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Inanna’s Grand Thievery

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER  
 

Enki robbed of the strategically crucial MEs by Jehovah’s granddaughter

Before Inanna-Ishtar, Jehovah’s self-willed granddaughter, set off to attend her late husband Dumuzi’s funeral at Nergal’s palace in today’s South Africa, she had told her handmaiden, who had remained behind in her Sumerian cult city Uruk,  and her  foreign affairs secretary Ninshubur that in the event that she was not heard from  within three days, they should raise an alarm. This was because she was not absolutely sure of her safety when she faced her elder sister Ereshkigal, who was the funeral ceremony’s hostess and who had insisted Inanna not show up at all.

Thus early on the third day of Inanna’s disappearance, her handmaiden contacted Ninshubur, who was still camped outside Nergal’s palace along with the rest of Inanna’s entourage, all of whom had been prevented from setting foot onto the palace courts by Ereshkigal. Ninshubur immediately messaged Nergal’s son, requesting him to establish whether Inanna was among the gathering in the palace hall. The young man had not seen her aunt and so he sent word to his father, who in turn alerted Enlil.

Having confirmed that Inanna had indeed arrived for the funeral two days ago but was nowhere on the palace premises, Enlil was alarmed: he had a hunch something sinister had befallen his granddaughter and the obvious suspect was Ereshkigal. Without wasting time, Enlil assigned Enki to urgently look into the matter. The choice of Enki was suiting: not only was he Inanna’s grandfather too on her mother’s side Ningal but Enki could be counted upon to restore Inanna to life if  she had succumbed to foul play at the hands of Ereshkigal particularly that she would not have been dead for more than three days.

Enki took Ereshkigal aside and demanded that she owns up as to what she had done to Inanna as it was crystal-clear she was the one behind her disappearance. Ereshkigal, who was at once Enki’s granddaughter, daughter-in-law, and the mother of his son Ningishzidda (that’s how incestuous the Anunnaki were), did not equivocate:  breaking down into copious tears,   she recounted all that had transpired and even provided the coordinates of the exact spot Inanna had been left to die.

Enki went to work straightaway. It was summer time in South Africa and the chalky-white-skinned Anunnaki, like Enki was, just could not venture out in the blazing sun being rather susceptible   to the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. So drawing on his genius, Enki fashioned two androids from clay in a matter of hours, who he named Kurgarra and Galatur,  electronically animated them, and detailed his dark-skinned Anunnaki pilots to take them to where Inanna was. Meanwhile, he was monitoring the situation using a facility similar to video-conferencing in the air-conditioned ambience of Nergal’s palace.

Enki had equipped the two medical androids with an “Emitter” and “Pulser” respectively. The metaphor for the reanimation substances the androids carried was “Food of Life” and “Water of Life” respectively. Arriving at the scene of Inanna’s ordeal, the search party found an already dead Inanna still strapped to the tree. There was no time to waste. Enki immediately activated the androids by remote control.   “Upon the corpse a Pulser and Emitter they (the androids) directed,” the Sumerian records relate. “Then the Water of Life on her they sprinkled, in her mouth the Plant of Life they placed.” The measures taken worked like a charm. “Inanna stirred, her eyes she opened: from the dead Inanna arose.”

INANNA IMMORTALISES DUMUZI IN SEX RITUAL

Within a week’s time, Inanna had been nursed back to full health by Enki. Now bursting with vitality and strutting her stuff as usual, she demanded, first, that her regal regalia be returned to her by Ereshkigal. Then she asked for Dumuzi’s body, which she took with her back to Nubia, where he had ruled. There, she had the body “washed with pure water and anointed with sweet oil”. She then clothed the body with a shroud and laid it on a lapis lazuli slab. That done, she placed the body into a tomb carved out of a specially preserved rock formation in the centre of the city. The body was to remain there till Nibiru was back in the ecliptic, whereupon she would accompany it to the planet for the very last rites.  

Yet Inanna remained haunted by the death of her Romeo for the rest of her life. She always dreamt about Dumuzi and even had broad-daylight hallucinations of him. In a vain attempt at consigning him to total oblivion, she introduced, in her cult city of Uruk, what became known as the “Sacred Marriage Rite”. At her ziggurat temple-house, the Eanna, there was a standalone structure known as the Giparu (“Night Time Abode”) and in a wing of the Giparu was a sex den known as the Gigunu (“Chamber of Night Time Pleasures”).

It was in the Gigunu that Nibiru king Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, made love to her every time he came to Earth. Even more significant, it was in the Gigunu that she and Dumuzi had their first one-night-stand and where their first sexual act after the wedding ceremony took place. Thus the Gigunu, rather than make her forget about Dumuzi, in fact achieved the contrary purpose – to reinforce his memory.

Now, the Sacred Marriage was far from a marriage: it was purely for recreational, one-night-stand sex romp. Initially, this took place once every year on the anniversary of Dumuzi’s death, when an aristocratic demigod was invited by Inanna to “sample” her in the Gigunu. In due course, the rite had a spin-off, whereby an Anunnaki groom was invited to “taste” her on the night of his wedding day before he consummated his marriage with his own bride.

