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A free man does not serve

That is the conclusion of a conversation in a key scene of the film Lawrence of Arabia. A free man does neither serve a master nor does he work for profit, he works because it is his pleasure. My pleasure is to work on something when it is the right thing to do.

Auda, Sherif Ali, Feisal’s envoy and Lawrence in Auda’s tent:

Auda:
  This thing you work against Aqaba, what profit do you hope from it?

Ali:
  We work it for Feisal of Mecca. The Harith do not work for profit.

Auda:
  Well, if it is in a man to be a servant, Sherif Ali,
  he could find worse masters than Feisal.
  But I, I cannot serve.

Lawrence:
  You permit the Turks to stay in Aqaba.

Auda:
  Yes, it is my pleasure.

Lawrence:
  We do not work this thing for Feisal.

Auda:
  No? For the English then?

Lawrence:
  For the Arabs.

Auda:
  The Arabs?
  The Howeitat, Ageyil, Ruala, Beni Sahkr, these I know.
  I have even heard of the Harith. But the Arabs? What tribe is that?

Lawrence:
  They’re a tribe of slaves. They serve the Turks.

Auda:
  Well, they are nothing to me. My tribe is the Howeitat.

Ali:
  Who work only for profit.

Auda:
  Who work at Auda’s pleasure.

Lawrence:
  And Auda’s pleasure is to serve the Turks.

Auda:
  Serve? I serve?

Lawrence:
  It is the servant who takes money.

Auda:
  I am Auda Abu Tayi. Does Auda serve.

Auda’s people (inner circle):
  No! (laughing)

Auda:
  Does Auda Abu Tayi serve?

Auda’s people (all):
  No! (laughing)

Auda:
  I carry 23 great wounds, all got in battle.
  75 men have I killed with my own hands, in battle.
  I scatter, I burn my enemies tents.
  I take away their flocks and herds.
  The Turks pay me a golden treasure.
  Yet I am poor, because I am the river to my people.

Auda’s people (all):
  Hailing

Auda:
  Is that service?

Lawrence:
  No.

Feisal’s envoy:
  And yet now it seems Auda has grown old, and lost his taste for fighting.

Auda:
  It is well you say it in my tent, thou old tulip.

Ali:
  Yet this is a tulip that the Turks could not buy.

Auda:
  Why should they whish to?
  Now, I will tell you what they pay me, and you will tell me if this is a servant’s wages.
  They pay me, month by month 100 golden guineas.

Lawrence:
  150, Auda.

Auda:
  Who told you that?

Lawrence:
  I have long ears.

Auda:
  And a long tongue between them.

Lawrence:
  A 100, 150, what matters? It’s a trifle.
  A trifle which they take from a great box they have.

Ali:
  In Aquaba.

Auda:
  In Aquaba?

Lawrence:
  Where else?

Auda:
  You trouble me like women.

Lawrence:
  Friends, we’ve been foolish. Auda won’t come to Aqaba.

Auda:
  No.

Lawrence:
  For money?

Auda:
  No.

Lawrence:
  For Feisal?

Auda:
  No.

Lawrence:
  Nor to drive away the Turks.
  He will come because it is his pleasure.

Auda:
  Thy mother mated with a scorpion.

Copyright © Dr. Rolf Jansen - 2019-06-06 07:23:00

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