JORDAN – Lawrence of Arabia
One of the most recurring characters on a trip to Jordan is undoubtedly Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.
Born in Wales in 1888, since his college days he undertook several trips to the Middle East, visiting Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. In 1914 he was enlisted in the cartographic service of the British army in Egypt, before moving on to military and political intelligence.
His main task was to deal with relations with the Arabs as an officer of the British secret services but in 1916 after coming into close contact with the Arab prince Faisal as a liaison officer, he began to operate with the task of fomenting the Arab Revolt. against the Turkish occupiers, allied with the Germans.
The first important victory, Lawrence achieved on 6 July 1917 with the conquest of the port of Aqaba, on the Red Sea. His base of operations from which he departed with the expedition was the Wadi Rum desert.
In December 1917, already known for all as “Lawrence of Arabia” and in command of the Arab contingent, he participated in the triumphal entry of the Anglo-Arab forces into Jerusalem and subsequently in the conquest of Damascus in October 1918 together with General Allenby, head of the British forces in the Middle East.
This was his last important operation, in fact after the war Lawrence experienced a period of unrest. In fact, in addition to having fought with great pride and having won the trust of the Arabs, at the same time he followed the orders of the British command somewhat ambiguously.
He then had strong feelings of guilt when at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the Middle East and the Arab peoples were put at the services of the British and French.
He was also a very proud and ambitious character and with the desire to spread his myth, in 1919 Lawrence had begun to write his war memories, which were published in 1926 under the title “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”.
He died in 1935 from a serious and still mysterious motorcycle accident.