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Noah Builds Enki’s “Ark”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER     

It was in fact not an ark but a “submersible boat” – a submarine

Not long after Galzu, the ostensible emissary from Nibiru who had been sent to deliver a final prediluvial preparatory message to the Anunnaki top brass had left, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah/Yahweh, called a special-purpose meeting at Nippur, the Mission Control Centre. In attendance were the Anunnaki leading lights, their children, and the Igigi commanders.


At the hot-tempered meeting, Enlil announced that a great tidal wave was to engulf Earth in only a matter of years and he had decided that mankind, the Nefilim, and the Anakim perish in it and that they be given no advance notice of its imminence whatsoever. This possibly globalwide inundation was an opportunity he was going to seize to settle scores with all dissident forces ranged against him as well, who included   the bulk of mankind.


Enlil said the reason he had decided to end life on Earth were manifold. First, the Anunnaki had karmically defiled themselves by intermarrying with Lulu’s and he could no longer stand that corruption. Second, the Lulu’s had so reproduced that it could be very easy for them to rise up against the Anunnaki and drive them all into the seas. Third, much of the fissures amongst the Anunnaki arose on account of the Lulu’s. The infighting amongst the Anunnaki, the Igigi descendance from Mars to Earth, the bastard Nefilims, the jockeying for supremacy on Earth – all were thanks to  the existence of Lulu’s. It was a great mistake for Lulu’s to be caused to come into existence and the blame must be laid squarely on the shoulders of the recalcitrant and incorrigible Enki.    

 
“From the very beginning, at every turn, the decisions by you modified were!” Enlil thundered, tearing into Enki. “To Primitive Workers procreating you gave, to them Knowing (copulation) you endowed! The powers of the Creator of All (God, First Source) into your hands you have taken. Thereafter even that by abominations you fouled.

 

With fornication Adapa you conceived, understanding (illumination, privileged knowledge) to his line you gave! His offspring to the heavens (Nibiru, Mars, and the Moon) you have taken, our wisdom (scholastic and metaphysical knowledge) with them you shared! Every rule you have broken, decisions and command you ignored: because of you by a civilized Earthling brother (Cain)  a brother (Abel) murdered. Because of Marduk your son the Igigi like him with Earthlings intermarried. Who is lordly from Nibiru, to whom the Earth alone belongs, to no one no longer knows. Enough! Enough! – to all that I say. The abominations cannot continue! Now that a calamity by a destiny unknown has been ordained, let what must happen, happen! … Let the Earthlings for the abominations perish.”


In short,  what Enlil was saying was that if Enki  had not created mankind, there would be relative peace and tranquillity  on Earth. Enki created a problem, making himself the underlying problem. The remonstrations of Enlil are summed up in GENESIS 6-8 as follows: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 3068.

 

Yhovah (yeh-ho-vaw') — the proper name of the God of Israel" The LORD  5162. nacham (naw-kham') — to be sorry, console oneself" was sorry "6213a" that He had made 120. 'adam (aw-dawm') — man, mankind" man "776. 'erets (eh'-rets) — earth, land" on the earth,  "6087a" and He was grieved "3820. leb (labe) — inner man, mind, will, heart" in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’”


The above passage, that sees an All-Knowing God owning up to the fact that he was “sorry” for having created mankind,  has been such a constant source of embarrassment to the Christian clergy that they either skirt it altogether or put a spin on the diction employed.  Some versions of the Bible in fact have doctored the passage to remove the aspects that reduce God to a mere mortal.  


The fact of the matter anyway, courtesy of Sumerian records, is that it was not God, First Source, who uttered those ignominious words: it was an Anunnaki god, Enlil. And Enlil didn’t regret having created mankind: he regretted that Enki, his step-brother, had created mankind, the source of the troubles besetting the Anunnaki at the time.     

ENLIL IMPOSES OATH OF SILENCE

Enlil and Enki for some time traded verbal jabs before Ninmah calmed them down. “A wondrous Being by us was created, by us saved it must be,” Enki insisted to his step-brother. Enlil parried the notion vehemently, reiterating the fact that Earthlings were no longer an asset but a liability. Then dismissing Enki, Enlil underlined to the assembly that now that the “bitter end” was upon them, it was up to every Anunnaki to choose whether to weather the storm on Earth or return to Nibiru.

 

The only Anunnaki who qualified to return to Nibiru were those who were “pure” and “righteous”, that is those who had not offended against King Anu’s interplanetary rules. The Nefilim – the Igigis who had settled on Earth and married Earthlings – were not eligible. The eligible Anunnaki were to return to Nibiru minus their spouses and offspring even if they were procedurally married to Earthlings.    


