Thursday, July 15, 2021

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP via Wikipedia
Credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP via Wikipedia

Babylon, July 15 - Officials and local leaders reacting to the arrival in Mesopotamia of the continuing waves of forced Jewish emigration from Judah took pains today to repeat their message of welcome to the refugees from Emperor Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of their land, stressing that the newcomers can look forward to thousands of years of contingent tolerance, sporadic attempts to destroy Jews, and discriminatory treatment by their host nations, be they the current, Neo-Babylonian Empire, or any number of successor regimes ruling various parts of the Jewish Diaspora.

Crowds of Babylonians lined the roads of towns and cities across the region this week to greet Jewish refugees and those forced at swordpoint to leave their ancestral homeland, a massive population movement expected to continue for months, perhaps years, as Nebuchadnezzar's military mops up remaining Jewish resistance and determines whether to leave any Jews at all in Judah. The crowd called cries of welcome to the Jews, assuring the exiles that millennia of second-class status await them, during which the dominant powers will treat Jews as perpetual outsiders, at best tolerated and at worst, well, look what's happening right now.

The current wave, estimated at several million, significantly increases the number of Jewish exiles forced into Babylonia, eleven years after Nebuchadnezzar removed the vassal King Jechoniah of Judah and installed the latter's brother Zedekiah in his stead. The emperor deported large swaths of Judah's aristocracy along with Jechoniah, in an attempt to decapitate incipient insurrection. However, Zedekiah eventually revolted as well, prompting Nebuchadnezzar to order a full-scale invasion and reduction of every Jewish stronghold. Following suppression of Zedekiah's revolt, the military administration installed Gedaliah ben-Ahikam as governor of the troublesome province and its remaining inhabitants, but the long-term prospects of that arrangement remain uncertain.

Babylonian community leaders exhorted their constituents to make the Jews feel at home by reminding them they don't belong. "We do them a favor by not killing them, that's the main thrust of our welcome," explained Hamedatha the Agagite. "I just don't think people who hold this bizarre notion of a single deity behind all of reality can ever truly integrate into larger polytheistic society. So we can give this a few decades at most, I think - probably on the order of seven or so - but my prediction is their presence is just going to be a thorn in the side of right-thinking people and it's our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with it."


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