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Kumarbi’s Mutiny

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

Alalu’s grandson strikes out at King Anu in bid to wrest Earth from Sirian-Orion control

Anu was first taken on a familiarisation tour of the Abzu, the region of modern-day Africa where Enki had detected subterranean gold ores. Anu then chaired a meeting at Eridu, the Anunnaki headquarters on Earth, during which he spelt out what he envisaged of the Earth mission.

Full-scale, high-tech mining was to commence in the Abzu: Enki, like the gifted engineer he was, was tasked to devise the requisite equipment. A permanent settlement, an extension of Eridu, was to be established and a spaceport, an aerodrome and all the allied logistical infrastructure such as maritime vessels for shipping the ore from the Abzu to Eridu were to be constructed. Further, bases were to be set up on every habitable planet in the Solar System or where that was not feasible one or more of its satellites.

“Way stations from Nibiru to Earth to establish, all the Sun’s family in one Kingdom encompass!” Anu declared. “The first on Lahmu (Mars) to be fashioned, the Moon for the plans also to be considered. On the other planets or their circling hosts stations to set up.”

Anu’s decree explains why the Anunnaki to date maintains a presence on Mars, on the Moon and on Saturn’s largest moon Titan (There are arguably several other Anunnaki colonies on planets and/or their moons we are yet to discover, or which we are not aware of but the Illuminati do).  Once again, it was the quick-thinking Enki who suggested a name for the proposed expanded Eridu.

“Let it the EDIN be called,” he said. EDIN (or ATEN in alternative renderings) meant “Abode of the Pure Ones”.  The Anunnaki referred to themselves as the pure ones (also as righteous, upright, bright, or illuminated ones) to distinguish themselves from the Earthlings they would later create. They were “pure” because they came from the “pure” planet Nibiru or the “pure” region of the Sirius-Orion star system and therefore possessed a purer gene pool compared to ordinary mankind.  

The Edin is the Eden of the Bible. Contrary to what the Bible may have us believe, Eden (the first one, as there would later be a second one in Africa) was not a zoological and botanical garden fashioned by “God” as a dedicated haven for Adam and Eve. It was part of a collection of city-states established and dwelt by the Anunnaki, who mankind would later come to call “gods”. The Levites, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, did so when the Jews were in captivity in Babylon in the 6th century BC. Thus they incorporated a lot of data on the origins of man they happened upon there that Sumerians had set down on cuneiform clay tablets and cylinder seals.  

Tragically, the Levite scribes so deliberately spun and slanted this information to suit their own contrived theology that some aspects of the Bible border on legend. “Scripture” is far from “God-breathed”: a great deal of it is simply the product of the whims and caprices of inherently fallible man, like you and me. When I say this to fellow Christians, I become an object of scorn and suspicion such is this Earth, my Brother.  

ENLIL AGAIN SUPPLANTS ENKI

At the Eridu indaba, it was Enki who spoke after Anu, rather than Alalu, who remained curiously quiet.  Enki’s turn preceded Enlil because at the time, Enki was Earth’s Chief Executive. In other words, on Earth Enki was senior to Enlil.

Regarding the proposed Edin, Enki said, “The commander of the Edin let me be, let Enlil the gold extraction perform.”

Enki was an innately creative person and so he preferred making a showcase of the Edin to superintending over   mining activities in the blistering hot Abzu, a hostile environment to an albino-white race that was used to the perennial cold of Nibiru. He also knew that in terms of executive authority, the overseer of the Edin would carry more clout and command more respect and the goodwill of the Anunnaki, whereas the exacting tasks of underground mining would turn the Abzu overseer into a kind of pet hate.      

Enlil, however, took strong exception to Enki’s pitch. An ex Air Force General and a trained aeronautical engineer, Enlil thought it was he who was best suited for the tasks of the Edin:  “Of commanding and tasks to perform I am the better; of skyships I have the knowledge. Of the Earth and its secrets my brother Ea is the knower. The Abzu he discovered: let him of the Abzu be the master.”

When Enki tried to counter him using plain logic and tools of analysis, Enlil, who habitually operated on a short fuse, fired back angrily and abrasively and a slanging match between the two step brothers ensued. King Anu, who had the quiet and calm demeanour of Enki, finally intervened. He reminded his sons to not be oblivious of the fact that they were effective joint rulers of Nibiru rather than mere princes: when he replaced Alalu as King of the Sirian Empire, he did declare to the Nibiru nation that he was going to rule that planet in particular with his two sons. Since the three of them were co-equal, Anu proposed that they settle the matter by casting lots. The outcome would determine who among the three would go back to preside over Nibiru, who would go to the Abzu and who would stay in Eridu. The two sons nodded in concurrence.

“The three, father and two sons, clasped their hands together,” recalls Enki in his memoirs as ghost-written by Zechariah Sitchin. “They cast lots; by the lots the tasks they divided.”

