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Of Laser Beam and Levitation

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

The Ark of the  Covenant embodied 21st century technology

The Nation of  Israel’s wilderness religion was presided over by Aaron and his four sons.  Aaron was the High Priest and his sons were the chief priests. All Anunnaki-sired institutions were peopled   not by pure merit but  on the basis of nepotism basically.  This trend has carried over to our day. In 2009, David Rothkorp, a former CEO of Henry Kissinger, one of the nastiest  Reptilians of our time, wrote a book titled SUPERCLASS: THE GLOBAL POWER ELITE AND THE WORLD THEY ARE MAKING.

In it, he disclosed that  our world of 7 billion people was controlled by only 30 families using  6000 highly paid operatives who robotically toed their agenda. At the enterprise level, these hyper-families ran the world through 147 corporations which had interlocking boards of directors. Aaron and his sons had specially made sacred, priestly garments to wear, much like the Pope dons in our day. The garments were made of linen, the finest cloth available. Aaron’s priestly attire consisted of six parts. They were a robe, a woven tunic, a turban, a sash, an ephod, and a breastplate.

The ROBE was blue in colour. Its hem was decorated with identical patterns  of pomegranate (a red fruit symbolic of the  blessing and prosperity and the fertility and fruitfulness Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the Exodus, had, so he said, in store for the Israelites once they had conquered Canaan) woven out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. The pomegranate patterns were interspaced with small bells made of pure gold. The bells were meant to herald the movements of the High Priest around the Tabernacle.

In the event that he entered the Holy of Holies and the bells were not heard for some considerable length of time, that would be a signal that he had been struck dead by “God” because he entered the presence of the deity in a unholy state arising from neglecting to perform the necessary pre-entry rites to the letter. Everything about the Anunnaki gods was based on fear. The TUNIC (outer garment) was tied with a colourfully embroidered SASH (girdle). Both were weaved  from fine line cloth.

The TURBAN (head dress) had a gold medallion attached to it by a blue cord, worn on the forehead. Engraved on the gold medallion were the words, “Holy to Yahweh”.  It was the High Priest’s proclamation to Adad that he was sin-free at that particular point in time having performed all the prerequisite self-sanctification rites. According the JEWISH ENCYCLOPAEDIA, the EPHOD was “part of the official dress of the High Priest which   was held together by a girdle of similar workmanship sewed on to it.

It  had two shoulder-pieces, which, as the name implies, crossed the shoulders, and were apparently fastened or sewed to the ephod in front. In dressing, the shoulder-pieces were joined in the back to the two ends of the ephod … At the point where the shoulder-pieces were joined together in the front ‘above the girdle’, two golden rings were sewed on, to which the breast-plate was attached.”

The two shoulder-pieces were made  from finely woven linen embroidered with gold, blue, purple and scarlet thread. Each of the golden rings (clasps) that joined them  had one onyx stone fastened to it. On each onyx stone was engraved six names of the tribes of Israel, arranged in order of seniority based on the ages of Jacob’s sons.   This was to show that when the High Priest stood before God, he represented not he himself but Israel.    

Like the ephod, the ESSEN, translated as breastplate in the English versions of the Bible, was embroidered with gold and with  blue, purple and scarlet thread. According to the Biblical instructions and rabbinical traditions, the breastplate was  “a patterned brocade like the ephod. The threads of its fabric are gold, sky-blue, dark red and crimson wool, and twisted linen. The garment itself is set with four rows of small square stones, in settings of knitted or braided gold. Each row contained three stones-totaling twelve stones, one stone representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The name of the corresponding tribe was engraved on each stone.”

Note the recurrence of four colours in particular – gold, blue, purple, and scarlet. Each of these colours has something to say about the Anunnaki.  Gold represented sustenance in that the Anunnaki’s extraordinary longevity, or eternity in the eyes of mankind, was enabled by the ingestion directly or indirectly of Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of gold. It also stood for divinity and the extrinsic personal worth of the Anunnaki, as gold is the most cherished metal, one reason it was called the metal of the gods.

Blue represented the heavens (the firmament). Mankind believed the Anunnaki came from a place known as Heaven, which they associated with a place yonder in the skies.  Purple has always been the colour of royalty and the Anunnaki were the ultimate royalty. Scarlet (red) represented retribution,   being the colour of blood. When the Anunnaki were “sinned against”, their stock response was to kill, whether this be an  individual, a large proportion of a population, whole cities as in the nuking of Sodom and Gomorrah, or practically an entire race of mankind as was the case during the Great Flood of Noah’s day.

WHICH GEMSTONE REPRESENTED WHICH TRIBE?

The gemstones appearing on the breastplate  were ruby; jade; agate; carbuncle; lapis lazuli; quartz crystal; turquoise; amethyst; agate; aquamarine; onyx; and opal. The identity of the gemstones is not definitive. There are over 30 different opinions  on the matter. Also, there is no certainty as  to exactly which gemstone corresponds with which tribe.

