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The Wretched of the Republic: Students, Youths, Workers and Election Oblivion

Teedzani Thapelo


Institute of International Education Fellowship Award Winner, and runner up national poet to the 2016 Share Botswana Tourism Fiction Award, Teedzani Thapelo*, argues that by sheer force of numbers and the level of political commitment students, youths and workers will determine who wins elections in 2019. He cautions if their decision is going to do Botswana any good they must root for proper and most efficient guardians of the republic, and they must ignore what politicians say, go with what they see, what they experience and what they fear most. They must learn to judge and punish politicians, and in their struggle for national renewal they must take no prisoners.


The avid reader will immediately note the first part of the article is borrowed from two great classics; Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and The Wretched of the Earth by Martinique revolutionary prophet and dialectician, Frantz Fanon. The French connection is obvious, and the political symbolism no less important and the story might have ended there; for here I am writing about Botswana.

It occurred to me though after reading Hugo’s 1269 pages 2012 Canterbury Classics edition for the third time, alongside Fanon; my 1961 penguin edition is prefaced by French existential philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. How appropriate. How fitting. The Botswana we live in today evokes powerful memories of all the characters, episodes, incidents and major themes that inform these works by Hugo, one of the finest French poets and novelists, Fanon, a medical doctor turned revolutionary, and Sartre, a Nobel Award winning dramatist, philosopher, and writer; he refused to accept the Nobel Prize on moral and political grounds. Such scholars are rare. They certainly don’t exist in Botswana.

But all apprehended our human condition with such fierce an intellectual grasp, with such frightening spiritual contemplation, one could be forgiven to think they already knew what would happen to us, what would happen to our country, what would happen to our lives, what would happen to our children, and what would happen to our future. Scholarship does not reach more universalism than this.


To say our lives are miserable is to state the obvious. So many Batswana just don’t bother to think about our condition, and declining circumstances. I have been following the growth of our political literature this past couple of months with great interest. Everybody knows what is happening to students in this country. Everybody knows what is happening to the youth in this country. Everybody knows what is happening to workers in this country.

All of us, excluding BDP of course, know these things very well. What surprises me is in our writings we seem to pay too much attention to the electoral fortunes of political parties, and we seem not to notice who really counts in the coming elections; voters. I am guilty of this omission myself, and I apologise. Look at things this way. The 35 000 students who wrote form five last year will be voting in 2019, and so the more than 40 000 who sat for form three exams.

All form five leavers for the past three years and next three years will vote in 2019, and so a considerable number of those who fall off at form three. Our unemployed youth number somewhere in hundreds of thousands. Government alone employs more than 140 000 workers, and thousands work in the private sector or for themselves. We are talking here altogether about almost 400 000, and perhaps more people, and BDP does not notice these people; it cares not for them, it scorns their expectations, undermines their efforts at mere survival, derides their complaints and concerns, ignores their pleas for help, despises their political opinions, laughs at their lamentations, impugns their sorrows, and censure their demands for justice, freedom and happiness; and all these people are going to vote come 2019.


In the last election only about 600 000 Batswana registered to vote and not all of them cast their vote. Of those who voted more than half the number went with the opposition. As I write official statistics indicate a fifth of our population, that is about 420 000 people, are roaming the streets looking for jobs, more are on temporary and insecure employment, and more than 30 000 college and university graduates join the unemployment lines every year; and our population stands at only 2000 000. 

We know this excludes thousands of discouraged workers who are now alcohol and drug addicts, prisoners who are victims of this catastrophic social landscape, structurally unemployable Batswana who have been rejected by our small and inflexible labour market thanks to wayward economic policies and workers who though still willing to work are now so deskilled, illiterate even (most of these are young mothers who dropped out of school, single mothers, and housewives) they feel ashamed to even apply for any jobs and are quietly wasting away in the animal jungles of our towns and cities or waiting for death in bucolic villages and settlements, some of which BDP only recall when it wants their votes.

What is happening to Batswana is a sombre nightmare that would make even black hearts bleed. But at BDP they sleep easy in comfort and debauchery, laughing at us all. Yet these appalling statistics are actually a language, and they speak a lot. What does this tell us? What is the meaning of these numbers?


One obvious thing BDP has no mandate to rule this country. The numbers clearly show the opposition won in the last election but BDP stayed in office because our electoral system is rigged in favour of the political establishment. Second, and more significant for the coming elections, Batswana are obviously beginning to ask themselves serious questions about the direction things are taking in their country. Yes, there certainly is change in political temperament and temperature in this country.