The result redounded to Enki’s displeasure, who was not that lucky a being. King Anu was to return to Nibiru; Enlil was to run the Edin; and Enki was to take charge of the Abzu. Enki was so crestfallen he shed tears: he had such an attachment to Eridu, which he had built from scratch (Alalu was of the view, which he aired at a later stage, that Anu had rigged the outcome in favour of Enlil given that Enlil was his biological son whereas Enki not only was his step son but a son-in-law of his nemesis Alalu). He was only consoled by the assurance by Anu that although he would operationally be based in the Abzu, he would still remain the Lord of Eridu, though Enlil would be overall-in-charge of the Edin.

The new scenario thus was this: Enlil had now supplanted Enki as Earth’s Chief Executive. He was now “Lord of the Command”, that is, Earth’s Commander-In-Chief, though he would in due course be better known as Jehovah/Yahweh. Enlil was also put in overall charge of the Igigi, the Anunnaki fighter astronauts in orbit around Earth. That way, he supplanted Marduk, Enki’s firstborn son, as the “Prince of the Power of the Air” (EPHESIANS 2:2).

Enki, on the other hand, would have authority over all of Earth’s seas as he would be in charge of maritime shipments of ores from the Abzu to Eridu. Hence his other characterisation in due course as Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Enki would also be in charge of all of Earth’s firm lands except the Edin. This was very fitting in that prospecting for mineral ores, particularly those of gold, all over the Earth was his responsibility. As such, when Enki is referred to as “Lord of the Earth”, it means two things (a point most scholars including Zechariah Sitchin have missed). First, he was the Eridu (stem of the English term “Earth”) Lord. Second and even more important, he was overall in charge of the firm lands, where mineral prospecting and mining activities were taking place. Otherwise, the real Lord of the Earth was Enlil.

Poor Enki! He should have been in line to inherit the Sirian-Orion throne but that was denied him. He should have been King of Earth after Alalu but that again was deprived him. He was a first-class intellect, the Anunnaki’s greatest brain, something even Enlil himself openly acknowledged, but where it came to ascending up the imperial totem pole, he was destined to be no higher than second.

ALALU UNDER HOUSE ARREST

Meanwhile, Alalu was dumbfounded at all the goings-on right under his nose. He had been watching with ominous silence, his hands nonchalantly folded on his chest. As Anu prepared to board the celestial boat back to Nibiru, Alalu stepped up to him and called for an impromptu, all-inclusive meeting which Anu reluctantly consented to. In the meeting, Alalu wondered aloud to Anu why he was parceling out Earth to his sons when he well knew that he (Alalu) was Earth’s sovereign.  

Anu’s response was that the status quo hadn’t changed: Alalu was still King of Earth. Enlil and Enki were simply his right-hand men, just as they had been to Anu himself on Nibiru. What they had been assigned were simply executive roles. They remained subordinate to and accountable to Alalu.    

Alalu wasn’t convinced: he was of the view that he was being systematically dispossessed of authority over the affairs of Earth by sleight of hand and before long, he would be a nobody. Enki tried to assure him that he personally would not allow such a scenario as it would be criminal and therefore illegal. Alalu was aware Enki as his son-in-law meant well but Enlil worried him. Anu had elevated Enlil above Enki and   put him in charge of the armed forces, including the Igigi, the fighter-spacemen who were previously superintended over by his grandson Marduk. To    Alalu, it was clear Anu’s secret wish was to purge all those key figures who were related to Alalu in one way or the other so that at some stage Alalu was relegated to a nonentity.   

As Anu set to return to Nibiru, Alalu and his grandson Kumarbi began to communicate by radio, in code language.  Kumarbi got the message. Kumarbi had been left on one of the space stations in orbit around Earth and when Anu arrived there to pick him up en route to Nibiru, he was nowhere to be seen. But somehow, Anu managed to contact him using the Anunnaki’s ultra-sophisticated communication devices and wondered where he was. Kumarbi’s response was frank and forthright: he was staying put and would not be returning to Nibiru with Anu.   

Kumarbi’s gesture threw a shudder into Anu. This must spell trouble, Anu thought. Anu straightaway contacted Alalu to get him to ram sense into his grandson but Alalu made it clear Kumarbi was an adult and he was in no position to dictate matters to him. Frustrated that he wasn’t getting anywhere with Alalu, Anu frantically got in touch with Enlil and the two decided, to the exclusion of Enki, that Alalu should be divested of his powers as overall ruler of Earth and must be put under house arrest. At the same time, a warrant of arrest should be issued immediately for Kumarbi.

But it was too late. Kumarbi had already gotten into stride as all these instructions ran round.    

KUMARBI IS KING

When travelling between planets or star systems, the Anunnaki had several modes of serial transport. First, there was the natural means of transport using the planet Nibiru itself. A planet is a spaceship in its own right,    more so in the case of Nibiru in that its elongated, comet-like orbit (it’s a comet-planet) straddles the circuits of all the planets of the Solar System. The Anunnaki typically journeyed to Earth when Nibiru was in the ecliptic, setting off from the planet using a celestial boat, their name for a spaceship.

