Friday, January 14, 2022

Fullbore Friday

What is duty, duty to yourself, those who work for you, your mission, those who gave you your mission, and the purpose the mission was created?

How do you rack and stack these priorities?

Once again, my mind went to the story of T.E. Lawrence;

The next morning, 23 May, the party left Khabra` Abu Ajaj and rode northeast by north to a group of wells of `Arfajah, whereby they aimed at entering the lower Wadi Sirhan, passing over a vast, flat, empty, no-man’s land which was called Bisayt [Biseita] meaning a carpet. In the evening they came to the top of a sand ridge named Ja`ala [Jaala] and slept there peacefully. According to the maps to be mentioned later, this is exactly a midway point between Fajr and `Arfajah.

The next day, 24 May, was to become memorable for the rescue of Qasim [Gasim] by TEL when he was lost in the scorching Bisayt. He was one of TEL’s bodyguards though he was no Agayl but from Ma`an, ‹a fanged and yellow-faced outlaw, who fled into the desert and joined the Howeitat after killing a Turkish official in a dispute over cattle-tax. Crimes against tax-gatherers had a sympathetic side to all of us, and this gave Gasim a specious rumour of geniality which, we discovered later, was actually far from the truth (p.242).›

TEL, solely out of a sense of duty and not from humanity, had turned his unwilling camel round, and forced her back into the emptiness behind.

When TEL finally caught up the party with Qasim who had gone nearly insane from horror and heat and thirst sat on his camel’s rump, no one praised his deed. Auda said he would not have let TEL go back had he been present, and struck Qasim sharply. Nasib went so far as to blame TEL for such a whim to Nasir, saying it was clear to him that TEL must have reckoned they would come back.

That evening, they decided not to go farther and camped at Qusaym `Arfajah, contentedly even without a mouthful of water, because they were already at the south bank of Wadi Sirhan and `Arfajah was within their sight.

On 25 May, at 8 o’clock in the morning, TEL’s party reached the wells of `Arfajah. This ended the first leg of his journey for the `Aqaba raid.

Qasim. If you know the story ... you know the story. What makes you feel like you did the right thing in your context, may not be in the larger context ... and can end in ways you wouldn't expect.

Leadership is hard. Duty seems simple, but it is not. Many times there are no correct answers or actions, only the less imperfect - you hope. 

Time travel is not possible. Not all effects are known ... they just are.

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