Turkey controlled all of the Middle East since about 1500.  The Turks were Islamic, but not of the Arab race; their ancestors had come from the borders of China.  Neither the Arabs nor the Christians nor the Jews in the Middle East loved their Turkish masters.  Gradually, the Turkish empire weakened.  Many groups broke away in the 1800s--first the Egyptians.


            When Napoleon briefly invaded Egypt around 1800, the Turkish sultan gathered volunteer soldiers in Albania and sent them to Egypt.  By then, England had chased Napoleon away.  But among these Albanian soldiers was an ambitious former tax-collector named Mohammed Ali (mo-HAH-med ah-LEE).  He quickly rose to the command of the Albanian forces in Egypt.  He began playing the local Egyptian rulers against the Turkish sultan.  At the right moment, he arrested and massacred the local rulers, and took charge of Egypt.  The sultan had no choice but to appoint Mohammed Ali as the local ruler of Egypt.  His family continued to rule for 150 years.


            But Mohammed Ali had greater ambitions.  When a group of Muslim puritans seized control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Arabia, the sultan asked Mohammed Ali to drive them out.  He did so, and kept that part of Arabia for himself.  Next, he turned south and conquered the Sudan.  When Greece revolted from Turkey, the sultan asked Mohammed Ali for help--promising him Syria and Palestine if they won.  But the Turks blundered and lost the war.  Mohammed Ali grew so angry he took Syria and Palestine anyway.  He now controlled all of the holy cities of Islam.  And it looked like he might invade Turkey and become the new sultan, himself.  The European powers did not want a strong ruler in Turkey.  They warned Mohammed Ali to stay where he was, or risk war against all Europe.  So he concentrated on modernizing his own lands.  He set up schools and factories.  He established a cotton industry.  In 1838, he declared Egypt's independence from Turkey.  When the sultan tried force, Mohammed Ali persuaded the whole Turkish navy to join him.  This was too much for the European powers.  England, France, and Germany all joined Turkey in driving the Egyptians out of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia.  They left Mohammed Ali with just Egypt and Sudan.


            His descendants continued his modernizing work--especially in building the Suez Canal.  But they went into debt to do it.  Soon British stockholders controlled the Egyptian economy.  And British military advisors came to look after British interests.  Local people rose up against British control--not in Egypt, but in the Sudan.


            In the Sudan, a handsome young priest named Mohammed Ahmed announced that he was the Mahdi, or promised savior of the Arab people.  In 1881, he led the revolt against England and Egypt.  Armed only with sticks and strong religious faith, naked tribesmen defeated the British army.  The Sudanese people went wild with joy.  Again and again they swarmed to victory, until they controlled all of Sudan except the capital.  The Mahdi announced that as soon as the capital fell, they would take Mecca, then Jerusalem, then the world.


            General Gordon was an Englishman who had served Egypt as governor of the Sudan.  He had quit in protest against English meddling in Egyptian affairs.  Now the English persuaded him to return to Sudan and see what could be done.  Gordon stubbornly decided to fight it out in the capital.  For months, the Mahdi's forces surrounded the city while the two leaders exchanged courtesies, The Mahdi tried to persuade General Gordon to become Muslim, and Gordon refused.  Finally, the Mahdi attacked, giving instructions not to harm Gordon.  His soldiers forgot, and Gordon died in the battle.


            Now that he controlled the whole Sudan, the Mahdi kept his strict religious ways in public.  But privately he ate and drank constantly with his enormous harem.  He soon became very fat and died.  His disciples ruled Sudan until the British army defeated them in 1899.


            So Egypt and Sudan passed from Turkey, to independence, to England.  But Mohammed Ali and the Mahdi had shown Arabs elsewhere what could be done.




            Around 1830, a particularly obnoxious man served as French ambassador to Algeria.  Finally, the Turkish ruler of Algeria swatted him across the face with his fly whisk.  France insisted that its national honor had been insulted, and demanded an apology.  Turkey refused.  France decided to teach the Turks a lesson in manners, and invited Egypt to invade Algeria.  But Mohammed Ali of Egypt told the French to do their own dirty work.  By this time, the French had called so much attention to the incident that they could not back down without looking silly.  So to save face, the French army invaded Algeria and drove the Turkish rulers out.


