Famous ExPats – Gertrude Bell

A recent comment by Tim Stay suggested the name of Gertrude Bell as a famous expat.  The Smithsonian Magazine published a short article on this exceptional woman in its April 1998 issue.  I recommend it to all who deal with the Middle East and worry about suppression of women there.  Ms. Bell proved that expertise and intelligence can’t be smothered.

Her personal papers are kept in a collection at the Robinson Library of the University of Newcastle in northern England, near her birthplace.

A search of her name at Amazon.com turns up multiple entries.  The most intriguing to me is “The Desert and the Sown: the Syrian Adventures of the Female Lawrence of Arabia”.

Her story reminds me of several Westerners (as American and British expats were sometimes called in the Arabian/Persian Gulf region) who even now are personal advisors, physicians, and even falcon trainers for royal Arab families.  Maybe you know one.  Maybe you are one and could share some experiences and insights with us.  I think it would be expecially interesting to readers to know what motivates people to live outside their own cultures for years–even decades.

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