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Education System Needs Total Overhaul

David Magang
View From Mana House 

Over the month of October, there has been on-going tumult in the citadels of higher learning in neighbouring South Africa which the local media has scarcely bothered to report upon.


Violent protests have swept across most of the country’s 26 universities as students insist on the inalienable right to free education through thick and thin in a year-long movement that has come to be known as FeesMustFall.

In the ensuing clashes with police, the latter have lobbed stun grenades, fired rubber bullets, and unleashed salvoes of tear gas canisters at stone-throwing and road-blockading students. Campus structures have been vandalised by the unruly and intractable students, forcing some universities to suspend classes citing security concerns.  


It is not that the Zupta government – excuse the sneering sobriquet: it’s so much in vogue at present – has all of a sudden jettisoned the notion of free education in its entirety. What it did, early last month, was to give universities carte blanche to hike fees by no more than 8 percent. Whereas government undertook to subsidise students from low-income families, who constitute 75 percent of the student population, to cater for the increase, it at the same time indicated that those from better-off families (that is, households earning more than R600,000 a year)  would have to top-up from own resources. 

It was this partiality that sparked the protests as students wanted a blanket subsidy that covered all and sundry and not only a certain layer in the social strata.
Education is South Africa’s largest budget item, constituting 0.7 percent of GDP. This year alone, government set aside approximately R300 billion for the purpose, which translates to 20 percent of the national budget and almost double the spending on health. About R70 billion went to tertiary education only.  


Education minister Blade Nzimande has already served notice that the across-the-board free education model is not sustainable in today’s South Africa which is not faring too well economically and which has a multiplicity of imperatives to contend with. That sounds familiar or doesn’t it? At a recent Tertiary Education Financing pitso organised by the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), our own Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Honourable Dr Alfred Madigele seemed to echo the Nzimande line when he opined that, “the current tertiary education funding model used by government is not sustainable”. His outlook was informed by what he termed “massification”, this being “a massive increase in tertiary education enrolment; ever increasing costs; equally important competing priorities; and dwindling financial resources”.


The new minister’s pronouncement must not be taken casually. It was loaded with a lot of suggestibility and therefore has implications which are just too easy to prefigure. Government should not talk in riddles but come clean on the subject of continued free education well in the nick of time so as to avoid stunning the nation with a sudden, BCL-like bombshell.     

THE PARADOX OF EDUCATIONAL EXPENDITURE

What concerns me at this juncture, however, is not the augury of Honourable Madigele’s statement.  It is what one Mpho Bosupeng, a researcher at the University of Botswana, wrote. I have just come across a scholarly article he penned for the Journal of Applied Economics and Business Research in 2015 titled Payoffs of Education Expenditure In Botswana: Long Run Economic Growth Implications.       

 
Bosupeng studied data from 1960 to 2013 with a view to establish a link between GDP growth and educational expenditure in that timeframe. In other words, Bosupeng sought to determine whether government spending on education in Botswana more or less boosted GDP growth.     Economic growth is driven by new ideas, by discoveries that result in better products and more efficient production technologies. Human capital is the engine of this process: a better educated labour force increases the return on research and development and ensures that discoveries are more readily absorbed in the productive structures of the economy.

In the end, more education must yield more economic growth. India is an oft-cited example in this regard. The country’s much hyped software boom is said to reflect, at least partly, the earlier public investment in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
The World Bank reckons that ideally, for every dollar a government spends on education, GDP should grow by $20 on average. In practice though, that is seldom the case.  

In the case of Australia, for example, an extra $1 of educational expenditure actually increases Australian GDP by $2. In one specific study of 151 countries, which calculated the impact of educational expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) between 1990 and 1999 on GDP growth between 2000 and 2010, the World Bank found that an increase in education expenditure by 1 percentage point of GDP (e.g. from 4.5% to 5.5%) increased GDP growth by 0.9 percentage points (e.g.  from 4.5% to 5.4%). Whatever the case, there ought to be a positive relationship of some magnitude between GDP sustainability and educational spending.


In the Botswana study, Bosupeng found that for the period 1960-2013, “there exists no statistically significant relationship between GDP and expenditure on education and skills development”. The mean GDP for the period was $3.86 billion while expenditure on education averaged just under $850 million.


The paradox of educational expenditure having hardly any effect on GDP growth is staggering given that we spend 8.7 percent of our GDP on education. On the African continent, we’re second only to Lesotho. Globally, our educational spend ranks among the top ten. Our government also allocates close to 30 percent of the ministerial recurrent budget to the ministry of education every year, the lion’s share which in 2014-2015 amounted to P9.26 billion.