However, King Anu did not simply travel by a celestial boat. He also used another form of transport, a mothership.  This was a hollowed out asteroid which was the size of a mini-planet. It was called the MATA. Another of its name was the Royal ARI (The Sirian-Orion Queen also had her own mothership known as the ATEN, which we will dwell upon in due course). Although it was primarily a cosmic battle ship, the Royal Ari was a self-contained mini-world which could accommodate millions of people. To most people in there, it was the only world they knew. They were born in that artificial world, which was of Paradise proportions in terms of the quality of life, and died there.

Because of its humongous size and therefore its powerful gravitational force, the Royal Ari was stationed yonder in space, well away from both Earth and the Moon. King Anu used a celestial boat to depart from Nibiru and join the Ari, to depart the Ari to land on Earth, and vice versa.  So as his celestial boat neared the Ari, it was suddenly fired upon from the direction of the Ari. King Anu’s  Dak Elite Royal Guard had been trained for such a contingency and so they changed course in a desperate endeavour to get the King to safety. What had happened was that Kumarbi not only had mobilised the Iku and Beh forces against King Anu but he had also captured the Ari flagship itself with very little resistance.

This short-lived battle between the forces of  Anu (the Titans) and the forces of Kumarbi (the Olympians) is  characterised in the Sumerian tablets as a wrestling match between Anu and Kumarbi (or Alalu in some accounts)  in which Prince Kumarbi bites Anu in the genitals and wrenches them off. It’s all allegorical language. What actually happened was that Kumarbi set his DAK forces (the collective Iku and Beh Anunnaki warriors) on the Ari mothership. The Dak were figuratively the “teeth” of the Sirian-Orion Empire and the Ari mothership was Anu’s “Ball of Power”. Thus by invading and capturing the Ari flagship, Kumarbi had prised this ball from Anu’s control. Sadly, even our highly esteemed Zechariah Sitchin literarised the plainly allegorical account.    

In Greek mythology (which is actually rooted in fact), the same story says Zeus gathered the younger gods (Anunnaki) on Mount Olympus and waged war against Uranus  the father of the gods who was at the head of the Titans, defeating them at long last. In this story, Zeus refers to Kumarbi. Kumarbi’s other title was “ZU”, meaning “Supreme Master” (of the Dak forces). When he seized the Ari mothership, he became King, or ZU-ZU (doubling a title in antiquity denoted a senior royal rank). Zu-zu, also rendered Zu-uz, would in time be corrupted to ZEUS. The Uranus  of the story is Anu and the Titans are the Anunnaki forces loyal to Anu who manned the Ari.

When Kumarbi captured the Ari, he earned another title AR-ZU, meaning “Supreme Lord of the Ari”. Since he was now the new King of Earth, he took occupancy of the palace of his grandfather Alalu, now an ex-King, which was perched atop a mountain as most ancient fortresses were.  Alalu’s palace was known as “AL-AMBA-HU”. Kumarbi renamed it “'AL-AMBA-ZU”, meaning “Place of gathering of AL (Alalu) and ZU (Kumarbi)”. In English, Al-amba-zu becomes “Olympus”, hence “Olympians” for the name of the Dak forces who fought under Kumarbi.

Note that Kumarbi did not forcefully displace his grandfather as King of Earth. Alalu instigated the Kumarbi-led putsch against Anu and  voluntarily gave way to Kumarbi simply because in the greater scheme of things,   it scarcely made a difference: it was the House of Alalu which still ruled.

Kumarbi, who officially ruled under his real name Alargar, became King of Earth after Alalu had ruled for 28,800 years (8 shars), although a part of this tenure falls to Alalu’s master geneticist Alulim, who as we have already related was the first Sirian to land on Earth and ruled for a while  before Alalu arrived. It explains why some ancient records mistakenly assign the entire 28,800 years to Alulim as if it is a ploy to write Alalu out of  history altogether.  

NEXT WEEK: ANU STRIKES BACK

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Internet Connectivity in Botswana: Time to Narrow Digital Divide

19th October 2020
Elon Musk

On Friday October 9, 2020, President Masisi officiated at a function that most appositely spoke to his passion and desire to kick-start the crystallisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR in short, in Botswana. In his keynote speech, the President hailed the partnership between Gaborone City Council and BoFiNet to launch free Internet access of one-hour duration daily in selected “Wi-Fi Hotspots” across the city for all and sundry.

The pilot project has actually been years in the making, having been initiated in April 2014, when the BOCRA-supported Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) was established. UASF levies 1 percent on the gross annual turnover of flourishing ICT outfits and is now using this to subsidise the Internet access price in the Hotspots of Gaborone, which are to be found at shopping malls, bus stations, hospitals, and airports in the main. The facility, which is provided courtesy of the BoFiNet Wi-Fi infrastructure, will in the fullness of time be rolled out in Kasane, Maun, Francistown, Palapye, Serowe, and Mahalapye too. As of the end of 2019, UASF collections totalled P43.2 million according to BOCRA’s latest Annual Report.

