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The Arab Spring and the Seduction of the Western Left

category national | anti-capitalism | feature author Tuesday October 23, 2012 14:53author by An Draighnean Donn Report this post to the editors

The "Arab Spring" and The Seduction of the Western Left

Paper given at the First Annual Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi Day School, at the Dublin Offices of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, 33 Gardiner Place, Dublin, on the 20th of October, 2012. I wish to claim, in this paper, that the invasion of Libya set a new precedent in the co-option of Western Left into imperialist adventurism. Following the work of Jean Baudrillard, I will claim that the method used was the age old method of seduction.



The failure of anti-war movements to stop war is nothing new. There has never been a case of protest movements stopping a war. Even the Vietnam War, which eventually generated massive protests in the USA, was not halted by these protests, but only be the actual defeat of the US war machine in the field. In 1912, the Socialist parties met in Basle, Swizerland, to promise that they would not support their governments if war were to begin. But, once the patriotic drums of WW1 began to beat, these promises were forgotten, and most Socialist leaders, or mis-leaders, shamefully encouraged the Working Class youth of Europe out to the slaughter. For all this catalogue of failure, there has been a consistent and active anti-war movement, funded by the Left, in Europe and the USA, all down the decades. In 2003, half a million people marched in Washington against the Iraq War. Almost a million people marched in London. In many ways, a dramatic success. Of course, the war was not stopped, but, it can be claimed that the imperialist propaganda machine was severely weakened by such massive display of public rejection. Next time, the imperialists were going to have to be a lot smarter, a lot more seductive – and they were.

Of course, once the attack on Libya had begun, the Western media did what was always expected from it, and it generated and propagated the most wild propaganda against the Libya government and its leader that they could concoct. We had the laughable stories about Al Gaddafi giving Viagra to the Libyan Army, so that Libyan soldiers could go about raping peaceful protestors – a story picked up and repeated by Amnesty International. This story was straight out of the German soldiers eating Belgian babies catalogue – or the Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of 500 Kuwaiti incubators, even though there were only about 50 incubators in all of Kuwait at the time. Laughable as these stories are in hindsight, during the media frenzy for enemy blood, they are taken seriously by huge sections of the population, and they serve to weaken any attempt to criticise or oppose the war. From the very first days of the so called uprising in Benghazi, stories began to leak into the better Western newspapers, such as the Guardian, of the rounding up of Black people and their torture, lynching and burning to death. However, Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN, began to refer to the Black people being staughtered as Sub-Saharan mercenaries. So, that was all right then. The media had its fig leaf for supporting racist genocide. For all that, there were constant reports in the better newspapers (none of them Irish) of the disturbing fact that most of those being slaughtered were not in the military. They were, in fact, Black civilians, many of them migrant workers.

So, what was the reaction of the Western Left to all of this? The reaction was even more shameful than that of 1914, when the Working Class were betrayed by those who had promised them principled leadership. At least the various Socialist leaderships, in 1914, could claim that their nations were under attack. The Western Left had no such excuse in 2011, when Libya was being attacked. Here we had a small nation, of only six million people, under attack from the most devastating military power ever put together. The killing power ranged against Libya in 2011, was greater than anything that had been put in the field in either of the World Wars, or the Vietnam War. 120 Cruise missiles fired in the first few days, and then over 25,000 sorties by NATO military aircraft, over a nine month period. And all through, the Western Left cheered on the smashing of the Socialist state infrastructure and cheered on the racist lynch mobs. Even the noted thinker, Noam Chomsky, became a cheerleader for racist lynch mobs – downplaying the role of the Salafist gangs, and claiming that the rebellion was essentially peaceful. The Irish Anti-War Movement called for the freezing of Libyan state assets – used to pay for schools, hospitals, etc. – and for the using of these vital social funds to arm the so-called National Transitional Council (NTC), a tiny group of unknowns, who had spent the previous two decades in the USA, being groomed by the CIA to take power in Libya, and turn Libya into a US puppet state, with a privatization agenda. How could such a thing happen? How could the moral compass of the Western Left have collapsed, so disasterously, since 2003, when massive demonstrations had been organized to oppose war against Iraq – a state with an infinitely worse human rights record than Libya (which was about to recieve an award for Human Rights from the UN, only a few months before the invasion.) In the case of the Iraq War, all the usual media propaganda ploys had been used. Saddam was a brutal dictator. Certainly true. Saddam was a danger to his own people. Very often true. And then, to cap it all, Saddam was going to attack the West with Weapons of Mass Destruction. Complete bullshit, but effective enough on the minds of those who actually watch Fox News or CNN, which is, tragically, the majority of people. But for all that, the Left held its nerve, and organized massive protests against the war.