The Department of Tertiary Education Financing alone has an average budget of P2.7 billion. Of this, between P1.2 billion and P1.7 billion goes to sponsorship of 20,000 to 30,000 students in both private and public tertiary institutions, with at least 10,000 being first year students.  

SCHOLAR CORROBORATES MY TAKE IN DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

In Mpho Bosupeng’s more than 50 bibliographical references, my name does not feature at all. He was not under obligation to cite me, and most likely didn’t even get to read my books,  but what he observed about the sorry state of Botswana’s education system I also elaborately set out in my 2015 book Delusions of Grandeur Vol. 2 (Chapter 2, titled “Education Without Edification”). 

  I summarise Bosupeng’s concluding remarks as follows:
“The lack of a positive affiliation between GDP and expenditure on education has several implications. Firstly, it implies that for a developing economy like Botswana, the country could be channeling funds to education with no increased production. This extrapolates further to mean that the government’s budget is being pushed to the limit while there is no payoff from education investment. The government will have to reconsider this investment spending carefully for it to have higher rates of returns.


“Secondly, the lack of a statistically significant relationship between educational expenditure and GDP may mean that the government is not providing enough jobs for the recent graduating classes who are fresh from their universities or vocational training institutions. This case is attached more to Botswana since the government is the largest employer.


“The third factor is that even though the government is spending so much money on the education system, there might be a mismatch between what the employer needs and the skills possessed by the students. In essence, government should consider the programmes each high institution of learning such as University of Botswana has to offer for economic growth and empowerment.

It is no use for the government to sponsor students whose degree programmes will not be beneficial to the long run economic growth and sustainability.
“Fourth …  the quality of the education itself should not be sidelined also.

If the quality of the education is very low, it is reasonable to expect low returns to national output in consequence. This will invalidate the anticipated positive relationship between educational expenditure and national economic growth.”
Virtually all the above observations I too underscore at length in my books.

THE VANITY OF EXAM ROOM-BASED ASSESSMENT

If our education system availeth very little if at all, it is principally because we are so beholden to the stasis of the British model we inherited at independence and which we haven’t adapted to our own specific circumstances 50 years hence. It is too theoretically premised and lays undue emphasis on progression through examinations instead of innate ability. This has the result that when students graduate from college or varsity, they are practically “empty”, having regurgitated all they crammed onto the exam room script.


Examinations are a global convention and have been around since days immemorial yet they are not the best gauge of a student’s competence or intelligence quotient. If they were, then what about Albert Einstein, who is acknowledged as the 20th century’s greatest intellect but was not particularly good at passing examinations and bemoaned the fact that “the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning?” What about Thomas Edison, the inventor, amongst other things, of the electric bulb, who had no more than 3 months of formal education? What about the iconic Richard Branson of “Virgin Empire” fame, who had such a hard time passing examinations that he finally said enough was enough and dropped out of high school at age 16?


Examinations actually test test-taking ability, not innate ability or creative and innovative potential. They are a memory retention contest in the main. Regular examinations result in students working toward exams and exams only and not toward retentive learning.  The better you are at cramming, the better your chances of passing. As somebody aptly put it, what the examination system encourages is “practising past papers in the hope of mastering tests and not the subject. Tests do not encourage the pursuit of knowledge so much as the pursuit of great grades.”


The memory-based examination system loyally panders to the cunning of our colonialists, who wanted our education system to churn out intellectually “undernourished school leavers” who were not resourceful, creative, and self-actualised but had to pin all their prospects for earning a living on the job market. Contrast that with the type of education the likes of Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg underwent which for only part of the way was sufficient to enable them create Google and Facebook respectively in a student hostel. Bill Gates and Paul Allen for one ditched varsity altogether, having imbibed enough knowledge to set out on their own and create the software titan called Microsoft.


So what is my bone of contention? It is that those who understand this theme best say routine examinations as a means of assessing skills and knowledge must be done away with. Much more practical and realistic methods of assessment which reflect real life situations must be investigated and adopted.

Otherwise, we will continue to deny our youth the opportunity to fully assert their God-given potential simply because they are not blessed with the gift of theoretical recollection or are not good at figuring out the nuances of an examination question. I could personally cite a number of people who otherwise were intelligent in the class room and in everyday life but were prone to succumb to a morbid case of examination fever the moment they set foot in the examination hall.

THE FINNISH MODEL

Whereas in much of the world competence is based on passing exams after spells of exhaustive cramming and rote learning, in Finland there are no standardised examinations. In fact, there is only one mandatory national examination from Standard One to high school – the matriculation exams, which we call BGCSE in Botswana.