Says the Temple Institute of Jerusalem: “The exact, conclusive identification of these stones is actually one of the most difficult and elusive of all Temple-related studies. This is because the original Hebrew names of these stones as they appear here in the Bible are extremely obscure. They are not commonly used, and no description of the stones appears anywhere in the verses themselves. In the course of many years, as nations flourished and fell, and civilizations migrated to new lands, languages evolved and the meanings of words changed.

Thus in one location, a word may have one meaning and connote a particular concept, while in another land, the same word may carry the exact opposite meaning. “The names of these stones are particularly enigmatic: there are over 30 varying opinions as to the final identification of the 12 stones. These opinions include scholars and commentators from the entire historical spectrum of rabbinical literature and tradition, beginning with the most ancient – and therefore, in this case the most reliable opinions – those of the Aramaic translations of the Bible.”

However, although the gemstones cannot be identified with clear-cut finality, their colours can. For according to the Midrash, ancient  commentaries on the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) by the Jewish authorities, the gemstone colours corresponded with the colours of the ensigns (flags) of the tribe. On that basis then, the gemstones are associated with a particular tribe as follows: Ruby, Reuben;  Jade, Shimon; Agate, Levi;  Carbuncle,  Judah; Lapis-Lazuli, Issachar; Quartz Crystal, Zebulun; Turquoise,  Dan; Amethyst, Naftali; Agate, Gad; Aquamarine, Asher; Onyx,  Joseph; and Opal Benjamin.

WHAT WERE THE URIM AND THUMMIM?

There are two items in the High Priest’s regalia which are only casually mentioned when of necessity they required a detailed exposition. These are the URIM and the THUMMIM.   It seemed the Jewish writers of the Old Testament corpus did not really understand them, as a result of which they deliberately omitted to elucidate upon them. 

The Urim and Thummim are first mentioned in EXODUS 28:30. Moses is instructed, by Ishkur-Adad, the Anunnaki Jehovah of the Exodus, to place them in a pouch in Aaron’s breastplate. Aaron was obliged to enter the Holy of Holies, which housed the Ark of the Covenant, only once a year – on the Day of Atonement. And every time he did and stood before the Ark, he was to bear the Urim and Thummim without fail. 

Of the two, it is the Urim which receives a fair amount of repeated mention in a direct sense. In the two other places where it is directly mentioned, it is associated with attestation (that is, a truth-upholding oath) and decision-making (by the Anunnaki god). In NUMBERS 27:18-21, General Joshua was made to swear before the High Priest Eleazer (Aaron’s successor) by the Urim when Moses passed the baton to him as the Nation of Israel’s new leader.

In 1 SAMUEL 28:5-6, Saul, the first King of Israel, had to seek the voice of his god, albeit vainly so, using the Urim when the Philistine army hemmed in around him. However, these are not the only places the Urim and Thummim are implied. In other passages, they are referred to as “testimonies” as indeed they corresponded with the two Tablets of Testimony that were kept in the Ark.

It seems the two Tablets of Testimonies that were housed in the Ark had specific purposes. One was a digital record of Adad’s covenant with the Jews that they were his people and he was their god. But it was a record not only of this but also of “the testament of a lost civilisation and all that man has ever known and all man would ever know” according to the Jewish Qabalistic tradition.

This very much sounds like the Sumerian MEs, which have been described as “something like our present-day computer chips, on which data, programs, and operational orders were minutely recorded … and in which the essentials of civilisation were encoded”. The other tablet was a decoder of electromagnetic sound waves. In other words, it made the distant voice of Adad audible wherever he happened to be, just like the decoder built into a TV or radio makes the distant voice of announcers at the broadcasting station audible from any distance.   

We may refer to the two Tablets of Testimonies contained in the Ark as the Enclosed Testimonies and the Urim and Thummim as the Borne Testimonies as they were placed in a pocket sewn to the High Priest’s breastplate. The Urim, a crystal gem, was also known as the SCHAMIR or LIGHTNING LIGHT. This was because it gave off a light that illuminated the Holy of Holies when the High Priest stepped in there.  Remember, God is Light and he had to be approached in light (In the 2nd degree [Fellowcraft] Freemasonry ceremony, God is called the “Great Luminary”). 

The arc light of the Ark of the Covenant represented God’s presence whereas the Urim light represented the spiritual light of the High Priest. (At the spirit level, we are shimmering beings of light). Under certain conditions, the Urim emitted a laser-like, spear of light that could cut through stone with absolute precision. Noticing the magnificent properties of the Urim, King Solomon asked his artisans to improvise his own in the form of a Tablet Ring of the Testimony worn on a finger. It was this ring he used to cut the stones for his temple.

From that time on, it became a bequest to all the succeeding kings all the way to his seventh generation successor, King Joash. Relating the coronation of King Joash, 2 KINGS 11:12 has this to say: “Then he brought forth the king's son; he put the insignia on him and gave him the testimony. They proclaimed him king and anointed him. They smote the palm and said, Long live the king!” The “testimony” was the Urim ring.