As for he himself, Enlil said he was to stay on Earth as the planet’s Chief Executive to foster continuity.  He was going to take refuge in the “Boats of Heaven (spacecraft) in Earth’s skies (orbit)” with other Anunnaki who elected to stay. “The calamity to outwait, the fate of Earth to witness”, he said. Then he asked that everybody present declare what their decision was.


The Enlilites were the first to take the floor. None of them chose to return to Nibiru. Ninurta, Enlil’s firstborn, said once the Deluge was over, he was going to settle in the “Lands Beyond the Ocean”, that is, today’s Americas. Nannar-Sin, the second-born, said he was going to take up residence not in orbit but on the Moon pending the cessation of the Flood. Enki, who at the time was the symbolic Moon God, looked askance at him.


The Enkites too chose to stay. “The Igigi and Sarpanit I shall not desert!”Marduk declared impassionedly and matter-of-factly. He and his family were to squat on Mars during the course of the Deluge. The Nefilim and their families could come with him if they so decided. Finally, in order to ensure that Earthlings were not made aware of the impending disaster, Enlil demanded that everybody present take the Oath of Silence. “All leaders should solemnly swear to let events unhindered occur,” he spelt out. Accordingly, everybody took turns to do likewise.

 

“Ninmah was in tears,” recounts Enki in Zechariah Sitchin’s The Lost  Book of Enki. “The words of the oath she faintly whispered.” Marduk also took the oath but not before qualifying his action. He said he was doing so only because it was a command by the most powerful person on Earth; otherwise, it was not “worthy it”. Enki’s turn was the very last. First he asked Enlil why “you would bind me with an oath. Am I to raise my hand against my own humans?” Enlil’s reply was that it was the decision of King Anu and his council.

 

Enki sardonically countered that assertion. “The decision by you was made, on Earth it is a commandment! The floodwaters I cannot arrest, the Earthling multitudes I cannot save; so to what oath to bind me you therefore desire?” Enki made it clear that everything that would unfold was solely Enlil’s responsibility. “To let it all happen as if by fate decreed, let it as Enlil's Decision be known, on Enlil alone let the responsibility forever rest.”  Having registered his indignation, Enki listlessly took the oath before he stormed out of the meeting, with Marduk close at heel.    

ENKI’S BRIEF BY ENIGMATIC GALZU

In the midst of all this feverish goings-on, Enki approached his half-sister Ninmah, with whom he agreed on virtually everything, and suggested that they preserve all major life forms genetically in the face of the forthcoming watery avalanche. “Let us, you and me, their seed of life preserve, their life essences for safekeeping extract!”


Ninmah endorsed the idea and the two immediately went to work, with Ninmah at the Shuruppak laboratory and Enki, assisted by his genius son Ningishzidda, at his Bit Shimti facility in East Africa.  The genetic banks were to be taken with them in a shuttlecraft in orbit as they waited for the Deluge to run its course. “Male and female essences and life-eggs they collected,” the Sumerian records say. “Of each kind two by two, two by two they in Shuruppak and the Abzu preserved. For safekeeping while in Earth circuit to be taken, thereafter the living kinds to recombine.”


 Enki also suggested to Enlil that all the “tablets of record” be removed from Nippur and buried deep under the sands of Sippar (modern Tell Abu Habbah in Iraq, some 30 km southwest of Baghdad) for the sake of posterity. “If ever the calamity might be survived, let all that had happened be remembered,” he said. Enlil gave assent and accordingly all the records and computer programs in diorite crypts were stored in golden chests, which were in turn buried in the bowels of Earth beneath Sippar.


One day, as Enki turned and twisted in his bed whilst contemplating the gory fate that awaited his creation, he had a visitation from Galzu, the gray-haired wise man who now was a familiar figure. The visitation was not corporeal: Enki thought it was either a dream or a vision: he couldn’t say  for certain. Galzu delivered this message to Enki: “Summon your son Ziusudra (Noah). Without breaking the oath to him, the coming calamity reveal. A boat that the watery avalanche can withstand, a submersible one, to build him tell. Let him in it save himself and his kinfolk, and the seed of all that is useful, be it plant or animal, also take. That is the will of the Creator of All!”

