Whom Am I Fighting

Whom Am I Fighting

The primary result of fighting, as in war, is the loss of human life with devastating and irreversible outcomes, altering the future for generations to come. Homo sapiens have migrated to all parts of the earth. With the passing of thousands of years, the isolation between the various groups of humanity gave birth to different cultures exhibiting independent behaviors, belief systems, and even the development of dissimilar physical features. With communication between them near to or completely nil, there existed minimal or no influence upon each other, resulting in growing divergences between the developing nations. There are three major reasons why people fight: theft or greed, intolerance, and religious zeal. Fighting often occurs when one group takes something of value from another group; fighting can also be the result of one people’s strong intolerance of another people due to their physical differences such as nose, eyes, or skin color. And finally, faith and belief systems by which lives are conducted frequently prove to be catalysts for aggression, leading to war, when misinterpreted or absolutely refused the right to exist by another group with a differing belief system. Our book, The Black Angel of the Lord, involves all three motives for fighting among men. First, the powerful nation of Assyria believes they have the right to dominate and control other nations, taking what they deem is rightfully theirs. Second, the Nubians, who live in a land stricken with drought, become vulnerable to manipulation and are eager to accept the idea that a strange and treacherous people, who look unlike themselves, caused the drought and the deaths of their loved ones. And third, the Hebrew people believe so strongly in their one true God that nothing will alter their faith. As the three realms meet, a tremendous battle ensues. Thousands of lives are lost. A nation’s faith is challenged, and the consequences will determine the path of history. That was 2700 years ago and yet, we continue to fight wars to this very day. . If we took time to communicate, to understand other people and their beliefs, would we still be fighting? Is there no alternative to...

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Myth and Culture Connected to the Golden Reed

Myth and Culture Connected to the Golden Reed

Golden reeds play an important role in our book, The Black Angel of the Lord. I suspect most people know very little about this plant in the grass family; it grows in several wide spread areas of the world near wet habitats such as swamps and marshes. Perhaps the oldest and best known sites where the reeds grow are in Northern Africa. The giant reeds have a thick stalk similar to the corn plant and may reach heights of 20 to 25 feet, sporting a loose plume at the top. The rare and highly sought after Golden Reed is the crown jewel of all reed plants. When the sunlight strikes it at a given angle in conjunction with a gentle breeze, the plumes display a brilliant golden sparkle, making it a beautiful sight to behold. Thousands of years ago the reed plant became a vital part of African culture. Through a multitude of generations the elders told the creation story of their original ancestor in which the first human being emerged from a primordial reed that split lengthwise in a bed of golden reeds, and mated with the native virgin girls he found dancing in the wild, thus creating mankind as we know it today. All reeds symbolize the power that is vested in nature, but the golden reeds reflect a deeper spiritual connection with nature. This story seems to have originated somewhere is North-East Africa and has traveled with the people hundreds of miles across Africa through the centuries. Today the Swazi Zulu nation holds an annual festival celebrating this ancient ritual. One of the unmarried daughters of the king, or a high ranking elder’s daughter, is chosen as queen of the ceremony. She selects many virgins and leads them to where the reed plant is known to grow. The young virgins harvest long reed stalks and carry them to the wedding site to be placed at the feet of the queen. Several tribesmen may pick the queen for their bride but she will have the final say of whom she will marry. Singing and dancing follows and the virgins who participated in the harvest will all be chosen in marriage before the ceremony ends. It is considered a supreme achievement if the ceremony queen can locate the golden reeds. Golden reeds not only promise a happy marriage, they also foretell good luck, eternal happiness, excellent health, fertility, and they drive away evil spirits. In The Black Angel of the Lord, Carnabrara’s intense desire to obtain the blessings only the golden reeds promise, serves to push our story toward its closing...