The Thummim went by several other names such as  SCHETIYA, ANNA (meaning “firestone”), FOUNDATION STONE, the STONE OF PERFECTION, or SAPIR.    These names applied at different stages of history. The Thummim is said to have been made from a “divine sapphire”, that is, a sapphire stone provided by the Anunnaki gods. It was basically a levitational device, which according to Qabalistic tradition kept the Ark perfectly poised at about three fingers above the ground when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies.

All in all, the Urim-Thummim had an essential role to play in summoning the power of the Ark. WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT LOSE SIGHT OF, HOWEVER, IS THAT THE LIGHT SYMBOLISM IN ALL THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REAL GOD, FIRST SOURCE. IT ALL HAD TO DO WITH THE GOD OF ILLUMINATI ELEMENTS – LUCIFER. Lucifer means “Illuminator” or “Light Bringer” and that’s what those who align with forces of darkness call the Devil. The Old Testament  religious system was based on Devil-worship, period.

A KILLING MACHINE

The Ark of the Covenant was always carried into battle. Apparently, the Israelite army general used it to get battlefield tips from Adad and to report on the fate of a battle. Once, when the Israelites were trounced in a battle at Ai, General Joshua both lamented before the Ark and besought counsel from Adad through it (JOSHUA 7:6-9). At another time, when  the main body of the Israelite nation lost a battle to the tribe of Benjamin at Gibeah, they consulted Adad through  the Ark, who  promised that, “tomorrow I’ll hand them over to you” (JUDGES 20:19-27), which he indeed did as “Yahweh helped Israel defeat Benjamin and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors” (JUDGES 20:35).

Besides being a communication device and a manufacturer and repository of Ormus, the Ark of the Covenant was capable of performing certain wonders. What immediately comes to mind is what happened when General Joshua led the Israelites across the river Jericho. Its powers were drawn upon to part the river, something akin to Moses’ parting of the Red Sea, so that the Israelites  would cross it on dry land (JOSHUA 3:15-16; 4:7-18). In other words, the Ark was inbuilt with HAARP technology, which is theoretically capable of such a feat.

It is doubtful though that the Ark could serve so many purposes at once. What likely was the case was that it was operationalised by  remote control from some base inside one of the high-tech mountain bunkers of the Anunnaki. It is from here it was monitored either by satellite or surveillance microchips which relayed the happenings around it. Hence whereas some of the things attributed to it it did engender locally, some of them, such as the parting of the River Jordan, were effected using the HAARP technology at the Anunnaki base. One of the Tablets of Testimony must have been capacitated with GPS  tracking.

If the Ark was dreaded by the Nation of Israel, it  was because it was a killing machine both in a direct and vicarious sense. Under certain circumstances, it did emit a deadly radiation which was calibrated according to whether the killing was to be effected instantaneously or over time as a sort of slow puncture. In less severe cases, it simply caused non-life-threatening illnesses. People were also executed for infringing the rules governing its handling.

That the Ark was a perilously affair indeed is evident in Adad’s instruction to the Kohathites, who were charged with handling it when the Israelites were on the move. They were not to touch it or look at it  “lest they die” (NUMBERS 4:1-16): they were to carry it strictly using poles. To guard against this temptation or transgression, the Kohathites were instructed to wrap the Ark first in the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies; then in what were called badger skins; and finally in a clothe of solid blue.

This was three layers of clothing altogether. When the Israelites were in procession, the men who carried the wrapped-up Ark were separated from the rest by a distance of about 900 metres. They were clad in very special attire to protect them in the case of an accidental radiation emission. A number of incidences are encountered whereby people died in circumstances associated with the Ark. There was  this case of Uzzah, who was one of the men transporting the Ark on an ox-driven cart downhill.

Somehow, the oxen faltered and the cart was in the process of tipping over and therefore touching the ground (it was not supposed to ever do so as the ground was cursed by “God” following the fall of Adam) when  Uzzah reached out his hands to steady it.    He was struck dead “by the Lord” immediately (2 SAMUEL 6:1-11; 1 CHRONICLES 13:1-13). Most likely, the Ark  must have fallen on his chest or crushed his head: it was 2 feet wide and 4 feet high and  estimates of its weight range from 150-2000 kg.

Once, the Bethshemites were entrusted custody of the Ark and curious to know what it was and what it contained tried to pry it open. About 50,000 of them ended up dying, in all probability from its radiation effects. The Bethshemites should have learnt a salutary lesson from the Philistines, who had captured it in war from the Israelites and had just returned it after being with it for seven months. The Philistines decided to part with it after been wracked by an endemic of boils and a plague of mice, both of which ceased after they returned the Ark (1 SAMUEL 6:19). Of course their sufferings were not directly engendered by the Ark but by Adad’s high-tech cunning. 

NEXT WEEK:   COUP ATTEMPT ON KING MOSES!