 

People are worried about their lives, and livelihoods, about their declining fortunes, the absence of opportunities in life, the bleak, humdrum, and drudgery of everyday existence, the meaningless routine of monotonous life with its endless troubles, the boredom of BTV, the rude pretentiousness of BDP politicians; there really is nothing exciting about life in this country anymore. Every day that the sun rises in this country all human potential goes to waste. We really are no different from people who live in a war zone.

 

Under such conditions people ask themselves: who am I? What am I doing here? What is the meaning of my life? Where am I going? What will happen to me if things continue this way? What will happen to my life? What will happen to my children? What will happen to my country? Will I too end up without a life like so many unemployed people? Will I too end up without a country like so many refugees? Will I start aging at the age of twenty? Will I ever be truly free and independent? Will I ever own anything that is truly mine, earned through my own labour and intelligence? Do I count for anything in this life? Do I count for anything in this country?


Our poor and brutalized students, our unemployed youths who face shame and humiliation at every turn of life and our workers who earn, and live on peanuts, ask themselves such questions every day, and only one thing can bring a semblance of response to their agitated minds; the voting hour, the voting day. It is on this day that many people try to square their miserable fate and chose a better and more meaningful path into the future. In that hour, on that fateful day, Batswana must judge for themselves what needs to be done.

2019 gives every voter the right, and might, to make that most fundamental decision in their life: who is going to direct my future? Who is going to manage my public affairs? Who is going to be guardian of the fate and destiny of my nation, my republic, and fellow citizens? It is the most important day in our life, and in the coming election the decision made by our students, youths and workers is going to bind us all and redirect the fate and fortunes of all citizens.

 

But in making this decision, I do think, it is critical they consider in detail how much more risk they are prepared to take with their lives. How much more they are prepared to lose in terms of the great possibilities of life offered by modern society, possibilities and opportunities that fail to reach many because of bad politics, bad policies and indifferent officialdom.

 

Is our economy competing well? Do we possess accurate information about the state of the nation? Is the country prepared to deal with the risks and crisis of today? Are we investing enough in the education and health of the nation? Do Batswana have confidence in their economy? Do they have confidence in the BDP? Are we comfortable with the rising level of the national debt?

 

Do Batswana have good and secure jobs? Are the incomes of workers rising? Are we comfortable with our standards of living? Is enough being done to protect the environment and rural livelihoods? Is BDP promoting the best use of our natural resources? Is the use of our natural resources sustainable? What is the best way of building strong resilience in terms of managing the economy?

 

Does the BDP understand the facts, risks, and uncertainties of managing the economy in a rapidly globalising and fervently unpredictable world? Are BDP public policies informed by good choices? Are BDP policy instruments agile and adaptable enough to respond to the management of serious risks and crisis in modern society?

Are Batswana comfortable with BDP philosophy of fast-fail projects that put us top of the flops in policy sciences; BDC, BMC, Air Botswana, BCL, what next? Are these people really capable of making economics work in this country? Do they care about the welfare of Batswana? Do they care about the future of this country? Can Botswana ever be a safe, efficient and sustainable economy under the watch of BDP?

 

Can we ever develop effective speed for responding to fast-changing circumstances and learn to create opportunities from the crisis that befall us so frequently? Can we ever be a dynamic, entrepreneurial nation that creates good, secure jobs, with rising incomes? Can BDP ever manage to envision, enable and engage Batswana so they can fully participate in public life as moral citizens determined to recapture and redefine their future lives and the destiny of the nation? Does the country have a clear plan to match into the world of tomorrow confident, prosperous and secure in the knowledge we can even go further and surpass our own expectations?


Questions like these make people to sit up and think, and it really would be a good thing if Batswana could think this way before they cast their vote. Look at your country. Look at your own life. Look at the lives of your children, the lives of friends, family members and the state of your community. Consider your own future.

 

Consider the future of your country, the future Botswana that is going to be the home of your grandchildren and their own children, and ask yourself; is enough being done to protect all these people, to secure and protect the world of tomorrow? If the answer is no, then forget about BDP. Don’t vote on the basis of what politicians tell you, what they promise.

 

Worse, don’t even bother about what they claim to have done for you in the past; they got paid for that, and always remember you too do your bit in your own small way to build this country every day. Accomplishments of the past belong to us all. We all take credit for that. What is important is to look at missed opportunities, and ask yourself; but why? Why don’t we have six cities the size of Johannesburg that could be employing our children today as per the gigantic diamond wealth that disappeared into thin air?

 

The best way to think about the future is to look ahead, not to think about the past; the past belongs to another country, and it becomes foreign and irrelevant the older you get, and the more troubles you have to deal with just to cope. But remember crimes of the past can still ruin the future. So never forgive political actions that ruin the future of your country.


