Connect with us
Advertisement

Ballsy Inanna Bounces Back!

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Jehovah’s granddaughter sullies Ninurta’s century of peace

Following the atomic blasts that levelled and buried Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in the Indus Valley circa 2140 BC, all the Intraterrestrials with whom Inanna-Ishtar had allied simply vanished. Inanna was all alone and in that state, she was a sitting duck for arrest by Enlil’s disgraced sheriffs. Her only sensible option was to surrender herself for trial and sentencing, but that was the last thing on her mind.  

In desperation, she got in touch with Nergal, her brother-in-law, her beau, and her sympathiser-in-chief and pleaded with him for shelter. Obliging her, Nergal arranged for her to be spirited to the Abzu, southern Africa, where he reigned. Since secrets do not hold forever, Ereshkigal, Nergal’s wife who was also Inanna’s elder sister, got wind of Inanna’s presence in her husband’s domain. Ereshkigal, who had a visceral hatred for her own sister, tipped Enlil straightaway.  When he got the news, Enlil immediately ordered Nergal to expel Inanna from his domain, failure to which there would be serious repercussions for him. Thus alarmed, Nergal did likewise: once again, Inanna was on her own.

It was her own father, Nannar-Sin, who came to her rescue. He fetched her from where Nergal had dumped her and took her with him to Ur, his cult city. Inanna was told by her father that she would indefinitely lose her rank among the Anunnaki Pantheon of the Twelve. She would also no longer have a city-state at her command; instead,   he and his wife Ningal were to assume full-time guardianship of her, meaning she would live in her parents’ house like a minor. That was the only way she could avoid trial and a very harsh sentence for that matter.

Inanna meekly accepted the terms but only with tongue in cheek. Like the fiercely ambitious woman she was, that was not the last she would be heard from. Her strategy was simply to lie low for a while and then rebound at the slightest inkling of opportunity. But in so far as power broking was concerned, she was finished. She was no longer the heavyweight she once was.

Meanwhile, Ninurta was forging a legend in Sumer. Enlil had appointed him as the overall god of Sumer and Akkad indefinitely in 2220 BC. So far, he had done a swell job. He had defeated and forced Inanna into exile in the Indus Valley. Peace and tranquillity had now been restored to the First Region. He had fixed the water reticulation system Nergal had sabotaged and restored to good nick irrigation and agriculture. A diligent and hard-working god, he had been flying from place to place, in his plane, known as the Divine Black Bird, to personally inspect progress about the whole rehabilitation process.

As before, Ninurta’s cult centre was Lagash, which this time around he had set to convert into a great centre of Sumerian culture.  Unlike other gods such as Enlil, Ishkur-Adad, and Nannar-Sin who revelled in a cult of personality, Ninurta was only nominally religious-inclined: his main focus was agriculture. As such, in Lagash, people celebrated agricultural feasts, such as the Festival of First Fruits, and not religious feasts. This, plus the fact that he was an exemplary god moral-wise who was so devoted to his wife Bau, made him very popular with his subjects. Only Enlil and he never ever strayed in their marriages.      

Since he was so demonstrably moral, Ninurta’s people called upon him to proclaim moral laws and codes of justice that would be binding upon all and sundry. At the time he was so besought, there was no king in any Sumerian city-state.  In order to assist him enact and enforce these laws, he appointed what he called “Righteous Governors”.  Then among these governors, he chose one as his viceroy. His name was Gudea.

Gudea was a child of Ninurta and Nina, a daughter of Enlil and his wife Ninli. This made Ninurta and Nina half-siblings given that they had the same father but different mothers, Ninurta’s being Ninmah. But Gudea was not conceived in the normal way: he was conceived by way of artificial insemination and with the instrumentality of Bau herself.

Gudea is remembered for the peace and prosperity that accompanied his rein. In his time, there were no local wars, not even one: it was all about trade and reconstruction. “Lagash burst into new bloom and produced some of Sumer's most enlightened and best-known rulers,” say the Sumerian records. “The known viceroys who followed him left a written record of achievements in agriculture, construction, social legislation, and ethical reforms – material and moral achievements that would make any government proud.”

NINURTA’S FEINT FOR SUPREMACY ON EARTH

Mathematically, the astrological Age of Aries was supposed to dawn in 2220 BC. It was around this that time Marduk, Enki’s firstborn son, began to lay claim to ascendancy to Enlilship. But the Sun still arose in the constellation of Taurus since Taurus was so large that it occupied more than its fair share of the celestial arc. Hence Marduk was prevailed upon to bide his time till Taurus had completely vanished and Aries now constituted the night time’s starry backdrop.  

In 2160 BC, Aries seemed to loom large in the night time sky and Marduk returned from the Antarctica, where he had exiled himself and began to make his case for his replacement of Enlil as Earth’s new Chief Executive.  He demanded an audience with the Pantheon of the Twelve so he could present his case to them with substantial evidence now that the Age of the Ram was upon “us”. Enlil, however, refused to call the meeting until further notice. Power is so sweet.

