Considering that Adam was carried in Ninmah’s womb, it followed that his female counterpart had to be carried in the womb of a royal too, not an ordinary Anunnaki like any of the Birth Mothers. Who would it be this time around? Enki this time excused his sister; instead, he tipped his wife Ninki (maiden name Damkina) to bear the burden, of course subject to her consent.
Ninki did not need overmuch persuasion as her sister-in-law had been through the process without any detriment to her health. It was not Ningishzidda, though, who transplanted the tiny foetus into Ninki’s womb; that was taboo given that she was his step-mother. It had to be Enki himself.
Ninki was delivered in the tenth month, by Caesarian section. As per plan, the offspring was a girl. She was as healthy and adorable as Adam. However, there was a marked difference in their skin tones: the girl was nearly as light-skinned as the Anunnaki (what we would call a “coloured” today), whereas Adam was of a comparatively darker hue.
Clearly, in the gene tinkering process, Enki had Ningishzidda substantially tone down on the dark pigment melanin as he intended the female Earthling to be even more visually attractive. Enki’s gesture was also motivated, apparently, by some future scheme of his that he kept close to his chest.
As with Ninmah in the case of Adam, Ninti had discretion to confer a name on the newly born girl. She suggested the name Tiamat. “Tiamat let her name be,” Ninti said. “Like the planet of old of which the Earth and the Moon were fashioned, let her be called.”
The creation of Tiamat, the biblical Eve, thus, was a symbolic commemoration of the Celestial Battle that took place 4 billion years ago, when a primeval Nibiru smashed into a watery planet called Tiamat – which was located between Mars and Jupiter – to split it into Earth and the Asteroid Belt. One of Tiamat’s eleven satellites, Kingu, was dragged along to become our Moon. We dwelt on this subject earlier in the Earth Chronicles.
Initially, female Earthlings were to be mass-produced from Eve’s DNA template, just as male Earthlings were mass-produced from Adam’s DNA template, that is, using seven new Birth Mothers. Indeed, a year later, the Birth Mothers were clutching seven healthy baby girls.
Let us at this juncture turn to the Bible to cross-check these happenings. We will begin with GENESIS 5:1-2. Summarising the creation of man by God, the two scriptures read as follows: Verse 1 – When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Verse 2 – He (God) created them male and female and blessed them.
And when they were created he called them ‘man’. Do you see some seeming contradiction? Verse 1 talks about “man”, but in Verse 2, man has become “male and female”. The contradiction arises only in the distorted English translation. In the Hebrew original, there is no contradiction at all.
A much more direct and minimally paraphrased translation from Hebrew should read something like this: Verse 1 – When the Elohim (the royal Anunnaki) created the first Earthling, they made him in their own image and likeness and blessed him.Verse 2 – Then the Elohim created more male Earthlings and in due course female Earthlings.
The Earthlings were called Adamites. The Elohim are the Anunnaki leadership. But this also is too much of a generalisation: as we saw in earlier pieces, it was Enki who said “Let us make man in our own image and likeness” (GENESIS 1:26), and as we have already demonstrated, it was Enki, assisted by his step-sister Ninmah and his genius son Ningishzidda, who created both Adam and Eve.
Inevitably, it is Enki who pronounced blessings on Adam and Eve. We have also explained that the name Adam fundamentally means Earthling. It was both a name of the individual Adam, the first viable Earthling, as well as that of mankind in general. Human beings are Adamites.
Sequentially, the creation of Earthlings first takes place in GENESIS 1:27, which reads, “So God (the Elohim, that is, Enki, Ningishzidda, and Ninmah) created man (Adam, the first viable human being) in his (their) own image; in the image of God (the Elohim) he (Enki) created him (Adam); male and female he created them ( Adam and Eve)”.
The “male and female” statement refers to the stage when Birth Mothers alternated in groups of seven to produce males patterned after Adam, and when they again alternated in groups of seven to produce females patterned after Eve. So the Genesis account is far from contradictory folks, at least in this context.
THE PROTOTYPES ON SHOW AT ERIDU
Eve, like Adam, was to be preserved. Her DNA was to be used to produce female Earthlings, just as Adam’s DNA would be used to produce male Earthlings. It was actually decided by Enki that Eve join Adam at Eridu, his base in the Edin in Mesopotamia. This was all the more apt because Enlil, who greatly distrusted Enki, personally wanted to keep a close watch on the couple.
In the old Avestan language, a sister tongue to the Vedic Sanskrit of India, the Edin was referred to as Pairi Daize (from pairi [around] and diz [to make, form, build]). A Pairi Daize was therefore something of a castle – a fortified, walled building or groups of building with watch towers for maximum vigil (the Setswana term Phara–disa, meaning “securely watched over”, drives the point crisply home).
