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Sumer in Turmoil

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
… as Marduk presses his case for ascendancy to supremacy

Let us now return to the aftermath of what came to be called the War of the Kings,  which  took place  in 2041 BC This is the war  that pitted East vs. West, that is, the pro-Enlil  coalition  of four Sumerian kings against the pro-Marduk alliance of five Canaanite kings. The Sumerian kings had retreated with their tails wedged between their legs after a routing by General Abraham. Since their heads now hung in shame, they had no option but to step down from their monarchical perches. Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “Having failed in their mission and twice humiliated by the hand of Abraham — once at Kadesh-Barnea, then again near Damascus — the invading kings were promptly removed from their thrones.”

However, Amar-Sin, the overall ruler of Sumer-Akkad, was in no hurry to give up the throne: all he did was switch camps from Enlilite to Enkite. Until now, he had been worshipping Nannar-Sin, the reason he was called Amar-Sin, meaning “Adorer of Sin”. Now he set about worshipping, or reverencing, Enki.  In the event, he relocated from Ur, Nannar-Sin’s bastion, to Eridu, Enki’s Sumerian foothold, where he was roped in as one of Enki’s top priests. There, with typical monarchical vainglory, he built himself an eye-popping mansion befitting a king.

Amar-Sin’s change of allegiances was   a sacrillege to Enlil. Needless to say, his days were numbered. In 2039 BC, the Enlilites engineered his death from a snake-bite. It is ironic that he died from the poison of a creature that was the very emblem of Enki – a serpent. The message the Enlilites seemed to put out there was that they eliminated Amar-Sin for the sin of defecting to Enki, who the Enlilites had dubbed “The Serpent”.  Amar-Sin had ruled for about 8 years, from 2047 to 2039 BC.  

SHU-SIN TAKES OVER    

At the time of Amar-Sin’s death, Enlil, the Bible’s principal Jehovah, was away in today’s Peru, where he had gone to check on progress on new space facilities that were being built under the superintendence of his firstborn son Ninurta. At the conclusion of this mission, Enlil left Earth for a unknown destination, in all likelihood Mars or the Moon.

With the two top Enlilites absent from the Sumerian scene, and with Nannar-Sin more preoccupied with the turbulent affairs of Canaan, a virtual power vacuum ensued. The Anunnaki’s enfant terrible, Inanna-Ishtar, was quick to exploit the situation: she prevailed over her father, Nannar-Sin, to install Shu-Sin, her lover and Amar-Sin’s immediate younger brother, as the new King of Sumer-Akkad. An easy-going Nannar-Sin readily obliged her.       

Having taken the reins at a time when the Enkites, led by Marduk and his son Nabu, were in the ascendant geopoliticalwise, Shu-Sin was in a dilemma as to whose side to take between the Enkites and Enlilites. In the first year of his reign,   he took great pleasure in furthering the interests of the Enlilites.   Inanna had supplied him with a “weapon which with radiance strikes down … whose awesome flash reaches the sky” which he was to use on “the the enemy country which is disobedient”. With such a formidable arsenal, Shu-Sin didn’t need to fight to subdue the enemy: he made them “tremble in awe of his weapons”, meaning typically, they surrendered without firing a single shot.

But although Inanna wanted and expected Shu-Sin to be a warrior king, Shu-Sin was not half as keen.   During the 9 years that he reigned, he engaged in only two military campaigns and those were within Sumer itself and not against the “rebel lands” in Canaan. Clearly, he was far from a trigger-happy king.  Shu-Sin’s strategy was to tread cautiously as he was not exactly sure as to who finally would carry the day between Marduk and Enlil.

With Enlil yet to show up as the second year of his reign dawned, Shu-Sin decamped from the Enlilites and closed ranks with the Enkites.   In order to underscore his loyalty to the Enkites, he even built a ship for Enki, which he called the “Ship of the Abzu”. Abzu, meaning the “Lower World”, was the Sumerian term for Africa.

The ship was designed to navigate the seas at a much faster rate than any of the existing fleet. In the third year, Shu-Sin reached out to Marduk and Nabu with a view to present to them his credentials as a bonafide Enkite.  The two gods, sadly, turned him down, dismissing him as a mere opportunist and far from a committed Enkite.