So, how could one imagine that by 2011, this same Left, would have become the cheerleaders for a genocidal, racist, campaign against a Socialist state, with one of the highest standards of living in the Developing World, and with a human rights record that was gaining widespread praise in the UN? Not to mention an advanced system of Direct Democracy.

At this point, we must discuss the art of seduction. As Baudrillard points out, in his book called Seduction, seduction is a play on fantasy. It is a promise, a false promise, to give the seduced his or her deepest wish, to make the fantasy come true. Usually, as Freud makes clear, we are dealing with primal fantasies, i.e. the fantasy of seeing and being part of that scene which we were, as children, so cruelly excluded from, i.e. the lovemaking of our parents. And what is the primal scene of the Western Left? What is that scene of joy and release that we are forever excluded from. None other than the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917. We are forever under the spell of Sergei Eisenstein’s great Soviet film, October 1917. The marching Workers in their tens of thousands, the police and soldiers disobeying their orders, and joining the Workers, as they valiently march on the Tsar’s palace of power. It doesnt matter that very little of all this actually happened, and that Eisenstein created a vision of the Storming of the Winter Palace that was a tribute to his own genius, rather than the facts of that night. None of that matters. For the last 90 odd years, we have been trying to recreate that primal scene, with our pathetic pickets and marches – where the organizers don’t even dare to mention overthrowing the bourgeois state, not to mind actually doing it. But then, all of a sudden, the Western Left was given everything it had ever fantasized about. Hundreds of thousands of people in Tunisia and Egypt, taking to the streets – just like in the movie – seeming to topple the dictators. What joy! For years we had been told that this sort of thing had died with Lenin. But, here it was, right before our eyes. And if the Arab countries could do it – so could we. Occupy Wall Street. Sure, didn’t it work in Tahrir Square?

And then Benghazi came on our TV screens. The people, rising up against a dictator. This was all too good to be true – but why look such a wonderful gift horse in the mouth? We need it to work, so we can show our own people, here in Europe, that it really can be done.
Seduction is not rape. It needs the complicity of its victim. It needs the victim to want to be seduced. Indeed, it is the victim that dictates the terms on which the seduction will take place. The Arab Spring happened, because this was how the Western Left wanted to be seduced.

It is often noted that TV News only became popular after colour TV came into being. The Vietnam War was a black and white war. People could not bear to look at it. Black and white seduces. Black and white is always something less than reality. Seduction is always something less than reality. It leaves something to be desired. You cannot see the picture, unless you fill in the gaps, unless you become complicit in the creation of the picture. Black and white draws you into the middle of the horror. Black and white is always horrific, always seductive. Colour is not like that. It is too real. It is more than reality. It leaves nothing to the imagination. It leaves nothing to be desired. One can sit quite happily in front of a colour TV, watching the mutilated bodies of children, while you eat your TV dinner. Because you are not implicated, you are not seduced, you are excluded from the horror – pushed away from it, by the excess of information.

Baudrillard wrote a book called The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. He analyses the way that the extreme media overdose of information leaves the TV viewer with a total sense of unreality. This is war reduced to the level of a computer game. For the Western viewer, no real person is being killed or hurt. All that is happening is that images are being created. Even the US soldiers in Iraq rarely saw the murderous result of their actions. They too saw the war through their video equipment.