In short before you cast your vote you really have to give yourself time to think things out on your own. Writing this article right now, thinking the way I do, I too am still thinking about how I am going to vote in 2019. Voting is a terribly serious decision; just like thinking of getting married. Don’t rash things. Think hard and then vote in the knowledge you are really doing the right thing at the right time for yourself and your country.

 

Voting is key to social innovation. A radical transformation of political direction overnight in a small country like Botswana can have a strong bearing on how things are done in government. If we are to succeed in solving social and economic problems we must first understand that this is best done through social learning, and politics is a learning process. Politically active citizens always find solutions for the problems they face.

 

The best politics encourages mutual learning and a dialogue of trusting relationships between people. Social movements and loose coalitions in communities are always strong forces in the struggle for structural change. In America, for instance, political parties always encourage voters to recruit each other on voting day.

 

If you support a certain political party they always ask you to invite no less than ten friends and family members to accompany you to the polling station on voting day and make sure they vote the party that you support. If a school PTA committee, for example, is angry about the way educational issues are being handled at their local school they are encouraged to canvas and vote out the local council authorities. If the sheriff is incompetent an entire community can vote him out of office. Rooting for your party as a local activist is very important even if you are not running for office yourself.


People in government fear genuine grassroots politics because it is the most effective way of destroying corrupt and incompetent political administrations. Politicized public life requires a community that is active, that exercises some control over the conditions of its livelihood, and that can hold the state accountable. It is the best way of making a direct contribution towards the transformation of the structures of political governance. It is through such struggles that people engage in the social production of their lives.

 

It is not enough that people remain consumers at the end of a delivery process as it happens in Botswana every day. BDP is teaching Batswana very bad politics. In a true democracy power, politics and participation reside with the people in living and vibrant communities, communities with strong voices. In a true democracy people learn about themselves and about the material conditions of their lives through doing, through hard work and personal sacrifices. In a true democracy public policy is a process of public learning, a means of finding ways of improving the capacities and opportunities of people, a means of doing a better job of ameliorating the human condition.


It is time Batswana learned these things. It is time Batswana learnt the real value of politics. Politics is supposed to encourage and support people in solving their own problems, and not giving them food parcels and blankets. The job of a government is to make the laws of a country, make the economy work, grow, create jobs, expand the tax base and regulate all public conduct; working together with law courts, security personnel and communities and citizens.

 

A government that fails to do these things must immediately be kicked out of office. Voting day is a day of output judgements of political conduct. On voting day citizens sit the bench as judges over politicians. It is the day voters decide if rhetoric matches up with reality, a reality that they themselves understand well. It is a day of reckoning, a day of self-public assessment. It is not just a ritual. On voting day citizens directly measure the value of their participation in the political process by grading the quality of public policies, public servants, political parties and the political process itself through the casting of their vote.

 

Many questions are asked and answered by each voter on that day; has the economy been growing, do people have jobs, are workers and households making more money, do all people live well, are the lives of citizens safe, do children get good quality education, are hospitals doing well, is the use of the environment and natural resources done well, is there justice for all in society, are there thieves in government, is everybody paying taxes as they should, is the country’s money used well for the benefit of all in society, is the future of the country in safe hands?  


In other words, has the policy process improved, solved problems or made things worse? Has the ruling party delivered on its mandate as governor and have they fulfilled their promises as custodians of public goods? If the answer is no, vote the party out of office. Replace them with another party. It is as simple as that. This is how things are done in every country. Why should we do things differently in Botswana? People must always remember they can only reward good political behaviour.

 

If politicians are nasty, arrogant, and stupid rascals use your vote to kick them out. If they steal, benefit only their friends and relatives, use your vote to kick them out. If they treat you like dirt vote them out. If they are too old to do things well kick them out. If they are out of touch with reality kick them out. There is no point in keeping a politician who is not civil and considerate in office. Such people will always sit on your rights and expectations. Always watch what a political party is doing and judge the things they do. This will always tell you a great deal about politicians and the way things are going in country. The one mistake we do is to forgive bad behaviour in politics. Never do that.

 

Everything that happens in politics is done wilfully and deliberately. Punish a political party for every bad thing it does. Discipline politicians the way you discipline naughty children. If they steal a penny from the treasury send them to jail and then vote their political party from office. Never allow them to explain bad behaviour. They will never tell you the truth, and they always laugh behind your back. Naughty children. Don’t forget that. Political parties have important impact on public policy. Voting a different party into office means you are choosing new values, beliefs, and expectations.

 

It means you are looking for a different way of solving problems, a different way of doing things, a different way of going into the future. Voting the same political party into office again is a different thing altogether. It means you remain stuck with the same politicians, the same policies, the same rhetoric, the same values, the same everything, and worse the same gravity of domestic and global risks and threats to the national economy and the environment.

