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Home » Columns »  Huwawa is Vanquished

Huwawa is Vanquished

Publishing Date : 13 November, 2017

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER   



...  as a gutsy Enkidu terminates the Terminator
 


Noting that Utu-Shamash was not returning as per schedule from a meeting with Mot, Inanna-Ishtar was perturbed. Scrambling into a flying saucer, she decided to follow after him just in case he had met with grave misfortune.

Arriving at Mot’s courts, she asked for her brother. The response she got from Mot was at once cheeky and ambiguous. “Am I your brother’s keeper Inanna? He was here alright a while ago but I cannot vouch for his whereabouts now.” Inanna knew Mot was spinning a yarn: Shamash’s flying saucer was within the vicinity and therefore he had to be around. She there and then threw up a tantrum, demanding that Mot produce her brother forthwith if he valued his life. The histrionics she put up bore fruit as Mot’s people informed her the two had engaged in “hand combat” and Shamash had been slain.


Inanna was wroth. Drawing on her skills as a martial artist and quivering with rage, she laid into Mot forthwith and downed him. Then reaching for a sword she had cleverly concealed under her clothing, she swung it and in a split second Mot’s head lay beside him with his eyes still staring. Then hollering at Mot’s officials like a heist man who has just staged a hold-up, she demanded, with steel in her voice, that they show her where her brother’s body was otherwise they would all be history.


The officials were wise enough to note the look of murder in Inanna’s eyes and therefore wasted no time in hearkening to her. Shamash’s lifeless body was immediately flown to Baalbek. At the same time, Ningishzidda, Enki’s genius son,  was alerted by radio to head for the same destination from where he was as a matter of life and death. Zidda did his “magic” and it worked since Shamash had been dead for less than three days. Within a month, he was fully recovered and was grinding again. As for Mot, it was curtains: he bit the dust alright. Apparently, Zidda wasn’t kin to apply the same reanimating techniques he had used on Shamash.


GILGAMESH WITNESSES ROCKET LAUNCH!


Coming back to The  Epic of Gilgamesh, we’re at a stage where Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk who was between two-thirds to three-quarters Anunnaki, at long last arrives at the Cedar Mountain and stands in awe of the magnificent Cedar trees. Gilgamesh, a grandson of Inanna, had undertaken the journey along with his bosom friend Enkidu with a view to access a shem, blast off to Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki, partake of King Anu’s Plant of Life and Water of Life, and consequently gain immortality like the Anunnaki were in the eyes of mankind. The trip was a perilous one in that whereas it had the blessings of Shamash, the god in charge of Baalbek, it had not been sanctioned by Ishkur-Adad, the god who oversaw Lebanon in its entirety and under whose political jurisdiction Baalbek fell.

Gilgamesh had arrived at Baalbek, the place where “one  could see Shamash rise up the Vault of Heaven”, late in the afternoon and therefore he and Enkidu decided to wait until the following morning before they made further inroads into the Cedar Mountain.  Accordingly, they pitched their tents right at the foot of the mountain and at nightfall retired to sleep. Sometime just before dawn, they were awakened by a “thunderous noise and a blinding light”.


Scrambling out of their tent, they stood amid their armed entourage in pitch darkness as they beheld an “awesome” spectacle yonder atop the Cedar Mountain. This is how Gilgamesh describes it in The Epic of Gilgamesh text:  “The heavens shrieked, the earth boomed.  Daylight failed, darkness came. Lightning flashed, a flame shot up. The clouds swelled, it rained death! Then the glow vanished; the fire went out. And all that had fallen had turned to ashes.”


Needless to say, what Gilgamesh and Enkidu had just witnessed was the launching of a shem– a shuttlecraft. Zechariah Sitchin superbly explicates the event thus: “One needs little imagination to see in these few verses (of The Epic of Gilgamesh) an ancient account of the witnessing of the launching of a rocket ship. First, the tremendous thud as the rocket engines ignited (‘the heavens shrieked’), accompanied by a marked shaking of the ground (‘the earth boomed’). 