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Internet Connectivity in Botswana: Time to Narrow Digital Divide

19th October 2020
Elon Musk

On Friday October 9, 2020, President Masisi officiated at a function that most appositely spoke to his passion and desire to kick-start the crystallisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR in short, in Botswana. In his keynote speech, the President hailed the partnership between Gaborone City Council and BoFiNet to launch free Internet access of one-hour duration daily in selected “Wi-Fi Hotspots” across the city for all and sundry.

The pilot project has actually been years in the making, having been initiated in April 2014, when the BOCRA-supported Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) was established. UASF levies 1 percent on the gross annual turnover of flourishing ICT outfits and is now using this to subsidise the Internet access price in the Hotspots of Gaborone, which are to be found at shopping malls, bus stations, hospitals, and airports in the main. The facility, which is provided courtesy of the BoFiNet Wi-Fi infrastructure, will in the fullness of time be rolled out in Kasane, Maun, Francistown, Palapye, Serowe, and Mahalapye too. As of the end of 2019, UASF collections totalled P43.2 million according to BOCRA’s latest Annual Report.

A point President Masisi underscored at the launch was the imperative that “all citizens have access to the Internet so that the ideal of leaving no one behind as envisioned by the sustainable development goals is realised”. It also exhilarated me that the President underlined that “innovation and creativity will be the bedrock of economic diversification in our country”, a priority I besought government to pursue with impassioned as opposed to rhetorical resolve in one of my earlier articles under this very column.

Certainly, Pillars 1 and 2 of the only minimally accomplished Vision 2016 goals envisaged, amongst other things, an informed and innovative Botswana. With the Wi-Fi Hotspot dispensation now upon us, are we on course to deliver on this sooner rather than later?

FREE INTERNET COULD FULFIL MEGA DREAMS FOR THE CITIZENRY

Granted, one hour of free Internet per day is not that bad as a starting point, but it is a drop in the ocean when juxtaposed with the larger global picture, whereby some countries, which include the industrialised West, the Scandinavian countries, and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia, offer qualitative public Internet service free of charge all-day long. In Finland for one, broadband (high-speed Internet access) has been a legal right since 2010. In other words, if a citizen for one reason or the other does not have the opportunity to surf the web, he or she can sue the state for redress.

For the impecunious individual who wishes to do meaningful and comprehensive research, however, one hour can be very limiting. To just give one example, it takes me up to two full days to gather material for a single one instalment of the contents of this column, of which Internet-sourced data is key. This is because not every bit of worthwhile information is available at just one click of the mouse. In some cases, the requisite information is simply not available at all and by the time that dawns on you, a full day will have gone by.

There is also the question of whether the Hotspots are amply equipped with desktops, let along being sizeable enough, to cater to the stampede of the city residents who will want to be one of the earliest birds to catch the worm given that access is certain to be on a first-come-first-served basis. An Internet Hall under the auspices of government would serve the purpose best, with the unused Orapa House as a possible venue proposition.

As for nationwide and limitless free Internet access, we still have a long way to go being a Third World country but the earlier we get there, the greater the rewards we reap in the long-term. Google, Facebook, Twitter, to mention only a few, are today multi-billion operations thanks to the added benediction of the Internet epoch. Years back, Elon Musk and five others started PayPal – a means of sending money, making an online payment, and receiving money – using the Internet medium. In 2002, E-Bay acquired PayPal for an eye-popping $1.5 billon, with Musk personally garnering $165 million. As I write, Musk is the 6th richest person on Earth, with a net worth of $82.3 billion.

It is the ready platform of the Internet that helped catapult him to the dizzying pecuniary heights he has since scaled.  We will probably never be able to mint a dot.com-facilitated dollar billionaire in Botswana, but even mere Pula millionaires or part-millionaires can do as half a loaf is better than nothing. If Internet was freely available to every citizen, such chances would be greatly enhanced.

WE LIVE OUR LIVES ONLINE

In the past, Internet connectivity may have been a luxury but the advent of COVID-19 has made it an essential component of the new normal – a lifeline. Students have had to receive lessons online amid stop-go lockdowns of huge swathes of a country. Executives have had no option but to network or collectively liaise using teleconferencing or by way of Skype. Telemedicine, or caring for and consulting with patients remotely, has become the order of the day, especially in the developed world. We have seen live-streamed religious services and of course some people have been working from home.

Even before COVID-19 struck, we were routinely conversationally engaging with family and friends on social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp. Some of our monthly transactions, like telephone bill settlements and DStv subscriptions, were effected online. Needless to say, we have literally been living our lives online. Electronic transacting in any case, whether by mobile phones or via the web, substantially curtail queuing time at banks and precious other pay points anywhere, gets people to spend more time in the workplace than out of it, and therefore boosts productivity as personal errands to do a thing or two are notorious for eating into invaluable man-hours.

There’s also government’s espoused vision of having Botswana transformed into a knowledge-based economy. Without universal access to the Internet, this aspiration will remain a pipe-dream. Knowledge certainly is power, whether this be political, economic, or scientific. Botswana will never come to be anywhere near the economic might of Singapore or the technological feats of South Korea if it relegates knowledge attainment to the back burner of its core aspirations. An Old Testament prophet was spot-on when speaking on behalf of his god Yahweh lamented that “my children perish for lack of knowledge”, HOSEA 4:6.

