Friday, April 6, 2012

Ideas And The Arabs

"Arabs could be swung on an idea as on a cord; for the unpledged allegiance of their minds made them obedient servants. None of them would escape the bond till success had come, and with it responsibility and duty and engagements. Then the idea was gone and the work ended--in ruins. Without a creed they could be taken to the four corners of the world (but not to heaven) by being shown the riches of earth and the pleasures of it; but if on the road, led in this fashion, they met the prophet of an idea, who had nowhere to lay his head and who depended for his food on charity or birds, then they would all leave their wealth for his inspiration. They were incorrigibly children of the idea...."

Thus T.E.Lawrence in his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. And the idea he used to get the Arabs to revolt against the Turks was nationalism - which indeed lay in ruins.

Today the same Arab has risen in revolt, mouth hooked on another western idea - democracy. The result will be what Lawrence had foretold - ruin.

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