A point President Masisi underscored at the launch was the imperative that “all citizens have access to the Internet so that the ideal of leaving no one behind as envisioned by the sustainable development goals is realised”. It also exhilarated me that the President underlined that “innovation and creativity will be the bedrock of economic diversification in our country”, a priority I besought government to pursue with impassioned as opposed to rhetorical resolve in one of my earlier articles under this very column.

Certainly, Pillars 1 and 2 of the only minimally accomplished Vision 2016 goals envisaged, amongst other things, an informed and innovative Botswana. With the Wi-Fi Hotspot dispensation now upon us, are we on course to deliver on this sooner rather than later?

FREE INTERNET COULD FULFIL MEGA DREAMS FOR THE CITIZENRY

Granted, one hour of free Internet per day is not that bad as a starting point, but it is a drop in the ocean when juxtaposed with the larger global picture, whereby some countries, which include the industrialised West, the Scandinavian countries, and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia, offer qualitative public Internet service free of charge all-day long. In Finland for one, broadband (high-speed Internet access) has been a legal right since 2010. In other words, if a citizen for one reason or the other does not have the opportunity to surf the web, he or she can sue the state for redress.

For the impecunious individual who wishes to do meaningful and comprehensive research, however, one hour can be very limiting. To just give one example, it takes me up to two full days to gather material for a single one instalment of the contents of this column, of which Internet-sourced data is key. This is because not every bit of worthwhile information is available at just one click of the mouse. In some cases, the requisite information is simply not available at all and by the time that dawns on you, a full day will have gone by.

There is also the question of whether the Hotspots are amply equipped with desktops, let along being sizeable enough, to cater to the stampede of the city residents who will want to be one of the earliest birds to catch the worm given that access is certain to be on a first-come-first-served basis. An Internet Hall under the auspices of government would serve the purpose best, with the unused Orapa House as a possible venue proposition.

As for nationwide and limitless free Internet access, we still have a long way to go being a Third World country but the earlier we get there, the greater the rewards we reap in the long-term. Google, Facebook, Twitter, to mention only a few, are today multi-billion operations thanks to the added benediction of the Internet epoch. Years back, Elon Musk and five others started PayPal – a means of sending money, making an online payment, and receiving money – using the Internet medium. In 2002, E-Bay acquired PayPal for an eye-popping $1.5 billon, with Musk personally garnering $165 million. As I write, Musk is the 6th richest person on Earth, with a net worth of $82.3 billion.

It is the ready platform of the Internet that helped catapult him to the dizzying pecuniary heights he has since scaled.  We will probably never be able to mint a dot.com-facilitated dollar billionaire in Botswana, but even mere Pula millionaires or part-millionaires can do as half a loaf is better than nothing. If Internet was freely available to every citizen, such chances would be greatly enhanced.

WE LIVE OUR LIVES ONLINE

In the past, Internet connectivity may have been a luxury but the advent of COVID-19 has made it an essential component of the new normal – a lifeline. Students have had to receive lessons online amid stop-go lockdowns of huge swathes of a country. Executives have had no option but to network or collectively liaise using teleconferencing or by way of Skype. Telemedicine, or caring for and consulting with patients remotely, has become the order of the day, especially in the developed world. We have seen live-streamed religious services and of course some people have been working from home.

Even before COVID-19 struck, we were routinely conversationally engaging with family and friends on social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp. Some of our monthly transactions, like telephone bill settlements and DStv subscriptions, were effected online. Needless to say, we have literally been living our lives online. Electronic transacting in any case, whether by mobile phones or via the web, substantially curtail queuing time at banks and precious other pay points anywhere, gets people to spend more time in the workplace than out of it, and therefore boosts productivity as personal errands to do a thing or two are notorious for eating into invaluable man-hours.

There’s also government’s espoused vision of having Botswana transformed into a knowledge-based economy. Without universal access to the Internet, this aspiration will remain a pipe-dream. Knowledge certainly is power, whether this be political, economic, or scientific. Botswana will never come to be anywhere near the economic might of Singapore or the technological feats of South Korea if it relegates knowledge attainment to the back burner of its core aspirations. An Old Testament prophet was spot-on when speaking on behalf of his god Yahweh lamented that “my children perish for lack of knowledge”, HOSEA 4:6.

The paradox is that the digital divide both on the continent of Africa and in Botswana is as glaring as ever. Only four out of ten people in Africa have Internet access and according to the global business data platform Statista, which has insights and facts about 170 industries and more than 150 countries, Botswana has an Internet penetration of only 47.5 percent. It lags 20 other countries on the continent, who include Kenya (the continental leader at 87.5 percent); Mauritius (67 percent); Nigeria (61.2 percent); Swaziland (57.3 percent); Zimbabwe (56.5 percent); South Africa (55 percent); and Zambia (53.7 percent).