 

Galzu this time was not acting under the auspices of Anu: he came as a messenger of the “Creator of All”, that is, First Source, the real God. Enki was to instruct Noah to construct a “submersible boat”, a submarine. He was to use this submarine to preserve the life of his family and next of kin, as well as major plant and life forms.


Since Enki held Galzu in great esteem, he decided he was going to do exactly as what he was bid. The dilemma though was that this amounted to a flagrant breach of the Oath of Silence administered by Enlil. Just how was Enki going to break the news of the coming flood to Noah without incurring the wrath of Enlil? Whatever the case, the will of God had to prevail and not that of a mere mortal like Enlil.

ENKI DESIGNS  SUBMARINE

The first thing Enki did when he  woke up was to hunker down before the computer and set about designing a submarine. As the Anunnaki’s greatest engineer, the task was a walk in the park. For a man of his genius, it must have taken him only weeks rather than months to complete the task. That done, he loaded the sketches onto a computer file and sent it along with a voice message to Noah’s computer bank in the latter’s “Reed Hut”, a backyard cottage which was equipped with a roof-top antenna. Below is the message in the voice mail:
    

“To my words pay attention, to my instructions heed pay! On all the habitations, over the cities, a calamitous storm will sweep, the destruction of Mankind and its offspring it will be. This is the final ruling, the word of the assembly by Enlil convened. Now heed my words, observe the message that to you I am speaking:


“Abandon your house, build a boat; spurn possessions, save the life! The boat that you must build, its design and measurements on a tablet are shown … In seven days build the boat, into it your family and kinfolk gather. “In the boat food and water for drinking heap up, household animals also bring. Then, on the appointed day, a signal to you shall be given: a boat guide who knows the waters, by me appointed, to you that day will come.  On that day the boat you must enter, its hatch tightly close you must.


“An overwhelming Deluge, coming from the south, lands and life shall devastate. Your boat from its moorings it shall lift, the boat it shall turn and tumble. Fear not: to a safe haven the boat guide will navigate you: by you shall the seed of Civilized Mankind survive. “The purpose of the boat, a secret of the Anunnaki with you must remain! When the townspeople will inquire, to them you will so say: ’The lord Enlil with my lord Enki has angry been, to Enki's abode in the Abzu I am sailing, perchance Enlil will be appeased!’” Noah, who was the brainiest human of the day, understood the design very well and wasted no time in making a scale model of the submarine. Once he was done, he gathered fellow Earthlings at the town square in Shuruppak to announce to them what he was up to.

NOAH BUILDS THE SUBMARINE

As per Enki’s brief, Noah told the gathering that he had been the centre of the rift that had polarised Enlil and Enki and consequently the cause of the hardships mankind had been undergoing to date.  But a rapprochement between the two gods had been reached, whereby he, Noah, would relocate from the Edin to Africa. In the event, Enlil would relent and withdraw the wrath that he had visited upon mankind. Noah proceeded to say he was to travel to Africa in a submersible boat which he was to embark on building that very day. It would be complete within seven days and on the very seventh day, he would depart.


The people were excited about such glad tidings. Not only did they eulogise Noah for acting in the interests of the broader masses but they avidly and diligently participated in the construction effort. The Sumerian texts say the submarine was completed in five days, which of course is absurd: you cannot build such a sophisticated thing as a submarine in five days, not even in fifty days. You can therefore be sure that the number five was more symbolic than real. In the US, for instance, the Virginia- Class Submarine took 2 years to build. But that was a military submarine and was way too complex technologically.  Noah’s was a civilian one and could therefore have taken a mere five months.


Just how big was Noah’s ark? First, let us underline the fact that it was not an ark: it was a submarine, designed in such a way that two-thirds of its size would be below the waterline. The Sumerians called it a Magurgur, meaning “a boat that can turn and tumble”. In the Babylonian and Assyrian records, it was described as a Tzulili, which translates to Tzolet in Hebrew. Both the two terms denote a submersible boat. In Genesis, the complete boat is called Teba in the Hebrew, which derives from the Akkadian Tebitu. “It is considered by some scholars to signify a ‘goods vessel’, a cargo ship,” says Zechariah Sitchin.  “But the term, with a hard ‘T’, means ‘to sink’. The boat was thus a ‘sinkable’ boat, hermetically sealed, so that even if submerged under the tidal wave of the Deluge, it could survive the watery ordeal and resurface.”  


