Michael Collins and “Lawrence of Arabia”

photos of Michael Collins and T E Lawrence

Michael Collins and T E Lawrence (courtesy of @GeneralMichael4)

The great international conferences which led up to the Treaty of Versailles, were attended by many petitioners from “small nations”; including an Irish republican contingent. They lobbied vigorously for Ireland’s right to independence; particularly asking the American President Wilson to put pressure on London.

T E Lawrence also attended. His auto-biographical book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” concerning his experiences in the Arab Revolt, was later the basis for the award-winning feature film “Lawrence of Arabia”. He and Collins met, and their friendly acquaintance posed interesting possibilities for the British Empire.
(The following is an excerpt from “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?” goo.gl/a0tgOr
):

Not entirely unlike Collins, Lawrence was also a legendary leader of indigenous insurgents. He also had accomplished amazing things, at a remarkably young age. He had been Britain’s man in the Middle East. And he was not happy.

Lawrence had been commissioned to organize disgruntled Arabs, with promises of civil rights and national independence. In a long and bloody campaign, he had led men to their deaths on the strength of those promises, and on his word. Then the Crown pulled the rug out from under him. They had no intention of abiding by engagements made to a lot of restless natives. The promised united Arab Middle East, never materialized. Instead, this populous, culturally and politically strategic region was divided into the problematic fragments, which have cost the world so much in constant turmoil, ever since.

Lawrence had been used, and he took exception to it. In a public presentation at Buckingham Palace, he mounted the royal dais to, figuratively speaking, fling his decorations back at the king. The gesture was quite shocking at the time. He resigned his commission and went into early retirement, turning his back on the army.

Lawrence was also, on one side of his family, partly Irish. For some time, Collins had been trying to persuade him to help the Irish cause. Imagine the implications! Here were two of the most able military strategists in Europe. Each of them individually had proved his capacity to organize an army, from the ground up, fit to overthrow the world’s top guns. Collins had already bested every British general they could throw at him. Lawrence in Arabia and Collins in Ireland!? By God, they’d have the Empire encircled! This was an alliance to mar imperialists’ rest.

Due to Collins’ untimely end, the world will never know what they might have acheived together. T P Coogan, although often dismissive of “conspiracy theorists” refered to Lawrence’ own death as “mysterious,” to an extent which “generated controversy.”

Read more
The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”

The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth? by S M Sigerson - Cover Image

by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Or ask at your local book shop

COVER IMAGE The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T E Lawrence

T E Lawrence’ book
“The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”
www.goodreads.com/book/show/57936.Seven_Pillars_of_Wisdom

“Waverly” and the Scottish rebellion of 1745

portrait of Walter Scott

Walter Scott

 

     I hold truth and mirth to be better than gravity and cunning – ay, and in the end to be a match for them. … A light heart, a just cause, and a good sword …
– Scott

This blog has been dedicated to Ireland, and to Michael Collins’ life and times. Yet it seems appropriate to digress for a moment, to consider the 200th anniversary of Walter Scott’s seminal first novel, Waverly.

This, the world’s first historical novel, is the story of a Gaelic nation, torn by unequal war with the British, in the cause of national autonomy. The parallels with Ireland are many, and remarkably close.

The ’45” rebellion, which sought to place the Stewart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” on the throne, rang in living memory, in Scott’s lifetime. He grew up in a country still recovering from armed conflict; not entirely unlike the present generation in Northern Ireland. Bred to the legal profession, his position in the courts as Clerk of Session, and later as Sheriff, gave him first-hand experience of those regions where the British writ still did not run with universal effectiveness.

First an admirer, and later friend, of Maria Edgeworth, he set out to do for Scotland what she had done for Ireland, in her novels Castle Rackrent and The Absentee. Scotland’s complex tensions, colourful traditions, sharply contrasting cultures and interests, were realistically personified in the characters of his tales, with remarkable faithfulness, affection and respect.

Waverly was the first of a series: followed by the now-better-known Ivanhoe and Rob Roy. They won him a place among the great masters of the language; one whose work had a lasting impact on the way it is used. Ironically enough, not being an Englishman at all. His surname is said to be derived from “Scoti”, the ancient tribe which gave its name to his country.

Through his writings and publishing business, he became a great patron of Scottish folklore and literature. From The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, to his discovery of James Hogg “The Ettrick Sheperd”, he was personally responsible for preserving much that would otherwise have been lost to posterity forever.

His influence was not confined to his own island. On the contrary, it extended all over the world. Alexander Pushkin, now regarded as the father of modern Russian literature, was an avid reader of The Edinburgh Review. “The Byron of Russia”, as he was called, emulated Scott as well, in both poetry and prose. As seen in “The Lay of Wise Oleg”

They sing of their youth,
Of the days of their pride,
Of the frays where together,
They struck side by side…

But above all in one of the first novels written in Russian, The Captain’s Daughter. Pushkin was researching his history of the Pugachov Rebellion of 1773, when he brought out this historical novel, set in the midst of that upheaval. The hero’s travails, falling in with the rebels, and later prosecuted as a traitor, closely reflect the plot of Waverly.

All of the above-mentioned works are highly recommended to anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of the history of imperialism, and the struggles for self-determination which it has given rise to.

Or, … If you’re just looking for a great read, filled with unforgettable characters, colourful times & places, thrills, chills, and excitement.

Read more: 

Waverly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waverley_%28novel%29

Waverly on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Waverley-Penguin-Classics-Walter-Scott/dp/014043660X

Walter Scott
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott

The Waverly Novels
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waverley_Novels

 

Michael Collins: why we lost him (excerpt from the book)

The leaders of great revolutionary struggles often do not live to see the fulfilment of their own handiwork.  That is an occupational hazard.  One which they all accept at the very outset.  One  which Collins, judging from his own words on the subject, was thoroughly prepared for every day.

  All great leaders of this kind take on a very old system: an ancient imperialist war and political machine, oiled by centuries’ experience in putting down popular revolutions.  And in eliminating great popular leaders.

–  excerpted from the new book:

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714