A study by the Mc Kinsey Global Institute postulates that if Internet use proliferates in Africa at the rate mobile phones did in the early 2000s, the continent stands to add as much as $300 billion to its economic growth by 2025. The World Bank also says achieving universal, affordable, and good quality Internet access in Africa by 2030 will require an investment of $100 billion. In Botswana, the National Broadband Strategy (NBS) aims to achieve universal broadband by 2023. It is aligned to BOCRA’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, whose main goal is to deliver the NBS aims at an affordable price tab. Is the time frame realistic?

THE PRICE OF AN ARM AND A LEG!

For universal Internet access to be tenable, first both the access and the medium of access have to be affordable to every literate person out there. Sadly in Botswana, smart phones, which allow for Internet access anywhere where there is a cellular network, do not come cheap. The asking price at the very least is upwards of a thousand Pula. That is a prohibitive price for the greater majority of our population who struggle to eke out a living just to keep body and soul together. The likes of BOCRA and BoFiNet should help out here by subsidising the price of these devices, at least for a period of time till economies of scale result in a natural reduction of the price.

As for the going price of Internet access in Botswana presently, a study of 228 countries earlier this year by cable.co.uk found that Botswana was among the 14 most expensive countries in this regard. I can attest to this myself as I have to fork out a minimum of about P400 a month to enable me the use of the Internet without any hiccup save for the sporadic network downage or the now endemic power outages. To many a people, P400 a month amounts to the proverbial cost of an arm and a leg as it constitutes a substantial proportion of average monthly income. In countries such as Egypt and Mauritius, one can have Internet use every day of the week at any time of the day for only 0.5 percent and 0.59 percent of average monthly income.

In a bid to ameliorate the prohibitive Internet access price in our country, the University of Botswana was forced to shell out a whopping P7.8 million to provide the student populace with free SIM cards to enable them download teaching material under the restrictive COVID-19 climate. Botho University also entered into an arrangement with Orange whereby their students could have online access to learning materials and teaching instruction at only P2 a day, P10 a week, or P30 a month, though data was capped at 200 megabytes a day. Both these initiatives by two of the country’s premier institutions of higher education must be lauded.

If the cost of mobile broadband data has to organically come down drastically, it is essential that we move from a consolidated market – the triopoly of Mascom (with 51 percent market dominance), Orange (34 percent), and Be-Mobile (15 percent) we have in Botswana – to a multi-operator market. In its latest annual report, BOCRA reports that in 2018, the three operators had combined revenues of P4.4 billion and combined profits of P826 million. One wonders why this rather brisk bottom line does not translate to a proportionate paring down of the consumer price or does it have to do with the fact that the operators’ greed knows no bounds?

BOTSWANA NEAR TAIL-END OF GLOBAL BROADBAND SPEED LEAGUE

If the truth may be told, Internet speed in Botswana is no longer as glacially slow as it was a year or two back. That does not mean it is lightning swift. In fact, it is among the slowest both on the globe and on the African continent.  At the download average of 1.92 megabytes per second (mbps), Botswana ranks 165th in the world and is 22nd in Africa according to statistics furnished by cable.co.uk. Our case is all the more stigmatic as we trail even comparatively poorer countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Sudan.

Taiwan has the fastest Internet in the world at 85.02 mbps, followed by Singapore at 70.86 mbps. Whereas it would take 22 hours for one to download a 5 gigabyte movie in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, the worst-ranked African country, and 6 hours for Botswana, it would take only 8 minutes in Taiwan.  In Africa, it is not South Africa (8.4 mbps, 75th in the world), the wealthiest country, which leads the pack. It is Madagascar at 22.57 mbps (33rd globally). This is one of the poorest countries on Earth, with four out of every four citizens living on less than $2 a day.

Botswana in fact is way below the minimum speed of 10 mbps required for consumers to fully participate in a digital society according to tech experts. I need not emphasise that time is money. It is time BOCRA and BoFiNet saw to it that we pulled up our socks in broadband speed to serve on trawling time. Regrettably, in Botswana things move very slowly and it will probably be another ten years or so before we come to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Madagascar. As for ever catching up with Taiwan, well, the less said the better.

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The Babylonian Captivity Ploy

19th October 2020

Nebuchadnezzar has the Jews exiled to his own domain to sabotage Jerusalem’s prospects of hosting King Anu, “Our Heavenly Father”

In 590 BC, General Atiku, King Zedekiah decided he would no longer be the puppet of Babylon. Just like Nebuchadnezzar, he wanted to be in full and unmitigated control of the Holy City in the event King Anu pitched. But he was under no illusion he could throw off the yoke of Babylon singlehandedly. So in the fourth year of his reign he – once again against the advice of the far-sighted prophet Jeremiah – joined a coalition that was being formed by Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon resist Nebuchadnezzar.