According to GENESIS 6:15, the vessel had a length of 300 cubits; a width of 50 cubits; and a height of 30 cubits. This is 137 × 22.9 × 13.7 metres in the metric system. This was a vast structure.  Pundits reckon that it was taller than a 3-storey building; had a total deck area the size of 36 lawn tennis courts or 20 basketball courts; and was as long as a football field goalpost to goalpost and about as wide. Be that as it may, the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner was just under two times lengthier and more than five times weightier.


Unlike modern maritime vessels which are made of metal, Noah’s was made of gofer wood though it certainly did have a lot of high-tech equipment and fixtures and fittings on board. Building a submarine entirely from wood attests to just how technologically advanced the Anunnaki were. They didn’t need complex inputs, like we do today, to build something phenomenal.  Since it was a wooden structure, it couldn’t have taken more than a year to build but certainly must have taken considerably longer than the five days suggested in the Sumerian texts.


NEXT WEEK: ENLIL’S WATERY HELL UP ON EARTH

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Honesty – a fundamental human characteristic

12th October 2021

“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (the Day of Judgment)”.  These are the words of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).  They paint a picture of the time leading up to the Day of Judgement, when righteous people will be sorrowful due to the lack of honesty around them. 

Influence of materialism

Honesty, like morality, is an in built and essential characteristic of every human but the influence of materialism and the greed and desire for status, position, fame, wealth, etc. have wreaked havoc in human society, to an extent never seen before. In the 21st century, we live in a world where honesty is less valued than ever before and in fact even shunned at times.  We expect people to be honest in their dealings with us yet we ourselves promote deceit and dishonesty through our action and speech on a daily basis.  Many of us even watch and applaud television shows and movies that promote and encourage lying, infidelity and deceitfulness.

Desire for worldly gain

In the corporate world, ‘deceitful’ statements and figures are announced and pronounced to lure investors, glamorous yet deceitful adverts to attract customers, etc. have all become the norm and honesty goes out of the window. Even in the media industry, honesty seems to be waning very rapidly. Let alone the due regard of one’s conscience but without a second thought or due consideration of the rights of the others, stories are churned out with so-called “sensational” add-ons, etc. simply for the sake of being the “first” to break the news or for the sake of having the “best” story or maybe even for the sake of just having increased an readership or viewership.

Thoughtless individual behaviour

Without thinking, we indirectly teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable.  When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, this is a lesson in deceit.  When we answer the cellphone and say that we are busy in a meeting yet we very much relaxed and free, or we say we are out of town yet we are at home, etc. we are being blatantly dishonest. When we refuse to settle our debts and dues making all sorts of pretences, we are actually lying.  We admonish and reprimand our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers.  Whether we tell lies, or whether we allow our children to live in a world surrounded by deceit, the lesson is learned and the honesty begins to disappear from the hearts of people – in particular the next generation.

Integrity and reliability

We must understand that honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thought, words, actions and relationships.  It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness, it denotes integrity or moral soundness.  Belief in God Almighty commands truthfulness and forbids lying.  In the Holy Quran, God Almighty commands that humans be honest: “O you who believe!  Be conscious of God Almighty, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Ch  9 : v 119). A renowned Holy Quran scholar explained the meaning of this verse.  He said, “Being truthful and adhering to truthfulness, means you will be among the people of the truth (by speaking and behaving in a truthful manner) and be saved from calamity and that is what will really make a way out for you from your problems (in the long run)”.

Honesty and truthfulness go hand in hand

A true Believer, one who is truly submitted to God, has many characteristics by which he/she can be identified.  The most obvious of these noble characteristics are honesty of character and truthfulness of speech.  Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was a perfect example of honesty.  The records of history clear show that even before he was bestowed Prophet hood by The Almighty, he had earned the titles of “As Saadiq” (the truthful) and “Al Ameen” (the trustworthy one), within the community. They had full trust in his honesty and integrity to such a degree that they would accept anything he said. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), once gathered all the people of Makkah at the base of Mount Safa and asked them, “O people of Makkah!  If I say to you that an army is advancing on you from behind the mountains, will you believe me?”  All said in one voice, “Yes, because we have never heard you telling a lie.”  All the people, without exception, swore to his truthfulness and honesty because he had lived an unblemished and extremely upright life among them up to that point in time – for forty years.

Honesty in a comprehensive manner

This honesty, an essential ingredient of the human character, includes being truthful towards God by worshipping Him sincerely; being truthful to oneself, by adhering to God’s laws; and being truthful with others by speaking the truth and being honest in all dealings, such as buying, selling, social interaction, marriage,etc.  There should be no deceiving, cheating, falsifying or withholding of information, thus a person should be the same on the inside as he/she is on the outside.

