Skip to comments.Lawrence of Arabia 'made up' sex attack by Turk troops
Posted on 05/14/2006 10:17:59 AM PDT by wagglebee
The most controversial incident in the colourful life of Lawrence of Arabia was made up by the celebrated hero, according to new forensic evidence.
The brutal sex attack on Lt Col T E Lawrence by Turkish soldiers, which allegedly took place while he was serving as the British liaison officer during the Arab revolt, was considered so contentious that it was covered up by the British Army.
But now, a new history of the Arab revolt is to claim that Lawrence invented the attack in order to smear political opponents and fulfil his own sado-masochistic urges.
The supposed rape on November 20, 1917, at the Syrian fortress town at Deraa has been the subject of much speculation over the years.
Although he recounted some detail of the attack in his 1922 memoir, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the pages of Lawrence's diary covering the period when the incident is meant to have taken place, have been ripped out.
Until now, scholars have been unable to ascertain Lawrence's whereabouts during those crucial days from November 15-21, when he claimed that he had been captured by the Turkish governor, Hajim Bey, then whipped and raped by guards.
The incident was graphically depicted in David Lean's classic 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean and starring Peter O'Toole.
Yet evidence uncovered by James Barr, the author of Setting the Desert on Fire: T E Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia 1916-1918, suggests that Lawrence never went to Deraa.
In order to discern what might have been written on the missing pages, Barr submitted Lawrence's diary for electrostatic data analysis.
The technique uses static electricity and fine carbon powder to reveal indentations made by a pen or pencil through an absent page on a surviving sheet of paper below.
The tests revealed the imprint of a capitalised "A" on November 18 - almost certainly the A of Azrak, a tumbledown castle in a wild oasis 60 miles south-east of Deraa, where Lawrence had already spent several days.
Barr suggests that, instead of setting off to Deraa, Lawrence stayed put - a contention supported by a letter he wrote to his mother on November 14 1917, in which he claimed to be "staying here (at Azraq) a few days".
Lawrence first mentioned the alleged rape in June 1919, midway through writing his memoirs and Barr argues that he fabricated the event in order to discredit Arab militants in the precarious post-war climate.
The French government had, by 1919, offered to recognise the Arab leader, Feisal, as king of Syria if he accepted French influence in return. Feisal, however, was under pressure from Arab militants, who refused to bow to French pressure.
Barr said: "It was one of these most prominent militants whom Lawrence claimed had betrayed him to the Turks at Deraa.
"Lawrence's biographers have argued over whether or not he was raped at Deraa. But until now no one has been able to produce evidence from his diary, which is an accurate, contemporary record of what he did.
"The tests produced three grey transparent films which didn't look promising. When I got them home I noticed there was a faint capital letter 'A' in Lawrence's handwriting, in the entry for November 18. I realised I had found significant new evidence.
"The 'A' from the missing page provides strong evidence from Lawrence that he did not leave Azraq until November 19 at the earliest. It suggests Lawrence removed that page because its contents did not tally with the story he would later tell the world."
The evidence resurrects the claim, made by some Lawrence scholars, that he had sado-masochistic urges and elaborated on the rape scene for his own delectation.
Signs of Lawrence's alleged sexual deviancy first emerged when he admitted in letters to a friend that he paid a man to beat him with birches, to the backdrop of Beethoven playing on a gramophone.
The electrostatic data films will now be passed onto the British Library, for examination by other scholars.
Kinda, sick if you ask me.
Hey, sick, but could you have broken up the Ottoman Empire yourself?
Yet more post mortem supposition by members of the Film Actor's Guild to put perversion in the Kalifornia publik scrool history books. It's sickening.
That reminds me of A Clockwork Orange for some reason.
Indeed. "A" is such an infrequently used letter in our language, that would be my first guess as well....
I get the same (imagined) reaction when I inadvertantly hit a rap station while changing channels.
I know I'm no masochist. I don't like it.
My understanding of history is that he is responsible for the Saudis with their Wahabbist beliefs taking over Arabia. Perhaps we'd have been better served if the Ottoman Empire hadn't been broken up.
They splashed water in my face, wiped off some of the filth, and lifted me between them, retching and sobbing for mercy, to where he lay: but he now rejected me in haste, as a thing too torn and bloody for his bed, blaming their excess of zeal which had spoilt me: whereas no doubt they had laid into me much as usual, and the fault rested mainly on my indoor skin, which gave way more than an Arabs.
So the crestfallen corporal, as the youngest and best-looking of the guard, had to stay behind, while the others carried me down the narrow stair into the street. ... The soldiers, now free to speak, warned me that men must suffer their officers wishes or pay for it, as I had just done, with greater suffering.
Muslims were just as sadistic and violent then as now. If the rape didn't happen to him personally, I'm certain others met that fate.
~ Blue Jays ~
Or an after hours party at the Democratic Convention.
This dooesn't seem a lot to go on to say definitively that he stayed at Azrak.
Lawrence was pro-Muslim and anti-West after the war. I used to think he was a good man...not so sure anymore.
Because non-Muslims never rape people or aren't homosexual? I'm not sure I understand your point.
Of course we wouldn't have the continuous unrest that we have there now, and Iraq (a contrived nation) wouldn't exist either. I'm not sure how you can say Israel wouldn't have existed. The Ottoman Empire, as with all empires, would have eventually fallen from within.
Which piece? I'm guessing the Turkish March.
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