Clouds of smoke and dust enveloped the launching site (‘daylight failed, darkness came’). Then the brilliance of the ignited engines showed through (‘lightning flashed’); as the rocket ship began to climb skyward, ‘a flame shot up’.  The cloud of dust and debris ‘swelled’ in all directions; then, as it began to fall down, ‘it rained death!’ Now the rocket ship was high in the sky, streaking heavenward (‘the glow vanished; the fire went out’). The rocket ship was gone from sight; and the debris ‘that had fallen had turned to ashes’.” The incident did not frighten or deter Gilgamesh: instead, he took it as reassuring evidence that he and Enkidu had come to the right place.    

THE FIEND MATERIALISES

To tell by the unperturbed way with which Enkidu and Gilgamesh had proceeded thus far, Shamash had done his utmost in smoothing the way for them. The fierce guards “who watch over Shamash as he ascends and descends”, whose “terror was awesome”, and whose “glance was death” were nowhere to be seen.  The “shimmering spotlight” that  “sweeps the mountains”  seemed to have wandered well away. By the same token, Enkidu had done a commendable reconnaissance job when he first came here for the first time around.


The two did not encounter a single living being standing sentry in the manner Lugalbanda did.  They were now very much poised to infiltrate their way into the silos in which the shems were kept. At daybreak, Enkidu and Gilgamesh got going. Using a map Shamash had supplied Gilgamesh with, the two made their way in the direction of a private, back door gate that was privy to the Anunnaki only, careful that they did not get into the cross hairs of “weapon-trees that kill”. 


Reaching the gate, the more daring Enkidu, who led the way, keyed in the access code provided by Shamash. There was an electronic click, some sort of green light. But it seemed Enkidu’s palm print did not match with what the computer picked up: the moment he tried to push the gate open, some electronic “punch” zapped him and he fell to the ground unconscious.  


A frantic Gilgamesh went  to work immediately. Using the paraphernalia Shamash had provided him, he managed to revive Enkidu but the damage, seemingly, had already been done: Enkidu remained numb.  He had no feeling from the neck downwards. Drawing upon the tips he had learnt from Enki, Enkidu asked Gilgamesh to fetch the roots of the plants that flourished around them. Gilgamesh did likewise and bent down to rub the nectar of the roots all over Enkidu’s limp body. This had the effect of making a “double mantle of radiance” emanate from Enkidu’s body (like the effect of Ormus) and by the 12th day, “paralysis left his body, impotence left the loins”.  Enkidu was one whole again and was raring to go but backwards rather than forwards.


Anxious that what had happened to him could also happen to Gilgamesh and maybe worse in his case, Enkidu suggested to Gilgamesh that they make no further attempts at opening the gate and that they retreat and beat a path back to Uruk.  Over the 12 days Enkidu had been an invalid, however, Gilgamesh hadn’t just lain idle: he had been ferreting around and in the process had stumbled upon a tunnel leading to the “enclosure from which words of command are issued”.


This was a chamber were the “Stone of Splendour”, the command centre that Shamash had installed,  was located. But there was a glitch: the tunnel opening was concealed with a natural overgrowth of trees and bushes as well as soil and rocks and what that meant was that there  was a job to be done before they pried open the tunnel.


“Do not stand by friend, “Gilgamesh implored Enkidu. “Take heart. Let us go down together.” Enkidu was galvanised and the two pressed on into the thick of the  forest. Reaching the cleverly camouflaged site under the convenient cover of darkness, the two, along with their henchmen, got down to work, with Gilgamesh’s team hewing down the trees, and Enkidu’s digging up the rocks. They had scarcely gotten into stride when they heard a noise not unlike the cascade of  water falling from a height. Then a beam of menacing light  engulfed them.     It was Huwawa!    