Prophetic teachings

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) informed us of the great benefits of living in an honest and truthful way and warned us of the dangers inherent in dishonesty and falsehood.  He said: “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise.  In addition, a person keeps on telling the truth until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very truthful person.  And falsehood leads to wickedness (and evil-doing), and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire. In addition, and a person keeps on telling lies until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very great liar”.

For those who wish to be among the truthful, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has left us with these words of guidance, “Let he who believes in God and the Last Day either speak good or (otherwise) remain silent”.

A successful, vibrant society is based upon honesty and justice, and is intolerant of dishonesty in all its various forms.  The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) exhorted the faithful to be scrupulously honest in all their social dealings, business transactions, etc. at all times.

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A Sham of a Trial

12th October 2021

Verdict a foregone conclusion as Pilate is bought

Although the interrogation of  Jesus in a joint hearing by Annas and Caiaphas was not a trial, General Atiku, it was more or less conducted along the lines of a trial.

Jesus had a defending witness. This was one of  his disciples, Bartholomew, whose real name was John Marcus. Apparently, Jesus was allowed only one such witness. Besides his principal accuser, the turncoat Judas Iscariot, there were a number of witnesses who testified against him. The gospels  refer to them as false witnesses but this is probably an exaggeration: they simply misunderstood some of his statements largely because he tended to use allegorical language, which could be properly interpreted only by Gnostics. On occasion, he chose to be deliberately ambiguous, as when he said, “Do to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God.”

The crux of the matter  was whether there was anything in his conduct that could associate him with the Zealots. For example, he was accused of harbouring and voicing designs to destroy the Jerusalem Temple within “three days”. The Zealots did band about such threats, General. In truth, what they sought to destroy it was the Temple establishment – the priesthood and the Herodian Sadducees. The perception was that these somewhat benefitted from Roman patronage. Thus, if Jesus did instigate doing way with the Temple establishment by foul and crook, this could obviously not sit well with Annas and Caiaphas, both of whom belonged to this clique. But Jesus’ words had been taken out of context. In Gnostic language, the Temple (the correct translation should be “palace”  as the Jewish word for temple and palace is the same)   was the human body because it housed the real being – the spirit-soul. So what Jesus was saying to those who wished him ill, General, was that even if they physically killed him, his soul would continue to live (a person can be clinically dead but at the etheric level, he is irreversibly dead only after three days). Clearly, General, he was grossly misunderstood.

Jesus vehemently denied being a Zealot. He made it clear to the panel that every time he taught or preached, he was heard to promote peaceful co-existence with Rome. How then could he be a Zealot, who preached enmity with the Romans? Put differently, General, Jesus was saying he had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD riots against Pilate. The fact that Simon Zelotes was his father-in-law was pure happenstance.

In their heart of hearts, both Caiaphas and Annas were aware Jesus was not inclined to violence and therefore could not be a  Zealot. So the matter they seized upon was his claim to be Priest, Prophet, and King. This was what revolted them the most, the sin for which they sought to teach him a lesson.  The gospels say they set men (the Jerusalem Temple police who had escorted Caiaphas) on him who blindfolded him, slapped him around, spat on him, and dared him to “prophesy” as to “who has hit you” – a sneering allusion to his claim to be Priest and Prophet as only the High Priest could prophesy. This physical mockery did probably take place but there is an underlying symbolic language, General.  When a person was spat upon (by a “holy man”, such as the  High Priest),  it meant he had been demoted from priest to a mere layman. A “blind man” was another characterisation for an Essene who was of Grade 8 level, a novice. A novice was not yet initiated and therefore he was blind because he had not yet “seen the light”, that is, not yet been illuminated.

What it all boils down to, General,  is that by decree of the three priests Annas Sr, Caiaphas, and Jonathan Annas, Jesus had been downgraded from Grade 2, the third position in the Essene hierarchy (the first two being Grades 0 and 1), which was the position of the Davidic King (now held by his young brother James), to Grade 8, the position of a novice, a virtual nobody. Thus, when he appeared before Pontius Pilate, that was the status he would declare when his occupation was asked of him. This lowly social status would significantly bear upon Pilate’s psychology and therefore his contemplation of Jesus.

PETER DOES A JUDAS

Now, when a hearing or trial was in progress, General,  the Essene rule was that there had to be two doorkeepers. These were two people who were close to the person who was the subject of the proceedings, typically a relative and an associate/friend.