The education system is based on a balanced programme and a process of continuous professionalism, not on the artificiality of exam room testing. Said one report: “Students in grades one through nine spend from four to eleven periods each week taking classes in art, music, cooking, carpentry, metal work, and textiles. These classes provide natural avenues for learning math and science, nurture critical       cooperative skills, and implicitly cultivate respect for people who make their living working with their hands”.


There is no performance ranking for students or schools, the type you see in Botswana newspapers when nationwide examination results are announced, whereby the “super-performers ” are  shown off in centre-spread adverts.  When teachers assess students in Finland, they do not use numerical grades but descriptive feedback. This helps teachers and students focus on learning in a fear-free environment in which creativity and risk-taking are encouraged. Teachers have more real freedom in time planning when they do not have to focus on annual tests or exams. The result is that the difference between weakest and strongest student is the smallest in the world.


In Botswana, everybody wishes their child was at Westhood or Maruapula, or schools of a similar ilk. In Finland, “parents can also choose, but the options are all the same”. At best, choice is one of which institution of learning is closest  to home.
The Finns are today dubbed the rock stars of global education. A recent report said 93 percent of Finns  graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percent score points higher than the US, the touted bastion of superlative education, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the EU.


It has now become fashionable for foreign delegations from across the world to make pilgrimages to Finland to study up-close the Finish educational model. It’s time ministers Alfred Madigele and Unity Dow got on the next plane too.

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LETTER TO BATSWANA – BEWARE OF THE BEAST!

7th December 2021

Fellow Citizens, I greet you all with love from South Africa. I have been requested by one of your respectable journalists to express an opinion in regard to a number of questions touching on current affairs in Botswana. I have decided to provide this in-depth advice, which subsumes all the questions any one of you may have.

There are many things happening around society today. They are mesmerizing because many of you don’t have a clue of what is going on in the bigger scheme of things. Much more is coming your way soon, which will bring radical changes, and more anxiety in your lives. It may catch you be surprise, unless you heed this advice. Your biggest disadvantage as a people today is that you reject wisdom, and destroy your maze runners. You do not make time to read, seek and find the truth for yourselves. Rather, you have a tendency to dissipate time and energy on petty talk, and useless peripheral matters of the day. Most of that stuff is pure distractions from the very core of all issues, which I have been communicating for the past ten years. I have written two books so far, and others are on their way. I have also posted certain blog essays in 2014. Read my books and blog essays. Focus on that, and you will have a clearer picture of what you face today moving forward.

The world is evidently changing fast all over. This happens because of cosmic cycles of time, where one Age passes with its civilization, and a new one emerges. The End of Ages which Jesus Christ foretold is truly upon us. We are living in a moment of prophesy, where each one of you will see the things foretold unfold before our eyes. It is also a moment of opportunity, when all karma accumulated from the past and present is resolved within this time band. Every one of you will surely reap what you have sown, individually and collectively as a Nation, because that is the law of nature – what goes around comes around. You can be sure of this truth by simply observing significant events unfolding around, where everyone who has caused Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela II pain, is experiencing that same pain, and will endure worse of that which they intended to do, but failed. As a Nation, you will reap the full consequences of rejecting your forefathers (Dikgosi) in preference to following leadership of the Beasts of Revelation 13, disguised as a democracy. The book of Revelations Chapter 13 (the blasphemous beast from the sea) foretold this future, revealing in advance the colonists’ 500 year old agenda you experience today. Rev 13 verses 1,2,8 &9 says:

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.  And the beast that I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority…And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundations of the world. If any man have an ear. Let him hear.

The Beast out of the Sea is the colonists of Africa, North & South America over the past 500 years to date. It is symbolically described as a mixed creature that appeared to be a leopard, with paws like a bear, and a mouth like a Lion. A leopard is a symbol of Bogosi. We have here, a horrific mixed creature that mimics Bogosi, and camouflages in disguised ‘democracy’, when it is not a democracy, but a monstrosity ill begotten of the worst human error in history. It captivates humanity in slavery of a Consciousness Time Bubble built from fake ideologies. It uses scientific mind control techniques of the highest order in Black Magic. Revelations 13 says that Beast (colonists) exercises his powers by delegation, to yet another Beast, that came out from the Earth:

And I beheld another beast coming out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.  And he exerciseth all power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast that the image of the beat should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or name of the beast, or the number of his name (Rev 13 verse 11-17).