“To this Gigunu, young heroes (Anunnaki), on the night of their weddings, with sweet words she lured,” say the Sumerian chronicles. “Long life, a blissful future to them she promised.” All the while, Inanna imagined she was being mounted by her beloved Dumuzi. Sadly, almost every such man who slept with her in the Gigunu died of what is called “cardiogenic shock” arising from too much “sexual sweetness” (even in our day, such deaths account for approximately 0.6 percent of all sudden deaths).

KINGS FEATURE IN SACRED MARRIAGE RITE

The sexual fatalities so scared the daylights out of wedding grooms that they ceased and desisted from responding to Inanna’s Gigunu overtures, as a result of which she now turned to priest-kings of Uruk with a twist in terms of the bait dangled forth.  To the priest-kings, it was not simply about sex only: rather, it was more about eliciting her blessings as the superintending goddess once every year. This new dimension of the Sacred Marriage Rite which involved priest-kings became part of the yearly, 12-day long Akiti (“On Earth Bring Life”) festival.  Zechariah Sitchin describes the ritual in some detail as follows:

“Inanna began to invite the king to her Gigunu … The essence of the procedure was to find a way to have the king spend the night with the goddess without ending up dead … The outcome depended not only the king's personal fate, but also the fate of the land and its people—prosperity and abundance or the lack of them in the coming year. For the first four days of the festival, the gods (Anunnaki) alone participated in the re-enactments (of the death of Dumuzi and his replacement by a new ruler). On the fifth day the king came on the scene, leading the elders and other dignitaries in a procession through a special Way of Ishtar…  

“Arriving at the main temple, the king was met by the High Priest, who took away the king's insignia and placed them before the deity (Inanna) in the Holy of Holies (symbolic dethronement of Dumuzi). Then, returning to the dethroned king, the High Priest struck him in the face and made him kneel down for a ceremony of Atonement in which the king had to recite a list of sins (particularly the killing of Dumuzi) and seek divine forgiveness.

Priests then led the king out of town to a pit of symbolic death; the king stayed there imprisoned while above the gods debated his Destiny. On the ninth day he re-emerged, was given back his insignia and royal robes, and led back the procession to the city. There, at evening time, washed and scented, he was led to the Giparu in the sacred precinct.

“At the entrance to the Gigunu he was met by Inanna's personal attendant, who made the following appeal to the goddess in behalf of the king: ‘The sun has gone to sleep, the day has passed. As in bed you gaze upon him, as you caress him, give Life unto the King … May the king whom you have called to heart enjoy long days at your holy lap …  Give him a reign favourable and glorious.  Grant his throne an enduring foundation … May the farmer make the fields productive.

May the shepherd multiply the sheepfolds … In the palace let there be long life.’ The king was then left alone with the goddess in the Gigunu for the conjugal encounter. It lasted the whole night. In the morning the king emerged, for all to see that he had survived the night (that is, had not died from sexual sweetness . The Sacred Marriage had taken place; the king could reign on for another year; the land and people were granted prosperity.”

Inanna so popularised the spirit of the Sacred Marriage Rite that long after the advent of Dumuzi,  Sumerian kings described poetically the ecstasy of such memorable nights with her. The “death and resurrection”  of  Dumuzi itself continued to be commemorated by the Jews once yearly on what  was designated “The Day of National Mourning”, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing. For example,  the prophet Ezekiel (EZEKIEL 8:14) was wroth when he saw Israelites “weeping for Tammuz,” the Hebrew rendering of the name Dumuzi, which is Thomas in English.  

ENKI DENIES INANNA THE CRUCIAL “MEs”

Following the death of Dumuzi, Inanna decided to turn Uruk (Erech in the Bible) into a city along the lines of the glittering Kish, which was the Paris of Sumeria. She just wasn’t patient enough to await the appropriate time for her allocation of an own domain   which had been promised her at the conclusion of the Second Pyramid war at the say-so of King Anu of Nibiru. It was the same King Anu who gifted her Uruk as her cult city as part of the dowry that automatically entitled him to conjugal rights every time he visited Earth and every time she visited Nibiru, which she did periodically.

The person she chose to transform the city was Enmerkar, officially  the grandson of her twin-brother Utu-Shamash. Enmerkar was the son of Meskiaggasher, or Meshack in short. Born to Shamash by an Earthling concubine, Meshack was the first priest-king of Uruk, which he ruled for 324 years before handing over to Enmerkar. But Enmerkar, apparently,  was no more than a legal son of Meshack as Enmerkar made a point of trumpeting the fact that he was actually a demigod, his real father being Shamash, very much an echo of Marduk’s double-entendre relationship with Osiris, who was at once his son (biologically) and grandson (legally). Enmerkar would rule Uruk under the auspices of “goddess” Inanna for    420  years, nearly a 100 years more than his father did not least because he was a maniac  in bed – exactly the type that appealed to the nymphomaniacal  Inanna.  