Thus snubbed but now determined even more than ever, Marduk embarked on a campaign to drum up support from the Earthlings that his time had arrived. He detailed his highly eloquent heir, Nabu, to base himself in Canaan and campaign from there whilst he himself campaigned in other places.

Meanwhile, Ninurta, who was the strongest Enlilite of the day, was not convinced that the Age of the Ram was definitively on the horizon. In order to so counter Marduk, he decided to construct a new sacred precinct known as the Eninnu. This actually was the second Eninnu, to be built about 1500 feet (about 460 metres) from where the old one lay. The symbolism of this gesture, theoretically at least, was that Ninurta was challenging Marduk for the supremacy of Earth. Eninnu meant “House of Fifty” and 50 was the rank for Earth’s Chief Executive.

The statement Ninurta was trying to make was that it was he who would succeed Enlil as Lord of planet Earth.  However, this simply was psychological warfare on the part of Ninurta as he had made it clear a long time ago that he was no longer interested in the jockeying for the highest office on the planet. His construction of the new Eninnu was purely in the interests of his clan, the Enlilites, and not for his own sake personally.  The task to erect the new structure was given to Gudea.  

Some of the building materials that would go  into the structure included gold from Africa and Anatolia, silver from the Taurus Mountains, cedars from Lebanon, other rare woods from Ararat, copper from the Zagros range, diorite from Egypt, carnelian from Ethiopia, tin from  the Titicaca region in South America, and special timbers from Tilmun  for the temple-house’s furnishings.  The edifice was intended to be a magnificent structure. In order to ensure that all went well, Ninurta roped in one other god. This was Ningishzidda, Enki’s genius son.   

CELESTIAL OBSERVATORY TO REBUT MARDUK AMBITION

Zidda was presently based in South America, where he had relocated with a retinue of dark-skinned Anunnaki known as the Olmecs circa 3113 BC. Thus he was a “a god called forth from obscurity in Gudea's time". Zidda, known as the “Bright Serpent” (by virtue of an ancestry that evolved from a snake species on his father’s side), was the Anunnaki’s brainiest dude after his father Enki. He was the Jack of all Trades and Master of them all. Ninurta called upon him in his capacity as the    “Divine Architect” and “Keeper of the Secrets of the Giza Pyramid”, which he designed.  

Ninurta told Zidda that, “The Bull (Taurus) proclaims Commander Enlil and me, his Champion and Successor. While the Sun rises in The Bull, Enlil, through me, rules Earth.” In line with this assertion, Ninurta intended the new Eninnu to serve two purposes in the main. First, it was to be Sumer’s equivalent of the Giza Pyramid in terms of architectural grandeur. In Ninurta’s own words, “The new temple will be seen from afar. Its awe-inspiring glance will reach the heavens.

The adoration of my temple shall extend to all the lands, its heavenly name will be proclaimed in countries from the ends of the Earth. In Magan (Egypt) and Meluhha (Sudan inclusive of Ethiopia) will cause people to say: Ningirsu (Ninurta’s other name, meaning “Lord of the Girsu”, his fighter craft), the Great Hero from the Lands of Enlil, is a god who has no equal. He is the Lord of all the Earth.”

Second, it was meant to serve as a domed astronomical observatory with which to meticulously scan the heavens and therefore ascertain at what time exactly the astrological Age of Aries hove in sight. Zidda was therefore the best fit for this undertaking. It was he “who reckons the heavens, the counter of the stars and the measurer of the Earth, the inventor of arts and sciences, the scribe of the gods, the one who made calculations concerning the heavens, the stars and the Earth, the Reckoner of times and of seasons, he whose   knowledge and powers of calculating measured out the heavens and planned the Earth."

Zidda, “the great God who held the plans, the appointed guardian of the secret plans of the pyramids of Giza”, designed the Eninnu and provided Gudea a scale model of the same. This was in 2160 BC.  According to the architectural plan, there was to be a secure zone, an inner special enclosure within the temple grounds, for Ninurta’s personal airborne vehicle, the “Divine Black Bird”. Two more special sunken enclosures were also catered for. These were to harbour two weapons meant to protect the Black Bird – the "Supreme Hunter" and the "Supreme Killer”, both of which emitted beams of light and death-dealing rays.

Besides the in-house astronomical observatory, there was to be erected in the Eninnu’s forecourt two stone circles, one with six and the other with seven stone pillars, for observing the skies. One part of the stone circles would be devoted entirely to the zodiac and the other was geared to observing celestial risings and setting – a virtual Stonehenge on the banks of the Euphrates River!  There was in fact several such Stonehenges dotted all over the world at the time – in Britain, Egypt, South America, China, the Golan Heights in Syria, etc. All these were deliberate countermoves by Ninurta and Zidda to demonstrate to Marduk and mankind at large that the zodiacal age still was the Age of the Bull.