This Beast from the Earth symbolizes post-colonial republican governments of today. These so called ‘democratic’ republican governments are (the living beast) from the Earth, acting out delegated authority, for and on behalf of the Beast out of the Sea, whose seven heads represent the colonial powers. This is the reason why all post- colonial governments in Africa are still hostage to their ‘former’ colonial masters, whilst their elite is eternally captured in a colonial mindset. The relationship between those two Beasts carries on to date, exactly as foretold in Revelations 13. Therefore, all of you supporters of fake ‘democracy’; you who proudly call yourselves democrats, socialists, communists, or whatever ideological isms available; you are in fact trapped inside a 500 year old dream, where the Beast is the dreamer.

You are living in his Consciousness Time Bubble. You are mere dolls at his puppet show, playing out a script wearing rags of different colors of your political parties; dancing about and pretending to be opposites whilst the Beast pulls his invisible puppet show strings. His Chief Agent (a funder) is always lurking somewhere, funding all that dancing you see at political rallies, and the decay that follows in governance. Indeed, the Gods that you have created rule your destinies. You find yourselves spinning endlessly in cycles of misery every time you vote for the Beast of the Earth and sustain his consciousness. You don’t pause a moment to ask yourselves why quality of life keeps declining despite your votes, huge money investments in political parties, political campaigns, government budgets – and all that dancing you see at political gatherings.

However, and whatever you may believe, the inconvenient truth confronting society today is that you are all going to reap the full consequences of your blind obedience to wicked authority who serve Revelation 13 Beasts. An event, or series of events, shall mysteriously befall 21st century mankind, which will be pre-meditated in accordance with agendas for the future written clearly within some high profile (think tank) documents, and monuments such as: Protocols of the Elders of Sion, Iron Mountain Report, Project for the New America Century, Georgia Guide Stones etc. All the information on these reports has been available online. You need to read them for yourselves to appreciate what is going on. In one of my blog essays, I wrote and told you about the Georgia Guide Stones. In another, I forewarned you about The Sleeping Giants. Meanwhile, we have been preaching the same mantra: A re ithulaganyeng. Revelations 14 Verses 6-20 is relevant in these times. Verses 14-20 say:

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another Angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the Angel thrust his sickle into the Earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridle, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

All these factors of disease (real or imagined), unbearable inequality and injustice, fear, poison, devaluation of money, economic & infrastructure collapse, natural disasters & war abound, will raise society stress levels to breaking point, and converge to bring about the world depopulation foretold in prophesy (Isiah 24, Matthew 24, Revelations 14, 20 &21, Quran prophesy, Georgia Guide Stones, Nostradamus, Hopi & Maya tribe prophesies etc. and the think tank documents referred above). A civilization that is totally dependent upon money, and fake democracy as their god, will certainly collapse into oblivion once their god (Beast of Revelations 13) is removed from the equation of life. We are already seeing a domino effect of that taking place today. Only those who reject that god will make a new civilization. Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 24 verses 1-12) clearly warned:

Behold, the Lord maketh the Earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, and the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the Earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left…The city of confusion is broken down: every household is shut up, that no man may come in…In the city is left desolate, and the gate is smitten with destruction.

Every individual, society and nation who continues to live within this Consciousness Bubble of fake democracy, must know that they effectively sustain the Beasts of Revelation 13. You are all going perish soon, with the end of that Beast, as foretold in Revelations 14-21, unless you change your attitudes towards life fast. It will happen in our lifetime, before your very eyes, as the people of Sodom & Gomorrah witnessed. Because you worship the Beast, and you refuse to see that glaring fact that you sustain the Beast, you will do everything he says you should do. You will follow him to your own death, like the Pan Piper rats to the river. When he says fear this or that, you will cower in fear. All your decisions will be based on fear consciousness and not love. When he says shut yourselves in your houses, close down your hard earned businesses, don’t move about save with my permission; you will oblige. When he imposes masks over your faces, and says you should put a social distance between yourself and brother, inject your bodies with poison or substances that you don’t know; you will do that (unquestioningly). You will even coerce everyone else to oblige, because he the Beast is your leader. He is your substitute father, after you have forsaken your Dikgosi and forefathers.

You have even expelled one of your most important Kgosi Kgolo from the country. Everyone seems comfortable with that state of affairs, as if it is normal, when it represents a very dark omen of serious karmic consequences. You have sustained the Beast continuously, against all wise counsel, even as you see him destroy society, and display all the characteristic forewarned in Revelations 13. We did warn in The King’s Journal – From the Horse’s Mouth, that every society and nation is going to reap the full consequences of the leadership they follow, unless they change fast. Ngwana yo sa utlweng molao wa batsadi o utlwa wa manong. You will listen to nothing else of value, other than what comes out of your father’s (Beast) blasphemous mouth, which has been lies and hypocrisy all the way, however convincing such lies may be. You will not receive wisdom, because you block it out, until the end of your civilization.