The paradox is that the digital divide both on the continent of Africa and in Botswana is as glaring as ever. Only four out of ten people in Africa have Internet access and according to the global business data platform Statista, which has insights and facts about 170 industries and more than 150 countries, Botswana has an Internet penetration of only 47.5 percent. It lags 20 other countries on the continent, who include Kenya (the continental leader at 87.5 percent); Mauritius (67 percent); Nigeria (61.2 percent); Swaziland (57.3 percent); Zimbabwe (56.5 percent); South Africa (55 percent); and Zambia (53.7 percent).

A study by the Mc Kinsey Global Institute postulates that if Internet use proliferates in Africa at the rate mobile phones did in the early 2000s, the continent stands to add as much as $300 billion to its economic growth by 2025. The World Bank also says achieving universal, affordable, and good quality Internet access in Africa by 2030 will require an investment of $100 billion. In Botswana, the National Broadband Strategy (NBS) aims to achieve universal broadband by 2023. It is aligned to BOCRA’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, whose main goal is to deliver the NBS aims at an affordable price tab. Is the time frame realistic?

THE PRICE OF AN ARM AND A LEG!

For universal Internet access to be tenable, first both the access and the medium of access have to be affordable to every literate person out there. Sadly in Botswana, smart phones, which allow for Internet access anywhere where there is a cellular network, do not come cheap. The asking price at the very least is upwards of a thousand Pula. That is a prohibitive price for the greater majority of our population who struggle to eke out a living just to keep body and soul together. The likes of BOCRA and BoFiNet should help out here by subsidising the price of these devices, at least for a period of time till economies of scale result in a natural reduction of the price.

As for the going price of Internet access in Botswana presently, a study of 228 countries earlier this year by cable.co.uk found that Botswana was among the 14 most expensive countries in this regard. I can attest to this myself as I have to fork out a minimum of about P400 a month to enable me the use of the Internet without any hiccup save for the sporadic network downage or the now endemic power outages. To many a people, P400 a month amounts to the proverbial cost of an arm and a leg as it constitutes a substantial proportion of average monthly income. In countries such as Egypt and Mauritius, one can have Internet use every day of the week at any time of the day for only 0.5 percent and 0.59 percent of average monthly income.

In a bid to ameliorate the prohibitive Internet access price in our country, the University of Botswana was forced to shell out a whopping P7.8 million to provide the student populace with free SIM cards to enable them download teaching material under the restrictive COVID-19 climate. Botho University also entered into an arrangement with Orange whereby their students could have online access to learning materials and teaching instruction at only P2 a day, P10 a week, or P30 a month, though data was capped at 200 megabytes a day. Both these initiatives by two of the country’s premier institutions of higher education must be lauded.

If the cost of mobile broadband data has to organically come down drastically, it is essential that we move from a consolidated market – the triopoly of Mascom (with 51 percent market dominance), Orange (34 percent), and Be-Mobile (15 percent) we have in Botswana – to a multi-operator market. In its latest annual report, BOCRA reports that in 2018, the three operators had combined revenues of P4.4 billion and combined profits of P826 million. One wonders why this rather brisk bottom line does not translate to a proportionate paring down of the consumer price or does it have to do with the fact that the operators’ greed knows no bounds?

BOTSWANA NEAR TAIL-END OF GLOBAL BROADBAND SPEED LEAGUE

If the truth may be told, Internet speed in Botswana is no longer as glacially slow as it was a year or two back. That does not mean it is lightning swift. In fact, it is among the slowest both on the globe and on the African continent.  At the download average of 1.92 megabytes per second (mbps), Botswana ranks 165th in the world and is 22nd in Africa according to statistics furnished by cable.co.uk. Our case is all the more stigmatic as we trail even comparatively poorer countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Sudan.

Taiwan has the fastest Internet in the world at 85.02 mbps, followed by Singapore at 70.86 mbps. Whereas it would take 22 hours for one to download a 5 gigabyte movie in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, the worst-ranked African country, and 6 hours for Botswana, it would take only 8 minutes in Taiwan.  In Africa, it is not South Africa (8.4 mbps, 75th in the world), the wealthiest country, which leads the pack. It is Madagascar at 22.57 mbps (33rd globally). This is one of the poorest countries on Earth, with four out of every four citizens living on less than $2 a day.

Botswana in fact is way below the minimum speed of 10 mbps required for consumers to fully participate in a digital society according to tech experts. I need not emphasise that time is money. It is time BOCRA and BoFiNet saw to it that we pulled up our socks in broadband speed to serve on trawling time. Regrettably, in Botswana things move very slowly and it will probably be another ten years or so before we come to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Madagascar. As for ever catching up with Taiwan, well, the less said the better.

