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From King to King Again

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
A deposed Moses appropriates Midian and declares it independent of Egypt

Horemheb, the viscerally anti-Hebrew pharaoh, had two wives, Armenia, his first wife who died before he came to power, and    Benretmut, a scion of the Thuthmosside  dynasty. Neither of the two gave him an heir. With no legitimate heir in existence, Horemheb had no choice but to appoint Pa-Ramesses, an able administrator, as co-regent in the twilight days of his rule.

There were likely two principal reasons for this gesture. First, it was in order to reward Pa-Ramases for his fawning loyalty to him since days immemorial. Second, Pa-Ramses had the advantage of continuity: he had a son, Seti, and a grandson, both of whom went on to become pharaohs by turns.  Thus the line of succession would be definite from the word go.

Horemheb finally died in 1135 BC at age 70, having ruled for 13 years. He was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Pa-Ramses then succeeded as Ramesses  I, marking the inception of the 19th Dynasty.    The name Ramesses was a bow to the national god Marduk: it meant “Ra bore him”, Ra being a component of Amen-Ra, the name by which Marduk was known in Egypt.

Sadly, Ramesses too was getting on in years at the time and so shortly after taking the reins, he appointed Seti, who was in the prime of his life, as co-regent. Whilst Ramesses concentrated on domestic affairs, Seti dedicated himself to military ventures in foreign lands. Seti’s role was crucial as at the time  Egypt’s status as an overarching military power was on the wane. The Hittian Kingdom of Asia Minor, today’s Turkey, had conquered  today’s Syria,  Lebanon, and parts of Canaan and was in fact  poised to overrun central Canaan, which to date had been in Egypt’s sphere of influence.

On becoming Pharaoh, Ramesses chose Zaru as the place of his main residence at the expense of the national capital Thebes. If you recall, he had had the Hebrew-Hykso slaves  construct him a magnificent home there. It was at this point that the whole of Egypt’s eastern delta region, called Goshen in the Bible,  became known as the Land of Ramesses. Accordingly, in the Bible, the term Ramesses when employed (e.g. GENESIS 47:11 and EXODUS 12:37) refers not to the pharaoh but to the settlement. IT WAS AFTER THE ASCENDANCY OF RAMESSES TO THE THRONE THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ABOUT 40 YEARS, THE EXILED MOSES SET FOOT ONCE AGAIN IN  THE LAND OF HIS BIRTH.

MOSES HEADS FOR MIDIAN

Let us at this juncture do a flashback to 1352 BC, when Moses was deposed as Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt. Although he was  not officially banished from Egypt, Moses was obliged to flee Egypt  as he was not hundred percent sure of his safety.  Ideally, the place he should have headed to was Harran, in modern-day Turkey. Harran was apt in that not only was it the place of his ancestry  but it was the major domicile of the Hykso-Hebrews. There, the Hykso-Hebrews abounded more than in any other place on the globe, including Canaan.   

The problem was that Harran now was part of the Hittian Kingdom and since the Kingdom was a rival to Egypt, it would not be in position to welcome an ex-pharaoh of Egypt. Also, if Moses were to go to any jurisdiction that  was anti-Egypt, the Theban priesthood would have a field day denouncing him as a sellout from birth, being a Hykso-Hebrew on his mother’s side. The Egyptian populace would no longer look to him with a yearning but would  cast him as a pet-hate – a traitor who had just bared his  true colours. As such,  Moses decided to go to a place which though autonomous in the greater scheme of things still was part of and subject to Egypt. This was Midian.

The Midian territory encompasses today’s western Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, southern Israel, and the Sinai Peninsula. Its politics at the time is not clear-cut. What we know is that the Midianites were the descendents of Midian, the fourth son of Keturah, Abraham’s second Hebrew wife (GENESIS 25:1-2). The vast territory was only very sparsely populated in the 14th century BC: it was not until the 8th-7th century BC that it was extensively settled.

The territory was directly  overseen by a native High Priest known as Jethro. It seemed when Egypt concurred it (when that happened is not clear), a local High Priest was installed as its ruler to give the impression to  its inhabitants that it by and large still was sovereign. Indeed, Egypt neither had a garrison there nor its own resident governor. But the territory still fell under the aegis of  the Egyptian government anyway.  Two Egyptian officials were in charge of Midian. 