“I SHALL BITE YOUR WINDPIPE AND NECK”

Huwawa, a humongous mechanical robot with a human-like appearance and who was capable of moving on the ground as well as gliding in the void, threw a shudder into Gilgamesh and Enkidu. When he materialised at a distance of about 200 meters, Enkidu’s first instinct was to issue the cry, “Take cover” and everybody did likewise at once.


Then Huwawa, who was equipped with an electronic voice that sounded like Stephen Hawking’s synthesised voice, spoke out, even pronouncing forth Gilgamesh’s name: clearly, somebody was speaking through him from somewhere within the Baalbek nerve centre. Intelligence had already seeped through and the intruding twosome had long been anticipated. “You are so very small that I regard you as a turtle and a tortoise,” Huwawa boasted, sounding very sentient and rather  reasonable. “Were I to swallow you, I would not satisfy my stomach;


so I shall bite your windpipe and neck, Gilgamesh, and leave your body for the birds of the forest and for the roaring beasts.” Of course that was all programmed rhetoric: it was all metaphoric language for the damaged goods he would make of the duo once he had zapped them with his killer beam,


As the great android inched forward, Gilgamesh beheld him with searing alarm and trepidation, his heart thudding against his ribs. In those fraught moments, Gilgamesh considered that what Enkidu had told him was right: Huwawa was “mighty, his teeth as the teeth of the dragon, his face the face of a lion, his coming like the onrushing floodwaters. Most fearsome was his radiant beam, a killing force none could escape.”


Drawing nearer, the metallic monster demonstrated that he meant business. From the middle of his forehead, a killer beam shot out and traced a path of destruction that devoured the trees, grass, and thickets in the vicinity in a split second. The clearing that resulted exposed Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and their men like sitting ducks.  

Why did Huwawa’s killer beam vapourise vegetation but leave the men unscathed? It was all thanks to Shamash, who had emasculated Huwawa in advance of Gilgamesh’s arrival. Ordinarily, Huwawa operated at seven times his present strength but Shamash had electronically toned him down to about one-seventh of his strength. This tampering made Huwawa incapable of electronically harming anything with flesh and blood.


It also rendered him more susceptible to harm himself as he had been tactfully stripped of “six cloaks” and therefore he effectively had  six chinks in his armour.  But physically, he still was a formidable foe: just one single blow to any of the men lying supine to the ground would immediately draw the curtain on his life.  

ENKIDU SLAYS HUWAWA

As Huwawa loomed, the men from Uruk began to panic in the depressing knowledge that there simply was no way they could escape the clutches of this metallic beast. Just then, there was a sound of an approaching chopper and seconds later a message appeared on Gilgamesh’s timepiece. Alerted by the vibration of the wrist-strapped chronometer, Gilgamesh hastily brought his hand to the side of his head and read the text. It was Shamash. “Down from the skies spoke Divine Shamash,” The Epic of Gilgamesh says. The message read, “Do not try to escape; instead,  draw near Huwawa. You can take him on with the weapons in your possession.”


Enkidu and Gilgamesh immediately sprang to their feet, but were unable to venture just one step forward so terror-struck were they by the mechanical creature that leisurely approached. As the two hesitated, Shamash’s chopper swooped low and “raised a host of swirling winds which beat against the eyes of Huwawa”. There and then, “the radiant beams vanished, the brilliance became clouded”.  But the dreaded monster was still trudging forward anyway,  so determined was he to terminate the daring Earthlings.


Once again, Shamash texted a tremulous Gilgamesh. “Do not run,” he urged. “Let Huwawa come near you,  then throw the dust at his face”. This dust was not ordinary dust: it was a special-purpose, neutralising powder that Shamash had provided Gilgamesh with at the outset of his journey.


Ferreting in his pockets, Gilgamesh produced the powder, moved two to three steps closer to Huwawa, and flung the chemical into his nondescript face.  The effect was instantaneous: Huwawa stood rooted in one place, as if  he had been switched off, whereupon Gilgamesh gleefully observed to Enkidu, “He is unable to move forward, nor is he able to move back.” But the great machine monster had not given up the ghost yet.