 

There are always severe limitations on what such a party can do to change or improve anything in public life; the same commitments of the past, the same policies and attitudes, the same interests, the same sense of purpose. If they hate a particular person or community they will keep on hating and harassing those people, if they love foreigners and despise their own people they will continue favouring foreigners over Batswana, if they enjoy stealing public money they will continue doing the same thing and if they have no respect for the laws of the country and no respect for judges of the high court they will keep on doing as they like.


In short there is no incentive for a political party that has been returned to political office to change things around. People are always comfortable with things as they are if they live well. If you vote for BDP again, for example, don’t expect them to stop dinning with Indians, watching birds with white foreigners and dancing polka at Khawa village while BCL group of companies are crushing to the ground leaving close on 60 000 Batswana facing ruined livelihoods and ever greater threats of death from hunger and diseases like HIV/AIDs.

 

Political parties are terribly important to policy and outcomes. Batswana must understand the simple fact that in times of difficulties the need for movement is more than just important; it is critical. If you want things to start moving, if you thirst for change, vote for a different political party. A new political administration can have an impact on economic policy, it can remove a lot of constraints that act against economic growth, find better and different markets for local products, start working with all Batswana and not just a bunch of well entrenched foreigners, fight corruption in public life, direct public expenditure to the most deserving sectors of the economy, create better jobs, raise incomes and forge a new direction in national life and public expectations; giving every citizen new hope and ambition to succeed in life.


Never underestimate the number and quality of things a new political administration can do. As they say in policy sciences a new party in power stimulates a Moving Consensus in which the need for movement to deal with problems is as important as consensus. A new party in office also promotes a new re-assessment of democracy by citizens in the new faces in politics, and new entrants into office are usually more approachable to ordinary people, and more eager to help.

 

They also want change like you and they are more likely to work better with you to start doing things properly. They bring a breath of fresh air in public life. They are more likely to distribute resources in a more equitable way, especially in areas of public expenditure and more importantly only a new party can terminate unpopular public policies and introduce radically new development programmes.


As things stand right now BDP has no working policies at all. Their daily political behaviour is reactive; concerned only with getting out of difficulties and crisis, things which they do not even understand. Is it proper to govern a country in this way? Public policy cannot operate by escape seeking. It must be based on potential possibilities of success. So what is it going to be?


Students, youth and workers, the future of this greatly troubled country is in your hands. What direction must we take? What future must we envision and pursue? Who will be the leaders of Tomorrow? To answer these questions properly and sufficiently on voting day keep your eyes on all the things going on around you, the things happening in your life, the things happening to your life, and if you really do that well then this great nation has nothing to fear.


We shall survive. There will be another tomorrow, and in the brave new world our children will thrive and live well.


Novelist, poet and historian, Teedzani Thapelo*, is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the School of Oriental and Africa Studies, University of London. He is author of Seasons of Thunder, and the forthcoming books; Battle Against the Botswana Democratic Party: the beginning of the point of departure, Politics of Unfulfilled Expectations in Botswana: a dangerous mess, and Philosophy of Death and the Ruin of Selibe-Phikwe.

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Our lives are full of impatience

13th July 2022

Impatience lives within all of us; in some even more so than in others. When impatient some people will get fidgety, mumble and curse under their breath or even losing their tempers and being rude to others, whilst on the other hand others will be cool, calm and collected. Impatience comes in different packages and can stem from many sources.

We go through our daily lives with usual things like queuing at the bank, post office, government offices and other places of poor customer service that irk and irritate most of us. Unacceptable but somewhat understandable because of the insensitivity or inefficiency of others the rest have to suffer.

Taking it up to another level, specifically onto a ‘religious’ one, we come across many who show impatience with their lives because of their high expectations leading them to believe that their prayers are not being answered. For them Allah has a message: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘To God We belong, and to Him is our return’. They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord” (2:155-157)

Sometimes we strongly pray for something and we get despaired when our prayers are ‘not answered’. But remember: ‘Allah is with those who patiently persevere’. (Quran 8:46). We have to realise and accept that the Lord is in complete control of everything – we cannot always get what we want because the Lord knows best what is good for us, accept the will of God. ‘But it may happen that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you.  And God knows and you do not know!’ (Quran 2:216)

A believer should rather ask Allah to bless him, make it easy for him and to grant him what is good in this world and in the hereafter. Be positive and look at the other blessings that you have instead. “Pray for help from God, and (wait) in patience and constancy: for the earth is God’s, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases; and the end is (best) for the righteous.” (Quran 7:128)

On the other hand, think about it, when things go wrong we go into a tailspin, start blaming ourselves, others and at the worst we begin to question why the Lord has not favoured us, yet we forget the countless other daily bounties that the Lord has blessed us with. ‘When trouble touches a man, he cries unto Us, in all postures, lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passes on his way as if he never had cried to Us….’ (Quran 10:12)

When the stresses of life hit us and we are faced with challenges, it is only then that some of us turn to our Lord in prayer. Unfortunately, it is human nature to forget our duty and allegiance to our Creator when things run smoothly in our lives. This is true because when the going is good we put it down to our own efforts. Nothing wrong with that but we need to realise that all that happens is through the Will of God.

