Sometimes, not all “accidents” are accidental.
(statement on the screen before the opening credits)
Released for public viewing in October of 2021 after having been delayed because of the pandemic, the movie had already garnered 28 awards and seven additional nominations. A 1962 movie with a similar title about the same person, Lawrence of Arabia, is one of the best known and popular of all time. This one, Lawrence: After Arabia, deals not with T.E. Lawrence’s heroic exploits during World War I, but with his very suspicious death, supposedly in a motorcycle accident, in May of 1935 on a rural dirt road near his home in Dorset in England’s southwest corner. Lawrence was just 46 years old.
Just as Oliver Stone’s JFK presents a compelling alternative narrative to the official lone-nut-assassin explanation of President John F. Kennedy’s death, Mark J.T. Griffin’s Lawrence: After Arabia gives us a dramatic alternative scenario for how a very important person in 20th century British—indeed, in world and especially Middle Eastern—history met his premature end. And just as there is a mountain of evidence behind what Stone presents in JFK, screen writer and director Griffin has drawn upon a great deal more than his imagination in crafting Lawrence: After Arabia.
At that point, the comparison with those two earlier movies ends. As compelling and important and critically acclaimed as Griffin’s new movie is, as far as the general public is concerned, it might as well have not been made. It has been kept from view like a purged former Soviet politburo member airbrushed out of an old photograph of the Red Square May Day reviewing stand. I was aware of the fact when the movie was released and kept waiting for it to show up in our area in metropolitan Washington, D.C., but without any luck. Even the quite extensive Wikipedia page on T.E. Lawrence which lists films concerning the man under its “In popular culture” section makes no mention of it.
What, we might wonder, is going on? Some hint is found in this interview of Griffin in which the interviewer tells us that, “[Lawrence’s] uncompromising and direct manner and beliefs created many powerful and influential enemies.”
Mark J.T. Griffin: I originally wrote a radio play, which morphed into a screenplay. Around 2017 I sent the screenplay to about 60 production companies to see if there was any interest in filming the project and while I had encouraging feedback no one wanted to take it on. I think in 2017 I decided that if no one else wanted to film it then I would!
So, in a certain sense, the film is the movie equivalent of a self-published book, and one can tell from watching it that it is very much a low-budget affair, hardly measuring up to David Lean’s epic in production quality and expense. But that was out of necessity because all of those production companies rejected it. Might their rejection of the movie have been because, in their collective wisdom, Griffin really had merely blown a few rumors and suspicions out of proportion, out of which he was just looking to make some money and earn a name for himself?
We can get a partial answer to that question by turning to “The Murder of Lawrence of Arabia” by Tony Hays, published online in criminalelement.com on August 15, 2013. The article provides, in this writer’s opinion, enough circumstantial evidence to make one doubt the official conclusion, and, furthermore, Hays offers this as a possible assassination motive:
Around the time of his death, Lawrence was aligning himself with Sir Oswald Moseley [sic, it’s Mosley], leader of the British Union of Fascists. And when he sustained the injuries that led to his death, Lawrence had been on his way to see his good friend, Hawthornden Prize winner Henry Williamson, who was facilitating a meeting between Lawrence and Adolph Hitler. Lawrence, like other veterans of World War I, abhorred the idea of yet another war in Europe, and, like Moseley and Williamson, saw dialogue with Hitler as a necessary first step to preventing it.
In 1935, Lawrence was still a national hero. Moseley advocated peace, but there was an active war lobby in England. It is thought that Lawrence was about to publicly embrace the peace movement. This would have been very embarrassing to the war lobby.
Hays is not a man to be believed implicitly, as one can gather from my article, “The Other British Forrestal.” The Mosley and the Williamson contacts come up in the movie, but so, too, does the much more compelling motive for Lawrence’s likely assassination and the much more likely reason what all those movie companies cold-shouldered Griffin’s project. Also, in the movie, but completely missing from the Hays article, is the very best physical evidence that the official accident story is so much hokum. To its credit, criminalelement.com permits a full free-for-all in its “comments” section, and one can piece together the real story by reading all of them carefully.
At this point, you might not want to do that, avoiding the “spoilers,” because Griffin brings out the likely motives and the best evidence for assassination quite well in the movie, and Lawrence: After Arabia is available on Amazon for viewing on your computer at quite reasonable prices, either to rent or to own. I would suggest that you either rent or buy it sooner rather than later and watch it as soon as possible because, as I read the purchase terms, you could still be denied access to it at some future date for reasons that seem rather opaque to me. If enough people begin to watch it and to figure out its significance, it’s easy enough to imagine that those cancellation terms could come into play.
