In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Ben Hoffman a Canadian who lives near Ottawa, came to peace negotiations though prison administration in Ontario. His formal studies in peace and conflict continued in the US at the Fletcher School and at Harvard. He was recruited to the Carter Centre in 2000.
When he left he continued working in peace negotiations in Africa and is co-founder of Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation.
Rebels, Spies And
Some Good Guys
When children are being slaughtered can peace guerrillas help?
Ben Hoffman is a prominent peace negotiator specializing in intractable African conflicts. In working with The Carter Centre founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, he was embroiled in a high wire and terrifying negotiation.
Joseph Kony, a violent rogue thug in Uganda with his own militia, was abducting child soldiers and terrorizing the population. Kony achieved world notoriety when he abducted Aboke schoolgirls and held them hostage.
The political situation complicated the misfortune of the young girls and their distraught parents. To the fury of Uganda, Sudan provided safe harbour to Kony and his army. Meanwhile, Uganda supported Sudan’s Rebel militia led by the brutal John Garang and his Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
Ben Hoffman writes a vivid and revealing memoir of negotiations with the four parties. There is tension when he travels deep into the African bush to meet face to face with Kony. There are insights on every page on topics ranging from negotiating techniques, US diplomacy and African leadership. And there is the heartbreak of failure and its tragic consequences.
Ben Hoffman has written a remarkable memoir that will become a classic in the field of foreign affairs, African Studies, US foreign policy and violence prevention courses. Hoffman also illuminates the process of trying to deal with fearsome brutal leaders one would be afraid to have dinner with –and why we should do so. He discovers that a mediator must discard neutrality in favour of a bias for peaceful agreement. Above all, a mediator must wage peace with the same intensity as the guerrilla fighter pursues violent domination.