JEHOVAH SPURNS SHU-SIN

The rejection rankled. As such, Shu-Sin embarked on a project to reinforce the Wall of the West, the Great-Wall-of-China-like defense fortress which Amar-Sin had built in Sumer as a bulwark against incursions by the Amaru (Amorites), the Western followers of Marduk. The strengthening of the Wall, which was meant to reinstate him in the good graces of the Enlilites,   lasted two years.

The gesture was a futile one as Nannar-Sin was far from impressed: he too looked askance at a seemingly two-faced, flip-flop Shu-Sin. In order to endear himself to Enlil, Shu-Sin “undertook massive reconstruction works at Nippur's sacred precinct (the Ekur), on a scale unknown since the days of Ur-Nammu”. He went on raise “a stela honouring Enlil and Ninlil, a stela as no king had built before". But Shu-Sin was not done yet: he also   built a new town for Enlil and Ninli as an appendage to Nippur, the couple’s cult city.

This, according to the Sumerian records, was “the first time since the days when fates were decreed that a king had established a town for Enlil and Ninlil”. Enlil himself still was away but his spouse Ninli, who was around, had sympathy for Shu-Sin. Ninlil suggested that Shu-Sin build a love-nest yacht for Enlil and Ninli, which he did. Shu-Sin dubbed the yacht “The Great Ship”. It was “a great touring boat, fit for the largest rivers” which he “decorated perfectly with precious stones”.

Then having gone on to appoint Shu-Sin as High Priest of the temple at Nippur, whose devotional tempo he raised by several bars, Ninli contacted Enlil and asked him to come and see the wonders Shu-Sin had wrought for the couple.   Enlil, who practically worshipped his wife, made haste and was back to Earth in no time: he never said no to his beloved wife, who he never cheated once.

Like his spouse, Enlil was impressed with what Shu-Sin had done but it simply was not enough: at the time, the Elamites were on the loose in Sumer and were committing sacrilege after sacrilege.  Sumer was far from secure at all, which meant Shu-Sin had failed dismally. “Instead of greater security, there were greater dangers, and concern about the loyalty of distant provinces gave way to worry about Sumer's own territory,” the Sumerian records say. So when he pleaded with Enlil to accept and confirm him as “the king whom Enlil, in his heart, had chosen”, Enlil gave him the middle finger.

A distraught and desperate Shu-Sin then decided to revert to Inanna in the hope that she could positively influence the powers-that-be and get them to give him the nod. Shu-Sin even built a shrine to Shara, Inanna’s eldest son, a demigod to further incentivize Inanna. But it was too late. In that very year, his ninth on his shaky throne, there was a total lunar eclipse in February 2031, which the oracle priests partly interpreted as a metaphorical eclipse of Shu-Sin. The following year, in 2030 BC, Shu-Sin was removed from the throne.  

IBBI-SIN REELS FROM AMARU MENACE

Shu-Sin was succeeded by his son Ibbi-Sin in 2030 BC. During the portentous six years he reigned, Ibbi-Sin was no more or less beleaguered as his deposed father was. Leading the relentless offensive against the hapless king were the Amaru, the white-skinned Westerners from Europe who were fiercely pro-Marduk.

The blitz on Sumer was actually two-pronged.  First, there was the Amaru from the west: then there was the Elamites from the eastern fringes of Sumer. The Elamites, if you recall, were the so-called “Foreign Legion”, crack mercenary warriors who had come from Africa but were stationed in Sumer. When the Amaru pounced, Ibbi-Sin unleashed the Elamites on them. This time around, the Elamites were not as effective in standing up to the enemy as they had always been. One reason was that the Elamites used both economic and military means to emasculate Ibbi-Sin.

In the economic war, the Amaru attacked the agricultural and irrigation systems of Sumer, thereby triggering famine and consequently economic collapse of the confederacy.   The ensuing economic doldrums were such that at some stage the price of grain spiked to 60 times the price that obtained in peace time.

