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Mankind’s Hell on Earth

Benson C Saili

THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

 

We were the “Living Dead” in the Gehenna of Anunnaki gold mines!

 

In time, the Lulus proliferated. Now that they abounded and had attained a reasonable level of rationality, Enki decided it was time to deploy them to the purpose for which they were primarily brought into existence – mining activity.  Although gold mining was the central activity, it was not the sole activity. Other prominent metals that were mined included copper, silver, uranium, and the platinum group. 

 

As a scientist first and foremost, Enki did not assign to himself direct charge of the mines. The hub of mining activity in the Abzu, or Africa, was the region south of the equator. The Mining Operations Director for this region was Nergal, his second-born son. Now, of Enki’s six sons, Nergal was the black sheep of the family.

 

Whereas his brothers fundamentally had the softer virtues of their father, Nergal, who was also known as Erra, was infamously harsh. Even Enki just could not succeed in getting him to mend his wicked ways. Says one chronicle of him: “He was considered stubborn, never kind, and could not be persuaded by any means.”

 

Since he was so unlike an Enkite, Nergal saw common cause more with the Enlilites than with members of his clan. The Enlilites were austere and severe by nature: that was their defining trait. As such, Enlil preferred Nergal, who was callous and a slave driver, to superintend over the mines. Gold in particular was urgently and desperately needed on Nibiru and if one person was to be counted upon to serve up the specified output at specified times, it was Nergal.

 

Now, in antiquity, there were two precincts that were known as the underworld. The first was Africa as a continent. It was referred to as the underworld because it was the largest landmass south of the Edin, the Anunnaki headquarters in modern-day Iraq.

 

The other setting that went by the name underworld were the underground mines of Africa, particularly those below the equator.  These were the Abzu proper, what we today call the Abyss, meaning the “dark depths”. The underground mines were also known as Hades. Since it was Nergal who presided over mining, he too became known as Hades.

 

In Greek “mythology”, Hades as an individual has been described as the God of the Dead, the King of the Underworld, and the God of Hidden Wealth. “Hidden wealth” refers to the treasures of the Earth’s crust in the form of mineral ores, notably silver and gold. This is a most apt characterisation of Nergal. But why is he also characterised as the God of the Dead?

 

NERGAL’S MINES BECOME A SYNONYM FOR HELL

 

In some Bantu languages including Setswana, the English term Hades as a place (Haatshe/pa[ha]nshi) translates to “on the ground” or “the ground  beneath”. Hades, therefore, ideally means “Earth” or “the sub-surface”.

 

But in modern-day parlance, Hades carries the same meaning as Hell – an inferno of eternal damnation for the wicked dead. Although in religious circles this linguistic turn of meaning has been blown out of proportion, it is not exactly far-fetched: it has a basis in near-truth. It derives from the circumstances of  Lulus who toiled in the underground  mines of Africa in Anunnaki times.  

 

To the Lulus, working in the underground mines amounted to dying in a literal sense. In fact, the conditions were so dreadful even Nergal himself shuddered at the possibility of Enki getting to know about them. Initially, the Lulus lived in a camp in the vicinities of the mine surface and were taken underground for work on a daily basis by way of a lift.

 

But in view of the all too exacting work and the harsh treatment by Nergal’s  men (who regarded the Lulus as slaves, in contradistinction to Enki’s notion of their being “helpers”), most of them ran away and vanished into the surrounding lush jungles, never to return.

 

In order to stem this exodus of vital manpower  once and for all, Nergal decreed that the Lulus not only had to work underground but they were to live there permanently and die there.  To a Lulu, therefore, a mine was a booby-trap – a land mine!

 

In time, the Anunnaki underground mines gained notoriety as Hades the abode of the dead. It was said this Hades had several levels (just as an underground mine has layers of tunnel systems) with varying degrees of punishment and different categories of the condemned: the deeper the level, the more severe the punishment (underground mine work becomes more onerous with endeavours to reach deeper ores).

 

The lowest level was known as Tartarus. This was a prison not for humans but for the Titans (TI-TA-AN in Sumerian, meaning “Heavenly Beings”), which was simply another name for the Anunnaki (In his second epistle [2 PETER 2:4] Simon Peter too makes allusion to Tartarus).   

 

Of course this is pure embellishment as the Anunnaki did not imprison their own people:  when an Anunnaki committed a crime, he was either executed if it was particularly egregious (e.g. Kumarbi the “Evil Zu” who was beheaded by Ninurta for treason) or simply exiled (e.g. Enlil when he raped Sud and Cain after he killed his brother Abel).   

 

A myth also emerged that once in Hades, you could not escape as it was policed by Cerberus, Nergal’s vicious chimera dog. Indeed in Greek mythology portrayals, Nergal is usually depicted with this chimera squatting at his feet.

