MAKICHUK: Reflections of T.E. Lawrence in the madness of today

Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia.
Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia.

“Aurance … not this … go round … Damascus Aurence … Damascus …”

Sherif Ali, pleads with T.E. Lawrence, not to kill a helpless Turkish troop train.

“No prisoners …” says one Arab fighter.

This, after the Turks massacred an Arab village. Talal’s village.

Talal pulls his sword, spurs his dark horse and charges into the Turkish line.

He is gunned down as he gallops. His blood in the sand. Lawrence is incensed … the bloodbath begins. No prisoners.

Such is the legend, the story, of Lawrence of Arabia.

It is said, that Lawrence believed taking prisoners would not only burden his small force but could also potentially compromise their mission.

They all had to die. All of them.

As as I write this, Israel faces the same challenge.

The atrocities against Israeli civilians have piled up so high, only vengeance is left.

Only vengeance.

And yes, many will die. Many will pay the price, of Medieval justice, no matter what Israel says.

No matter what President Joe Biden says.

I shudder to think, what will come next. Revenge will be swift and unforgiving.

This is the world, circa 2023, my friends.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” So true. Perhaps all of us are blind?

And as Israel wields the sword of justice, which it has a right to do, I wonder what will be accomplished in the end. Do they even have a plan, after Gaza is “cleansed.”

According to sources, they don’t. They don’t have an effing clue what to do, after they wreak havoc on Hamas and, unfortunately, the Palestinian people.

In my humble opinion … everyone, in this affair is guilty.

The Palestinians. The Israelis. The Americans. And even you and me. We are all guilty of not caring or understanding. 

Refusing to understand the Arab way of thinking. Blaming Israel, among our greatest allies, for everything that has gone wrong in the Mideast.

We react, with indignation, as Arab countries cheer the inhuman reign of terror inflicted by Hamas on helpless Israeli citizens.

We don’t understand it — it is beyond our scope. Beyond my scope.

I can’t watch CNN anymore and see the stories of brutality against non-combatants in villages. Mercilessly hunted down and killed in their beds and cribs.

Horrifying. More than once, it has brought me to tears.

I am, Talal. If I had a black horse to ride, I would pull out my sword. Hold it high. Ride into the fire.

But amidst this horror, this utter horror, is there a voice of reason? A way out? An end to the killing. An end to spilling more blood in the sand?

Yes, there is. It’s only a glimmer, but it’s real, it exists.

When Eyal Waldman thinks of his murdered youngest daughter and her boyfriend, he sees them dancing.

“Danielle and Noam loved dancing, and I hope they continue dancing somewhere up there,” Eyal Waldman told MarketWatch.

Danielle Waldman and Noam Shay were killed at a music festival in southern Israel last week, part of a campaign by the Hamas terrorist group.

Eyal Waldman, a onetime Israeli combat fighter, founded tech company Mellanox in 1999 and sold it 20 years later to Nvidia for US$6.9 billion. 

He is known internationally for attempting to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians through his work in technology — Mellanox hired Palestinian tech workers in Gaza, Nablus and the West Bank town of Rawabi.

The death of his daughter and Shay and the scope of the attacks and counter-attacks dominating headlines have not changed Waldman’s hope for peace, he said, but not in the near future. 

He believes this time, the violence “took us back several years, if not decades.”

“We need time to build the trust, if at all, between the two nations and start working together to be able to talk about peace,” he said. “Until then, we will continue protecting ourselves in a very direct manner in Gaza and everywhere else around Israel.”

Waldman also said he would continue to try to hire Palestinians and work with them to be a part of the Israeli tech ecosystem, as long as they state “that they are working for peace and they are not supporting — not financially and not in any other way — any terror actions, or any actions that are not civilian economics between the two nations.”

“Our hands are always reaching out for peace. But at the same time, before we do this, we need people to understand that Israel is strong, Israel is united and we will never let anyone harm the citizens of the State of Israel again.”

A voice of reason in the madness.

“They loved to celebrate life,” Waldman said of his daughter and her boyfriend.

“And they went down on Friday night to celebrate life, love and freedom, and they were massacred.”

A man of this character, does not come around often, my friends.

But don’t give up hope.

The Eyal Waldmans of the world, do exist. They do.

And they are the best of us.

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