Upon getting wind of the rumours of this scheme, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Zedekiah to Babylon to administer to him a warn and caution statement but it seemed he took no heed. The following year, Nebuchadnezzar decided to pounce: he captured all the cities of Judah except three, one of which was Jerusalem and which he proceeded to besiege for the third time.

Finding himself in dire straits, General, Zedekiah made an alliance with Pharaoh Apries of Egypt and indeed the latter rushed to reinforce him. In the ensuing lull in hostilities, Nebuchadnezzar pulled a stunt by lifting the siege and Apries withdrew. No sooner had Apries done so than Nebuchadnezzar hemmed in on Jerusalem once again: Zedekiah was on his own. Jerusalem was under siege from January 587 to July 586 BC. The following, General, are the circumstances and aftermath of the siege according to one chronicler:

“Conditions in the city became increasingly desperate. Although the people had had time to prepare, their food supplies eventually began to run out. Cannibalism became a grim reality. Despite Jeremiah’s counsel to surrender, the King refused to do so and just as the last of the food in the city was exhausted the Babylonians broke through the wall.

“Zedekiah fled with remains of his army, but was overtaken and captured near Jericho. From there, he was brought before Nebuchadnezzar at his field headquarters at Riblah, his sons were executed in front of him, and he was blinded. From there, he was taken in chains to Babylon. The key members of his cabinet were executed before Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah shortly afterwards.

“A large part of the population of Jerusalem was put to the sword and everything of value plundered. The bronze articles from the Temple were cut up and removed and the building together with the palace and the important houses were set on fire.  “In order to ensure that the city would never rebel against him again, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the Imperial Guard, ordered that the walls be demolished. All who survived in the city were carried off into exile in Babylon, with the exception of the very poor of the land.

The starving population exchanged whatever riches they had left for food, its leadership and priesthood were gone and the Temple burnt. The Babylonians soldiers oppressed the survivors and forced them to work for their food.” The remnant of poor people that were spared, General, were meant to serve as farmers and wine dressers. These people had previously been landless peasants and presented the least risk to the Babylonians, but were required to work the land to prevent the fields falling into disuse.

WOULD KING ANU CONDONE NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S ACT?

Nebuchadnezzar was not the first King to deport a people from their own country, General. The pace was actually set by the Assyrian King Adad Nirari I (c. 1307-1275 BC), who thought the best way to prevent any future uprising was to remove the occupants of the land and replace them with Assyrians. But Nebuchadnezzar, General, had an ulterior motive for the deportations, which only the “Illuminati” of the day were privy to. He wanted to make Jerusalem desolate and decrepit so that when King Anu arrived, he would avoid it like the plague and instead focus on the glittering Babylon.

His aim was to kill off entirely the competition posed by Jerusalem. Says Zechariah Sitchin: “The expectation, it seems, was that the arriving god (Anu) of the Winged Disk (symbol for planet Nibiru) would come down at the Landing Place (Baalbek) in Lebanon, then consummate the Return by entering Babylon through the new marvelous Processional Way and imposing Ishtar Gate.”  But in the event that he indeed pitched, would the pro-Enlilite Anu take kindly to being deflected to a city (Babylon) other than Jerusalem when it had been specifically designated for his ultimate hosting on the planet by virtue of its geometrical centrality?

Having taken over Nippur’s prediluvial role to serve as Mission Control Center after the Deluge, Jerusalem was located at the center of concentric distances to the other space-related sites. Aptly calling it the “Navel of the Earth” (EZEKIEL 38:12), the prophet Ezekiel had announced that Jerusalem had been chosen for this role by God himself. “Thus has said the Lord Yahweh: ‘This is Jerusalem; in the midst of the nations I placed her, and all the lands are in a circle round about her,” EZEKIEL 5:5. “Determined to usurp that role for Babylon,” Sitchin further notes, “Nebuchadnezzar led his troops to the elusive prize and in 598 BC captured Jerusalem.”

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXILE SITUATION

Altogether, General, the Babylonian captivity – the deportation of the Nation of Israel to Babylon – spanned 70 years counting from the first deportation of 598/597 BC.  Meanwhile, Judah was renamed Yehud Province by the Babylonians and a puppet Jewish governor was appointed to administer it. (The post of King was abolished, making Zedekiah [reign: 597-586 BC] the last substantive linear King of the Jews.) His name was Gedalia, whose father had been an advisor to King Josiah (reign: 640-609 BC).

Gedalia set up his capital not in Jerusalem but in Mizpah. That, plus the fact that he didn’t have a drop of Davidic blood in him, made him a marked man to Jewish nationalists and traditionalists from the word go. Not long after his appointment, Gedalia was assassinated by a family member of the deposed king Zedekiah. From that point on, General, no Jewish governor was installed until after the end of the Babylonian captivity.