            The tribesmen of Algeria felt delighted to get rid of their Turkish masters.  They decided this was also the time to get rid of the newly-arrived French.  They chose as their leaders an old holy man and his son, Abd el-Kader (ahb-dool-KAH-der).  Abd el-Kader had traveled in the holy land and across Egypt, where he observed Mohammed Ali building a nation.  For fifteen years, Abd el-Kader and the Algerians held out against the French army.  At one point, the French agreed to a treaty recognizing him as ruler of all Algeria except the coast.  They tried to make it look like they were doing him a favor.


            But Abd el-Kader had a keen sense of honor and the dramatic.  When it came time for the treaty agreement, he kept the French waiting a whole day.  Then he arrived at a different place, so they had to come to him.  When the French representative got down off his horse, Abd el-Kader remained on his.  When the Frenchman finally finished stating all the terms, he quickly agreed, whirled his horse, and led his army away--leaving the French standing in the desert and looking like fools.


            France soon broke the treaty, and Abd el-Kader was plagued with his old problem: the Algerian tribesmen were fickle.  They deserted whenever the French approached.  Nor would neighboring Morocco or Tunisia join in the struggle until France had captured them too.  Three times France completely beat Abd el-Kader, and three times he raised up new armies.  The fourth time, he was captured.  He agreed to leave Algeria forever, and the French government promised to take him to Egypt to live in peace.  Instead, they put him in prison in France.


            From his prison cell, Abd el-Kader announced to the whole world how France had broken its promise.  French leaders tried persuasion, but he would not release them from their promise.  For this and many other reasons, the French people threw out their king and set up a republic.  Napoleon III, president of the new republic, released the Algerian hero from jail.  He became the darling of French society, speaking at lectures, attending parties and banquets.  He stayed in France long enough to vote for Napoleon III as emperor.  Then he left for the Middle East, settling eventually in Syria.


            Riots broke out in Syria against the Christian minority.  Abd el-Kader and his household staff rescued four thousand Christians from the mob.  When the mob stormed his house, he angrily addressed them, scolding them about Arabic courage in Algeria and Arabic cowardice in mob violence and murder, The crowd broke up, and he offered a reward for every Christian  brought to him alive--thus saving another eight thousand persons.


            Seeing his justice, Frenchmen suggested he be made governor of Algeria.  But he refused, insisting he would keep his promise to stay out.  Years later, when bandits began a rebellion in Algeria, Abd el-Kader advised the Algerian people that these were not real leaders.  He told them to remain under French control and wait for a leader of vision and honor who could unite the Algerian tribes in a cause of justice.


            He spent his last years writing books on philosophy and horses.  His home became a favorite stopping-place for the great writers and adventurers who passed through the Middle East in the third quarter of the 1800s.  But above all else, Abd el-Kader remained a symbol of Arabic honor which Europeans could not quite forget.




            In the early 1900s, two powers controlled most of the Arabian peninsula.  King Ibn Saud ruled the central desert, called Nejd.  Turkey controlled the whole west coast, called Hejaz (heh-JAZ).  Hejaz included the main cities of Mecca and Medina.  The appointed local ruler of Hejaz was a descendant of Muhammad, named Husein (hoo-SAYN).


            Husein wanted to free all of the Arab lands from the Turks.  He got his chance when Turkey entered World War I on the German side.  Husein sent his second son, Abdullah (ahb-doo-LAH), to negotiate help from England.  The third son, Faisal (F¦-sal), did not trust European governments, and argued that the Arabs would be better off under the Turks.  But the Turks committed such atrocities on Arabs that Faisal finally led the Arab and English forces against Turkey.  Faisal and his armies freed Hejaz, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.


            At war's end, it became known that England and France had planned from the beginning to let only Hejaz stay free, and to divide all of the other countries between England and France.  Husein became furious.  Faisal rushed to the peace conference, but only Woodrow Wilson would listen to him.  The people of Syria declared their independence from everyone, and chose Faisal as their king.  The people of Iraq declared their independence, and chose Abdullah.  The French army marched into Lebanon and Syria, and drove Faisal out.


            By this time the Arabs had grown so angry, that England decided to compromise.  It let. the people of Iraq elect a king.  They chose Faisal.  Abdullah became ruler of Jordan.  England granted both countries their freedom very, very slowly.  In fact, Jordan did not become totally free until after World War II.  England kept Palestine. (See Chapter 6.)