 

Cerberus was a three-headed dog with a serpent's tail, a mane of snakes, and the claws of a lion. Dog-Serpent-Lion: this was an allegory of Anunnaki demographics. The Anunnaki comprised of   a strain that originally came from the Sirius and Orion star systems, that is, Sirians and Arians. The Sirians (Enlilites) evolved from a Wolfen-Leonine (lion) creature, whereas the Arians (Enkites) evolved from a serpentine creature.

 

Having intermarried, the Enlilites and Enkites were now more or less a conjoined race as encapsulated in Cerberus. The element of “three” also most likely derived from the fact that the Anunnaki were represented in three star systems – Sirius, Orion, and our Solar System.

 

There’s a chance, nonetheless, that Cerberus was not simply a mythical creature: he was real. He could have been part of Enki’s gene-blending experiments at his organic R&D Facility at Bit Shiimti and to whom Nergal took a liking. Indeed, it is not far-fetched to suppose that Nergal must have been in the habit of showing off Cerberus as he toured the mines and setting him on the Lulus who were reported to him as shirking duty.  

 

“NERGAL HAS ‘KILLED’ ALL THE MEN OF MY LAND”

 

As the Lulus became aware that being conscripted for mining work amounted to dying as one was never seen again on the face of the Earth, they avoided the draft like the plague. The primary reason early man scattered all over the world from his birthplace in Africa was to avoid being rounded up for mining work.

 

No one volunteered: all were forcefully recruited in the manner of slave labour. The Lulus were actually hunted all over the world by Nergal from the Enkites and Ninurta from the Enlilites. They were first put in a makeshift concentration camp and when their numbers were sufficient loaded onto cargo planes and taken to the Abzu.  This continued to happen even during the time of Moses in the second millennium BC!

 

In 1887, about 350 tablets were discovered in Egypt at El Amarna, the ancient capital city of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, known as Aaron (the brother of Moses) in the Bible. The tablets were written during the rule of his father Amenhotep III. One of these tablets bore correspondence between the King of Cyprus and the Egyptian Pharaoh.

 

It partly read as follows: My brother, behold, my messenger I have sent with your messenger to you to Egypt. Now I have sent 500 talents (12.5 tons) of copper to you; I have sent it to you as a gift, my brother. Do not, my brother, let yourself  be concerned that the amount of copper is too little, for in my land  the hand of Nergal my lord has killed all the men, and so there is not a single copper-worker.

 

What the Cypriot king was saying was that the dreaded Nergal had made a clean sweep of all grown men in his territory: they had been led away for good, the metaphor for which was “killed”. Everybody who was taken away to work in the underground gold mines of the Abzu was deemed dead as they were never seen again.

 

In his book Planet of God, Andreas Paris also writes thus of the Anunnaki god Nergal: “Nergal, being a member of the alien Brotherhood of Gold, was a very-results-oriented executive. He could travel around in Africa, Asia, and Europe, selecting men to use as labour in the mines. Being selected by Nergal was equivalent to being considered as dead.

 

The mineworkers were transported to the underground mines, where they worked for as long as they lived. They were provided with food and water to keep them alive, although they probably had been manipulated to believe they were dead.  Those people lived the rest of their lives in the mines. They were ‘living dead’. When they no longer were able to work, they were jus buried under the excavated soil.

 

They never came up again. The ‘underworld’ was a place of no return.  Surely, it was a terrible fate for those ancestors of ours. It was literally a place of Hell, not for the souls but for living people.”

 

THE OTHER “HELL” IN NINURTA’S DOMAIN

 

Although gold mines were scattered all over Africa, the hub was Zimbabwe. One of the aptest translations of “Zimbabwe” is “Their Metal”. This was a dismissive reference to the Anunnaki as indeed gold was their metal: it was they who had use of it. Earthlings of the day didn’t care a hoot what the gold fuss was about. Their role in its mining was wholly and callously imposed on them. 

 

Whilst the Anunnaki referred to Africa as the Abzu, meaning “underworld” in one context but also “Place of the Dark People” in another, in Old Testament times the continent was known as Ophir. Ophir owed its fame to its abundant god deposits.

 

King Solomon used to come to Africa to acquire gold at least once in three years. Since Zimbabwe was the gold capital of the continent, it too was known as Ophir. Ophir was a corruption of Afura or Afaro, the root word for Afuraka, rendered Africa in Greek.

 

Note that Afura had nothing to do with gold or racial profiling. It was based purely on the solar mythos. Primal Africans revered (not worshipped, take note) the Sun being the sustainer of life on Earth. The Sun was known as Ra. It was also known as the Faro, meaning King of Light. This nomenclature rubbed off on key Anunnaki figures, some of whom called themselves “Sun God”.

 

Examples were Marduk the son of Enki (who Egyptians called Ra), Horus, a great great grandson of Enki, and Utu Shamash the grandson of Enlil. I have no doubt that “Pharaoh”, the title of ancient Egyptian kings, derived from Faro.

 

Badtibira, Ninurta’s cult city in the Edin, was the equivalent of the African “Hades”. Its smelters and refineries were located underground. Lulus who worked at Badtibira were also never seen again. In his day, the biblical patriarch Enoch had occasion to tour the subterranean smelters and refineries of Badtibira.