‘…… when We bestow a favour upon him as from Ourselves, he says, “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!” Nay, but this is but a trial, but most of them understand not! (Quran 39:49)

We have become so obsessed with this material world that we have separated and compartmentalized our lives away from our faith because everything now revolves around moving up the economic ladder of life regardless of the cost to our souls.

Unfortunately many of us are impatient of the favours of our Lord we want things to happen now. We forget that the Almighty has a plan for each and every one of us, the good times, the bad times; the happy times, the sad times; the difficult times and the time of ease; and so it goes. From my school days, in physics class, I recall the saying that ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ – I suppose so it is with life.

The question is; if we are so impatient about the ‘good’ in our life what about the bad? The Almighty asks us: ‘Do they then ask for Our penalty to be hastened on?’….yet there comes to them at length the punishment which they were promised’ (Quran 26: 204 – 206). Therefore we should balance our desires and pray for guidance, assistance and at the same time pray for peace of mind.

Impatience manifests itself into many people turning to those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ – enough said. They promise you great wealth, worldly gains, winning of tenders and all those dazzling promises they make. Sadly many people are convinced that the ‘gospel of prosperity’ that these so-called prophets preach is the answer.

Remember you cannot buy God’s favour with money, so what are you paying that prophet for – the only answer is, for his own ‘profit’? I remind them to read the Bible: “Thy money perishes with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money”. (Acts 8; 20)

Think of those daily blessings that we take for granted, and which we should be grateful for to our Lord, rather start counting your blessings before counting your ‘shortages in life’;

Before you say an unkind word – Think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food – Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your partner – Think of someone who’s crying out to GOD for a companion.
Before you complain about life – Think of someone who died too young.
Before you complain about your children – Think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.
Before you complain about the small house you live in – Think of the people who don’t have homes.
Before complaining about the distance you to drive to work – Think of someone who walks the same distance but on foot.
And when you complain about your job – Think of the unemployed who wish they had any job.
Before you think of pointing the finger or condemning others – Remember that not one of us is without sin and we all answer to one MAKER. Also when you are pointing at others – one finger is ‘at’ them – but at least three of your fingers are pointing ‘back’ at you.
When depressing thoughts seem to get you down – Put a smile on your face and thank GOD you’re alive and still around.

As the Quran repeatedly asks: ‘…..then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny’ (Surah 55)

Don’t be impatient, trust in your Lord, that trust will never be misplaced. ‘If Allah is your helper none can overcome you, and if He withdraws His help from you, who is there who can help you? In Allah let believers put their trust’ (Qur’an 3:160)
Let us think of our daily Blessings.

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A Begrudged Child

21st June 2022

Princess Diana was at once a child of destiny and a victim of fate

It is no secret, General Atiku, that the British monarch constitutes one of the most moneyed families on this scandalously uneven planet of the perennial haves on the one hand and the goddamn havenots (such as you and me General) on the other hand.

In terms of residences alone, the House of Windsor lays claim to some 19 homes, some official, such as Buckingham Place and Windsor Castle, for instance, and the greater majority privately owned.
Arguably the most eminent of its private residences is Sandringham House at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.

It is at this sprawling, 8,100-hectare estate the Queen spends two months each winter, at once commemorates her father King George VI’s death and her own accession to the throne, and more often than not celebrates Christmas. King George VI and his father King George V both drew their last breath here.

A 19th century Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (who would later become King Edward VII), acquired Sandringham in 1862 and it has remained royal property ever since. On the death of King George VI in February 1952, the property passed to his successor Queen Elizabeth II, the incumbent monarch, who assigned her husband Prince Phillip its management and upkeep. The estate also houses a parish, St. Mary Magdalene Church, which the outwardly religious Queen attends every Sunday.

Albert, General, had several additional properties built on the estate the year after he acquired it, one of which was the ten-bedroomed Park House. The house was built to accommodate the overflow of guests at Sandringham House. In the 1930s, King George V leased Park House to Maurice Roche, an Irishman and a bosom friend to his second son, who at the time was Duke of York but would in future be King George VI.

Roche was the 4th Baron Fermoy, a title in the Peerage of Ireland created by Queen Victoria way back in 1856. He and his wife Ruth had three children born at Park House, the second-born of whom was Frances Ruth Roche (futuristically Frances Shand Kydd), born in January 1936.

