him.

After the defeat of the Ottoman empire in Wolrd War One, the winners, Britain and France with the silence of Lawerance of Arabia, ( the great friend of the Arabs), had committed political crimes against the dream of the people of the Arab of the Middle East. Instead of fulfilling the promise that Britain made to Sharif Ali ibn Al-Husein, ( father of Prince Feisel, friend of Lawrence ), the whole Arab world was divided into seperate states, each having its own governments, with passport control,  as well as teriff and customs control. To force the political will of Britain and France on the region, British and French troops could be seen across the Arab world which was considered as an integrated whole under the Ottoman empire; when a traveler could travel freely, from the Turkish city of Istanbole, in the east, to the Moroccan city of Casablanca, in the west, without going through passport and customs controls, as had been the case since Britain and France created so many puppet states for themselves across the Arab World. It was clear that the policy of both Britain and France was "Divide and Rule" which had set the stage for the creation of Israel, against the consent of the Palestinian Arab majority and Palestinian Jewish minority who lived to gather in peace for generation after generation to a point of baby setting for each other, as their family circumnstances dictated to do so.

It is true that at the end, when it became clearly apparent that it was really too late, that T.E.Lawrence did his best to get the best deal possible from the British government, then, for his friend, Prince Faisal ibin Al-Hussein whom Lawrence had admired greatly, and who had urged all Arabs to fight the brutal Ottoman’s rule, under the leadership of his friend, Lawrence.

Yeah, T.E.Lawrence had got the British empire to make Prince Faisal as King of Iraq, but at the same time, Britain exiled his old father to Cyprus because the old man insisted that Britain should fulfill its promises made to him before and during the First World War. The old man died in exile in Cyprus which was then a British colony, but he was buried in his beloved Jerusalem in Palestine, before Israel was created in 1948.

The people of the whole Middle East region continue to suffer because of the instability and turmoil created by colonial powers politics. All one has to attest that is to review two documents:

~   Sykes-Picot Accord: an agreement that was secretly signed, during World War One, by Sykes, a British diplomat and Picot, a French diplomat; through which they divided the Arab world amongst themselves to rule. Since then, the Arab people have been paying a heavy price because of what the accord has done to them as a whole.

~  The Balfour Declaration: At the apogee of its power, the British empire gave that infamous declaration in which it had promised the Zionist movement , through its diplomat Lord Balfour, to create a Jewish homeland for Jews in Palestine. Beside its military might, Britain had no right,  whatsoever, to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine without the consent of the inhabitants of Palestine at that time. In fact, the whole declaration was accomplished through a deal of " Horse Trading " between Lord Balfour and a Zionist leader named Chaim Weisman, who was a well known Organic Chemist and who discovered an organic compound called " Acetone " which could be used in making some chemical weapons. Chaim Weisman wanted a written declaration which he got and Lord Balfour wanted the chemical formula, as to how to synthesize " Acetone, "  which he got in return. "Horse Trading" ?  You bet it was !

When Israel was created in 1948, Chaim Weisman was declared as Israel's first president.   

Where were the Palestinians, ( including the Palestinian Jews ), and the Arabs, while all the above was taking place ?  Just a question !


  1. An excellent essay,because it shows the treachery of the colonial powers,as expressed in the essay in the Sykes-Picot Accord and Balfour Declaration.

    Good job,Sodium.

    1. Mo,

      Finally,you and I agree on something. An improvement!

      Thank you for your kind words.

  2. I understand the Zionist/Palestinian conflict a whole lot better now. The context of history within this, is extremely helpful. I had researched the Balfour declaration, and Zionist movement of the late 19th century before, however the writings had led me to believe the conflict is a Jewish/ Palestinian clash, when in fact it isn't. I had no-idea that the middle-east was divided by the the British and French powers, also furthermore that they had apparently created nationalism within the region.

    1. Anonymous,

      I am glad that I have followed Google's recommendations/instructions to check all the comments being posted on this website and look out for possible scam. Instead of finding a scam, I have found your constructive comments.

      After reading this post, I am delighted that you have developed a better understanding of what has been going in the Zionists/Palestinian conflict and the related causes of the conflict,t such as the Balfour Declaration and what the colonial powers, specifically Britain and France had done in the whole Arab World, against the wishes of its own indigenous people. Reading such positive comments, like yours, have certainly made all the efforts I put in this website to inform and enlighten the public are all worth it and has not beent lost in vain .

      Thank you, Anonymous, for making my day by your constructive comments, indeed.