Among the animals he forbade humans to eat was the pig and for rather valid reasons seemingly
The Bible gives the nod for mankind to eat human flesh. In other words, the Anunnaki, the gods of the Old Testament, told us it was okay to eat meatstuffs for as long as the animal from which they stemmed was on Ishkur-Adad’s approved list.BUT HERE IS THE PARADOX: MANKIND IS NOT ANATOMICALLY DESIGNED TO EAT MEAT. We eat meat not because it is a natural impulse: we do so purely by allure or habit. The fact that we have to cook the meat before we gorge on it is in itself a sufficient enough indicator that it is not natural for us to eat it. In fact, if mankind hadn’t discovered fire, he would be purely herbivorous today.
There are a whole host of attributes about us that militate against eating meat but I will cite only a few.First, we don’t have carnivorous (ordinarily meat-eating) teeth such as what the lion has, for instance. We belong to a family of the animal kingdom known as primates, the same family as apes, but even the canine teeth of our closest cousins, the chimpanzees, are larger, stronger, and sharper than ours.All apes eat mostly fruit, leaves, and other plant items as well as the occasional small mammal meat in the case of chimps: that’s all. We’re the odd one out in our family. True carnivores like lions and hyenas have large claws and sharp canines that can tear the raw flesh of a prey animal without the need of knives and folks like we do.
Second, compared to carnivores, we have a very long intestinal tract, about 20 feet compared to 5 feet for a lion.This is suited to a herbivorous diet, so that the body has ample enough time to break down fibre and absorb nutrients from plant-based food.The short intestinal tracts with respect to carnivores allow the food to pass through the alimentary canal much quickly in that in their case it is needless for the masticated meat to stay too long in there.
Third, our stomach acid is about of the same strength as that of herbivores. It is 20 times weaker than that of carnivorous animals who need strong acid to work on meat chunks and even on bits of bone in the case of a hyena for instance. Yet our “gods” gave us a pass to eat meat anyway despite the fact that we are innately vegetarian. The gods themselves were avid meat eaters all right and it must follow that since they created us in their own image and likeness, we can’t be the exception. But it must be borne in mind that we are not entirely like them: we are a hybrid, a mixture of Ape Man and they. Hence, whereas their physiology could be better-suited to processing meat, ours falls far short.
Maybe the fact that they encouraged oureating meat, something well at odds with our natural orientation,could be one of the many booby-traps they have strewn in our way – to ensure that our lifespans are much shorter than theirs and so further embed in us our perception of them as“deity”. For meat, it has been medically documented, is responsible for a whale of a lot of what is called food-poisoning and for certain cancers and chronic illnesses that ravage mankind.
ADAD DEMARCATES BETWEE CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS
The boundariesbetween which animals to eat (clean meat) and which not to eat (unclean meat) are set out in the 11th chapter of the Book of Leviticus.According to instructions given to Moses by Adad, Israelites were to eat the meat of an animal which met two conditions. First, the animal had to have a hoof split into two. Second, it had to be the kind that chewed the cud. (What relevance these two factors had to palatability Adad did not spell out). Animals that chew the cud are known as ruminants. They have four stomachs, the first of which is called the rumen. When a ruminant animal first swallows its food, the food, which is only sufficiently moistened and not munched upon, goes into the rumen.
Later, the food, known as cud (which simply means small balls of food), is returned to the mouth for thorough and sustained chewing which could go on for8 or more hours on end. The same food is then re-swallowed but this time around heads not back to the rumen but to the second stomach, the omasum. It does not return to the mouth thereafter.The above two conditionalities were absolute. If an animal chewed the cud but did not have split hooves, such as a camel for instance, it was unclean. By the same token, if an animal had split hooves all right but did not chew the cud, as is the case with a pig, it still was unclean.Examples of clean animals are cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, and antelope, which are very amenable to human taste.
Examples of unclean animals are pig, camel, hare, and rock badger. In the same unclean bracket belong small animals that scurry along the ground, such as rats, moles, gecko, chameleon, and lizards. For lizards for one, even larger ones such as crocodiles were forbidden. Furthermore, all animals that slithered along on their bellies, such as snakes and tortoises, were taboo.In the case of aquatic animals, only those that qualified as fish proper – those with fins and scales – were designated as clean.As for birds, Adad approved all except the eagle, vulture, kite, raven, ostrich, seagull, and owls.On the part of insects, Adad marked a cross againstwinged insects which walked along the ground. But if they walked along the ground and could at the same time hop or jump, such as locusts and grasshoppers, these could be eaten.
Having regard to the fact that human beings were fundamentally herbivorous and that certain species of flora had medicinal properties, Adad gave the green light for us to eatfruits from seed-bearing trees;anything that grew on plants that were not necessarily trees (such astomatoes, maize, and beans); and field plants such as herbs, roots,and green, leafy vegetables. Adad’s prescriptions and proscriptions with regard to foods affected only his chosen people, the Jews, not necessarily the entirety of the human race. It is no surprise, therefore, thattoday, different cultures of the world eat pretty much what they choose to.