Exactly what were the circumstances of the deportees, General? The image that immediately comes to mind is that of a concentration camp kind of setting reminiscent of the Jewish people’s fate at the hands of Nazi Germany. That, General, is a gross misconception. In Babylon, the Jews enjoyed every privilege, including citizenship if they so desired. They were not enslaved or in bondage of any kind. Their own individual abilities were even tapped into to help advance Babylon in one way or the other.

Reading PSALM 137:1–2, the surface impression one gets, General, is that the Jews in Babylon were beset by a most disagreeable set of circumstances. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion (Jerusalem). There on the poplars we hung up our lyres.” Well, that was pure nostalgia, which is a natural impulse when a people have been displaced, General. A notable historian presents to us the more accurate picture in the following words:

“The deportees, their labour and their abilities, were extremely valuable to the Babylonian state, and their relocation was carefully planned and organised. We must not imagine treks of destitute fugitives who were easy prey for famine and disease: the deportees were meant to travel as comfortably and safely as possible in order to reach their destination in good physical shape.

Whenever deportations are depicted in Babylonian imperial art, men, women and children are shown travelling in groups, often riding on vehicles or animals and never in bonds … Deportees were carefully chosen for their abilities and sent to regions which could make the most of their talents. Not everyone in the conquered populace was chosen for deportation and families were never separated. Those segments of the population that had actively resisted the Babylonians were killed or sold into slavery, but the general populaces became absorbed into the growing empire and were thought of as Babylonians.”

Another historian has this to say, General: “It is assumed that the Jews had to render labour to the Babylonians, but generally they enjoyed a great deal of freedom. Some of the exiles, like Daniel and his three friends, rose to positions of power within the Royal Court of Babylon and many others became wealthy. Later, during the Persian period Jews like Mordecai, Esther, and Nehemiah all found themselves in key positions in the government and were able to act on behalf of their people because they took Jeremiah’s advice.” Indeed, General, Nehemiah rose to become the cup-bearer of the King, that is, the King’s most trusted official.

The King-in-exile himself, Jeconiah, enjoyed particularly special privilleges both when he was in prison and after his release. Captive kings and high-ranking officials received monthly rations of grain and oil. Archaeological evidence recovered from the Royal palace in Babylon provides support for Jeconiah’s presence there and lists the daily rations set aside for him and the members of his family.

The Bible itself, General, does not shy away from underscoring Jeconiah’s privileged status in Babylon as highlighted in JEREMIAH 52:31-34 thus: “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jeconiah King of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became King of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jeconiah King of Judah and freed him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jeconiah put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the King’s table. Day by day the King of Babylon gave Jeconiah a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.”

 

JEREMIAH PAINTS SORRY PICTURE OF MARDUK’S FATE

The destruction of Solomon’s Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, General, was according to the Bible the ultimate blasphemy. Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah under whose auspices the Temple was built, was not in the least bit amused. He straightaway had the prophet Jeremiah step forward and pronounce the comeuppance both on the King and his colossal empire.

Now, biblical prophecies, General, should not be taken at face value. Their fulfillment were documented after the events they purported to foretell had already taken place, not before they happened. Much of the Old Testament corpus was compiled in the 6th century BC, during and after the Babylonian captivity (the Book of Malachi, the last prophet, was written circa 400 BC, and the Book of Daniel was compiled just after 164 BC). So we have to bear that in mind, General, when we read of fulfilled prophecies so that we decide whether to contemplate the story warily or give it the benefit of the doubt.

Jeremiah announced that the destruction of the Temple was going to be avenged by Yahweh (JEREMIAH 50:28). In addition, Adad instructed him to make the following proclamation: “Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, do not conceal it, say: Babylon is taken; withered is Bel; confounded is Merodach … For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away.” – JEREMIAH 50: 1-3.

Jeremiah, General, made this statement circa 561-60 BC. It can be easily dated because it was in this timespan that Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, was on the throne. Jeremiah served notice to the world that Babylon was to be supplanted by a new power from the north, who turned out to be Persia. Jeremiah also spelt out the imminent fate of the Babylonian god Marduk, who was also known as Bel, meaning “The Lord”: he was to “wither”, or cease to be a factor in the affairs of mankind. In the case of Merodach, all Jeremiah said of him was that he was to be “confounded”, that is, so overwhelmed by problems as to lose a sense of focus. One wonders, General, why Jeremiah, if he was the great prophet he was touted to be, didn’t foresee the assassination of Merodach and directly allude to it in his prophecy.

The prophet Daniel says in his waning days, Nebuchadnezzar had his mind taken away and ate grass like an ox. This, General, is a fanciful story which is found only in the Bible and nowhere in the Babylonian annals. “There is no independent support for the tradition in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years’ madness, and the story probably arose from a fanciful later interpretation of texts concerned with events under Nabunaid, who showed apparent eccentricity in deserting Babylon for a decade to live in Arabia,” says Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Meanwhile, did Marduk indeed get to wither, General?