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The Babylonian Captivity Ploy

19th October 2020

Nebuchadnezzar has the Jews exiled to his own domain to sabotage Jerusalem’s prospects of hosting King Anu, “Our Heavenly Father”

In 590 BC, General Atiku, King Zedekiah decided he would no longer be the puppet of Babylon. Just like Nebuchadnezzar, he wanted to be in full and unmitigated control of the Holy City in the event King Anu pitched. But he was under no illusion he could throw off the yoke of Babylon singlehandedly. So in the fourth year of his reign he – once again against the advice of the far-sighted prophet Jeremiah – joined a coalition that was being formed by Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon resist Nebuchadnezzar.

Upon getting wind of the rumours of this scheme, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Zedekiah to Babylon to administer to him a warn and caution statement but it seemed he took no heed. The following year, Nebuchadnezzar decided to pounce: he captured all the cities of Judah except three, one of which was Jerusalem and which he proceeded to besiege for the third time.

Finding himself in dire straits, General, Zedekiah made an alliance with Pharaoh Apries of Egypt and indeed the latter rushed to reinforce him. In the ensuing lull in hostilities, Nebuchadnezzar pulled a stunt by lifting the siege and Apries withdrew. No sooner had Apries done so than Nebuchadnezzar hemmed in on Jerusalem once again: Zedekiah was on his own. Jerusalem was under siege from January 587 to July 586 BC. The following, General, are the circumstances and aftermath of the siege according to one chronicler:

“Conditions in the city became increasingly desperate. Although the people had had time to prepare, their food supplies eventually began to run out. Cannibalism became a grim reality. Despite Jeremiah’s counsel to surrender, the King refused to do so and just as the last of the food in the city was exhausted the Babylonians broke through the wall.

“Zedekiah fled with remains of his army, but was overtaken and captured near Jericho. From there, he was brought before Nebuchadnezzar at his field headquarters at Riblah, his sons were executed in front of him, and he was blinded. From there, he was taken in chains to Babylon. The key members of his cabinet were executed before Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah shortly afterwards.

“A large part of the population of Jerusalem was put to the sword and everything of value plundered. The bronze articles from the Temple were cut up and removed and the building together with the palace and the important houses were set on fire.  “In order to ensure that the city would never rebel against him again, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the Imperial Guard, ordered that the walls be demolished. All who survived in the city were carried off into exile in Babylon, with the exception of the very poor of the land.

The starving population exchanged whatever riches they had left for food, its leadership and priesthood were gone and the Temple burnt. The Babylonians soldiers oppressed the survivors and forced them to work for their food.” The remnant of poor people that were spared, General, were meant to serve as farmers and wine dressers. These people had previously been landless peasants and presented the least risk to the Babylonians, but were required to work the land to prevent the fields falling into disuse.

WOULD KING ANU CONDONE NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S ACT?

Nebuchadnezzar was not the first King to deport a people from their own country, General. The pace was actually set by the Assyrian King Adad Nirari I (c. 1307-1275 BC), who thought the best way to prevent any future uprising was to remove the occupants of the land and replace them with Assyrians. But Nebuchadnezzar, General, had an ulterior motive for the deportations, which only the “Illuminati” of the day were privy to. He wanted to make Jerusalem desolate and decrepit so that when King Anu arrived, he would avoid it like the plague and instead focus on the glittering Babylon.

His aim was to kill off entirely the competition posed by Jerusalem. Says Zechariah Sitchin: “The expectation, it seems, was that the arriving god (Anu) of the Winged Disk (symbol for planet Nibiru) would come down at the Landing Place (Baalbek) in Lebanon, then consummate the Return by entering Babylon through the new marvelous Processional Way and imposing Ishtar Gate.”  But in the event that he indeed pitched, would the pro-Enlilite Anu take kindly to being deflected to a city (Babylon) other than Jerusalem when it had been specifically designated for his ultimate hosting on the planet by virtue of its geometrical centrality?

Having taken over Nippur’s prediluvial role to serve as Mission Control Center after the Deluge, Jerusalem was located at the center of concentric distances to the other space-related sites. Aptly calling it the “Navel of the Earth” (EZEKIEL 38:12), the prophet Ezekiel had announced that Jerusalem had been chosen for this role by God himself. “Thus has said the Lord Yahweh: ‘This is Jerusalem; in the midst of the nations I placed her, and all the lands are in a circle round about her,” EZEKIEL 5:5. “Determined to usurp that role for Babylon,” Sitchin further notes, “Nebuchadnezzar led his troops to the elusive prize and in 598 BC captured Jerusalem.”

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXILE SITUATION

Altogether, General, the Babylonian captivity – the deportation of the Nation of Israel to Babylon – spanned 70 years counting from the first deportation of 598/597 BC.  Meanwhile, Judah was renamed Yehud Province by the Babylonians and a puppet Jewish governor was appointed to administer it. (The post of King was abolished, making Zedekiah [reign: 597-586 BC] the last substantive linear King of the Jews.) His name was Gedalia, whose father had been an advisor to King Josiah (reign: 640-609 BC).

