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18 April 2024

Lawrence of Arabia row at UN Syria debate


Many points of contention were aired at a high-stakes UN Security Council meeting on Syria's bloodshed on Tuesday, but at least one came straight from another era -- Lawrence of Arabia.

Syria's UN representative brought up the famous British soldier from World War I as he defiantly rejected a draft resolution backed by other Arab states calling on President Bashar Al Assad to step down.

Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said Syria voted for a parliament in 1919, "one year after the fall of the Ottoman Empire while Lawrence of Arabia was wreaking havoc with the destinies and resources of the states and was trying to turn the bloc back to obscurantism."

Taking the microphone afterwards, British Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed the slights on his compatriot.
"It is not acceptable to try to blame the situation in Syria on everyone else, from outside intervention to the Gulf states to French states to Lawrence of Arabia. This does not excuse such repression," Hague said.

Lawrence of Arabia, or T.E. Lawrence, stirred up Arab forces to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. His exploits were immortalized in a 1962 film starring Peter O'Toole.