A real TV treat. To accompany the TV showing of Gertrude Bell's Letters from Baghdad, BBC4 have put out two one-hour episodes of Rory Stewart talking about the legacy of T.E.Lawrence. It's been gorgeous - some fabulous photography of landscape and architecture, but also a detailed, clear analysis of what was going on in Lawrence's mind, and why that might matter now. And it's all done by a guy who idolised Lawrence as a kid, and then explored vast stretches of the middle East on foot, staying in bedouin tents. But also by someone who at a ridiculously young age was a governor in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who saw the idioocy of occupation in heartbeaking detail. as his conclusion spells out, it's tragic that the American military are encouraging their officers to study Lawrence - because he's a winner at fighting in the Middle East - whereas Lawrence himself would actually be telling them "don't do it better; don't do it at all."
This series is from some time back - it shows Stewart walking thoughtfully through a Damascus souk - but I can't think how or why I missed it. Yet again, thank God for catch-up.