In the case of Jesus, the doorkeepers he selected were Simon Peter and his mother Mary. Besides being Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter was Jesus’ personal bodyguard and chief ecclesiastical minister. As the Davidic King, Jesus was entitled to a bodyguard and chief spokesman, both roles of which were ably performed by Peter. That made Peter arguably the closest to Jesus in an occupational sense. As for Mary, she substituted for Jesus’ wife Mary Magdalene, who was now three months pregnant and therefore was on mandatory separation from her husband according to Essene dynastic procreational rules. The two doorkeepers ceremonially opened the doors for the panelists or judges to enter the hearing room. As the male doorkeeper,  Simon Peter stood by the door in the inner corridor whilst Mary stood by the same door in the outer corridor.

Peter, however, had been assigned another role – that of the rooster of the night. The rooster that crowed three times as per the gospels was not a bird, General: it was Simon Peter. “Rooster”, or “Cock”,   was the term for a religious person assigned to call out the time. Remember,  they had no clocks those days and at nighttime, the sundial, which was used during the day to read time, could not be used. So during a momentous occasion such as this one (the week of Passover), a person was detailed to announce the time every three hours at Qumran. Since Jesus’ hearing took place shortly before midnight, Peter was expected to announce the times at 00:00; 3 am; and 6 am. 3 am was specifically called cock-crow (see MARK 13:34). It was just before 3 am that Peter “denied”  Jesus. He did not deny him at three intervals, General: he denied him only once but before three inquisitors.

Now, Simon Peter was also a Zealot, a point we have long underscored. It explains why in the gospels he comes across as combustible, argumentative, and highly assertive. He was known as Simon Bar-jonah, which has been wrong translated as “son of John”. Bar-jonah actually derived from “baryona”, which was Aramaic (the most widely spoken language of the day in Palestine) for “outlaw”. We know, courtesy of  Flavius Josephus, that Zealots were referred to as outlaws by the Romans. So as Jesus was being interrogated, one of the witnesses against him made mention of the fact that he must have been a Zealot since his own bodyguard was a Zealot. Peter was therefore instantly called upon to confirm or deny that he was a Zealot. As could be expected, Peter stoutly denied he was. He also proceeded to say that he was not as close to Jesus as many people thought.

Once he had exculpated himself, Peter resumed his vigil as doorkeeper. The hearing lasted for hours and there were intervals in between, during which Peter also took time off to warm himself before a fire. During one such break, Mary, Joseph (Jesus’ second brother)  and James (the son of Zebedee) also confronted him and demanded to know why he  without shame or scruple just stopped short of disowning Jesus. Peter was unflinching, saying they were all mistaken: he was not as close to Jesus as they thought. It was at this point that he stood up to announce the time 3 am for the hearings to resume. Shortly thereafter, it dawned on him that he had stabbed Jesus in the back and later apologised teary-eyed to Mary. The man Jesus called “Rocky” was far from being a rock: he was a chicken, a flip-flopper.  Maybe it was no coincidence, General, that on this fateful night he was assigned the role of a male chicken!

That said, Peter had very valid reasons to deny Jesus anyway. Jesus had elevated Judas Iscariot to his second-in-command in an independent Israel at the Last Supper and Peter was irate that that role should have been entrusted to him and not to Judas. Maybe Jesus deserved Peter’s betrayal given that Peter had served him loyally through and through both as a bodyguard and confidante.

JUDAS TREACHERY BACKFIRES

Pontius Pilate, General, arrived at Qumran towards 6 in the morning to conduct a kangaroo court trial for the people wanted for the November 32 AD uprising in which some Roman soldiers were killed. Why, if we may ask, General,  did the Roman governor have to travel all the way from Jerusalem, where he was based during the Passover week, to Qumran and not insist that the trial be held in Jerusalem itself?

There were two reasons for this in the main. First and foremost, there was something in it for him. He had been backhanded with a tantalising bribe by Herod Agrippa to excuse Judas Iscariot. We know Pilate was hopelessly weak where it came to palm-greasing and extra-legal trials. Philo, the Jewish philosopher and historian who was a contemporary of  Pilate, records that Pilate was prone to corruption (a streak that ran through all Roman governors and of which the emperor himself was acutely aware) and “continuous executions without even a form of a trial”. Second, a trial of the leading Zealots in Jerusalem at Passover time would have provoked another uprising as Jerusalem at this time of the year swarmed with Galilean pilgrims most of whom were either Zealots or pro-Zealot. Qumran was therefore a safe venue as it was remote and was not crawling with too many people. The trial would thus pass practically unnoticed by the wider population.