Gedalia set up his capital not in Jerusalem but in Mizpah. That, plus the fact that he didn’t have a drop of Davidic blood in him, made him a marked man to Jewish nationalists and traditionalists from the word go. Not long after his appointment, Gedalia was assassinated by a family member of the deposed king Zedekiah. From that point on, General, no Jewish governor was installed until after the end of the Babylonian captivity.

Exactly what were the circumstances of the deportees, General? The image that immediately comes to mind is that of a concentration camp kind of setting reminiscent of the Jewish people’s fate at the hands of Nazi Germany. That, General, is a gross misconception. In Babylon, the Jews enjoyed every privilege, including citizenship if they so desired. They were not enslaved or in bondage of any kind. Their own individual abilities were even tapped into to help advance Babylon in one way or the other.

Reading PSALM 137:1–2, the surface impression one gets, General, is that the Jews in Babylon were beset by a most disagreeable set of circumstances. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion (Jerusalem). There on the poplars we hung up our lyres.” Well, that was pure nostalgia, which is a natural impulse when a people have been displaced, General. A notable historian presents to us the more accurate picture in the following words:

“The deportees, their labour and their abilities, were extremely valuable to the Babylonian state, and their relocation was carefully planned and organised. We must not imagine treks of destitute fugitives who were easy prey for famine and disease: the deportees were meant to travel as comfortably and safely as possible in order to reach their destination in good physical shape.

Whenever deportations are depicted in Babylonian imperial art, men, women and children are shown travelling in groups, often riding on vehicles or animals and never in bonds … Deportees were carefully chosen for their abilities and sent to regions which could make the most of their talents. Not everyone in the conquered populace was chosen for deportation and families were never separated. Those segments of the population that had actively resisted the Babylonians were killed or sold into slavery, but the general populaces became absorbed into the growing empire and were thought of as Babylonians.”

Another historian has this to say, General: “It is assumed that the Jews had to render labour to the Babylonians, but generally they enjoyed a great deal of freedom. Some of the exiles, like Daniel and his three friends, rose to positions of power within the Royal Court of Babylon and many others became wealthy. Later, during the Persian period Jews like Mordecai, Esther, and Nehemiah all found themselves in key positions in the government and were able to act on behalf of their people because they took Jeremiah’s advice.” Indeed, General, Nehemiah rose to become the cup-bearer of the King, that is, the King’s most trusted official.

The King-in-exile himself, Jeconiah, enjoyed particularly special privilleges both when he was in prison and after his release. Captive kings and high-ranking officials received monthly rations of grain and oil. Archaeological evidence recovered from the Royal palace in Babylon provides support for Jeconiah’s presence there and lists the daily rations set aside for him and the members of his family.

The Bible itself, General, does not shy away from underscoring Jeconiah’s privileged status in Babylon as highlighted in JEREMIAH 52:31-34 thus: “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jeconiah King of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became King of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jeconiah King of Judah and freed him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jeconiah put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the King’s table. Day by day the King of Babylon gave Jeconiah a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.”

 

JEREMIAH PAINTS SORRY PICTURE OF MARDUK’S FATE

The destruction of Solomon’s Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, General, was according to the Bible the ultimate blasphemy. Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah under whose auspices the Temple was built, was not in the least bit amused. He straightaway had the prophet Jeremiah step forward and pronounce the comeuppance both on the King and his colossal empire.

Now, biblical prophecies, General, should not be taken at face value. Their fulfillment were documented after the events they purported to foretell had already taken place, not before they happened. Much of the Old Testament corpus was compiled in the 6th century BC, during and after the Babylonian captivity (the Book of Malachi, the last prophet, was written circa 400 BC, and the Book of Daniel was compiled just after 164 BC). So we have to bear that in mind, General, when we read of fulfilled prophecies so that we decide whether to contemplate the story warily or give it the benefit of the doubt.

Jeremiah announced that the destruction of the Temple was going to be avenged by Yahweh (JEREMIAH 50:28). In addition, Adad instructed him to make the following proclamation: “Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, do not conceal it, say: Babylon is taken; withered is Bel; confounded is Merodach … For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away.” – JEREMIAH 50: 1-3.

Jeremiah, General, made this statement circa 561-60 BC. It can be easily dated because it was in this timespan that Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, was on the throne. Jeremiah served notice to the world that Babylon was to be supplanted by a new power from the north, who turned out to be Persia. Jeremiah also spelt out the imminent fate of the Babylonian god Marduk, who was also known as Bel, meaning “The Lord”: he was to “wither”, or cease to be a factor in the affairs of mankind. In the case of Merodach, all Jeremiah said of him was that he was to be “confounded”, that is, so overwhelmed by problems as to lose a sense of focus. One wonders, General, why Jeremiah, if he was the great prophet he was touted to be, didn’t foresee the assassination of Merodach and directly allude to it in his prophecy.

The prophet Daniel says in his waning days, Nebuchadnezzar had his mind taken away and ate grass like an ox. This, General, is a fanciful story which is found only in the Bible and nowhere in the Babylonian annals. “There is no independent support for the tradition in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years’ madness, and the story probably arose from a fanciful later interpretation of texts concerned with events under Nabunaid, who showed apparent eccentricity in deserting Babylon for a decade to live in Arabia,” says Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Meanwhile, did Marduk indeed get to wither, General?