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Nubian Influence Seen in Egyptian Art

Nubian Influence Seen in Egyptian Art

Did the once powerful nation of Nubia leave its mark on Egypt? We do not have to look far for evidence but we do need to look closely. The Egyptians were not shy when it came to hieroglyphics and art work disclosing their history so perhaps that is where we should start our investigation. The Egyptian method for expressing themselves did not change over the centuries so nearly all Egyptian art has the same general appearance and style. For example, human figures are consistently represented as brown to darker complexioned people. However, when examining this aspect of Egyptian art closely, we see that the pattern changed significantly in the 25th dynasty (800 B.C.-700 B.C.). People are depicted with dark to jet black skin, often wearing gold-hooped earrings, and with braided or extended hair featuring a long feather protruding from the top of the head. The usual depiction of art work in the 25th dynasty shows Negroid features with big lips, wide nose and prognathic in profile, a style very different from the customary Egyptian figures but one which more accurately reflects the Nubians’ African connections. Scientists can determine the period or dynasty in which various Egyptian art forms and hieroglyphics originated. Archaeologist Timothy Kendall discovered the name “Alara” on a fragmented hieroglyphic stela from the temple of Amun while studying ruins at Kawa near Upper Egypt, the location of many Egyptian temples. Kendall believes this is the same Alara who unified all of Upper Nubia from Meroe to the third cataract (one of six shallow-water locations in the Nile) and established Napata as the religious capital of Nubia. Though Alara himself was not a 25th dynasty Nubian pharaoh since he never controlled any region of Egypt, his two immediate successors, Kashta and Piye, were Pharaohs of Egypt. The historical records clearly identify the 25th dynasty in Egypt as being ruled by the Nubians, and recognizing the change in Egyptian art at the time of Nubian domination has shed new light on Nubian...

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Who Were the Nubians, Part 2

Who Were the Nubians, Part 2

In Who Were the Nubians, an earlier post dated 05/19/2014, we briefly discussed the arrival of the Hebrew people into Egypt and their experience there which eventually led them into slavery. After many decades of forced labor under the ruling Hyksos, the Hebrew Moses led his people on an exodus out of Egypt, but the entire population could not accompany him. Many Hebrews lived in Goshen and were not part of that expedition. Over time, they intermarried with local African tribes and formed a rising nation. They called themselves Nubians. The Libyans were one of the original ancient Egyptian tribes, and they challenged the Hyksos for power in 1570 B.C.E. Ahmose, a Libyan leader, pacified the Nubians and encouraged them into boycotting the shipment of cargo headed for Lower Egypt. His main manpower source came from Nubian mercenaries with their superior archery skills and the use of deadly poison arrows; this turned out to be a factor in his victory over the Hyksos. When Ahmose became Pharaoh following his victory, his policy toward their southern neighbors, the Nubians who helped him come to power, returned to the manner the Hyksos had treated them. Soon the Libyan Pharaohs, Thutmose III and Ramses II, led armed campaigns into Nubia for gold and ivory. Eventually the Nubian resistance grew stronger and after a period of time they built a capital city, Napata, and used their resources to assemble a massive army. Without the support of the south, Egypt was fractured and open for the taking. King Pianky led his Nubian forces north into Upper Egypt to create the largest Nile based empire to exist until the 19th century A.D. By 750 B.C.E., the Nile valley and some Asian Minor territories were under Nubian control. The Greeks came to trade with them and called them Kush, which means ‘men with burnt skin.’ Upon Pianky’s death, his son, Shabaka, became Pharaoh over Upper and Lower Egypt and Ethiopia. He moved his capital from Napata to Thebes in 716 B.C.E. With wealth, power, and control over Egypt, the Kushites (or Nubians) established the 25th Egyptian dynasty. The Nubian expansion did not just spread to the north. Colonies of Nubians went south, west, and northwest, covering most of Northern Africa. The Kushites who settled in these areas were mostly farmers who journeyed into vast unsettled regions with green vegetation and much wild life. Unlike their Nubian/Kush brothers who formed a strong community of cities and towns to the north and east, they did not have the luxury of nearby cities and towns. They had only limited physical contact with one another.  However, they shared a common heritage and developed a drum system that allowed them continuous...

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Upcoming Speaking Engagement

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

We are scheduled to share our story of co-authoring The Black Angel of the Lord Tuesday, July 8, 2:00 p.m. at the Gary Byker Memorial Library of Hudsonville, 3338 Van Buren Street, Hudsonville, MI. We will revisit the inspiration for the story and talk on the successful writing and production of our first novel. The Black Angel of the Lord provides an intriguing fictional account of details surrounding a biblical miracle where thousands of Assyrian soldiers were killed overnight. This event is open to the public. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase and...

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