Arriving at Qumran, Pilate was determined that he was going to sentence the culprits (save for Judas of course) to death. The November uprising had tarnished the record of his emperor: it was the only insurrection in Judea during the reign of  Tiberius Caesar. Pilate would use the sentence as a showcase to the emperor that he was a no-nonsense man who did not in the least brook dissident tendencies.

Now, Herod Antipas had learnt of Agrippa’s bribe to Pilate and he and Agrippa rarely saw eye to eye, being rival claimants to the Jewish monarchy.  Antipas was aware that the crucifixion Jesus would be subjected to would not be fatal but a partial one that would ensure his survival. However, Theudas Barabbas was too old to bear the strain of even partial crucifixion whereas Jesus and Simon Zelotes were much younger. Chances therefore were that Barabbas might perish right on the cross.  So in a private meeting with Pilate before the trial commenced, Antipas offered Pilate a bribe substantially higher than that which Agrippa had given him. Accordingly, the two agreed that Judas should be reinstated as a culprit. At the same time, Barabbas should be released. It was game, set, and match, General.

MAKE-BELIEVE REFERAL TO ANTIPAS

The trial was held in the north vestry, the same place where the hearings by Annas and Caiaphas took place. Annas, Caiaphas, the Herods, and the brothers of Jesus were in attendance.

The trial, General, was a farce. The proceedings were almost wholly orchestrated. On trial was Judas Iscariot too, who courtesy of  the Antipas bribe had been re-arrested, bringing the number of  respondents in the dock to four. Judas, as the overall commander of the Zealots, pleaded guilty. That is what the gospels mean when they say he “hung himself”. Now penitent of having falsely implicated Jesus, Judas also told the court that Jesus was innocent and had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD insurrection. Judas’ absolution of  Jesus is what is cryptically referred to in the gospels as “returning the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest”, meaning he no longer was leader of the 30-man group that John the Baptist had established: its leadership had now reverted to the current Essene high priest Jonathan Annas. Judas was resultantly sentenced to death by crucifixion along with Simon Zelotes and Theudas Barabbas.

However, General, Agrippa was determined that Jesus be found guilty in order to get even with his brother-in-law Antipas. He and Caiaphas were in full flow, insisting that Jesus not only was a “Galilean”, which was another code name for Zealots, but he urged Jews to refrain from paying taxes and also fancied himself as “King of the Jews” when that title now belonged to Emperor Tiberius Caesar. This was treason and for that he deserved to die.

Although Pilate had no intentions of acquitting Jesus (it was he who was to be sacrificed for Barabbas as per his stratagem with Antipas), he at least wanted to superficially cast himself as a reasonable and impartial judge. Judas had exonerated Jesus and the priests had countered that. So Pilate announced to the gathering that since Jesus was of Galilean origin (he feigned ignorance of the fact that the term Galilean was used in the context of  his being a Zealot), Herod Antipas, under whose  jurisdiction Galilee fell, was to break the ice. Antipas was asked to try Jesus in another room and whatever verdict he rendered would be binding. This aspect was not part of the pre-plan with Antipas but Antipas did welcome it nonetheless as it openly underlined that in the eyes of  Rome, he took precedence over his rival Agrippa. As for Agrippa, all he could do was froth at the mouth. From that day on, General, Pilate became his mortal enemy: on the other hand, Antipas and Pilate became abiding friends.

NEXT WEEK: JESUS SACRIFICES FOR HIS BROTHER

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Columns

Distress Flare

12th October 2021

No one could have predicted what we have just gone through with COVID 19, lock downs, State of Emergency, banning of international travel etc. etc. In fact that’s not quite true as many had been predicating the possibility of a global pandemic for a while – I guess it was the case of not listening or not wanting to listen.

This week I was left thinking what life would be like if the internet crashed. This was prompted after being deprived of social media when the services of Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp were disrupted for hours on Monday night. I am not much of a user of the 2 former platforms but I do use Whatsapp extensively and even had a call scheduled on the app which I was clearly unable to make. It is also the main way that I keep immediately updated of family whereabouts, comms etc.

Like many I felt quite cut off even though I could have made a normal telephone call or gone on the internet and sent mail messages. People kept saying that the internet was down because to some people Facebook is the internet!  Twitter, realising this, saw it as the perfect time to enjoy its rare spotlight and tweeted “Hello literally everyone” from its main account. It garnered 2.4 million “likes” in just four hours and a stampede of users eager to sign up.