They were the Royal Messenger in Foreign Lands (Secretary of State/Foreign Affairs Minister in today’s terms) and the Royal Chancellor (Finance Minister/Treasury Secretary/Chancellor of the Exchequer in today’s terms).  The latter was only involved because he oversaw activities in respect of the highly lucrative turquoise mining operations in the Sinai Mountains.

When Moses was pharaoh, the foreign affairs minister was an official known as Neby, who was at once troop commander,  mayor of  Zaru, steward of the womenfolk who attended to the queen, and baptising priest in the Aten Temple at Armana. The finance minister was Panehesy. His was a hereditary portfolio, set aside for only the Panehesy clan since the time of Amenhotep III, Moses’  father. Panehesy was also chief priest of the temple of Armana.  The Panehesy  of Moses’ time was a third-generation Panehesy.

When he departed Egypt for Midian, Moses was approximately 40 years old. He was  accompanied by Panehesy and his (Moses) second wife Miriam, a half-sister and mother to Tutankhamen. HE ALSO CARRIED WITH HIM HIS PHARAONIC SYMBOL OF AUTHORITY, TO UNDERLINE BOTH HIS PROTESTATION AT BEING FORCED TO ABDICATE AND HIS PEDIGREE STILL AS A TOP-NOTCH ROYAL WHEREVER HE WENT.

MINERAL WEALTH GALORE IN MIDIAN TERRITORY

The Sinai Peninsula was a significant, though not crucial  part of the Egyptian economy by virtue of its mineral resource riches. The southwestern parts of Sinai abounded with copper, bluish lapis lazuli, the blue-green gemstone turquoise, and the bluish-green mineral malachite. The particular places at which mining was done were today’s Wadi Magharah (the Wadi of Caves) and another which is today known as Serabit-el-Khadim. Turquoise for one was being mined in the Sinai Peninsula as early as Sumerian times in what has been described as “one of the world's first important hard-rock mining operations."  

These ancient mining ventures were in evidence as recently as the 70s.  In a 1972 article titled SINAI OPERATIONS: 1962-1972, which was published in an authoritative scholarly journal, Beno Rothenberg wrote:  "We could establish the existence of a fairly large industrial metallurgical enterprise.  There are copper mines, miners' camps, and copper smelting installations, spread from the western parts of southern Sinai to as far east as Elat at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba."

Elat, called Etzion-Gaber in the Bible, was the “Pittsburg of the ancient world”.  To its immediate north, at a place known as Timna, was what has been dubbed King Solomon’s Copper Mines.  Once the ores had been extracted from Timna, they were taken to Elat for smelting and refining in "one of the largest, if not the largest, of metallurgical centers in existence in ancient times”.

The pioneers of the Sinai region’s mining operations, who in Sumerian times served the Anunnaki, were a specialised Semitic tribe known as Qenites, meaning “smiths” or “metallurgists”. They were descendants of the Cain of Genesis. The Qenites are mentioned even in the Bible as inhabitants of the southern Sinai. In the 7th century BC, Esarhaddon, the King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, boasted that "upon Qanayah, King of Tilmun, I imposed tribute”.  But the subjection of Qenites by foreign powers went back a long way.

As early as the 3rd millennium BC, the Qenites were fending off incursions by Egyptian pharaohs. The Egyptians initially were not after the subjugation of the Semitic Qenites as such but simply raided their mines in search of the minerals copper and  turquoise in the main.  Mafkat, the Egyptian word for turquoise, indeed stemmed from a Semitic verb which meant “to mine” or “extract by cutting”.

That was exactly how turquoise was obtained: tunnels were cut into the rocky sides of the Wadi canyon and miners went in to chisel out the metal. It was a back-breaking job which in Anunnaki times was restricted to humans imprisoned for life who toiled under the harsh supervision of the Qenites. Enkidu of THE LEGEND OF GILGAMESH fame was on his way to the mining belt of the Sinai to begin his life sentence for having destroyed Jehovah-Enlil’s highly prized fighter craft when he met with disaster.  

