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“Shamash Here I Come”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER  
 

Gilgamesh sets course for Airport of the Gods    

Of the Anunnaki gods, Utu-Shamash, Inanna-Ishtar’s twin brother and Gilgamesh’s godfather, enjoyed the greatest esteem among the Earthlings at the time. This had to do with the fact that he was in charge of the shems, the rockets, regarded by mankind as the basic medium through which immortality was conferred. His Sumerian name Utu meant “The Resplendent (or Bright) One”. This alluded to his being the Enlilites’ “Sun God”. But it was his Akkadian name, Shamash, that more aptly conveyed the sense of who he really was. It meant, “He of the Fiery Rocketships”. Yet Shamash was not only in charge of the shems; he was also in charge of the Mu’s – all public flying craft that was restricted to plying Earth’s skies only.

Now, although Shamash was the spaceport commander, he was not the overlord of Tilmun, the site in the Sinai Peninsula where the spaceport was located. It was his father Nannar-Sin who was. By the same token, although he was the Landing Place’s Director of Civil Aviation, he was not overall in charge of the Cedar Mountain area. That role belonged to his uncle Ishkur-Adad. So it was not up to him alone to give Gilgamesh the green light to proceed to Baalbek: Adad had to be involved too.

Listening to the impassioned prayers of Gilgamesh, Shamash was touched. He told him he had heard him loud and clear and would be reverting to him in a matter of days. The answer, when it came, was a blow. Gilgamesh did not qualify to set foot on the Landing Place as he was not a full god despite being between two-thirds to three-quarters Anunnaki. What Shamash refrained from divulging to his protégé – lest he be seen as a lame-duck god – was that Adad had stoutly turned down his pleas on behalf of Gilgamesh.  

Gilgamesh was gutted but he was not giving up. He there and then approached his mother Ninsun and with tears in his eyes implored her to get Shamash to reconsider.  “A far journey I have boldly undertaken," he whimpered.  "To the place of Huwawa, an uncertain battle I am about to face; unknown pathways I am about to tread. O my mother, pray thou to Shamash on my behalf!"  

Ninsun wasted no time in acting on her adored son’s entreaty. “Ninsun entered her chamber, put on a garment as beseems her body, put on an ornament as beseems her breast,  donned her tiara,” say the Sumerian chronicles. Then entering the sanctuary of Shamash, she raised up her hands and supplicated thus: “Give him (Gilgamesh) your protection. Until he reaches the Cedar Forest, until he has slain the fierce Huwawa, until the day he goes and returns.”

This prayer she rendered not once but daily. “To take Gilgamesh aloft, to Nibiru journey, Ninsun to Utu the commander appealed,” the Sumerian records relate. “Endlessly Ninsun to Utu appealed, day after day with him she pleaded, ‘Let Gilgamesh to the Landing Place go!’” Ninsun also enlisted Inanna to do her utmost to prevail over her twin-brother to hearken to her son’s pleas. But would Inanna play ball considering there was no love lost between her and Gilgamesh?

GREEN LIGHT FOR GILGAMESH AT LAST

Well, Inanna did play ball. But it was not in good faith as always: it was with the aim of furthering her own interests and fulfilling her own lecherous ambitions vis-a-vis Gilgamesh. At this stage in fact, Inanna’s ego had soared sky-high and her temperament had taken a turn for the worse. Inanna had decided that come the Age of the Ram, she was going to be the new Enlil, by hook and crook, and not Marduk who was rightfully entitled to that. What that meant was that she had to do something spectacular to demonstrate the fact that she had the “balls” to take on all comers, including Enlil himself, as a populist gambit.  That entailed treading even where devils dared.

After having been repeatedly snubbed romantically by Gilgamesh, she had become somewhat unhinged. This time, the men she slept with ended up dying not from “sexual sweetness” but by her own foul hand for very obscure reasons. It seemed to her every man was as despicable as Gilgamesh.  She in all probability was sacrificing them to her own Luciferian gods.

In Gilgamesh’s mooted journey to the Cedar Mountains, Inanna saw an opportunity to make a huge splash geopolitically and to endear herself to Gilgamesh with a view to clinching him as a permanent bed fellow. It was all too easy for Inanna to lean on Shamash to consent to Gilgamesh’s prayer: all she had to do was strip and lead him to her Eanna love nest. She had in the past not only did it with her own twin brother but had even married him for a brief period of time during the astrological Age of Gemini, which was dedicated to the twins. Again that was not out of pure love: she greatly valued his rocket-like member. Above all, she wanted to secure a ranking among the Anunnaki Pantheon, which she could only merit if she was married to an already ranked Anunnaki.   

Whether or not this time around she did actually go horizontal and spread-eagled under Shamash to accomplish her end, he did at long last give Gilgamesh the go-ahead, albeit without the consent and knowledge of Adad. “The tears of Gilgamesh he accepted as an offering; like one of mercy, he showed him mercy,” say the Sumerian records.