In other parts of the world where apps are essential to commerce, health care and basic functioning of government it was a serious matter. In India, doctors sounded the alarm about being unable to coordinate their schedules or share patient scans. And in Malaysia, some small-business owners were left without a way to manage day-to-day operations as all business communications are conducted through the app.

In many developing countries, services including WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger have become deeply integrated into the delivery of primary health care, education and other government services,” Marcus Leaning, a digital media education professor at the University of Winchester in the U.K., said. “In the global North, we tend to (merely) use such services as supplementary to other channels of communication, so the global outage will have a disproportionate impact.”  These platforms are also often offered on restricted-access (or non-smart) phones, meaning that those on lower income were disproportionately  disaffected in 3rd World countries, our own included.

Meanwhile, as netizens (citizens of the internet) were feeling somewhat inconvenienced and annoyed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a financial hit losing $6 billion in just a few hours as Facebook stocks plunged, principally through lost advertising revenue and loss of business confidence and he himself personally dropped to No. 5 on the list of the world’s richest, below Gates. Talk about a bad day at the office!

The impact on myself was considerably less but with my ability to WhatsApp stopped I did feel quite put out and wondered what it would be like if the whole internet crashed one day and what that would it do to the markets, the military, the hospitals, not to mention how would I be able access all the movies on Netflix?

It couldn’t really happen, could it, if you understand that all the internet is, is a bunch of interconnected computers and that they would all have to crash at once? Conventional wisdom tells us that as a planetary network of computers and machines the internet is too big, too decentralised and too redundant to all fail at once?  But wait! Didn’t they say something similar when the Titanic was built? Surely the lessons of that hubris are still valid today?

According to Laura Brandimarte, Assistant Professor, Management Information Systems, University of Arizona, ‘Everything being connected today may bring along significant convenience, but it also implies that everything can be hacked. What if the nation’s power grid were successfully attacked? No electricity also means no internet access. The internet also relies on physical infrastructure, such as subsea cables and other fiber cables: any infrastructure issues (cable cuts, damages), whether due to criminal activity or natural disasters that were to affect major subsea cables could potentially shut down the Internet.

In a different sense, authoritarian governments can also potentially shut down the internet if they somehow all colluded against it, either blocking internet access to citizens altogether (we have seen that in Egypt during the Arab Spring, for example, or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo  HYPERLINK “https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/africa/81477-dr-congo-block-internet-kinshasa” \t “_blank” during a period of unrest); or substantially limiting it (we see that in countries where internet censorship is widespread and information access is controlled by the central government, as it happens in China). There are ways around censorship, of course: Privacy Enhancing Technologies, or PETs, such as virtual private networks or VPNs, and anonymous browsers such as Tor, can help circumvent it, but censorship essentially prevents the vast majority of the population, who may not be familiar with these tools, to access the internet, de facto making it disappear.’

And there are natural disasters that also could create havoc.   Patrick Juola, a computer science professor at Duquesne University, offers up one such interplanetary electronic disaster. “A sufficiently powerful solar flare could produce an electromagnetic solar pulse [EMP] that would shut down most of the computers in the world. While some systems are protected against EMPs, any human-built protection is only so strong, and the sun can be a lot more powerful.”

 

An internet crash resulting from this type of solar flare sounds like science fiction or one of those once-every-10,000-years events, but it isn’t. The worst recorded X-class (highest level) solar flare, called the Carrington Event, was a coronal mass ejection that produced a geomagnetic storm that spread across the earth over two days, September 1-2, 1859. The storm produced auroras around the world. The ones in the northern hemisphere reached as far south as the Caribbean, and were so bright people in the north-eastern United States could read newspapers by their light at night. The major electric utilities affected were the telegraph systems that failed across Europe and North America. The telegraph pylons threw sparks and shocked operators still at their keys. 

The frequency of recorded CMEs is worrying. Less powerful geomagnetic storms were recorded in 1921 and 1960, and a 1989 storm disabled power over large sections of Quebec. Then, on July 23, 2012, a “Carrington-lass” solar superstorm narrowly missed the earth by nine days when it crossed the planet’s orbit.

The Titanic was built to be unsinkable – all engineers and scientists agreed to that. Yet obviously they had not thought of every conceivable scenario and so when the boat was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the rest, as they say, was history. The same must be true of the internet. The thing that can take it down – not so much governmental censorship but some of that super global warming we hear so much about – could yet prove its downfall.  Now that really is solar power!

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