Letter: Honour the hero of Arabia

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The Independent Online
Honour the hero of Arabia

Sir: As a member of the TE Lawrence Society I was naturally interested to see that the motorcycle on which he was killed is for sale ("pounds 2m price tag on the classic bike that killed a legend", 14 June). Leaving aside the question of its value, it would be very regrettable if it left the country.

That possibility - no, probability - points up the ambiguous treatment that this extraordinary and influential man has received from modern Britain.

Recently, as you report, an early typescript of part of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom was sold to an Arab ruler and will, presumably, leave the country. Associated items and a further typescript are destined for a similar fate in the next few weeks.

In 1988, this society asked the then Post Office if it would produce a stamp to commemorate Lawrence's centenary. The request was refused. It is doubly depressing to see some of the trivia that has since found its way on to our envelopes.

Furthermore, the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square would provide an ideal site for a statue of Lawrence on his motorcycle.

It seems that other countries are better able to recognise than is his homeland the achievements of the brave and clever soldier, influential adviser, and powerful writer who was Lawrence of Arabia.

PETER METCALFE

T E Lawrence Society

Stevenage,

Hertfordshire

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