Parts of the Edin were as fortified and as tightly guarded because, first, they housed the royal Anunnaki (the “gods”), and second, they harboured the highly prized shems, or rocket ships. But the Edin was more than that. It had an orchard, a zoo, a royal park, acres of cultivated land, pastoral animals, a sprawl of lush green lawns, and tracts of pastureland.
It is from Pairi Daize we get the English word Paradise. In time, Paradise would assume several derivative meanings, including idyllic place, utopia, Heaven, dwelling place of God, etc.
In the ethereally beautiful Edin, the two prototypes roamed about freely and happily, with a conducive cage as their lodging. Note that Adam and Eve were not as civilised as we are; they were probably only half so. They could talk and take instructions all right, but they still retained a strong animal persona.
Thus, they went about naked without a care in the world, prancing about with some corralled animals and gorging themselves on fruits and wild roots, and the occasional roasted meat. When the Bible talks of the “Garden of Eden”, it is actually referring to this orchard: it was not Eden (the Edin ) itself, but it was in a section of the Edin, the Anunnaki’s confederate of city states established in modern-day southern Iraq.
ENKI’S CREATION FAIL TO REPRODUCE
Meanwhile, at the Bit Shiimti in East Africa, Ningishzidda kept constant vigil over the bunch of other Earthlings begotten through the Birth Mothers. They too had been set up in cages amongst the surrounding woods because on several occasions when they were allowed a bit of freedom, they stole away into the jungles, their animal instincts being rather pronounced.
As they neared puberty, Ningishzidda observed them day and night. When he saw that they were now copulating, he breathed a sigh of glee: soon kids would be on the way and soon the Anunnaki miners would be headed back to Nibiru. These Lulus, however, were not reproducing. What had gone wrong?
Ningishzidda, who was a reputed DNA expert, sought his father’s take and after pondering the matter deeply, Enki understood why! The Lulus were hybrids: they were a combination of two species – the Anunnaki, who were humanoids, and Ape-Woman (Homo Erectus), who was an animal. “By two kinds combined, a curse has been created!” Enki realised.
How true! Even in our modern-day, we know that hybrids do not innately reproduce: they can only do so after painstaking genetic re-engineering by scientists. The best example is a mule – a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. Mules don’t produce young in that they are the result of two different species.
Enki suggested that they study the DNA of Adam and Eve much more profoundly this time. This they did in a laboratory at Shurrupak, the Edin city-state under Ninmah’s charge. Enki and Ninmah watched as Ningishzidda dissected the DNA of the two prototypes.
“The essences (DNA) of Adamu and Tiamat were contemplated,” Enki relates in his memoir. “With the life essence of Anunnaki males and females they were compared. Like 22 branches on a Tree of Life were the essences. Their bits were comparable, the images and likenesses they properly determined.
Twenty-two they were in number; the ability to procreate they did not include! Another two bits of the essence in the Anunnaki present Ningishzidda showed. One male, one female; without them there was no procreating, so he was explaining. In the moulds of Adam and Tiamat, in the combining they were not included!”
Now, the information I’m imparting to you originally came from clay tablets inscribed 6000 years ago by the Sumerians. The Sumerians, My Brother, knew 6000 years ago about man’s genetic blueprint called DNA. They knew that DNA was made up of two entwined strands.
They knew the number of chromosomes (bits) in each sex cell. Yet modern science only came to know about the existence of DNA in the second half of the 20th century. Who endowed the Sumerians with this kind of knowledge? It was the Anunnaki of course, as Enki’s writings clearly confirm. And we say the ancients were unlettered, benighted dunderheads! This Earth, My Brother…
ENKI WAS TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
In Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, commonly known as the Old Testament, we are told that the Garden of Eden had two trees that stood at its centre. They were the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Christian clergy has taken this characterisation literally: they portray them as real, fruit-bearing trees indeed.
That is self-deluding. The Trees were no trees at all: they were images of something much more profound (Note, though, that there did exist a “plant of life”, which Ninmah had brought from Nibiru, but this does not apply in the Eden context).
Let us first put into perspective, once again, exactly where Adam and Eve were based. They were in the broader, mid-eastern region called the Edin or Eden as per Genesis. The Edin was made up of several city-states, 7 in all. Although Enlil, the Bible’s primary Jehovah/Yahweh, was the governor-general of the Edin, each of the 7 city-states had its own overseer.
Only Nippur, the spaceport, was directly overseen by Enlil: the remaining six city-states had its own direct overseer. Eridu, for instance, was under the rulership of Enki, notwithstanding the fact that he spent most of his time in the Abzu, Africa. It was on the outskirts of Eridu, in an orchard surrounded by a zoo, that Adam and Eve lived.