On his part, Shamash sincerely wished Gilgamesh to reach the Landing Place, not to necessarily proceed to Nibiru but to give him the psychological thrill of having been to the “Abode of the Gods” and having rode a shem. Inanna on the other hand didn’t wish Gilgamesh to set foot on the Baalbek platform: all she wanted was to use him to attain her own strategic ends. That’s how cunning she was.

ENKIDU ADOPTED AS NINSUN’S SON, OFFERED ANUNNAKI VIRGIN

Having given Gilgamesh the go-ahead to fulfil his obsession, Shamash nonetheless did not mince words about what was in store for the King. He told him point blank that it would not be a walk in the park: it was fraught with hardship and peril. “The dust of the crossroads shall be thy dwelling place, the desert shall be thy bed … Thorn and bramble shall skin thy feet; thirst shall smite thy cheeks …  The place where the shems have been raised is surrounded by seven mountains, and the passes guarded by fearsome Mighty Ones who can unleash a scorching fire or a lightning which cannot be turned back.” At the same time, Shamash promised that he and Inanna would be keeping vigil over Gilgamesh from the skies, particularly when he entered the cedar forest.

The elders of Uruk, however, were worried sick. Once again, they tried to reason with their beloved king to shelve his mission.  “Thou are yet young, Gilgamesh," they reiterated. “Why risk death with so many sure years to live, against unknown odds of success? That which thou wouldst achieve, thou knowest not.” But Gilgamesh held his ground. “Should I fail," he said, “people will remember me: Gilgamesh, they will say, against fierce Huwawa has fallen. At least I will be remembered as one who had tried. But should I succeed I will obtain a shem, by which one attains eternity.”

Gilgamesh was all the more emboldened by the fact of Huwawa being a “mechanical monster” as he was positive Shamash and Adad (he was not sure about Inanna) would check it by remote control if it really threatened his life. Be that as it may, the elders suggested very strongly that he take Enkidu with him. “Let Enkidu go before thee: he knows the way … In the forest, the passes of Huwawa let him penetrate … He who goes in front saves the companion.” Gilgamesh welcomed the idea but he made it clear Enkidu would walk by his side and not as a sacrificial lamb since he was like a brother to him.

Just before he was about to depart, Ninsun summoned him along with Enkidu to her courts for farewell blessings.  "Grasping each other, hand in hand,” the Sumerian tablets record, “Gilgamesh and Enkidu to the Great Palace go, to the presence of Ninsun, the Great Queen.” When the two came before her presence, not only did Ninsun place the moral onus of the whole undertaking on the shoulders of Enkidu but she also declared he now was officially and legally his son before an assembly of the Uruk elders.  “Although not of my womb's issue art thou,” she said as she placed a necklace depicting her own emblem around his thick neck, “I herewith adopt thee as a son. Guard the king as thy brother!”

As if that was not enough, Enkidu was promised a wife if he returned safely together with Gilgamesh. This was not an Earthling but a goddess – a daughter of Shamash and his wife Aya. He was to choose for himself who among Shamash’s virgins he was to marry. Note that whereas Anunnaki females could marry Earthling men without any repercussions,   Anunnaki males when they married Earthlings forfeited their citizenship of Nibiru. When the time for the journey to commence came, a huge crowd of the Uruk populace gathered to bid farewell to their great king, the vast majority of them weeping and wailing. “They pressed closer to him and wished him success.”

“LET’S CALL OFF MISSION”, ENKIDU PLEADS WITH GILGAMESH

Before Gilgamesh and Enkidu set off for Baalbek, the Airport of the Gods, Enkidu once again moved to prime him in respect of the hazards that lay in wait. Although he had readily acceded to accompanying Gilgamesh, he still had a residual concern as to whether Gilgamesh was going to emerge from the adventure in one piece. If it were up to him, Gilgamesh wouldn’t have undertaken the mission at all considering the close shave he himself had when he went to reconnoitre the place.

“Just to recap Gilbert, we’re going to a restricted zone,” he reiterated to the daredevil Uruk King. “It is protected by an electronically operated corps of guards bearing sophisticated weapons and who are incapable of making a mistake when you are in their crosshairs. The place, the Abode of the Gods, is surrounded by an expansive screen of cedar forest that extends for many leagues. The entire forest is watched from a lofty tower by the Monster Huwawa, a terror to mortals like you and I. The mountain of the Gods itself is accessible only through a gateway which can paralyse the intruder who breaches it. Inside the mountain is the very lair of the gods. A tunnel leads to the enclosure from which commands are issued by the god Shamash. Atop the Cedar Mountain is a great platform with a launch tower built of colossal stone blocks. That’s the intelligence I gathered when I ventured there with the assistance of Lord Enki.”