In the prevailing economic dislocation, account keeping at the tax collection hub around Nippur,   where shipments of goods and cattle and the collection of taxes thereon were recorded throughout the Third Dynasty of Ur, came to a halt in the third year of Ibbi-Sin’s reign.  Then one by one, the city states of Sumer declared that they would no longer recognize central authority in Ur but would instead rally to the forces of Marduk.

With that declaration came the end of messages of allegiance dispatched to Ur each year as well as the submission of trade documents to verify the income declared by city states. The flow of sacrificial animals to Nannar-Sin temple in Ur slowed to a trickle and in the fourth year ceased altogether.

Meanwhile, a frantic Ibbi-Sin approached the oracle priests on more than one occasion to provide a scenario of what would actually befall Sumer.  The oracles were consistent in their prognosis: in 2026, in the fourth year of his reign, Ibbi-Sin was told that “he who calls himself Supreme, like one whose chest has been anointed, shall come from the west”. This was Marduk. He was patiently waiting in Harran for the recapture of Babylon, his cult city, as his son Nabu directed and prompted the Amaru onslaught.

MARDUK PITCHES IN BABYLON
    
Why did the Amaru meet very little resistance when  they marched on Sumer? Why didn’t the Elamites not fight them to the death? Why did the oracle priests keep dinning rather dispiriting news into  Ibbi-Sin’s mind? Each of the above states of affairs were not typical. They were in  overdrive largely on account of the fact that a new epoch had dawned. This was the Age of the Aries, in which Marduk, according to the lordly  say-so of the enigmatic Galzu, was supposed to take over from Enlil as Earth’s new Chief Executive.

If you remember, the Age of Aries had mathematically commenced in 2220 BC. However,  the night time starry backdrop still was dominated by Taurus, which is so vast it lingers for an extra 200 years (in addition to its mathematically allotted 2160 years). As such, Marduk was prevailed upon to wait until the Aries backdrop took pride of place. At the time Ibbi-Sin became king, in 2030 BC, Aries was becoming prominent with each passing year, as a result of which  everywhere the topic of the day was Marduk’s ascendancy to power.   As such, even his sworn enemies now were favourably predisposed toward him, except, of course, for  the diehard Enlilite top brass, as his hour had come.   

In the sixth year of Ibbi-Sin’s reign, the rampaging Amaru broke through the defence Wall and invaded eastern Sumer. “The Westerners had entered the plain, had entered the interior of the country, taking one by one all the great fortresses”, say  the Sumerian records.  With the Amaru poised to take the very heartland of Sumer, Ibbi-Sin devoted all his energies to erecting walls and fortifications around the enclave of Ur and Nippur, leaving the rest of the country to its own devices.

Once again, Ibbi-Sin turned to the oracle priests with the hope that this time around a promising forecast would be forthcoming. Instead, the omens of destruction and ruin continued to ring forth. The priests reiterated that, “The Son of the West (Marduk) will arise … It is an omen for Ibbi-Sin: Ur shall be judged.” The nail-in-the-coffin news was delivered in the sixth year of Ibbi-Sin’s reign, when the oracle priests chillingly announced to him that, “The enemy of Ur, the One who calls himself Supreme, has reached the heart of Sumer.” Marduk had finally departed Harran after 24 years of being quarantined there and was now in Babylon!  The year was 2024 BC.

When the Elamites heard that Marduk was in the Sumerian heartland, they had Elam secede from the rest of Sumer-Akkad and declared independence.  But that was not all: they descended on Ur, set fire to it, captured their very principal Ibbi-Sin, and took him back to Elam, where he died whilst a prisoner of war. The Sumerian civilisation had collapsed.

MARDUK’S TEARY LORDSHIP MANIFESTO

In 2048 BC, the Enlilites had tactfully lured Marduk to Harran and then restricted him  there  whilst they counter-penetrated Egypt. The tact had now boomeranged. For Marduk had turned Harran from a place of remand to a command post. “From Harran, on the threshold of Shumer, his final thrust he planned: from Harran, at the edge of Ishkur's domains situated, the raising of armies he directed,” say the Sumerian records.