HEJAZ                                       JORDAN                                              IRAQ





Ali                                                        Abdullah I                                            Faisal I

1924-25                                              1921-51                                            1921-33


                                                            Talal                                                     Gazi

                                                            1951-52                                            1933-39


                                                            Husein                                                Faisal II

                                                            1952-99                                            1939-58


                                                            Abdullah II



            King Husein grew bitter with anger, He refused to compromise on anything.  He condemned his sons for compromising.  He told the European governments he wanted no more of their "help."  King Ibn Saud of Nejd had always felt jealous of Husein's fame.  Now that the old man had cut himself off from all friends, Ibn Saud invaded Hejaz.  Husein resigned in favor of his sick oldest son, hoping that would satisfy Ibn Saud.  But Ibn Saud kept right on coming, and united Nejd and Hejaz into one nation as Saudi Arabia.  Husein, who had masterminded the entire Arab liberation, was left without even a home.  He lived a few years in Cyprus, then died in Jordan.


            King Faisal ruled Iraq well.  But he died suddenly and his twenty-year-old son came to the throne unprepared.  The new king let the army take too much control.  He died in an automobile accident a few years later, and Faisal II became king at age four.  While the boy grew up, various military leaders came to power through assassination.  The king was assassinated at age twenty-three, and the military took over completely.


            Abdullah ruled Jordan for thirty years--mostly under British control.  Because Abdullah tried to reach a settlement with Israel, an Arab extremist shot him.  His sixteen-year­-old grandson Husein (hoo-SAYN)l was with him at the time, and barely escaped.  The next year, Husein became king because of his father's poor health.  Over the years, Husein suggested several sane and fair settlements of the Arab-Israeli conflict--suggestions which no one on either side wanted to hear.  He became an important world leader for peace.  The desert tribes loved their brave and wise king.  And they protected him long after the rest of his family had lost their lands and their lives.




            As the Turkish empire crumbled, young Turkish army officers grew convinced that Turkey needed to change fast.  In 1876, they forced the sultan to accept a constitution, but he soon ignored it.  In 1908, they replaced him with a new sultan and put the constitution in force again.  These officers called themselves the Young Turks.  They hoped to unify the empire into a modern and efficient state.  But the various minorities in the empire had become more interested in winning their freedom, Groups on the European fringe one-by-one broke free: Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece.  Italy took Libya, Turkey's last possession in Africa.  And Russia kept creeping southward.


            Turkey entered World War I on the losing side; England, France, Russia, Italy, and Greece planned to divide Turkey between them.  Russia dropped out of the war and got nothing, The sultan signed an agreement to partition Turkey among the other winners.  But one person objected--an army officer known to history as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (moos-ta-FAH keh-MAHL ah-ta-TURK). (His teacher had given him his second name, which means "perfection."  The Turkish people later gave him the third name, which means "father of the Turks.")  Ataturk set up his own government, and declared Turkey a republic.


            The Greek army invaded Turkey, while American, British, and French battleships watched nearby.  Ataturk drove the Greeks out.  The other powers gave up their ideas of sharing Turkey.


            Over the years, Ataturk became more and more dictatorial--though he remained popular.  He quickly modernized Turkey by separating church from state.  He replaced church law with national laws.  He outlawed polygamy and gave women the vote.  He set up modern schools.  He ordered that people write the Turkish language in Western letters, rather than in the Arabic script.


            Some of his anti-religious methods were a bit sneakier: he ordered all Turks to wear wide-brimmed Western hats.  This meant that when they bowed in prayer, their hats fell off--which was considered indecent.


            He used the Russian idea of a five-year plan for industrial development, He made the rest of the world quit laughing at feeble old Turkey.  In just fifteen years, he forged his country into a modern nation, The only possible comparison would be the modernization of Japan.


            The Arabic countries did not want to give up their religion; instead they found new union and strength in it.  But other Islamic nations which were not of the Arabic race decided that Ataturk had hit on a good idea.  The rulers of Iran and Afghanistan both modernized their countries by imitating Ataturk's policies.  Thus Turkey became a leader in the Muslim world--as it had never been when it ruled the empire.