In 1956, Frances married John Spencer, a fellow noble, and following an “uneasy spell” at Althorp, the Spencer family estate of 500 years, the couple took up residence at Park House, which would be their home for the next 19 years. On July 1, 1961, Frances, then aged 25, and John, then aged 37, welcomed into the world their thirdborn child and youngest daughter, Diana Frances Spencer.

She would, on a positive note, become Her Royal Highness Princess Diana of Wales and the most famous and popular member of the Royal family. On the flip side of the coin, she would, as you well know General, become the most tragic member of the Royal family.

GIRL CHILD WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BOY

If there was one thought that constantly nagged at Diana as a youngster, General, it was the “guilt” of having been born anyway. Her parents first had two daughters in succession, namely Elizabeth Sarah, born in 1955, and Cynthia Jane, born in 1957. Johnnie was displeasured, if not downright incensed, that his wife seemed incapable of producing a male child – a heir – who he desperately needed as an aristocrat.

He even took the trouble of having his wife see a series of doctors in a bid to establish whatever deficiency she possessed in her genetic make-up and whether it was possible to correct it. At the time, General, it was not known that it is the man who determines a child’s sex and not the woman.

John’s prayers, if we can call them that General, were as much answered as they were unanswered. The longed-for male heir was born on January 12, 1960. Named John after his father, he was, as per the official version of things, practically stillborn, being so piteously deformed and gravely ill that he was dead in a matter of only ten hours, a development of which Earl Spencer would in future remark thus, albeit with tongue-in-cheek: “It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don’t think they ever got over it.”

Again as per the official version, General, John was gutted and hurriedly got into stride, this time around utterly positive that having had two daughters in succession, it would be two sons in succession. But nature, General, is seldom that predictable or orderly.

The next child was in fact a daughter, the now iconic Diana, for the third time around. Although John is recorded as having marvelled at what a “perfect physical specimen” her newly-born daughter was, he was forlorn beneath the façade, as a result of which Diana, who as a child did sense a lingering frustration on the part of her father on her account, would openly intuit that she was an unwelcome child, a “nuisance to have around”, thanks to her “failure” to be born a boy. From a very age thus, General, Diana had concluded that she was not well-fated and presciently so!

Although the heir, Charles Spencer (the future Earl Spencer) finally arrived on May 20, 1964, Diana perceived very little if any change in the way she was contemplated by her parents. In fact, both she and Charles could not desist from wondering whether had John lived, they would have been born at all. Seemingly, they came to be simply because their father was desperate for a heir and not necessarily that he wanted two more children.  With the birth of Charles, General, John called it a day as far as the process of procreation was concerned.

GODDESS OF THE HUNT

Why was Diana so named, General? Throughout her life, it was taken as an article of faith that her name derived from Lady Diana Spencer, a member of the Spencer clan who lived between 1710 and 1735, dying at a pitifully tender age of only 25. Certainly, the two namesakes turned out to have precious much in common as we shall unpack at a later stage, as if the latter-day Diana’s life was deliberately manoeuvred to more or less sync with the ancestral Diana.

It emerged, however, General, that the connection to an ancestor was actually secondary, or maybe incidental. The primary inspiration of the name was at long last disclosed by Earl Spencer on September 7, 1997, the day of Princess Diana’s burial. Delivering the elegantly crafted eulogy, Earl Spencer had this to say in relation to her naming: “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”

It is significant, if not curious, General, that of John’s three daughters, only Diana was given the name of a goddess. Clearly, there must have been a special reason for this as aristocrats do not confer names casually: every name carries a metaphorical, symbolic, or intentional message. Typically, it honours an iconic personage or spirit or somebody lesser but who evokes memories anyway.

Elizabeth Sarah, for instance, was in all probability named after the Queen’s mother, whose decades-long inner circle included Diana’s paternal and maternal grandmothers, and an ancestor going by the name Sarah Jennings (1760-1744). Charles Spencer was named after the family’s greatest forbearer, King Charles 1 of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625-1649. The ill-fated John was of course named after his father, who in turn was likely named after the 5th Earl Spencer, John Poyntz Spencer (1835-1910).

On occasion in occultic families, as the Spencer family latterly have been, a name, General, connotes a bad futuristic omen associated with its bearer and that was precisely the case with Diana.

THE FIRST DIANA

In its ancient rendering, the name Diana meant “The Heavenly One”, or goddess being a feminine style. The first Diana, General, was Inanna, an Anunnaki goddess whose Akkadian name was Ishtar – Esther in English. As you well know General, the Anunnaki are the Old Testament gods, Aliens from the planet Nibiru, the Solar System’s little-known planet which is seen only once in 3600 years, and who came to Earth 432,000 years ago as we comprehensively set down in the Earth Chronicles series.