No amount of Constitutional reform will alter this fate, for so long as those reforms simply endorse the Beasts of Revelation 13 in a different fashion. South Africa made that tragic error in 1994, and they pay a heavy price today. That is why we are clear, and remain steadfast, that we Bakgatla Ba kgafela must recover our stolen country, become an independent State, and start a new life of a New Age that does not endorse those Beasts of Revelations 13. We may consider being part of the greater Botswana; but (only) a Botswana which has conspicuously rejected the Beasts, as we Bakgatla have done. Therefore, due vigilance must prevail to guard against a new Botswana constitution being trapped in the same Consciousness Bubble of the Revelations 13 Beasts, in different disguise. We must emphasize the point that you have a most beautiful country, with the best traditions available. You have potential to become a safe foundation for a new civilization; a true shining example of order in Africa. You stand in a moment of great opportunity. You only need to realize your worth, recognize quality in your Tswana heritage, and stop allowing yourselves to be devalued by dangerous foreign norms.

Everyone who internalizes this truth, will readily see that everything else that is happening around you in politics, social events, and social media platforms, is of peripheral importance. It is a spiritual distraction orchestrated from very high above to keep you trapped and looping in that terrible Consciousness Bubble driven by fear energy. It is distracting you from focusing your much needed time, energy and resources upon the one and most important activity within your control today, to affect the fate and destiny of your civilization: Seeing the Beasts of Revelation 13 for what they are. Stop energizing them to your own detriment. Break the hypnotic spell that blinds you to their authority. Step outside their Consciousness Bubble. Remember Albert Einstein’s philosophy that: You cannot solve problems with the same consciousness/mindset that created them. Uphold honest leadership that vibrates a new consciousness compatible with a New Age of truth & justice foretold in prophesy. Stand firm with the truth. Then you will see the light, and manage to ride this wave of current tribulation- however it comes.
PULA!
Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela ii

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Flight To France

24th November 2021
THE “DRAGON” PURSUES THE “WOMAN”

The Lord’s wife seeks refuge in a European  “Wilderness”

In March 37 AD, General Atiku, Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar died after 23 years in office. He was succeeded by his nephew and adoptive heir Gaius Caligula. 

Caligula had forged a fraternal bond with Herod Agrippa, a grandson of Herod the Great, whilst hitherto cash-strapped Agrippa worked at Emperor Tiberius’ court in some capacity. It was on the basis of this mutual affinity that Caligula installed Agrippa as King of the Middle East territories his uncle Phillip the Tetrarch, who passed on in AD 34, had ruled over.

In 39 AD, Agrippa’s regal tentacles spread even wider when he was given the Herod Antipas domains after he politically poisoned the latter to Caligula. Thus it was that Agrippa became Rome’s client King of the whole of Palestine minus Judea. Meanwhile, the tiny territory of Chalcis in Syria was given to Agrippa’s brother Herod, best known to history as Herod of Chalcis, on the pleadings of Agrippa. 

It so happened, General, that during the rather short, six-year reign of Agrippa, four Jewish High Priests took turns in office, all appointed by he himself as per authority vested in him by the Emperor. One particular appointment, of a Boethusian High Priest at the expense of the incumbent Mathias Ben Ananus (the apostle Matthew), rankled with radical Jews.

Mathias was replaced in 43 AD, when he was scarcely one year in office. Given that the Boethusians held the Davidic dynasty in contempt, it goes without saying that the apostolate band were irate. In the event, Simon Peter and James the son of Zebedee with typical Zealot radicalism  conveniently saw common cause with Simon Zelotes and set about plotting the assassination of Agrippa. 

Somehow, General, the Herod establishment got wind of the plot and Herod of Chalcis had James executed and Simon Peter thrown into the slammer pending his own turn at the scaffold.  Simon Zelotes and Theudas Barabbas were quick to hit back. First, Simon used his guile and connections to have Peter spirited out of prison, whereupon Peter sought refuge in Rome.

Simon Zelotes is the “Angel of the Lord” spoken of in the relevant passage (ACTS 12:7) as  that was his emeritus title as one of the Essene top brass. Second, Simon Zelotes had Agrippa assassinated by way of snake poison. Although Simon Zelotes got away with this intrigue, Barabbas, General, was not so lucky: as he made his getaway across the Jordan River and bogged down by age-related lethargy, he was seized and summarily executed by decapitation on the orders of Herod of Chalcis.  