Snakes are generally eaten in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, etc, and even in India in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.Americans take very special pleasure in stuffing themselves with rattle snake meat: they even hold a snake-eating festival where hundreds of snakes are killed and feasted upon. Africans revel in eating pythons. Nations that fancy dog and cat meat include the Chinese, Swiss, and Americans. In Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, monkeys arenot a uncommon feature on the dinner table.And of course Zambians and Batswana find caterpillars irresistiblyappetising. If people can eat animals Adad forbade without discernible detriment to their wellbeing,then we may as well treat the contents of Leviticus 11 as stemming from Adad’s own imperious whim and not necessarily as a medically-informed set of pronouncements.
THE MATTER OF THE PIG
“You are a pig!” is one of the not too rarest indignities a pissed-off person can hurl at his offender. Yet a pig is not that disagreeable or disreputable an animal:by the time you finish reading this section of the article, youwill have developed a little bit more respect for this delicious creature than you would ordinarily allow.To begin with, the pig can be a cause for envy just as anorganism, which almost rhymes with orgasm. Talking about orgasm, did you know thata pig’s orgasm can last between 40 to 90 minutes? This is no joke guys: it is even logged in The Guinness Book of Records. An average boar (a male pig) will sustain an ejaculation for up to 10 minutes and that is half a litre of jizz we’re talking about folks!
If we humans can literally be taken up into the 7th Heaven in a maximum orgasmic span of only 10 seconds, what could happen if the sensation raged on for 90 minutes? There would be screeches,shrieks, and screams issuing out of every enclosed space every minute of the day and our tear glandswould be emptied for hours at a time. A pig, on the other hand, unfailingly maintains its cool with an orgasm that lasts for one and half hours. That’s remarkable calm in a very tempting situation.The pig is also a most selfless animal as it takes very special pleasure in inviting its friends to participate in mounting its own mate. Humans do that only in movies, in Luciferian sex rituals, or when under the influence ofsense-scrambling drugs.
And thereputation a pig has as one of the dirtiest animals because it likes to grovel in the mud is notfair at all. Pigs don’t sweat: to compensate for that, they get to wallow in the mud. In fact, for your own information, a pig simply will never poop anywhere near where it lives or is eating unless it is kept in confinement. That does not sound like a slovenly reputation to me. BUT THE REASON I GREATLY VALUE THE PIG IS BECAUSE IT IS VERY ANATOMICALLY AND PHYSIOLOGICALLY SIMILAR TO MAN.It is for this reason that pigs have been used in medical research for decades now. Pigs are known as a translational research model. What that means is that if something works in a pig, it has a higher possibility of working in a human.
Pig hearts are used to study the anatomy of human hearts because they are very similar in structure, size and function to human hearts. Pig skin is so extremely close to human skin’s feel and structure that surgeons still use pig skin to aid burn recovery victims today. Human skin grafting with pig skinis particularly commonplacein the West. Talking about pig-skin, it looks almost human-like. This is nota coincidence folks: it’s purposeful. What most people do not realize when they feed on pork,brisket,ham, or various forms of pig meat, is that they are actually committing cannibalism!
REPTOID AND HUMANOID DYNAMICS
The story begins about700,000 years ago, when two races fought each other in a mutually destructive war right on planet Earth. This was the warof the Atlanteans, who were humanoids, and Lemurians, who were Reptoids.In that high-tech clash of the titans, which we have already written upon, both the continents of Atlantis and Lemurians were destroyed. The surviving Atlanteans left Earth for their original planet inthe Pleiades,but the surviving Reptoids, who unlike the Atlanteans were indigenous to Earth, retreated into a subterranean haven deep in the bowels of Earth.
Writes Stewart Swerdlow in his masterly work BLUE BLOOD,TRUE BLOOD: “Inner Earth became the ‘homeland’ for most of the surviving Reptoids of Lemuria. Here, they created a vast underground civilisation. This started the legends of hell and demons living in fire under the Earth. They built tubes containing fast, subway-like vehicles that can travel to any point on the Earth within a few hours. They created the famed underworld cities of Akkadia, Agartha, Hyperbolea, and Shamballa that are sought by explorers to this very day. These cities are built along the inside wall of the inner crust that lines the interior of the Earth.”
About 200,000 yearsafter the cataclysmic Atlantean-Reptoid showdown, another race of aliens arrived on Earth and took overall charge using brawn and bluster. These werefrom the Sirius and Orion star system though theyhad long colonised a Solar System planet known as Nibiru, which is seenonly once in 3600 years.These are what we essentially refer to as the Anunnaki,although strictly speaking every alien race is Anunnaki (Anunnaki simply means beings from outer space). The Anunnaki,like the Atlanteans, werehumanoids.