Enkidu’s emphasis on these nether aspects of their destination was to get Gilgamesh to develop cold feet and scrap the mission, particularly that Ishkur-Adad, who had overall jurisdiction over the whole of what we today call Lebanon, had not given assent to the mission. However, the more Enkidu spelt out the snares of the journey, the more galvanised Gilgamesh became to fulfil it.  

To begin with, Shamash had given him comprehensive tips on all the possible loopholes about Baalbek and its robotic guard that he could exploit. He had also supplied him with the antidotes and paraphernalia he needed to protect himself against the deleterious effects of the electronic weapons to which he might fall victim. Moreover, Shamash had armed him to the teeth: it was like he was going to battle. “Gilgamesh ordered (i.e. requisitioned) weapons with which to fight Huwawa”, say the Sumerian records. The requisite hardware Shamash provided Gilgamesh and Enkidu included “divine sandals that enabled them to reach the Cedar Mountains in a fraction of time”, we’re told.

Of course there’s an element of hyperbole in the statement as the party did not move that fast but what the Sumerian chronicles are talking about here are armoured vehicles with wheels that moved on chains so that they could navigate every terrain. The party was thus very well-equipped and was escorted by a sizeable contingent of trained warriors: if you recall, Gilgamesh had turned Uruk into Sumer’s most powerful city-state militarily.     

As they continued on their journey, Enkidu’s premonition about what might transpire in the encounter with Huwawa continued to haunt him. Once again he pleaded with Gilgamesh that he call off the mission. “Huwawa can hear a cow moving sixty leagues away,” he yet again reminded the King. “His net (radar) can grasp from great distances. His call (electronic warning system) reverberates from the Place Where the Rising Is Made (Baalbek) as far back as to Nippur. Weakness lays hold on him who approaches the (Cedar) forest's gates. Let us turn back.” Gilgamesh simply smiled and said, “What was destined to happen will happen Enkidu. Fate is inescapable.”

GILGAMESH’S PORTENDOUS DREAM

On average, Gilgamesh and his party traversed a distance of 50 leagues, or 280 km,   a day. At this rate, they should have reached the Cedar Forest, which was a distance of 1245 km, in about 5 days. However, it took them 17 days to get there, which suggests the terrain was particularly atrocious, entailing a lot of detours around mountains and rivers, and the capricious weather must have   militated against them for the most part.

Gilgamesh was ecstatic that they had come this far all in one piece and for that a thanksgiving exercise was in order for the “overseeing” god Shamash. Accordingly, he and Enkidu squared up to make a ritual offering to the god. The ritual involved the use of blood and barley in what we would today call an occultic way. From the legible but broken portions of the relevant tablet of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the ritual is described thus in six verses: “Enkidu arranged it for him, for Gilgamesh. With dust …  he fixed …  He made him (Gilgamesh) lie down inside the circle and …  like wild barley …  blood … Gilgamesh sat with his chin on his knees …”

These kinds of rituals whereby a circle is drawn (around a pentagram) on the floor and the supplicant positions himself inside the circle are done for purposes of summoning demons from their abode in the Lower Fourth Dimension with a view to assign them a desired task. What this clearly demonstrates is that the Enlilites were Devil-worshippers. No wonder the thoroughly enlightened Gnostics of the first century called Jehovah (Enlil) a Demiurge – an impostor god who worked in league with the forces of darkness.

The twin object of the ritual was to request Shamash to point to what may transpire in the days ahead through an omen dream by Gilgamesh. “Bring me a dream, a favourable dream,” Gilgamesh entreated the demon that temporarily manifested in the course of the ritual. The ritual did pay off as that very night, “sleep which spills out over people overcame Gilgamesh; in the middle of the watch sleep departed from him. A dream he told Enkidu.”

This is how Gilgamesh recounted the dream to Enkidu, who shared the same tent with him: “In my dream, my friend … which was extremely upsetting …  the mountain toppled. It laid me low, trapped my feet …  The glare was overpowering! A man appeared; the fairest in the land was he. From under the toppled ground (the landslide) he pulled me out. He gave me water to drink; my heart quieted. On the ground he set my feet.”

The dream had two basic features: a man with a very beautiful countenance, a kind of saviour, and the overwhelming glare that numbed the muscles. What did it all mean? Gilgamesh wondered aloud to his bosom friend. On hearing of the dream, Enkidu was heartened. “Your dream is favourable mate,” he gushed as he high-fived the King. “The mountain that toppled represents the slain Huwawa. The overpowering glare is Huwawa’s net force (laser blast). You will survive it: the fairest man, likely Shamash, will redeem you from its effects. Now I’m positive about this mission buddy.” But would Gilgamesh’s dream pan out exactly as Enkidu had interpreted it?  Was Enkidu simply putting a positive spin on the dream?
    