Zionists? What Zionists?
You really don’t need to know a great deal of history to know who had the greatest motive to assassinate Lawrence of Arabia. The basis for his fame was his successful mobilization of the Arab subjects of the German-allied Ottoman Empire in the Middle East to rise up in revolt, upon the British promise that should they win the war the Arabs would be granted independence and would be able to determine their own fate in the future.
As we can see from my article, “The Balfour Declaration’s Bitter Fruit,” the promise that lay behind Lawrence’s mobilization of the Arabs was even formalized in an agreement between the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon and King Hussein, the Shereef of Mecca, early in 1916. But in November of 1917, with the Balfour Declaration, the British promised in so many words that Palestine would in due time be for the Zionist Jews to rule should Britain be victorious in the war, even though at that time Jews represented less than 10 percent of the population of Palestine. What do you think “Lawrence of Arabia,” of all people, would think about that, and how far might he have been willing to go to see that his Arab friends who had staked everything on the basis of the British promise to them to see to it that they were not completely betrayed?
“The Balfour Declaration has been widely criticized by historians and government officials alike for its role in dividing established communities and backpedaling on British promises to Arabs — an issue Col. Lawrence did his best not to let Parliament forget after the war was over,” wrote Lauren Coontz in Coffee or Die magazine just last year.
This short little excerpt from Lawrence’s Wikipedia page gives an idea of the man’s influence:
Lawrence was a prolific writer throughout his life, a large portion of which was epistolary; he often sent several letters a day, and several collections of his letters have been published. He corresponded with many notable figures, including George Bernard Shaw, Edward Elgar, Winston Churchill, Robert Graves, Noël Coward, E. M. Forster, Siegfried Sassoon, John Buchan, Augustus John, and Henry Williamson. He met Joseph Conrad and commented perceptively on his works.
He also attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 at the end of the war. The Wikipedia page even has a photograph of Lawrence posing with the Arab delegation to the conference. Consonant with the promises of the Balfour Declaration, that conference granted the British a mandate for “temporary governance” of Palestine, but there’s nothing about that on Lawrence’s Wikipedia page. Neither the words “Balfour Declaration” or “Zionist” appear anywhere. *
You will notice that Yates in his article on Lawrence’s likely murder breathes not a word about Zionists or Zionism, which means, of course the Balfour Declaration and the betrayal of the Arabs that it represented is a long way out of the picture. Griffin doesn’t exactly hit viewers over the head with the Zionism angle, but the Zionists are there lurking in the shadows as the likely string pullers of British government covert operatives, who are the more obvious villains of his story.
The most telling avoidance of the Zionism question in relation to T.E. Lawrence is to be found in National Public Radio’s 43-minute interview in 2013 of author Scott Anderson concerning his book, recently published at that time, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. One can hardly think of any greater deceit than the British getting the Arabs to lay their lives on the line fighting against their Ottoman Turk overlords with the solemn promise that the British would grant them their independence should they win the war, only to see the British turn around and promise what amounted to eventual sovereignty over Palestine to Jewish immigrants who were mainly natives of various European countries. Yet, there’s not a word about the Balfour Declaration in the interview nor is there even any mention of Zionists or Zionism.
Avoiding the topic keeps people away from suspecting that the people behind Lawrence’s death are those with a very extensive assassination record in furtherance of their political objectives such as the killing of Lord Moyne, Count Bernadotte, and likely of Gerald Bull, and of Palestinian leaders too numerous to mention. For clandestine assassinations the staged accident is almost as popular as the staged suicide, which was clearly the fate of the leading U.S. opponent of Zionism, Defense Secretary James Forrestal. It’s really very easy to get by with when you have the government and the news media in your pocket. The effective suppression of Lawrence: After Arabia shows that it’s also very helpful to have control over the entertainment industry, as well.
* “Zionism” does appear once, in a list of references at the bottom: “Storrs, Ronald (1940). Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism and Palestine.” The book is available online, and its title is extremely misleading. Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs was an early military governor of Palestine and one of the six pallbearers at Lawrence’s funeral. The book is just a pasting together of two essays, the first and shorter one is a tribute to his friend, T.E. Lawrence; the second is about Zionism and Palestine. It is the work of the government functionary and, hence, of the necessary politician that Storrs was. We learn nothing from it concerning Lawrence’s attitude toward Zionism. In the beginning, we do get from Storrs the official boilerplate on the man’s death: “On May 6, 1935, swerving his motor cycle to avoid two boys riding abreast, he was violently thrown and met his death.”