The Sinai Peninsula came under Egyptian control during the 12th Dynasty (circa 1991-1782 BC), only to break loose in the post-Exodus period. Pharaoh Ramses III, who reigned in the century following the Exodus, recorded his invasion of these coppersmiths' dwellings and the plundering of the metallurgical center of Timna-Elat in this somewhat exaggerated statement: “I destroyed the people of Seir (Sinai), of the Tribes of the Shasu (Midianites). 

I plundered their tents, their people's possessions, their cattle likewise, without number. They were pinioned and brought as captives, as tribute of Egypt. I gave them to the gods, as slaves into their temples. I sent forth my men to the Ancient Country (Midian), to the great copper mines which are in that place. Their galleys carried them; others on a land journey were upon their asses. It has not been heard before, since the reign of the Pharaohs began.

The mines were found abounding in copper; it was loaded by ten thousands into the galleys. They were sent forward to Egypt and arrived safely. It was carried and made into a heap under the palace balcony, in many bars of copper, a hundred thousand, being of the colour of gold of three refinings. I allowed all the people to see them, like wonders.”
 
MIDIAN  RICH WITH FLORA AND A BIT OF FAUNA

When  we read of the term Sinai Desert, the image that immediately comes to mind is that of  sheer aridity – a rocky mountain mass and sand dune expanse. That is only partly true. The Sinai  has its share of deep, canyon-like wadhis (seasonal watercourses), and naturally growing, climate-attuned floral species. The Sinai receives about 2 billion m2  of rainfall  annually, only half of which is lost to evaporation.

Of the remainder of the rainfall, half flows on the surface as run-off, whilst the other half percolates to groundwater reservoirs, thus making it possible for cultivation to take place.  Barley, fruits, market vegetables, dates, and olives  do flourish there. Date palm groves for one are scattered throughout the whole peninsula.   There are a thousand species of plants, many unique to the Sinai, varying from tall trees to tiny shrubs and which grow with impressive persistence.

The Sinai is home to over half a million Bedouins who rare livestock because nomadic grazing is possible in the peninsula.  Animals are rare, but the species represented include ibex, gazelles, sand foxes, leopards, wildcats, jackals, hares, hedgehogs, and moles. Falcons and eagles are indigenous, and there are also seasonal migrants such as quail, partridge, and grouse.

According to climatologists, the Sinai of Moses’ day was even  less arid than it is today and therefore more conducive to human habitation as well  as to both arable and pastoral farming. One crop grown there those days was onion, which Egypt exported to the Mediterranean coast. But the agricultural mainstay was the date palm. Then, as today, it was the Sinai’s principal cash crop. It has multiple uses, which include the following: fruit; food (its kernels and pulp) for camels and goats;   building as well as fuel (its trunk); roofing (its branches); and rope and weaving (its fibres).

The date fruits  were a ubiquitous feature on the menu of the Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods,  and demigods.  This was likely because at least one species of the date palm was the Elixir of Life, or the Tree of Life,   which was used to lengthen the lives of the Anunnaki and demigods, hence the Psalmist statement that, “the righteous l like a date palm shall flourish”.  In Sumerian cylinder seal and clay tablets depictions, the date palm was equated to the Shem – the rocket – which was another symbol of eternal life.

Two Anunnaki astronauts  were shown flanking the rocket or date palm interchangeably, as if to say it was on the plant they relied for their extraordinary longevity whilst here on Earth. When prophet Ezekiel envisioned the rebuilt Jerusalem temple during the Babylonian captivity, he saw it with either two date palms flanking an angel (an Anunnaki) or two  angels flanking a date palm.  

Acacias are the one tree in  particular that thrive in parched conditions. Their tap roots reach deep into the subsurface moisture and therefore they can endure 10 years of  rainlessness. Acacia wood was used in the construction of ancient temples. The famous Ark of the Covenant was made of acacia.

MOSES SETTLES AT MOUNT SERABIT

So  when Moses headed for Midian after departing Egypt, he wasn’t destined for a classical wilderness: he was headed for a place that was reasonably inhabitable. If it were simply sheer desert, there was no way a man of his status – an ex-King accustomed to living in the lap of luxury – would have bothered to set up home there.    