Many a time, the Anunnaki, led first by Alalu and later by Enlil, the principal Jehovah of the Bible,went to war with the Reptoids. These wars are not documented in the Sumerian records,but they are in the Sanskrit records and possibly in THE BOOK OF THE WARS OF YAHWEH, which is made mention of in the Old Testament and the apocryphal BOOKOF JASHER but which is lost to history. The Reptoids were iratethat like the Atlanteans before them, the Anunnaki had embarked on Project Adama – the creation by genetic engineering of an indigenous species of humanoids that broughtabout Adam and Eve – as they feared that this new species would take pride of place on the planet and relegate them to nonentities. On balance, the Anunnaki emerged victorious in these wars, resulting in the Reptoids being confined to their underground redoubt.
But the Reptoids did not take their sidelining and therefore their humiliation lying down. They decided to strike back in the most subtle of ways so that they could control the planet not directly as such but indirectly. Stewart Swerdlow: “The Reptoids developed a plan to insidiously retake the surface by blending their genetics with the genetics of the surface humans. Because the human prototype already had Reptoid genetics, it was easy to access the mind-pattern.The Reptoid frequency was already established in the brain stem as well as the Reptoid brain section of these hybrid humans. The population of Sumer was chosen as the starting point …
“The Reptoids have a preference for the genetics of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people whose mind-patterns and genetics are so easily controlled. They abducted members of the ruling classes, including political leaders. Using these humans, they began a new hybridisation program that took several generations to perfect. Their goal was to reach a human/Reptoid genetic 50/50 split. This would produce a human-looking Reptilian that could easily shapeshift from Reptilian to human, then back again. Shapeshifting was accomplished simply by concentrating on the genetics the hybrid wished to open, or lock up, whatever the case may be.”
HOW THE PIG CAME INTO EXISTENCE
In his classical 1945 satire on the ambivalences of Soviet communism,ANIMAL FARM, George Orwell chose the pig as the monarch of the animal kingdomand not any other. Seemingly, Orwell, who was very knowledgeable about the agenda and intrigues of the cabal, the force that rules the world behind the scenes as demonstrated by the prescience of his 1949 book titled 1984, was aware that the pig was no ordinary animal.
The hybrids who resulted from the Reptoid hybridisation programmeare what we today callReptilians. They became the elite of the human race and soon all monarchs and tribal chieftains everywherewere Reptilians. Since they had a substantial component of Reptoid blood, the Reptilians’ blood was copper-based and when copper-based blood is exposed to oxygen, it turns greenish-blue. As a result, Reptilians were also referred to as Bluebloods.VIRTUALLY ALL SUMERIAN DEMIGODS AND THE JEWISH PATRIARCHSWEREREPTILIANS WHO INVARIABLY INTER-MARRIED.
It was not easy, however, for Reptilians to maintain human form. “The Bluebloods quickly realized that with a 50/50 human/Reptoid genetic split, it was necessary to intermarry to maintain the 50/50 split bloodline necessary to shapeshift,” writes Stewart Swerdlow.“When the split increased too far to the Reptoid side, shapeshifting became difficult, and holding human form became impossible. In these cases, it was discovered that the ingestion of human hormones, flesh, and blood, allowed the Reptilians to maintain the human form. Human form was necessary to maintain to avoid scaring the population, which was now not accustomed to the Reptilian form.
Control of the masses was easier when the orders came from a humanoid.” From the above, you can now understand why human sacrifice was so rampant in antiquity and why it still goes on even in our day in closed-door Illuminati rituals. Reptilians need to feed on our flesh if they are to appear like us: otherwise, their Reptilian nature will become all too visible and therefore all too obvious.Now, human sacrifice wasessentially genocidal and theranks of the Anunnaki who werepro-human frowned on it. So they came up with a less obvious and less barbaric way ofachievingthe same end, an interim measure.
THIS WAS BY HAVINGTHE REPTILIANS FEED ON HUMAN HORMONES AND BLOOD IN AN ALTERED ANIMAL FORM ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, MEANING THE FEEDING ON HUMAN FLESH (IT STILL WAS NECESSARY) WOULD NOW BE DONE PERIODICALLYAND NOT ROUTINELY.The animal they chose for this purpose was the wild boar. The result was the creation, genetically, of an animal we today call the pig.
“The sacrificial animal used by most Middle Eastern people was the wild boar, so it was chosen as the basis for this new animal hybrid,”writes Stewart Swerdlow.“Human genetics were mixed with those of the wild boar to create the domesticated pig. This animal was served daily to the Bluebloods as a method of temporarily maintaining their human form until they could use an actual human in a sacrificial ceremony. Because the domesticated pig is a combination of human and animal genetics, eating it is a form of cannibalism.” Did you hear that folks? IF YOU HAVE EVER FED ON PIG MEAT, YOU HAVE BASICALLY TASTED HUMAN FLESH. Maybe Adad was right to declare a pig as an unclean animal after all.
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.
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?
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:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org