NEXT WEEK:  CONTENTION FOR SUPREMACY AT BAALBEK

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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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Columns

Train Spotting

21st June 2022

Here in Botswana we are in the throes of winter chills, currently experiencing the tail-end of a deep freeze in South Africa which has brought snow to parts of the Karoo. Conversely, over in the United Kingdom, they are moving into summer and there is a mini heatwave happening, with temperatures in the thirties.

Both countries have one thing in common – they are heavily reliant on tourism revenues and both have accordingly suffered due to Covid which severely curtailed all movement and travel, most of all for leisure and pleasure. However, earlier this year the UK cast off the last of its Covid restrictions and travel requirements and basically declared the pandemic to be over. Britain was back in business!

So the very hard-hit hospitality sectors finally had some good news. The crowds would be returning, needing hotel and bed & breakfast accommodation, snacks and sit-down meals, pub lunches and all manner of ancillary services. Other related sectors also put out the metaphorical flags – theatres, cinemas, theme parks, camping & caravan sites, all of which had suffered hugely during the pandemic and all could now re-open their doors to paying punters.

If you’ve ever visited the UK you will know of its many attractions. London is not only a vibrant, multi-cultural city, it is also very historic, with centuries-old palaces and cathedrals and world-class galleries and museums. Outside the capital, there is glorious scenery, from rolling pastures in the south to the breath-taking Lake District and the Highlands and lovely lochs to the far north in Scotland plus all manner of coastal delights and cultural experiences.

For everyone even remotely involved in leisure, hospitality and entertainment, it was cash registers and swipe machines at the ready!

But then green for go suddenly and without warning changed to red for stop. It began with misery for air passengers. Only last week the UK Guardian reported ‘It has been another ” week of chaos at UK airports, with hundreds of flights cancelled and holidaymakers facing long queues, with reports of waits of up to eight hours. Pent-up demand for travel and staff shortages have combined to put pressure on airports and airlines.’

The Prospect union, which represents thousands of aviation staff, ” warned on Tuesday that “things could get worse this summer before they get better”, quoting staff shortages across the industry, with a huge reliance on overtime to get by day to day. The problem stemmed from the massive, industry-wide lay-offs over Covid and a sector seemingly taken by surprise by the lifting of travel restrictions. Airlines are now scrambling to replace staff made redundant, many of whom were forced to find employment in other sectors.

In addition some specialised staff such are aircrew had no option but to let their licences lapse and now find themselves technically not fit for flying duties. Ironically, one of the country’s largest and longest-established airline – British Airways – appears to be the one most severely affected with many of their former cabin crew members reporting that they had been laid off during the downturn with the promise of potential re-employment later but who are now being told their services are not required.

One BA pilot has warned of potential staff exodus and further delays that could last through to winter. When talking about ongoing staff shortages in the industry he predicted: “We might be correctly crewed by winter time. There is no chance this will be sorted this summer.

The last month (August) might be okay.” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps put the blame squarely on the industry for the widespread chaos, saying some airlines had cut too many staff during the pandemic. “The decisions as to whether or not to lay off in the end were airlines’ decisions. They clearly in the end, looking back, cut too far on that,” he told the BBC.

Lufthansa is also joining the party in announcing cancellations. The airline will be scrapping 900 flights from its schedule, from next month. Affected flights will predominantly be on Fridays and weekends to a number of European destinations, from Frankfurt and Munich.

The airline stated: “After …two years of the pandemic, Lufthansa group airlines report high demand for air travel this summer……At present, however, the infrastructure has not yet been fully restored. The entire aviation industry, especially in Europe, is currently suffering from bottlenecks and staff shortages. This affects airports, ground handling services, air traffic control, and also airlines.”

Of course some flights are taking place and some tourists are managing to make it into the UK on a much-needed holiday but for many of them sadly, the airport might be as far as they get because to add to the flight misery, members of two large transport union, the RMT and Unite, will bring the London Underground to a grinding halt next week with planned strike action.

Simultaneously, but in a separate dispute, other RMT members will also be staging a series of strikes on Network Rail and other mainline UK train operators. So should those tourists wish to proceed to some of the country’s top holiday destinations, they’d be well advised to seek an alternative means of transport.

Economists are already predicting this wave of strikes to cost the UK economy at least £91million, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, proving devastating for the night-time and hospitality industries in particular. Hospitality chiefs estimated the national rail strike alone will cost the sector £540million over the week amid a 20 per cent drop in sales, the combination of which will hit ‘fragile consumer confidence’ and could ‘deliver a fatal financial blow’ to some firms.

In response, Transport for London (TFL), presumably in all seriousness, said its teams from Santander Cycles will be ensuring hire bicycles are ‘distributed at key locations according to demand’ and told commuters that ‘walking or cycling may be quicker for some journeys’ during the strike action.

Sounds to me like the message is ‘On yer bike’!

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