The exact place in the Sinai Peninsula Moses and his retinue set course for was a settlement known today as Serabit-el Khadim. This was at the foot of what the Bible calls Mount Horeb but which is today known as Mount Serabit.   As we hinted above, this place was a mining hub of the Sinai, noted, in particular,  for the mineral turquoise.

Serabit,  however, was not merely of economic significance: it also was a holy place. At the peak of the mountain, about 2600 feet above sea level, was a temple dedicated to the Anunnaki goddess Hathor. Hathor, meaning “Falcon House”, was the Egyptian name for Ninmah, Enki’s step sister and Enlil’s half-sister. The term Falcon House was very fitting. Firstly, as indicated above, the Sinai Peninsula was a natural habitat for falcons, a type of bird.

Second, Sinai previously housed the Anunnaki spaceport (destroyed by Ninurta, Enlil’s eldest son, in a nuclear blitz in 2024 BC).  Anunnaki astronauts were metaphorically referred to as falcons or eagles, both species of which were indigenous to the Sinai. And if you recall, the Sinai Peninsula, also known as Tilmun, was pre-the-atom-blast entrusted to Ninmah being a neutral area which was not supposed to be under Enkite or Enlilite jurisdiction during the first partition of the known world. Ninmah was also known as “Lady of the Sinai” or “Lady of the Mafkat”.


A team of pioneer explorers who toured Mount Serabit early in the 20th century found a statuette of Moses’ mother Tiye and pillars and stelae denoting the Egyptian kings through the ages. This is ample evidence that Serabit once served as Moses’ lair and he so decorated the temple as to remind himself and the worshippers of his royal pedigree.

MOSES MAKES UNILATERAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Arriving at Serabit, Moses was met by Lord Jethro, the High Priest of Midian who was a Qeninite by race. Although Moses was a deposed King, Jethro received him with all the protocol due to a King. The two colossuses jelled. ALMOST FROM THE VERY OUTSET, THEY CONTRIVED TO DECLARE MIDIAN INDEPENDENT OF EGYPT, WITH MOSES AS  MIDIAN’S NEW KING. Two factors made such a scheme realisable.

First, Moses was a first-class military general and if Egyptian forces came after him, he would fight them to the death. If possible, he would ally with the Hittites, who were now the world power in the ascendant. Second, Moses’ own son Tutankhamen would soon be crowned Pharaoh  of Egypt and there was no way he would  incline to waging war against his own father.  In any case, the Egyptian army was overseen  by Moses’ uncle Ephraim.  Even the incumbent,  stop-gap Pharaoh, Aaron,   would not countenance the notion  of “training guns” on his own cousin, who was in fact more of a brother than a cousin to him.  Blood always was thicker than water.

In order to further cement ties, Lord Jethro  offered Moses his own daughter Zipporah.  Moses’ marriage to Zipporah (not to the Ethiopian Tharbis as the Bible would have you believe as the Tharbis marriage was by this time a thing of the past) greatly incensed Miriam as it meant  she was going to be relegated further down in the rankings of Moses’ spousal harem.

Even Aaron, when he heard that Moses had wedded Zipporah, was far from happy. However, Moses’ gesture made a great deal of political sense. The Midianites would not have readily welcomed  him as their new King if he hadn’t  taken the hand of one of their daughters. It turned out  Moses  had calculated right. None of  his fellow Amarna Kings – Aaron, Tutankhamen, or Ephraim – confronted him militarily for the secession.

Even Horemheb was concerned more about preventing  Moses from  making a heroic comeback to Egypt than confront him head-on in a war of  reclamation. The incumbent pharaoh Ramesses I also left Moses pretty much to his own devices but he was so heavy-handed in his persecution of the Hykso-Hebrews that Moses decided to return to Egypt. His main goal, however,  was not to free his people from the pharaoh’s yoke: IT WAS TO RECLAIM  THE THRONE OF EGYPT AND REUNITE EGYPT AND MIDIAN.

NEXT WEEK:   CAN MOSES BOUNCE BACK AS KING OF EGYPT?

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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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