            Kahlil Gibran (kah-LEEL joob-RAHN) was a Christian Arab from Lebanon.  The population of Lebanon is about half Christian, half Muslim.  Young Gibran wrote books about religious corruption and political injustice in the Middle East--which Turkey controlled at the time.  While Gibran studied art in Paris under the sculptor, Rodin, the Turkish government announced he could not return to Lebanon.  They publicly burned his books.


            Gibran joined part of his family in the United States--where he lived the rest of his short life, dying at age forty-eight.  He began combining his poetry with his paintings in sensitive little books which moved people around the world.  Perhaps no one but Gandhi spoke to the hearts of so many people in the twentieth century.


            Gibran's best-loved book is The Prophet.  The wise old prophet is leaving, and people ask him for his wisdom on various topics:




            Then Almitra spoke again and said,  And what of Marriage, master?

            And he answered saying:

            You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore

            You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

            And you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

            But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

            And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

            Love one another but make not a bond of love:

            Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your


            Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup,

            Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

            Sing and dance together and. be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

            Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

            Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping,

            For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

            And stand together, yet not too near together:

            For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

            And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.


            And a woman who held a babe against her, bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

            And he said:

            Your children are not your children.

            They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

            They come through you but not from you,

            And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

            You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

            For they have their own thoughts.

            You may house their bodies but not their souls,

            For their souls dwell In the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

            You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

            For life goes not backward nor tarries* with yesterday.                                       *waits

            You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

            The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

            Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

            For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable....


            Then said a teacher, Speak to us of Teaching.

            And he said:

            No man can reveal to you aught+ but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.                                                                                                                            +anything

            The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

            If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house

of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

            The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

            The Musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests# the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.                                                        #captures

            And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.@  For the vision of one man lends not its wings         @there

to another man,

            And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.




            Muslims, Jews, and Christians all worship the same god and share the same religious heritage.  (See Volume I, Chapter 54.)  For well over a thousand years, Jews and Muslims lived peaceably together.  In fact, Jews usually found more freedom in Muslim lands than  in Christian lands.  The hatred between

Muslims and Jews has developed only since 1920.


            It is important to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism: Judaism is an ancient religious faith; Zionism is a modern striving for a Jewish nation.  Not all Jews believe in Zionism.  And people who criticize Zionism often have nothing against Judaism or the Jewish people.  Do not let emotion spill across these distinctions.


            For centuries, Jewish people wandered from nation to nation--always feeling homeless, always a tiny minority.  When European nations carved up the rest of the world in the late 1800s, Jewish leaders began asking for some small corner of the globe as a homeland for Jews.  In 1903, England offered Uganda in Africa.  Jewish leaders turned it down, and decided to wait for a better offer in the Middle East.


            In World War I, England made too many promises in the Middle East.  To get help, it promised Palestine to the Arabs, to the Jews, and to the French--when actually England planned to keep Palestine for itself.  England betrayed the Arabs.  (See Chapter 3.)  It squeezed France out by promising to share Palestine with the Jews.  Actually, England took over and did very little else.  By their own efforts, Jewish people moved to Palestine and bought land.  The Jewish population of Palestine rose from 8% after World War I to 30% by World War II.  The increasing Jewish minority made Arabs nervous, and racial outbreaks occurred frequently.  Both sides turned to terrorism.


            After Hitler's massacre of the Jews, many people all over the world felt that Jews had suffered long enough.  World opinion began demanding a homeland for the Jewish people.  England pulled out of Palestine, announcing that it could no longer control the emotional outbreaks.  The United Nations divided Palestine into several odd-shaped chunks--about half of the land to become Israeli, the other half to remain Arab.


            As soon as Israel became a nation in 1947, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt all attacked it together.  They lost.  The Israelis had learned well the war lessons of Hitler.  Now Israel controlled--not half of Palestine--but three-fourths of it.  The other quarter became part of Jordan--though many Palestinians did not like Jordan's search for peace with Israel.  Another little strip became part of Egypt.

            Thousands of Palestinians lived in refugee camps--driven out of their homes by the Jews.  Bitterly, they waited for their return.  They had children; the children grew up and had children of their own.  Still they waited in bitterness.

            Meanwhile, Israelis set up collective farms and created a prosperous nation out of the desert.  By their hard work and dedication, they earned the right to call Israel their home.


