The third part of the book, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, discusses the expedition against Akaba. The narrator in an expedition regime, begin a journey to Akaba. In this period, Feisal is described as the leader who concentrates authority in Wejh. Unfortunately, this move clearly throws heavy weight of ungratefulness on his back. As reflected by the narrator, their victory is only acceptance of dishonesty in order to acquire good fortune after tricking Turks.
Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to comprehensively analyses chapter by chapter in book three of the book “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” from chapter forty one through to chapter fifty eight. Besides, the treatise attempts to identify events, explain their significance and locate each in its era of occurrence as evidenced by history. In addition, the paper adopts chapter by chapter analysis after which general conclusion is drawn.
In chapter forty one, the three friends are off with Auda being the guide. They travel through a harsh terrain and reflect on the magnitude and results what is described as a persistent war. Specifically, the night described in page 240 is very haunting and is a test of true friendship for the three pals.
As they sojourn through the desert, the weather pattern is described as dry and characterized by sand and dry mad, mountains and hills coughing hot lava and volcanoes. Unfortunately, the narrator’s beast of the desert: camel gets sick. Condition of the Camel is extensively described throughout the last part of this chapter. Specifically, Lawrence describes this in his narration:
The dry pasturage of the Billi country and the infected ground of Wejh had played havoc with our beasts. In ahl Feisal’s stud of riding-camels there was not one healthy; in our little expedition every camel was weakening daily. (Lawrence 243)
In chapter forty two, the entourage crosses the railway deep into the expansive desert of Shegg. In the rugged terrain, hot dry winds haunt these sujouners and are much relieved by the onset of nightfall after a long day of agony in the hands of nature. In Lawrence’s narration:
We halted the night hours; partly because our camels were weak and ill, and grazing meant much to them, and partly because the Howeitat were not intimate with this country, and feared to lose their way if they should ride too boldly without seeing. (Lawrence 248)
A reflection in chapter forty three creates a feeling of hope and appreciation of nature. From camels, Oryx, to ostrich, the narrator appreciates nature and is candid on the flora and fauna of his surroundings. They hunt down these animals for food. Lawrence concludes, “Howeitat saw more oryx in the distance and went after the beasts, who foolishly ran a little; then stood still and stared till the men were near, and, too late, ran away again” (254).
Chapter forty three opens with a new day in desert as the sojourners move across the expansive dry land towards Sirhan town. Unfortunately, a member of the entourage goes missing. After hours of confrontation, the narrator is happy to report a win into Sirhan town. Due to lack of water, the missing member was found dead presumably after going for months without water. From this unfortunate occurrence, Lawrence reflects in his narration:
Not a long death–even for the very strongest a second day in summer was all– but very painful; for thirst was an active malady; a fear and panic which tore at the brain and reduced the bravest man to a stumbling babbling maniac in an hour or two: and then the sun killed him. (Lawrence 257)
In the next day break, the entourage comes across a new well which creates a sense of new life and refreshment. Later, in the baking sun, a brief confrontation ensures but the unidentified enemy retreats faster than the entourage predicted. The journey proceeds quietly until the crew meets a stranger who turns out to be a friend to Zaal.
This meeting is resourceful as they are guided into a friendly territory. However, the narrator is critical of this friendship and is apparent that, “Self-interest, accordingly, had prompted the two great men to an alliance: and acquaintance had bred a whimsical regard, by virtue of which each suffered the other’s oddities with patience” (263). Arrival into Beduin town is painted as a reliever.
From chapter forty six through to forty eight, the entourages stay in Beduin kingdom and enjoy commensurate hospitality from the good host. The feasts and dancing are unending. They interact with the tribe of this new land and have a chance to see snakes of different kinds. In addition, an opportunity presents itself for active recruitment into their weakened army.
Despite coming up with a practical and true objective, false start and over vaulting aspiration creates a chain of dilemma and doubt among themselves. A brief and clear historical footnote is created as unwelcomed power takes its toll. In the last feast at Beduin territory, small talk characterizes interactive facets. Afterwards, Lawrence states in his narration:
We sat by the wall of Nuri’s manor, and saw the women take down the great tent, greater than Auda’s, eight-bayed of twenty-four poles in all, longer and broader and loftier than any other in the tribe, and new, like the rest of Mohammed’s goods. The Abu Tayi was rearranging their camp, for security when their fighting men marched away. (Lawrence 276)
Afterwards, the sojourners proceed towards Turkey. On approaching the border, the experienced entourage creates a diversion to draw attention of the Turks after which they lay a successful ambush. However, they all appreciate power of Zaal. The author lives in denial of this.
This confrontation occurs in 1917. In chapter fifty one, he is a prisoner. However, the fat station master succumbs to strong temptation of fresh meat and the narrator alongside his captured friends manages to surfeit themselves. In the King’s well, serious action takes place. These actions are fights and confrontations materialized after series of calculations. As war strategy, the team takes down many bridges upon crossing over.
In chapter fifty three, the team is set for a ‘next to impossible’ rescue of their colleagues captured during the confrontation. The rescue mission is characterized by gorilla techniques and trials. In the process, a hot battle ensures and camels charged from both ends of the warring groups. Amidst gallop, the prisoners are released. However, there were many casualties. Fortunately, the narrator’s entourage exploits full victory. Lawrence state in his narration:
So we sent mounted men to Mriegha and took it; and to Waheida and took it. News of this advance, of the loss of the camels on the Shobek road, of the demolition of El Haj, and of the massacre of their relieving battalion all came to Maan together, and caused a very proper panic. The military headquarters wired for help, the civil authorities loaded their official archive into trucks, and left, hot- speed, for Damascus. (Lawrence 306)
The narrator and his entourage captured Damascus on first October, 1918 at around 9am. However, the first regime to arrive that day was the Major Olden led 10th Light Horse Brigade of Australia.
Across chapter fifty four to fifty eight, the narrator reflects on aftermath of the war. Many people died and the entourage recorded more victory as they broke the last barrier and regain control of familiar sea. The enemy is finally capitulated due to divisions in the ruling counsel. After capturing Akaba, the Hejaz war is closed. The narrator and his team are happy to be part of the British invaders into Syria. He describes his team as right wingers of the army of Allenby in Sinai.
Partnerships ensure between the Arabs and Egyptians. Akaba then becomes a formal organized military regimen. This regime consists of secret guards and guard-ships and gains support from King Hussein. As need for expansion creates a new situation, the army raids Syria which has a population of varied people. Allenby then takes full charge of equipment and operations of this regime.
Akaba becomes unassailable. This event occurs in 1917 when a joint action between Auda Abu Tayi led forces and Arab irregulars raid and capture Akaba. On sixth July, this army gain full control with approval from General Sir Edmund Allenby of Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
Conclusively, from historical approach, the narration by Lawrence captures critical event in Middle East during First World War and creates a rich data bank for understanding politics and governance in Middle East. Besides, maps and pictures of places where battles took place facilitate the study and understanding territorial boundaries in countries across Middle East.
Lawrence, Thomas. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Blacksburg: Wilder Publications, 2011. Print.