NEXT WEEK: FROM EXILE TO EXIT

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Understanding Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework: Industrial Action

19th October 2020

In Botswana, the Trade Disputes Act, 2016 (“the Act”) provides the framework within which trade disputes are resolved. This framework hinges on four legs, namely mediation, arbitration, industrial action and litigation. In this four-part series, we discuss this framework.

In last week’s article, we discussed the second leg of Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework-arbitration. In this article, we discuss the third leg, namely industrial action.

Industrial action is generally defined as a situation where the employer and employees use their bargaining power to exert pressure on the other to achieve a particular result. It entails such things as strikes and lockouts.  In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, Industrial action means “a strike, lockout or action short of a strike, in furtherance of a trade dispute”.

In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, “a strike means the cessation of work by a body of employees in any trade or industry acting in combination or under a common understanding or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding by such body of employees to continue work.”

A lock-out is the employees’ equivalent of a strike. In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, a lock-out is defined as “ the closing of a place of employment by an employer in any trade or industry or the suspension of work by such an employer or the refusal by such an employer to continue to employ any number of his or her employees in that trade or industry.”

While on a strike, employees use their numbers to inflict economic pain on the employer by withdrawing their labour, in a lock-out, the employer uses its power by not providing employees with work, thereby inflicting economic harm on them in terms of the ‘no-work, no pay’ principle.
In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, an action short of a strike means “any method of working (other than the method of working commonly known as working to rule) undertaken by a body of employees in any trade or industry acting in combination or under a common understanding, which method of working slows down normal production or the execution of the normal function under their contracts of employment, of the employees undertaking such method of working.”

In terms of section 42(1) (a) of the Act, it is obligatory to refer a dispute of interest for mediation before resorting to a strike or lockout. Also, in terms of section 42(1) (b) of the Act, a party must give the other party a 48-hour notice before the commencement of a strike or lockout. In terms of section 43(1) of the Act, before a strike or lockout commences, the parties have to agree on the rules regulating the action, failing which the mediator must determine the rules in accordance with any guidelines published in terms of section 53 of the Act.

These rules include those concerning the conduct of the strike or lockout and any conduct in contemplation or furtherance of the strike or lockout including picketing and the use of replacement labour. In terms of section 43(2) of the Act, the latter is, however, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of the Act.

Employers are not allowed to engage replacement labour if the parties have concluded an agreement on the provision of a minimum service. In terms of section 43(3) of the Act, such prohibition also applies if no minimum service agreement is concluded within 14 days of the commencement of the strike or lockout.

In terms of section 43(4) of the Act, a trade union is allowed to picket outside the employer’s premises during a strike or lockout if the parties have concluded an agreement on the provision of a minimum service or if no such agreement is concluded within 14 days of the commencement of the strike or lockout.

The Act prohibits strikes and lockouts that do not comply with the aforesaid provisions or an agreed procedure. The prohibition also applies if the strike or lockout is in breach of a peace clause in a collective labour agreement.

In terms of section 45(1) of the Act, strikes or lockouts are also regarded as unprotected if the subject matter of the strike or lockout is not a trade dispute, is regulated by a collective labour agreement, is a matter that is required by the Act to be referred for arbitration or to the Industrial Court for adjudication, or is a matter that the parties to the dispute of interest have agreed to refer for arbitration.

In terms of section 47 of the Act, employees in essential services are not allowed to take part in a strike. Similarly, employers in essential services are not allowed to take part in a lockout. It is, however, worth noting that, although an essential service employee who engages in a strike commits an offence and is, in terms of section 48(1) of the Act, liable to a fine not exceeding P 2 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both, there is no punishment for an essential service employer who locks out its employees.

In terms of section 48(2) of the Act, the punishment applicable to an essential service employee who engages in a strike, is also applicable for any person who causes, procures, counsels or influences any essential service employee to engage in a strike.

Where there is a trade dispute involving parties in an essential service, it should be reported to the Commissioner by an organisation acting on behalf of the employer, employers or employees. The provisions of section 6(3) apply in respect of a report of the trade dispute made in accordance with section 6 (1).

Where a trade dispute is reported in accordance with that section, it is deemed to have been reported to the Commissioner under section 6. Where there is failure to settle a trade dispute reported to the Commissioner in accordance with section 6 (2) within 30 days from the day on which the trade dispute was reported, the Commissioner may immediately refer the trade dispute to an arbitrator if the dispute is a dispute of interest, except in the case of a collective dispute of interest where the employees are represented by a trade union, or to the Industrial Court if the trade dispute is a dispute of right.

*Ndulamo Anthony Morima, LLM(NWU); LLB(UNISA); DSE(UB); CoP (BAC); CoP (IISA) is the proprietor of Morima Attorneys. He can be contacted at 71410352 or HYPERLINK “mailto:anmorima@gmail.com” anmorima@gmail.com

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