Throughout his 24 years in Harran, Marduk had kept asking his fellow gods this question: "Until When?”  This was in relation to his scheduled and rightful supplanting of Enlil as Earth’s supremo. Sadly, he received no answered in the affirmative. But at the very outset of the year 2024 BC, he stood at a public square in Harran and gave the following speech, which was at once humble and defiant:

“Oh gods of Harran (Ishkur-Adad in particular), oh great gods who judge (Enlil and Utu-Shamash mainly) … As I girdle my belt, my memories I remember: I am the divine Marduk, a great god, in my domains as Ra am I known. For my sins to exile I went, to the mountains have I gone, in many lands I wandered.  From where the sun rises (the Americas)  to where the sun sets (Antarctica) I went, to the land of Ishkur I came. Twenty-four years in the midst of Harran I nested, an omen in its temple I sought.

Until when? about my lordship an omen in the temple I asked. Your days of exile are completed! to me the oracle in the temple said. Oh great gods who the fates determine, let me to my city set my course, my temple Esagil as an everlasting abode establish, a king in Babili (Babylon) install.” The year 2024 BC marked exactly 72 years, equivalent to I degree of the celestial zodiacal arc, since  Marduk was made to depart Babylon and go elsewhere to await the  right time of accession to the Enlilship.

Having done so, the oracle priests now had told him in no uncertain in terms that  his time had arrived, that he should set off from Harran and head for Babylon, from whence he should rule Earth. He could already see a spectacular and prosperous Earth, an Earthly  king of his choice installed in Babylon, an Earth filled with joy, a world blessed by Anu. He referred to his dawning era as “The Messianic Times” in which he would  “chase away evil and bad luck, bring motherly love to Mankind”.

ENLIL CALLS MEETING OF ANUNNAKI PANTHEON

But although the Age of Aries was visually emerging and indeed was more than apparent on the night time horizon, it yet had to dominate: there were still lingering vestiges of the Taurus constellation. Hence Marduk’s own brothers, Ningishzidda, who was presently at the Lagash astronomical observatory in Sumer, and Nergal, who was based  at the scientific station  at Cape Agulhas  in South Africa, told him his celestial argument simply did not wash: he still had another four to five years of waiting.  An irate Marduk countered that he was having none of that hogwash and now proceeded to make two major announcements.

The first was that he had declared the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula as a Marduk-and-Nabu domain. It was no longer neutral, a least theoretically as it had always been wilily,  if not blatantly, controlled by the Enlilites. The second was that he was setting off from Harran and heading for Babylon: there, all the Anunnaki kingpins should assemble in his temple, the Esagil,  and declare that they all henceforth were subject to him. 

Having so said,  he indeed set course for Babylon, “at the head of a horde of Western supporters organized by Nabu”. "I called on the gods, all of them, to heed me," Marduk writes in his memoirs. "I called on the people along my march, 'bring your tribute to Babylon’.”
Meanwhile, the euphoria in Egypt, Marduk’s own fiefdom, bordered on the delirious.

The Ram, the emblem of the Age of Aries,  began to dominate celestial and monumental art and Marduk, who was known as Ra in Egypt, was given the epithet "Ram of the Four Winds," and was so depicted to indicate that he was master of the “four corners”, or four regions,  of the Earth – Sumer, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and the Sinai Peninsula.  Hitherto, celestial depictions showed the Sun rising over the Bull of Heaven, the symbol of the Enlilite-controlled Age of Taurus, but the Bull of Heaven was depicted tethered and held back. Now the Bull of Heaven was depicted pierced and deflated. The message was that Marduk had now taken over from Enlil as the Lord of the Earthly realm.

In their onward march to Babylon, Marduk’s followers were wreaking havoc along  the way, desecrating the temples of Enliite  gods, including the holiest in the land – that of Enlil at Nippur. When Enlil heard from wherever he was of the defiling of his temple, that even “in the holy of holies the veil was torn away”, he made a madcap dash for Nippur. He "set off a brilliance like lightning as he came down from the skies. Riding in front of him were gods clothed with radiance." The moment he touched down on Earth, he called an urgent assembly  of the council of the gods. Were headset to roll?
 
NEXT WEEK:  HELL UP IN CANAAN

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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