We will not address ourselves to the Tree of Life at this stage: we will do so in due course. At this juncture, we will restrict ourselves to the Tree of Knowledge. As the Anunnaki’s greatest scientist and greatest intellect, Enki was dubbed the God of Knowledge.
And as a master geneticist, he was synonymous with DNA, which was figuratively referred to as the Tree of Knowledge (that is, knowledge related to programming life). Thus the Tree of Knowledge that stood in the centre of the Garden of Eden denoted Enki. Enki and Enlil were the central figures of the Edin. In particular, Enki, being the head of Eridu, was the city-state’s central figure. Please bear that in mind.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING CHROMOSOME
When Enki said he wanted to create a primitive worker (Lulu Amelu) and Enlil was finally obligated to lend his blessings to the project by King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, he did so subject to several preconditions. Although we have outlined these in an earlier piece, we will here restate a few.
The first precondition was that the primitive worker had to be intellectually inferior to the Anunnaki, basically primitive: it was enough that he was able to handle tools and follow simple instructions. The second was that he had to be much smaller in build to underline the point that he was indeed inferior and to prevent him from harbouring delusions of either equality or grandeur.
The third was that he should not have the same lifespan as the Anunnaki. If the Anunnaki were to embed in him the belief that they were gods, his lifespan had to be only a fraction theirs (the Anunnaki could live up to a million Earth years). Finally, Enlil insisted that the worker race was not to reproduce on their own: they were to arise only through the part-natural, part-artificial process of cloning.
Whilst Enki did undertake to abide by Enlil’s terms, by way of DNA manipulation, that is, he secretly reserved the right to relax some of them. Thus the efforts to get Adam and Eve to reproduce were done without the knowledge and sanction of Enlil. As hinted above, one reason Adam and Eve were transferred to Eridu was in order for Enlil to keep tabs on them just in case something untoward developed.
Every time living things reproduce, DNA is copied so that basic characteristics are passed on. We look or behave more or less like our parents, for instance, because we carry their DNA. DNA is innately dynamic: it improves itself with the passage of time although it can also degenerate.
A million or so years down the line, mankind will be much bigger and taller than he is today and better adapted to Earth’s environment. Our brain capacity will also be vastly improved. We will be more resistant to diseases to which we are all too susceptible today.
Let us now go back to the laboratory at Shurrupak, where Enki, Ningishzidda, and Ninmah were reviewing Adam and Eve’s DNA after noticing that the Lulus at their East African-based R&D facility, the Bit Shiimti, were not producing kids. Examining the sex cell DNA and comparing it with that of the Anunnaki, Ningishzidda noted that the two were not identical.
Anunnaki sex cell DNA contained 23 chromosomes, whereas the Lulu’s sex cell DNA had 22 chromosomes (DNA is made up of pieces called chromosomes and each chromosome has thousands of genes. An ordinary cell in mankind has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 in total.
But the sex cells, that is, the sperm and ovum, carry only half that number so that when fertilisation takes place, the combination of 23 chromosomes each from a male and a female restores the total to 46). Why were the numbers different? Obviously this was the result of an oversight in the genetic tinkering by hands-on man Ningishzidda, which he did admit, but scientifically how can that be explained?
As hinted above, Mankind (Adam and Eve)wasnot a species. He was a hybrid, a mixture of two different species. These two species were the Anunnaki and Ape-Woman, Homo Erectus. Because mankind was a hybrid, he did not have the same number of chromosomes as Ape Woman nor did he have the same number of chromosomes as the Anunnaki.
Every species has a distinct number of chromosomes. A dog has 78, for instance. The Anunnaki had 23 sex chromosomes and Ape-Woman in all probability had 24 (our closest cousins as primates, the chimpanzees, have 24). Mankind had 22.
Hence, were Adam and Eve to mate, fertilisation would not taken place because the absence of the 23rd and 24th chromosome meant there wasn’t a genetic definition in their genome of exactly what to produce – whether an Anunnaki embryo or a Homo Erectus embryo. The reproductive slot was therefore blank.
Enki suggested to Ningishzidda that an operation be conducted both on the two Earthlings and two opposite-sex Anunnaki which would introduce the 23rd chromosome into the Earthlings’ gene pool. In males, the 23rd sex chromosome can take the form of either X or Y, something chosen at random by nature.
In females, the 23rd sex chromosome is always an X. What this meant was that Enki had to on-pass his 23rd sperm chromosome to Adam and Ninmah had to on-pass her 23rd egg chromosome to Eve. Exactly how was this to be done?
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.
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?
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:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com