When kingship (for humans under the aegis  of Anunnaki “gods”)  was transferred from Kish to Uruk circa 3000 BC in accordance with the rotational setup decreed by Enlil, Inanna detailed Enmerkar to turn Uruk from a mere sacred precinct to a thriving metropolis that should rival Kish in every respect. Enmerkar’s first major statement in this brief was to refurbish and enlarge the Eanna, erect a 6-mile long wall around it, and pave the entire city with  “limestone blocks from 50 miles to the east”. True to the spirit of his name, which conveyed the meaning of being “diligent”, Enmerkar would   ultimately carve himself lasting renown as “The Man Who Built Uruk”.

At this incipient stage, however, Enmerkar, who for some reason called himself “Sumeria’s Junior Enlil”, could only go so far. To turn Uruk into the Utopia Inanna envisaged, he needed certain enablers in the form of transformational codes known as the MEs. Indeed, it was with only 50 MEs that Ninurta had  turned Kish into the full-fledged centre of urban civilisation it was. Exactly what were the MEs?      

The MEs have been described as “physical objects that one could pick up and carry, or even put on, and which contained secret knowledge or data. Perhaps they were something like our present-day computer chips, on which data, programs, and operational orders were minutely recorded. On them the essentials of civilisation were encoded”; as “portable objects which held all the knowledge   and other aspects of a high civilisation … In the current state of modern technology, one can envision them as some kind of computer disks or memory chips which, in spite of their minute size, hold vast amounts of information.

In a few decades, with more advanced technology, one might compare them to some other marvelous store of information (yet to be invented)”; and as “a kind of computer or data disks— which held the information needed for the sciences, the handicrafts, and the arts. Numbering more than a hundred, they included such diverse subjects as writing, music, metalworking, construction, transportation, anatomy, medical treatments, flood control, and urban decay; also, as other lists make clear, astronomy, mathematics, and the calendar.”

The problem, however, was that the MEs were held by Enki, their  inventor and  custodian as the Anunnaki’s god of knowledge, who released them at the appropriate time to any Anunnaki god in charge of a city-state or an entire domain and for the benefit not of the god himself but of humans in his charge.  Thus when Inanna approached Enki and begged for some of the MEs, he politely turned her down in that her aim, he discerned, was not to improve the quality of life of mankind – his creation – but to stroke her own outsized ego primarily. Enki feared that if Inanna was availed the MEs, her sense of self-worth and delusions of grandeur would be such that she might go on a land-grabbing rampage like the pinheaded daredevil  she was.

As things turned out by and by, Enki read her correctly. Be that as it may, Inanna simply was not the one to yield sedately to any sanction or obstacle thrown her way. She vowed to Enmerkar, as she busily gave him a blow-job and greedily gulped on his jizz, that she would get the MEs by hook or crook. Exactly what did she mean?  

ENKI COAXED INTO PARTING WITH 100 MEs

As everybody else, Inanna was all too aware that Enki had quite a weakness with the opposite sex that mirrored her own. It is this weakness that she sought to exploit and land herself a few “divine formulas” as the MEs were otherwise known. Enki was aging and having lost much of his sex appeal of yesteryears – though still a stud under the sheets – he was even all the more toast and was liable to go to every length to bed a delectable beauty like Inanna.  

Having received word that Inanna was on her way over to see him over some crucial matter about which she didn’t go into details, Enki was ecstatic. He instructed his chief steward Isimud to “sweet wine prepare, the beer vessels to the rim fill up!”    Arriving at Enki’s seaside villa in her “sky chamber” on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Inanna was dressed literally to kill. She wore not conventional clothing but a negligee – a  see-through bed time gown that left nothing to the imagination. “With jewelry was Inanna bedecked, by her thin dress her body she revealed,” Enki himself relates.  

Enki straightaway ushered her into his exquisite bed chamber which doubled as his study and was the repository of a whole range of  classified and confidential subject matters. Inanna wasted no time in working her bitch-ish charms on the already salivating randy Casanova by indulging in all sorts of seductive antics. “When she bent down, her vulva by Enki was thoroughly admired,” the Sumerian texts relate. Soon the duo were flirting, feasting, and carousing. “From the wine cups sweet wine they drank, for beer drinking a competition they had.” Before long, they were making whoopee on Enki’s King-sized bed. “Enki would thrill her with advanced sexual practices and she would show him a thing or two as well,” the Sumerian records voyeuristically inform us.   

The combined effects of the alcohol and the repeated rounds of exceedingly sweet rumpy pumpy robbed Enki of his sense of scruple, whereupon Inanna, who had been drinking only sparingly so as not to unduly compromise her mission, popped the request. But she was not rash: she made her ME entreaties step by step, about seven times altogether, and each time Enki readily obliged her.  By the time the clock struck midnight, Enki had parted with 7 monarchical MEs and 94 dealing with matters of economic, scientific, military and technological advancement. Having attained the object of her mission, Inanna tip-toed out of Enki’s bed chamber as he lay drained of all energy in a manner reminiscent of a deflated tyre, made her way to  the parked flying saucer, and jetted off to Uruk at breakneck speed in a fever of yipping and hooraying excitement.       

NEXT WEEK:  INANNA LANDS DREAM POSSESSION!

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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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