            Many times, the Arabs threatened to go to war.  In 1967, Israel decided to end this threat with a powerful attack.  In just six days, Israel conquered all the rest of Palestine, plus the whole Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, plus a strip of Syria.  World opinion began to shift away from Israel in favor of the Arabs.


            Some argue the unfairness of the Palestinians having their land given away.  Others argue the unfairness of the Jews having no place to flee from persecution.  And both sides are right.  Both situations were unfair.  But now the problem has compounded.  Israel has become the home of the Jews.  To make them give it up now would add yet another unfairness to this sorry history.


            Muslims and Jews share the same religious heritage.  It is a heritage of no compromise.  Either one side must destroy the other, or they must learn to live in peace once more.




            In the twentieth century, people made at least three big attempts to unify the Arab nations.  All three attempts failed.


            As Turkey was losing its grip on the Middle East, it scrambled to promote an idea called the Pan-Islamic Movement.  In this way, the Turkish sultan would have became a sort of pope over all Muslims of whatever nationality.  But Muslim nations stretched from Indonesia to Africa.  The histories of these far-flung nations had developed so differently that they felt no ties to Turkey.  Oven in the Middle East, the Arabs showed more interest in getting out from under Turkey's political control.  Besides, the Arabs felt that Islam was an Arabic religion, and the Turks were not Arabic.  Indeed, just a few years later, the Turkish government broke off­ its official ties with the Muslim religion.


            Then the Arabs fought for independence.  They expected to create one large Arab nation.  But England and France divided the Middle East into several small countires, and kept control of most of them.  Arab leaders felt that only by sticking together could they drive the Europeans out.  They dreamed of Pan-Arabism to weld the Arabs into a unified world power.  But though the members could work together against outsiders like the Europeans and the Jews, they could not agree among themselves.  The Egyptians thought they should lead the movement, because they had the largest Arab population and the most industrial economy.  The leaders of Iraq argued that Baghdad had always been the true capital of the Arab world.  And the leaders of Saudi Arabia insisted

that the capital of Islam should center in Mohammed's homeland.  To make coöperation even worse, a bitter family feud raged between the king of Saudi Arabia and the kings of Iraq and Jordan.


            The third attempt at unification was the work of one man: Gamal Abdel Nasser (NAH-ser) of Egypt.  In 1952, he threw Egypt's fat playboy king out of office, and made Egypt a republic.  He finally got rid of the British army units which still guarded the Suez Canal.  When the West and the Communist block each tried to buy friends in the Middle East, Nasser skillfully took money from both sides.  Undeveloped nations in Africa and Asia began looking to Nasser for leadership against the giant powers.  Nasser called on the Arab nations to unite.  In 1958, Syria and Egypt did combine into the United Arab Republic, with Nasser as president.  But the desert-dwelling Syrians were not used to taking orders like the Egyptiqns were.  Three years later, Syria pulled out of the union.  While cementing together another union between Egypt, Sudan, and Libya, Nasser died suddenly in 1970.


            Perhaps a fourth attempt at Arab unity is shaping up.  Arabs often unite in their oil policies.

            By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Islamic fundamentalists of many nations began working together as international terrorist organizations.  Their main goal was to overthrow the not-particularly-religious leaders of countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria.  Their secondary goal was to push out the foreign powers who helped to support such separation of mosque and state.


            Can Arab nations ever work together to become a strong force in world politics?  Or have centuries of desert living made the Arabs so self-reliant and independent that they can never coöperate?




            Through history, the world's population has slowly risen.  But since 1850, world population has boomed.  More than half of the people who ever lived are alive today.


            Man's technology raced to keep ahead of the demand for food.  New breeds of plants, chemical fertilizers, and giant machines multiplied production.


            But keeping the world fed required energy.  At first, people burned wood to make steam--a not very efficient method.  Then they began burning coal and oil--fossil fuels formed over millions of years and impossible to replace when gone.  Meanwhile, scientists discovered many other uses for oil, such as plastics and medicines.


            As the developed nations raced ahead for more population, more food, more energy, they scarcely noticed that their money was being drained away to the oil-producing countries.  The Arabs became the first to realize that population, food, energy, and finance were linked world problems--and that they held part of the controls.  In the early 1970s, the Arab nations got together and raised the price of oil tremendously.  Overnight, the Arab nations became one of the most powerful forces on the earth.  It looked like they would also become the richest, and turn world finances upside-down.