Simon Zelotes set up a new base in Cyprus, leaving his step-daughter Mary Magdalene in the lurch in Judea. What would be her fate, General, now that she was associated with a fugitive from justice?

SCHISMS IN THE CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT

The accession and rather untimely demise of King Agrippa, General Atiku,  had quite significant ramifications on the nascent Christian movement. Of particular import was the relocation of the Qumran community to Damascus in Syria. Indeed, the Dead Sea Scrolls’ Damascus Document makes a point of highlighting “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus”, which now the Essenes propagandised as the place where the awaited Jewish Messiah would appear and not in Jerusalem as the Old Testament prophets had foretold.   

The change of scene, General, was spearheaded by James the Just, the immediate younger brother of Jesus and the incumbent leader of the Christian movement. It was necessitated  by the fear that the perpetually impecunious Agrippa (whilst he was alive, that is), who at some stage had been declared bankrupt, might eventually deplete the Qumran kitty (a portion of which the Herods were entitled to), of which James was the custodian following the ignominious death of Judas Iscariot.

James had also served notice that the Herods would  have no part to play in a sovereign Israel, that the conduct of its affairs would be the preserve solely of the Davidic dynasty, which he now headed. As if to underscore this apartness,  James even went on to reprise the Star &  Sceptre political tag team with Theudas Barabbas (before his assassination), which harked back to a similar partnership of yesteryears between his father Joseph and the same Barabbas, who was still revered as the iconic Zealot revolutionary.  

The likes of Simon Peter (who had returned from Rome a free man since his alleged crime had lapsed with the death of King Agrippa as was the practice those days),  however, set up their base at Antioch in Syria, which suggests that there was a bit of dissonance between James and Peter at the time. Peter was reinforced by Paul and the latter’s personal doctor Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. The Peter faction was also anti-Herod but in its formative stage it touted Peter as the successor to Jesus at the expense of  James. 

In sum, General, there was a three-way split in the Christian movement after Jesus went into obscurity. This was the James party at Damascus, the Peter party at Antioch, and the Simon Zelotes party in Cyprus. It was the Peter party that with the benefit of hindsight stole the thunder in that it was at Antioch that members of The Way began to call themselves Christians. This was in AD 44. 

MARY MAGDALENE IN FRANCE

Meanwhile, General Atiku, Mary Magdalene was in a very precarious position. At the time, she was already pregnant with Jesus’ third child, having conceived in December AD 43.  It is not clear though whether she too had incurred the wrath of the Herods in view of what her step- father Simon Zelotes had done to King Agrippa, but taking precautions, she sought the protection  of Agrippa’s eldest son, Agrippa II. Agrippa II was only 17 years at the time and was based in Rome under the auspices of Claudius, who had become Roman Emperor in AD 41.

A former student of the Apostle Paul, Agrippa II was well disposed toward the Jesus family and so he readily acquiesced to Mary’s entreaty, whereupon he arranged for her safe passage to the famed Herodian estate in Gaul, France, in collaboration with his other brother Aristobulus. It was in Gaul that the brothers Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas had by turns been banished by the Roman Emperor after their ouster in AD 6 and 39 respectively .  

Mary Magdalene, General,  was not all alone on the ship that conducted her to France. She was accompanied by her step-father Simon Zelotes; her mother Helena-Salome; the apostle Philip; the three sisters of Jesus; the wife of James the Just; and Trophimus, who is mentioned in ACTS 20:4; ACTS 21:29; and 2 TIMOTHY 4:20. In his book The Life of Mary Magdalene, Archbishop Rabanus Maurus partly documents the voyage thus: “And favoured by an easterly wind they travelled on across the Sea between Europe and Africa, leaving the city of Rome and all the land of Italy to the right. Then, happily changing course to the right, they came to the city of Marseilles in the Gaulish province of Vienne.” Upon arrival in France, Mary Magdalene had the privillege of being welcomed by the Queen of Marseilles. Once in 

France, Simon Zelotes, who  became known there as Lazarus the Great One, wasted no time in setting up a mission in Provence in south eastern France.

MARY MAGDALENE Vs ROME

Unbeknownst to much of Christendom, including the Christian clergy itself, General, the fate of Mary Magdalene is cryptically documented in the Book of Revelation! It is unfortunate that Revelation is placed last in the New Testament corpus when by rights it should have come immediately  after the Book of Acts and not after the  21 epistles in between since it is actually a continuation of the Jesus story. Although it is called the Revelation of Saint John, that is a misnomer.