The name Inanna is Sumerian, the Sumerians being the best-known civilisation of old who thrived around modern-day Iraq (called Sumer in ancient times) about 6000 years ago and who were indirectly governed by the Anunnaki. It was abbreviated from Nin-An-Ak, meaning “Lady of Heaven and Earth” or “Lady of the God of Heaven and Earth”.

She was so-called, General, not because she had particularly special godly qualities but owing to the fact that she was the earthly mistress of Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, the King of the planet Nibiru, which humans of the day perceived as Heaven.

Anu was the father of Enlil, the principal Jehovah of the Bible. Enlil in turn had a second-born son called Nannar-Sin, the first Anunnaki to be born on Earth and who eventually became the Allah of Islam. It was Sin who fathered Inanna. Thus Inanna was Anu’s great-granddaughter but every time he visited Earth, Anu was sexually entertained by the stunningly beautiful Inanna, an act which in Anunnaki culture was not frowned upon.

Inanna was amongst other appellations known as the Goddess of Hunting (because of her penchant for, and skill in, waging war) and the Goddess of Love (in the sense of licentious love-making and not conventional moral love). Her other names in different parts of the world and across the ages were Irnin; Anunitu (Beloved of Anu); Aphrodite; Ashtoreth; Astarte; and Artemis, to mention only a few.

Although her celestial counterpart was the planet Venus, she was also loosely associated with the constellation Virgo as well as the moon. Once upon a time, when she was a virgin, Virgo was dedicated to her by her grandfather Jehovah-Enlil, who was Earth’s Chief Executive until circa 2024 BC. With regard to the moon, it primarily had to do with her twin brother Utu-Shamash, whose celestial counterpart was the sun: as such, Inanna’s inevitably had to be the moon. That, however, was only in a putative sense in that the operative moon god of the day was her father Sin.

Since moonlight effectively turns darkness into relative daylight, Inanna has in legends been referred to as Diana Lucifera, the latter term meaning “light-bringer”. Inanna’s association with the moon, General, partly explains why she was called the “Heavenly One” since the moon is a heavenly body, that is, a firmament-based body. It also explains why she was also known as Luna, which is Latin for moon.

A STEERED LIFE FOR GOOD OR ILL

Now, children of royals, aristocrats and other such members of high society, General, are invariably named before they are born. True, when a Prince William or Prince George comes along, the word that is put out into the public domain is that several names have been bandied about and the preferred one will “soon be announced”. That, General, is utter hogwash.

No prince, princess, or any other member of the nobility for that matter, is named at or sometime after their birth. Two names, a feminine and a masculine one, are already finalised whilst the child is in the womb, so that the name the child eventually goes by will depend on no other factor beside its gender.

Princess Diana, General, was named a full week after her birth, as if consultations of some sort with certain overarching figures had to be concluded first and foremost. Apparently, the broader outlines of her future first had to be secretly mapped out and charted in the manner of a child of destiny, though in her case she was as much a child of destiny as she was a doomed child. In her childhood reminiscences, Diana does hint at having been tipped to the effect that she was a special child and therefore had to scrupulously preserve herself.

“I always felt very different from somebody else, very detached,” she told her biographer Andrew Morton as per his 1992 book Diana Her True Story – In Her Own Words. “I knew I was going somewhere different but had no idea where. I said to my father when I was 13, ‘I know I am going to marry someone in the public eye’.” That, General, speaks volumes on the deliberately designed grooming she was subjected to in the formative years of her pilgrimage in life.

Since it was repeatedly drummed in her highly impressionable mind that there was something big in store for her along the way, Diana, General, remained chaste throughout her upbringing, if not an outright virgin to in all probability conform to the profile of the goddess Diana/Inanna before she exploded into a lecherous, loose-mannered nymphomaniac in her adult life as we underscored in the Earth Chronicles series. “By the time I got to the top of the school,” Diana said to Morton, “all my friends had boyfriends but not me because I knew somehow that I had to keep myself very tidy for whatever was coming my way.”

A DISPARAGED BIRTH?

Unusual for an aristocrat, General, Diana was born not in the rather apt precincts of a high-end hospital but within the banality of Park House itself. Whether hired midwives were on hand to help usher her into the world or it was only her dad, mum and closer womenfolk relations who did we can only speculate.

If for one reason or the other her parents were desirous that she be delivered at home, what secret rites did they perform as her mother’s waters broke, General? What incantations, if at all, did John utter over her? Was her birth an occultic one with all the attendant paraphernalia as opposed to a conventional one?