            Drillers had discovered oil in Persia in the early 1900s, but the big discoveries in the Arabian peninsula did not happen until the 1930s.  The oil lay under some of the poorest desert areas in the, world--so poor that no nation had even bothered to claim them.  Local desert sheikhs suddenly found themselves ruling wealthy areas.  Unheard-of specks like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai became world powers.


            In Kuwait, for instance, drillers did not discover oil until the 1950s.  In almost no time, Kuwait became the world's fourth-largest oil producer--behind only Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States.  Desert tribesmen of Kuwait found themselves millionaires--though most of them could not read or write.  The government established programs to wipe out poverty, illness, and hardship.  Beggars line the streets of most Asian cities--but not in Kuwait.  There the streets are lined with the tents of merchants selling gold jewelry.


            Oil meant a tremendous change in lifestyle in the Middle East.  Too often it meant that the ruler squandered money on fancy cars, while the people lived as they always had.  But revolutions in Saudi Arabia, Yeman, and other countries put plain-living men in charge, who promised to share the wealth more broadly.


            The money piles up.  Arab investors eye the world financial situation.  Could it be that the Arabs have at last found the unity and power for which they have searched so long?







            In 1844, a religious teacher appeared in Persia (Iran).  He called himself the Bab, and announced that the promised messiah would soon follow.  He taught people to live purely until they discovered God within themselves.  The Muslim authorities had him shot in 1850.


            Among the Bab's disciples was a brilliant and beautiful young woman called Tahirih (TAH-he-reh).  She wrote poetry spreading the Bab's message, and she debated his ideas with Muslim leaders.  She became an early women's rights leader, and one of the first Muslim women to appear in public without a veil.  The authorities had her strangled.


            In 1863, a teacher called Bahalu'llah (bah-HAH ool-LAH) announced that he was the messiah.  He taught that the time had come for all the world's religions to melt into one.  He died in 1892, after founding the Baha'i (bah-HI) Faith, It was the first world religion, because it merged all faiths.  It spread around the world, and is rapidly growing.





            The region now called Turkey once formed the heart of the Greek Orthodox religion, until the Turks overran the area around 1500.  The Turks also conquered the nearby island of Cyprus, but the majority of the people remained Greek.  By the 1870s, several such Greek islands were fighting

for independence from Turkey.  So Turkey called a conference to settle the matter.  The English ambassador also attended with instructions to get the island of Crete for England.  For Crete blocked Russia's way to the sea, The ambassador forgot the name of the island, but remembered that it started with a "C".  So he asked for Cyprus by mistake.


            For years, England tried to put down Cyprus' racial squabbles.  Some of the islanders thought they should be part of Turkey; others insisted they should be part of Greece.  Finally in 1959, all three nations agreed to make Cyprus an independent republic.  And each guaranteed to protect Cyprus' freedom from the others.  Since then, racial disturbances between Greeks and Turks have erupted almost every year.  Greek and Turkish forces have both invaded, and England has unsuccessfully tried to keep the peace.





            Sir Richard Burton was a wild Englishman of the 1800s.  He traveled all over the world--especially in the Middle East.  Wherever he went, he learned the local languages with amazing speed, and scientifically recorded the sexual practices.  Disguised as a Muslim, he traveled by camel to the forbidden city of Mecca, and wrote a book about it.  Then he dashed off to Africa, where he discovered the great lakes which feed the Nile.  He later served as ambassador at Damascus.  He translated books from the Arabic--especially The Arabian Nights in sixteen volumes.  When he died his good Christian wife burned most of his papers.





            T.E. Lawrence was the British advisor for Faisal's army in World War I. (See Chapter 3.)  The Arabs loved this quiet scholar of Arabic architecture.  He became a popular guerilla leader, and specialized in blowing up trains.  American newsmen grew intrigued with this strange Englishman, and broadcast the Arab liberation struggle around the world.


            Lawrence tried to stop the betrayal of the Arabs at the peace conference.  When he failed, he dropped out of sight and wrote a book about his adventures.  He did at least persuade England to let Faisal become king of Iraq.  Lawrence died in a motorcycle accident in 1935.



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