The Eninnu was to be oriented to the “favourable planet in the heavens”, that is, Nibiru. It was such a grand project that to construct it, Gudea hired 216,000 men, not that he needed this number of men but because he wanted it completed in the swiftest possible timespan with a view to impressing his god.  

MARDUK RUBBISHES ENINNU BLINDFOLD

Once the Eninnu was put up and it was fully operationalised, Zidda was tasked to go around the world and demonstrably instruct people that Taurus, the Age of the Bull, was very much in force and that the Age of Aries, though imminent, still had not showed up and that it was not until a hundred years at the very least that Taurus would completely fade and be supplanted by Aries.

“To Ningishzidda the Anunnaki leaders appealed, how to the people the skies to observe to teach,” say the Sumerian records. “In his wisdom stone structures Ningishzidda devised, Ninurta and Ishkur-Adad to erect them helped. In the settled lands, near and far, the people how the skies to observe they taught, that the Sun in the Constellation of the Bull was still rising to the people they showed.”

Meanwhile, word to the effect that Ninurta had completed the duo-purpose Eninnu had reached Marduk in Egypt. Told that the Eninnu observatory arose in order to refute his claim that his supremacy was due, a defiant Marduk answered thus: “Curse Ninurta’s observatory. He must honour Celestial Time, not the Eninnu’s Zodiac Time.  Coming is my constellation, the Ram.  When the Sun rises in the Ram, I, not Enlilites, must rule Sumer.  Each sign gets equal time on the horizon.  The Sun rises on my Ram, not Enlil’s Bull and so I must rule.

Zodiac Time gives Ninurta rule two centuries more than Celestial Time.” Marduk still was adamant that mathematically, his rule was long overdue and he was the de jure Lord of Earth. In fact in Egypt at the time, celestial depictions showed the Sun rising over the Bull of Heaven alright but the Bull of Heaven was depicted tethered and held back. The message was that the Age of Taurus was under arrest for encroaching on the territorial waters of the Age of Aries.

BALLSY INANNA REBOUNDS!

Ninurta was in power for just under 100 years during which absolute peace prevailed throughout Sumer and Akkad. Satisfied that all was well, that he had discharged his mandate as assigned by Enlil with distinction, he asked Enlil to release him. Remember, Ninurta was not interested in being ruler of Earth or Nibiru. He had left that to Nannar-Sin, who was his father’s preferred candidate. Enlil thanked him, awarded him accolades, and released him without fanfare.   The year was circa 2125 BC.

Now, if you thought following the nuking of her Indus Valley domain and her subsequent baby-sitting by her parents Inanna was history, you are totally mistaken. Inanna was a woman but she had bigger balls than most males. Having learnt that Ninurta had departed Sumer, she waited for five years and then made a dramatic return to her erstwhile cult city of Uruk, where she was welcomed in a manner befitting a conquering heroine.  It seemed the people of Uruk adored her not because she was particularly great but out of pure sentimentality.

Watching this development, Enlil did not immediately react, perhaps sensitive as to how his favourite son Nannar-Sin, Inanna’s father, would react when he had tamed her so remarkably for the past 20 years, during which time  she had committed no single act of mischief whatsoever  but remained compliant,  docile, and obscure.  Enlil hoped such exemplary conduct would continue to be her hallmark in the advent of her return to Uruk. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Inanna once again wanted to wield power: she wasn’t made for obscurity at all. When Ninurta had left Sumer, he had ensured that each city-state had its own governor. The governor of Uruk was Utu-Hegal.  Inanna quickly turned on her charm and soon Utu-Hegal, who previously worshiped her twin brother Utu-Shamash, was now fawning at her.  Inanna reckoned that if she was to regain her might, she had to take care of the Gutians, who being Ninurta’s minions were a constant menace to the kings of Sumer.

In 2120 BC, Tirigan succeeded to the throne as the Gutians 19th king in their state of Kutha near the Zagros Mountains.   On the very day he was crowned, Inanna let loose Utu-Hegal on him, after having spread the false propaganda that Utu-Hegal was waging war on Tirigan at the service of Enlil.

The two armies clashed at some rendezvous and with Inanna’s strategic genius, Utu-Hergal routed Tirigan who retreated and with tail between legs sought refuge in a city known as Dubrum. But the moment the people of Dubrum heard the false news that Enlil’s army was on its way to overrun Kutha, they arrested Tirigan and his family and when Utu-Hegal arrived handed them to him on a silver platter. After being on the throne for only 40 days, Tirigan was deposed. Inanna was back with a bang and once again was calling the shots in Sumer. Would she last this time around?
    

NEXT  WEEK: ENIGMATIC GALZU RESURFACES WITH DARK PROGNOSIS

Continue Reading

Columns

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

Continue Reading

Columns

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.

Continue Reading

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’!

Continue Reading
Weekend Post