NEXT WEEK: FROM EXILE TO EXIT

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Understanding Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework: Industrial Action

19th October 2020

In Botswana, the Trade Disputes Act, 2016 (“the Act”) provides the framework within which trade disputes are resolved. This framework hinges on four legs, namely mediation, arbitration, industrial action and litigation. In this four-part series, we discuss this framework.

In last week’s article, we discussed the second leg of Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework-arbitration. In this article, we discuss the third leg, namely industrial action.

Industrial action is generally defined as a situation where the employer and employees use their bargaining power to exert pressure on the other to achieve a particular result. It entails such things as strikes and lockouts.  In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, Industrial action means “a strike, lockout or action short of a strike, in furtherance of a trade dispute”.

In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, “a strike means the cessation of work by a body of employees in any trade or industry acting in combination or under a common understanding or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding by such body of employees to continue work.”

A lock-out is the employees’ equivalent of a strike. In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, a lock-out is defined as “ the closing of a place of employment by an employer in any trade or industry or the suspension of work by such an employer or the refusal by such an employer to continue to employ any number of his or her employees in that trade or industry.”

While on a strike, employees use their numbers to inflict economic pain on the employer by withdrawing their labour, in a lock-out, the employer uses its power by not providing employees with work, thereby inflicting economic harm on them in terms of the ‘no-work, no pay’ principle.
In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, an action short of a strike means “any method of working (other than the method of working commonly known as working to rule) undertaken by a body of employees in any trade or industry acting in combination or under a common understanding, which method of working slows down normal production or the execution of the normal function under their contracts of employment, of the employees undertaking such method of working.”

In terms of section 42(1) (a) of the Act, it is obligatory to refer a dispute of interest for mediation before resorting to a strike or lockout. Also, in terms of section 42(1) (b) of the Act, a party must give the other party a 48-hour notice before the commencement of a strike or lockout. In terms of section 43(1) of the Act, before a strike or lockout commences, the parties have to agree on the rules regulating the action, failing which the mediator must determine the rules in accordance with any guidelines published in terms of section 53 of the Act.

These rules include those concerning the conduct of the strike or lockout and any conduct in contemplation or furtherance of the strike or lockout including picketing and the use of replacement labour. In terms of section 43(2) of the Act, the latter is, however, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of the Act.

Employers are not allowed to engage replacement labour if the parties have concluded an agreement on the provision of a minimum service. In terms of section 43(3) of the Act, such prohibition also applies if no minimum service agreement is concluded within 14 days of the commencement of the strike or lockout.

In terms of section 43(4) of the Act, a trade union is allowed to picket outside the employer’s premises during a strike or lockout if the parties have concluded an agreement on the provision of a minimum service or if no such agreement is concluded within 14 days of the commencement of the strike or lockout.

The Act prohibits strikes and lockouts that do not comply with the aforesaid provisions or an agreed procedure. The prohibition also applies if the strike or lockout is in breach of a peace clause in a collective labour agreement.

In terms of section 45(1) of the Act, strikes or lockouts are also regarded as unprotected if the subject matter of the strike or lockout is not a trade dispute, is regulated by a collective labour agreement, is a matter that is required by the Act to be referred for arbitration or to the Industrial Court for adjudication, or is a matter that the parties to the dispute of interest have agreed to refer for arbitration.

In terms of section 47 of the Act, employees in essential services are not allowed to take part in a strike. Similarly, employers in essential services are not allowed to take part in a lockout. It is, however, worth noting that, although an essential service employee who engages in a strike commits an offence and is, in terms of section 48(1) of the Act, liable to a fine not exceeding P 2 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both, there is no punishment for an essential service employer who locks out its employees.

In terms of section 48(2) of the Act, the punishment applicable to an essential service employee who engages in a strike, is also applicable for any person who causes, procures, counsels or influences any essential service employee to engage in a strike.

Where there is a trade dispute involving parties in an essential service, it should be reported to the Commissioner by an organisation acting on behalf of the employer, employers or employees. The provisions of section 6(3) apply in respect of a report of the trade dispute made in accordance with section 6 (1).

Where a trade dispute is reported in accordance with that section, it is deemed to have been reported to the Commissioner under section 6. Where there is failure to settle a trade dispute reported to the Commissioner in accordance with section 6 (2) within 30 days from the day on which the trade dispute was reported, the Commissioner may immediately refer the trade dispute to an arbitrator if the dispute is a dispute of interest, except in the case of a collective dispute of interest where the employees are represented by a trade union, or to the Industrial Court if the trade dispute is a dispute of right.

*Ndulamo Anthony Morima, LLM(NWU); LLB(UNISA); DSE(UB); CoP (BAC); CoP (IISA) is the proprietor of Morima Attorneys. He can be contacted at 71410352 or HYPERLINK “mailto:anmorima@gmail.com” anmorima@gmail.com

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