Once again, he spoke up, this time imploringly, beseeching Gilgamesh to spare his life in exchange for any amount of the seemingly priceless cedars he’d love to get his hands on. Enkidu cautioned Gilgamesh to be wary that he was sweet-talked into docility by the wily monster.  "Finish him off, slay him!" Enkidu hollered out at Gilgamesh. Noting that Gilgamesh was scrupling, as if it was a blood-and-flesh being he confronted, Enkidu reached for an axe, edged forward, and struck Huwawa not once but several times. The monster toppled over, landing with a thud that “for two leagues (about 10 km) the cedars resounded with”. The legendary robotic beast was no more.


In Zambia’s most widely spoken language, Bemba, uwawa means “One who has fallen (from a pedestal of some sort)”. The related term  Iciwa, meaning  “The Fallen Fiend” refers to a ghost, a demon, an apparition, or a vampire. Clearly, it was the fall of Huwawa at the hands of Enkidu that informed these terms.

GILGAMESH  RILES INANNA

Now that the monster that was the most daunting barrier to the Abode of the Gods had perished, Gilgamesh and Enkidu decided to toast to their triumph by indulging in some revelry of sorts. But before they did that, they thought they needed to placate the gods, who had fashioned Huwawa, by according him their own improvisation of a hero’s send-off first thing in the morning. “Lest the gods be filled with fury at them, they set up an eternal memorial,” The Epic of Gilgamesh says. “The comrades cut down one of the cedar trees, made poles of it, and formed of them a raft with a cabin on it. In the cabin, they put the head of Huwawa and pushed the raft down a stream so that the Euphrates carries it to Nippur.”


That done, they stripped off and began to splash  about in a brook as they chanted songs of merriment. “Gilgamesh washed his grimy hair, polished his weapons.  The braid of his hair he shook out against his back. He cast off his soiled things, put on his clean ones. Wrapped a fringed cloak about, fastened with a sash.” The hunky king was scarcely done when Inanna, who seemed to possess the prescience to turn  up at just the most tantalising moment, descended in a chopper.


Apparently, she had been spying on Gilgamesh with a zoom lens and having watched him undress and bath, she was once again roused by his mighty joystick and his overall  virility. She there and then  invited him to bed her.  “Glorious Ishtar raised an eye at the beauty of Gilgamesh,” The  Epic of Gilgamesh relates. “‘Come, Gilgamesh,  be thou my lover,’  she entreated on her knees.   “‘Do grant me of thy fruitfulness: thou shalt be a husband, I shall be a wife. Come, let us enjoy your vigour! Reach out your hand and touch my vulva!’” As usual, she proceeded to outline a whole series of benefits that would be at the Uruk King’s disposal if he  hearkened to her advances.


But for the umpteenth time now, Gilgamesh rejected her. In recent times, she had made hobby of liquidating men who she invited to sleep with her on the anniversary of her husband Dumuzi’s death  when they failed to satiate her.  Gilgamesh alluded to this curious state of affairs in his spurn of her. “After the death of Dumuzi, the lover of your youth, thou hast ordained a wailing year after year,” he told her point blank.


“Which of your paramours pleased you all the time?” Gilgamesh went on to make mention of some of these poor folk whose death  she had caused latterly. They included  a shepherd who fell out of a flying craft; one strong man whose  lifeless body  she had unceremoniously dumped into a pit; and two men she had turned into a wolf and  frog respectively using supernatural means, one of whom her own father’s gardener. “And how about me?" Gilgamesh asked rhetorically.  “At the end, you will love me and then treat me just like them.” The Gilgamesh rebuff did not amuse Inanna at all. This time, she vowed somebody’s head was certainly going to roll. Exactly what was in store for Gilgamesh?
     
NEXT WEEK:  ENKIDU’S SORRY FATE

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