It is a revelation by Jesus Christ himself, who we now know was very much in existence and in circulation more than fifty years after his sham crucifixion. That is exactly what REVELATION 1:1 states, although Christians have naively taken this to be no more than  figurative language. It was Jesus in his physical, blood-and-flesh  form who related much of the contents of Revelation to the apostle John, the literal author of the book. Jesus dictated the account; John  simply was the scribe. 

The relegation of Revelation (literally “The Unveiling”, the true meaning of the Greek world apocalypse from which the term “Revelation” is translated) to the very extremity of the biblical canon, General,  was contrived by Roman Emperor Constantine as the teachings of the Roman Church were founded, primarily, on the writings of Simon Peter and the apostle Paul. Says authoritative historian Laurence Gardner in his book The Magdalene Legacy:  The Jesus and Mary Bloodline Conspiracy: “At first glance it appears baffling that The Revelation was included in the New Testament at all, since it follows the post-Resurrection lives of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their offspring through a balance of the 1st century.

However, the inclusion of The Revelation proved to be a remarkable strategy in that its very esoteric nature enabled Rome to turn it to considerable advantage by misrepresenting its text from the pulpits; this, of course, was at a time when the general populace did not have Bibles to read for themselves.” Gardner goes on to say, “The Church has done its best to put people off this book ever since by portraying it as a sinister work of foreboding and doom. By way of propaganda from the 1662 Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, even the very word apocalypse has become emblematic of disaster.”

REVELATION CHAPTER 12, General,  is particularly pertinent with regard to the saga of Mary Magdalene. It talks about a pregnant woman  “clothed  with the sun” and with a “wreath of 12 stars on her head” (Verses 1 and 2).  This woman is being pursued and tormented by a  “great fiery-red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads seven diadems” (Verse 3). The dragon’s aim is to “devour her child when it is born” (Verse 4). The woman “fled into the wilderness, there where she has a place made ready  by God” (Verse 6).

Despite her trials and tribulations, the woman at long last “brought forth a son, a male, who is about to be shepherding all the nations with an iron club. And her child is snatched away to God and to His throne” (Verse 5). The dragon, though, will never relent: it  is “angry with the woman, and came away to do battle with the rest of her seed, who are keeping the precepts of God and who have the testimony of Jesus” (Verse 17).

As we  have reiterated time and again,  General, much of the New Testament was written  in a coded language with a view to keeping the Romans in the dark. Thus in the Book of Revelation, Mary Magdalene is simply referred to as “the woman” and Rome as “the dragon” or “the serpent”.  History documents that the Romans did display a reddish dragon on their imperial banner.  Moreover, Rome itself was known as the City of the Seven Kings in that this was the total number of Roman emperors before the empire became a Republic in 509 BC.

The woman is of royal pedigree because she is “clothed with the sun”,  an  age-old symbol of both royalty and divinity. The 12 stars on her head obviously refers to the 12 tribes of Israel, for whom she was the de facto queen being the wife of Jesus,  the Davidic King, and the wreath on her head denotes the fact of the nation of Israel’s enduring  subjugation to the Roman yoke.    The “wilderness” in this context is France, where Mary Magdalene as related above sought refuge with the assistance of Agrippa II.   

The pursued woman did give birth to a male child, which Mary Magdalene did as we shall relate in the next instalment. As a youngster, the child himself met no harm, but his relations, the broader Jesus family and their scions,  who became known as the Desposyni or the Sangreal, were continuously harassed  by Roman emperors, with some of them put to death, a detail we shall go into at the appropriate stage. 

Curiously, General, the Revelation passage indicates that the woman was transported to safety on “two wings of a large vulture”. This suggests an aircraft, and a hideous, military-type for that matter,   and not a ship as official history documents. This is not exactly far-fetched considering that the Anunnaki, who flew in aerial vehicles, have been ruling Earth from behind the scenes despite their official departure in the 6th  century BC. If Mary Magdalene had been earmarked as the progenitor of the planet’s blue blood, which she indeed was, then the Anunnaki had cause to ferry her to France in an aeroplane to make doubly sure she got to France in  one piece. It may explain, General, why upon her arrival in France she was welcomed by no less a figure than the Queen of Marseilles herself.  

NEXT WEEK: THE “QUEEN” IS IMMORTALISED

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Magma Carter

24th November 2021

When I was growing up dinosaurs didn’t exist.  I don’t mean I’m so old I pre-date the days of the prehistoric beast, simply that in those days, nobody bar a few nerdy scientists, gave them much of a second thought.  