That Diana’s arrival was not a particularly cherished event, General, is evidenced by the fact that she was christened within the Sandringham Estate, at St. Mary Magdalene Church, with only well-to-do commoners in attendance, whereas the more prized child, her younger brother Charles, was christened at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of the Queen, who was designated as his principal godmother.

Anyhow, it was just as well, General, that it was in the hallowed environs of St. Mary Magdalene Church that Diana was committed to the “The Lord” as she was in a manner of speaking the Mary Magdalene of our day.

NEXT WEEK: A FAMILY THAT DABBLED IN WITCHCRAFT

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Challenges in our lives

21st June 2022

Allah Almighty reminds us: ‘On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear’ (Qur’an 2:286). Also: “Be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are the patient.” [Qur’an 8: 46].

Without fail, whether we like it or not there are times in our lives when many things seem to go wrong and as mere humans we go into a panic syndrome and are left wondering; why me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? We are all tested with adversity, hard times and pain, but these tribulations are the Almighty’s way of transforming us and help us develop spiritually.

As mere humans we all have different reactions when something good or bad happens to us, and usually our reactions depend on the strength of our religious belief and of our righteous deeds and actions.

One person may receive blessings and goodness with gratitude and accepts the bad challenges and patches in his life with perseverance and endurance. This positive attitude brings him peace of mind and happiness, causing his grief, anxiety and misery to ease. Thus, this positivity brings a balance and contentment in his life.

On the other hand another person receives blessings and goodness with arrogance and transgression; his manners degenerate and become evil; he receives this goodness and utilizes it in an unthinking and uncaring manner; it does not give him any peace of mind as his mind is always distressed, nervous and restless.

Thus when faced with loss and difficulty, due to his arrogant nature, he begins to ask why me? What have I done to deserve this and he may even damn and curse others and thinks that they are plotting his downfall.

But every now and then we should stop to ponder over the blessings both apparent and hidden from The Almighty upon us, it is only then that we will realise that our Lord has granted us abundant blessings and protected us from a number of evils; this will certainly ease our grief and anxiety and bring about a measure of happiness and contentment.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Look to those who are lower than you (those who possess less than you) and do not look to those higher than you; this will make you appreciate the bounties of Allah upon you.”

Whether we are believers or disbelievers, virtuous or sinful, most of us are to a certain degree able to adapt and condition ourselves to face adversity and remain calm during these moments of challenge, uncertainty and upheaval.

When people receive affliction with fear, discontent, sorrow and despair; their life becomes miserable, they panic and become short tempered. Such people are unable to exercise patience remain restless, stressed and cannot find contentment that could make life easier for them.

On the other hand, due to a believer’s strong faith and reliance on Allah, it makes him persevere and he emerges stronger than others in difficult situations as this reduces his fear and anxiety and that ultimately makes matters easier for him. If he is afflicted with sickness, poverty or any other affliction, he is tranquil and content and has no desire for anything which has not been decreed for him.

‘If Allah touches you with affliction, none can remove it but He; if He touches you with happiness, He has power over all things’ (Qur’an 6: 17).Therefore the believer prays to his Lord: ‘Our Lord, condemn us not if we forget or fall into error…lay not on us a burden greater than which we have the strength to bear’ (Qur’an 2:286)

However, the one who is weak in faith will be just the opposite; he becomes anxious, nervous, confused and full of fear. The anxiety and paranoia will team up against him because this person does not have the faith that could enable him to persevere during tough times, he is less likely to handle the pressures and will be left in a somewhat troubled and depressed state of mind.

It is natural that as humans we are always fearful of losing the things that we have acquired; we desire and cherish them and we are anxious to acquire more, because many of us will never reach a point where we are satisfied with the material things in life.

When certain frightening, disturbing or unsettling events occur, like emergencies or accidents we find that a person with sound faith is calm, steadfast, and able to cope with the situation and handle the hardship he is going through; such a person has conditioned himself to face afflictions and this makes his heart stronger and more steadfast, which gives him a level of tranquillity.

This shows the difference between a person who has strong belief and acts accordingly, and another who is not at this level of faith. Due to the strong belief of the true believer he is content with whatever Allah Almighty has decreed,

This life is full of ups and downs and uncertainties, but the only certain thing is that from the moment we are born we will be tested with life’s challenges throughout our entire lives, up to and to the final certainty, death. ‘Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, or the fruits of your toil, but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere’ (Qur’an2:155).

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “How wonderful is the matter of the believer! All of his matters are good and this is the case for nobody except a believer. If he is blessed with prosperity he thanks (Allah Almighty) and that is good for him; and if he is afflicted with adversity he is patient and perseveres and that is also good for him.”

During those challenging times you have three choices: either you can let them define you, let them destroy you; or you can let them strengthen you.

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