Messiah

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The only non-Jew to be granted the title “Messiah” (Anointed by the Lord) was Cyrus the Great.  It was Cyrus who defeated the neo-Babylonian empire and entered Babylon on this day in the year 540BC.

He freed the Jews from their slavery “by the rivers of Babylon” and permitted them to return to Zion.

Amongst his many titles Cyrus was called “King of the four corners of the world”.

Looking at a map of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus I can now reveal where the four corners of the earth lie.

North West corner is the Dardanelles in Asian Turkey, guarding the entrance to the Bosphorus.  This was the site upon which the Allied soldiers died in their thousands during the Great War.

South West corner is on the coast of Judea just before the Sinai desert, around where modern day Gaza city lies.

North East corner is just about where Kantubek lies on the Aral Sea.  It is an abandoned site where the USSR used to test biological weapons.  It has pride of place as the largest Anthrax dumping ground in history.

South East corner is the Pakistani port of Gwadar in Baluchistan province.  The town name means “gateway of the wind”.

What made Cyrus great was not his conquests, but his retention of his conquests.  He set up an administrative system that endured long beyond his passing.  Alexander the Great defeated the Achaemenid Empire, but in deference to excellence he strove to maintain the established system of government.  To the horror of many of his Macedonian generals Alexander “went native” and became a Persian.  He married a Persian wife, Roxanne (Roxana).

Before Cyrus the lands were ruled by dynastic kings and their noble families, supported by the concept of divine right.  Cyrus gave the job of provincial governorship to non-royals.  It was a meritocracy.  What he effectively established was the first “Civil Service”.

When you look at today’s map of the world of Cyrus one must marvel at his skill in holding together such a diverse empire.  The land today contains the countries of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Oman and the UAE.  If any modern leader could unite this area into a peaceful economic bloc they also would deserve the title “Great”

Part of his greatness was tolerance.  He was protective of the rights, customs, traditions and religions of his subject peoples.  The repatriation of the Jews was a strong example of this in practice.  Tolerance, acceptance, pluralism, qualities that seem thin on the ground in today’s Middle East.

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War on Terror

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On this day, Sept 29th in the year 61 BC Pompey the Great celebrated his third and final triumph for his victories over the Pirates and Mithridates.  His war against the Pirates is seen by many to be the Roman equivalent of the “War on Terror”.  Basically an elaborate political sham which sets up an un-winnable conflict which results in putting a lot of money in the hands of a small number of individuals, and securing political positions for a number of years.

Pompey used the “War on Pirates” to secure his most extraordinary command ever.  He was given pro-consular imperium over all of the seas from Gibraltar to Judea, and over the coastlines for 50 miles inland in every province, for the purpose of “hot pursuit” of pirates.  This gave him senior authority over the governors of the coastal provinces for the purpose of this campaign.

He ostensibly swept the seas free of pirates, making him the “First man in Rome” and securing for him the juicy task of the war in the East against the fabulously rich empire of Mithridates.  In reality Pompey drove many of the “Pirates” out of their towns and cities, and then negotiated with them for their “peaceful” return as loyal subjects of Rome.  This status involved payment of hefty fines and tributes to Pompey and his Legates.

It was nothing if not a masterstroke.  I wonder, what was the Roman equivalent of Halliburton and Lockheed-Martin?

The truth is, the so called “war on terror” is simply the realisation of George Orwell’s 1984.  The principle that “War is Peace”.  By keeping the populace focused on a constant shifting state of war, against an enemy that is impossible to beat, those who wield power can quash any serious attempt to oust them from their positions.  If the opposition organise in any meaningful way, simply raise the “threat level” to orange and red, drive through some new law, and arrest the leaders as terrorists.

The trigger for the ancient Romans was the grain supply.  For modern Americans the trigger is the oil supply.  It costs a lot of public money to keep those privately owned oil tankers running.  The working man pays taxes to keep an aircraft carrier on station in the straits of Hormuz.  As long as the oil flows the oil barons continue to line their wallets.  They make political donations in the right places to keep the wheels greased.

So what happens if the environmental groups lobby for better energy management and for the US to be energy solvent?

You can get the CIA or FBI or Secret Service to blow up a large public building in New York you will have a queue of terrorist organisations lining up to claim responsibility.  If you don’t find one even better, make one up.  You can spend decades trying to track down a terrorist organisation that never existed.

As long as people look to the sky in fear of the next attack they will not worry about pithy concerns like gas mileage, CO2 production, low level ozone, blower tests or deep water drilling.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.………………………………….George Orwell