 

This is how he documented his reminiscences. “And the men (his entourage) then led me to the Northern Region (The Edin) and showed me a very terrible place. And there was all manner of torture (of the worker Lulus) in that place. Savage darkness and impenetrable gloom: and there’s not light there but a gloomy fire is always burning and a fiery river (molten metal) goes forth.

 

And all that place has fire on all sides, and on all sides cold and ice (for cooling purposes), thus it burns and freezes. And the prisoners (the working Lulus) are very savage and the angels (the Anunnaki) terrible and without pity: carrying savage weapons and their torture was unmerciful. And I said: ‘Woe! Woe! How terrible is this place!’ And the men said to me: ‘This place, Enoch, is prepared for those who do not honour god; who committed evil deeds on earth.’”

 

Enoch toured Badtibira on a fact-finding mission based on the unsavoury things he had heard about the treatment of Earthlings who laboured there. Whilst there, wool was pulled over his eyes by Ninurta’s men. He was made to believe that the Lulus who toiled there had committed heinous crimes and were incarcerated here for life and with hard labour as punishment.

 

That way, they would never have the chance to cause trouble on the surface of the Earth and give “Lord Enlil” sleepless nights. Enoch described some of the Lulus as “savages”. Of course they were not inborn savages but had simply cracked from the torture, the overly exacting work, and the agony of the knowledge that they would never see the light of day again, not to mention their families. Enoch also noted that the Anunnaki supervisors themselves were barbaric.

 

If Enoch had cared to talk to the poor Lulus to hear their side of the story, they would have told him that they were not criminals or such law breakers but had been hunted and captured for slave labour in the bowels of the Earth. All the same, it is doubtful whether Enoch would have sympathised with them as he was    not an ordinary Earthling like the Lulus but one of the elites groomed by the diabolical Enlilites. This Earth, My Brother…

    

NIBIRU OZONE HOLE DWINDLES

 

The gold ores, once extracted from the mines of the Abzu, were shipped to Badtibira at the Edin over a period of only ten days. Enki’s third-born son Gibil, a metallurgist by training and a skilled navigator, was in charge of the submersible maritime vessels that carried the gold cargo. At Badtibira (The “Metal City”), the gold was smelted and refined into portable ingots.

 

These were then haulaged to Sippar, the spaceport before the flood, and then transhipped to Mars, which had the advantage of a lower gravity for easier airlifting of bulk quantities of the ingot cargo to the planet Nibiru.

 

Meticulous astrophysical calculations were made to ensure that the Mars-bound spaceship launched ahead of Nibiru has it returned toward the ecliptic (our region of the Solar System) in its 3600-year-long circuit.  The spaceship left Nibiru 13 to 18 Earth years before Nibiru got closest to Earth.

 

Writes Zechariah Sitchin The 12th Planet: “The Anunnaki adopted for their Earth missions the same approach NASA adopted for the Moon missions: when the principal spaceship neared Earth, it went into orbit around the planet without actually landing. Instead, a smaller craft was released from the mother ship and performed the actual landing.

 

As difficult as accurate landings were, the departures from Mars must have been even trickier. The landing craft had to rejoin its mother ship, which then had to fire up its engines and accelerate to extremely high speeds, for it had to catch up with Nibiru, which by then was passing its perigee (that is, closet point to the Sun) between Mars and Jupiter at its top orbital speed.” The mothership had between 1.5 to 1.6 years to catch up with a retreating Nibiru. 

 

On Nibiru, scientists processed the gold, courtesy of Sitchin’s The Lost Book of Enki, into “the finest dust, to skyward launch it was hauled away …  With rockets was the dust heavenward carried, by crystals’ beams was it dispersed.” The pay-off did not take long, in Nibiru time, to come: the ozone hole was shrinking. “Nibiru's atmosphere was slowly healing; Earth-Mission to the satisfaction of all was proceeding.”

 

NEXT WEEK: A TOP SECRET OF THE “GODS”

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Internet Connectivity in Botswana: Time to Narrow Digital Divide

19th October 2020
Elon Musk

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

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

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

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

FREE INTERNET COULD FULFIL MEGA DREAMS FOR THE CITIZENRY

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

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

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

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

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

WE LIVE OUR LIVES ONLINE

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

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

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

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

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

THE PRICE OF AN ARM AND A LEG!

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

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

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

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

BOTSWANA NEAR TAIL-END OF GLOBAL BROADBAND SPEED LEAGUE

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

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

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

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The Babylonian Captivity Ploy

19th October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOULD KING ANU CONDONE NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S ACT?

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

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

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

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXILE SITUATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

JEREMIAH PAINTS SORRY PICTURE OF MARDUK’S FATE

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, did Marduk indeed get to wither, General?

NEXT WEEK: FROM EXILE TO EXIT

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Understanding Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework: Industrial Action

19th October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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