But in 1993 all that changed.  Movie buffs amongst you will immediately recognise that year as the release year of the original Spielberg Jurassic Park movie.  That’s not to say there hadn’t been films portraying these ancient beasts before – several had come and gone, seemingly without a trace, the oldest being from 1933 and filmed in black and white.  But what set Jurassic Park apart, aside from the impressive special effects and the sprinkling of magic Spielberg dust, was the relatively recent discovery of DNA and its genetic significance.

The scriptwriters exploited this concept with the quasi-credible discovery of a living lizard species, derived from dinosaur DNA, captured from an ancient mosquito, and preserved for millennia in a chunk of amber.  From there several other species are cloned and kept on an island which acts as a dinosaur game reserve, now open to the public.  But that wouldn’t have made much of a story, so of course some of the more dangerous dinosaurs had to escape and cause mayhem and murder in the modern world.

The film grossed over a billion dollars and won 3 Oscars for sound and visual effects.  And more importantly it generated so much interest in dinosaurs that the study of palaeontology experienced a record increase in applications.

So that’s where all the dinosaur hype and fascination started and since then it has spawned more movies from the same franchise, animated series such as Ice Age, and  led to a global fascination with finding out more about these beasts of the past.  

But only recently something quite fascinating emerged concerning these creatures, and that is that they began life as much smaller creatures and it was a major climate event on earth which led to their monster growth.  This finding is the result of a study between scientists from the UK’s Birmingham university in conjunction with their Chinese counterparts at the China Institute of Mining & Technology.   Their joint team of researchers recently presented compelling evidence that massive volcanic events probably helped the dinosaurs diversify and thrive, reaching their monumental sizes. 

Their results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and explain that the Triassic Period, which began roughly 250 million years ago, was a time of massive ecological change after the largest mass extinction event on record.  Earlier dinosaurs had been skinnier, more reptilian, less of the massive, marauding Spielberg monsters but it was during this time period that dinosaurs diversified until they became wondrous beasts such as T. Rex and Triceratops, dominating ecosystems all over earth. 

Scientists looked at a phase spanning 2 million years during the Triassic Period known as the Carnian Pluvial Episode or CPE, ‘pluvial’ deriving from the Latin word for rain, meaning it was a period of warm, moist, cloudy meteorological activity . During that episode, from 234 million to 232 million years ago there was a huge increase in global temperature, humidity and rainfall — a climate often referred to as a “mega-monsoon.”

Researchers analysed sediment and plant fossil evidence from a lake in Northern China and were able to match four intense phases of volcanic activity with the changes of the Carnian Pluvial Episode.  The study links the timing of the episode with four distinct peaks in mercury levels, a well-established indicator of volcanic activity,  which led to changes in the vegetation. 

“We’re often able to link volcanism to global warming, but our study is unusual in that we’ve also linked it to periods of intense rainfall,” said Jason Hilton, a paleobotanist at the University of Birmingham in England and co-author of the study. “With each pulse of volcanism, we see an increase in plants adapted to wet and aquatic… settings.” Jing Lu, a researcher at the China University of Mining and Technology and also a co-author of the study, added that these eruptions “were powerful enough to drive evolutionary processes during the Triassic. During the episode, plant species that couldn’t adapt to the more humid environment went extinct, as did a number of animal species, from large reptilian herbivores on land to small gastropods in the water. “These changes freed up ecological space for other groups of organisms such as dinosaurs, to thrive”

But every dog, and every dinosaur, has their day and the dinosaurs also faded away, most likely due to a massive meteor strike on the surface of the earth in what is now modern-day Florida, which set up a massive tsunami and eventually resulted in a global Ice Age, temperatures too cold for dinosaurs to survive.

If there’s a moral to all this paleo-historical research it is that earth’s climate is governed by many factors, one of which may indeed by petrol fumes in the atmosphere but many of which are completely beyond our control.  Another massive meteor strike may occur next week or it may not. We could see a sudden surge in volcanic activity again or we might not.  But most of all the lesson is that talk of what is good or otherwise for the planet is based on a false premise.  Whatever happens on the surface of the earth, it keeps on spinning round and round the sun every 365 ¼ days  as it has done since the Big Bang and there is  no reason to suppose it will cease to do so, even if it were to transform into a an arid desert in its entirety.  That is the embodiment of perpetual motion, a force which man has yet to master.

No, what people really mean is ‘good for trying to keep the planet just the way we like it’ which is rather different and may be a complete impossibility.  Indeed mankind, like the dinosaur, may become extinct at some point in the future as part of the natural way of the world.

The planet, though, will be fine!

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