While the Gulf War was a colour TV war, it could be said that the Arab Spring was in seductive black and white. When the violence broke out in Benghazi, in February 2011, the Libyan government invited international observers and media to travel to Benghazi to see what was happening. Very few took up the offer. That was not the plan. Tunisia and Egypt had nicely set the scene, and the imperialist powers had no intention of disturbing that scene with the truth of violent, racist, Salafist, gangs in collaboration with the CIA and the Gulf dictatorships, murdering ordinary police and soldiers and any Black person they could get their hands on.

As Baudrillard pointed out, seduction always takes something away from the scene – the scene of pleasure. The “Arab Spring” was masterful work, worthy of any Don Juan. Without having any real idea of who or what these “rebels” were, the Western Left became complicit. They were sucked in. Joyfully sucked in. They filled out the missing spaces with their fantasies of democratic protestors, valiantly standing up to the Viagra drugged soldiers of a hated dictator. That a million Libyans came out and filled Green Square, under the threat of NATO bombing, to show their support for Muammar al-Gaddafi was easily overlooked. A seduced person, a person who is loving the thrill of being seduced, no longer has any use for truth or facts.

And so, even after the brutal murder of Muammar al-Gaddafi, by drone and fighter jet attack, and then by a crazed mob, the maddness of the Western Left continued. They continued to dream of Tahrir Square spontaneously breaking our all over Europe and the US - even as the Fascist Muslim Brotherhood put their claws on the strings of power in Egypt, and began to serve US interests to an even more servile degree than Mubarak had done.

Even today, after the total failure of the Occupy Movements to achieve anything, there are still some deluded, ever seduced, idiots in the Western Left, who are supporting the CIA \ Mossad sectarian gangs in Syria.

So, where does that leave us now? In 1873, the Western capitalist system was crushed by a massive financial collapse. Nothing within that system could supply the vast amounts of real wealth that would serve to restore that system. The answer was very simple. In 1873, very little of Africa, Asia or North America was under imperialist rule. The next ten years saw the most genocidal imperialist expansion ever known. All of North America was conquered, and the native population exterminated. The Scramble for Africa included the unspeakable horror of the Belgian rape of the Congo, with, at least, 13 million people murdered, and also included the genocidal conquest of southern Africa by Cecil Rhodes, funded by the criminal Rothschild family, and done in the bloody name of the British empire. By the 1890s, the collapse of Western capitalism had been turned into an unprecedented boom, and the stage was set for WW1, as the burgeoning empires greedily eyed up each others conquests. In the 1930s, Germany and Japan tried to lift themselves out of crippling economic depression by embarking on colonial conquests. WW2 was the result. And we remember the the Great Depression did not end in the USA until the opening of WW2, and the transfer of the entire gold reserve of the British empire to the USA, as payment for arms, etc. Today, Western capitalism faces an even more catastrophic collapse than in 1873. Once again, it has embarked on the conquest of Africa, and the subjugation of China, as the answer to its crisis. The first step was the murder of the man, who above all others, stood for African unity in the face of imperialist domination – Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. Syria is under attack, as a step towards the invasion of Iran - a step that Russia and China cannot allow, without accepting their own impending destruction. In effect, we are facing the beginning of WW3, to be fought for exactly the same reason as the first two World Wars were fought, i.e. as an attempt to escape a financial collapse in the Capitalist system.

Can we look to the leaders of the Western Left with confidence? What would such a leadership even consist of? It seems obvious that we need leaderships that are capable of overcoming their catastrophic seduction in 2011. We need to openly admit that the Left was utterly wrong in its analysis, and was outflanked by an enemy with hugely greater skills then the Left now generally possesses. We must begin to weed out the rotten from the good. We need people who understand that this is a fight to the death with an enemy that will never stop – until he is stopped for good. We need people who are not moved by the hysteria of the majority. Who openly state that the majority are often, if not usually, completely wrong. Superstitious reverence for representational democracy must go, and an all out war on the bourgeois media must begin. The church is finished as a political power, but the bourgeois media has taken its place. It is this place that must be smashed – not just the last holder of it. Above all, we must link with the genuine Revolutionaries in India, Nepal, South America and Africa. Their fight is our fight. The puppets that the second “Arab Spring” brought to power (the first Arab Spring was used to smash the Ottoman Empire after WW1, and install British and US puppets in the Arab world), these latest puppets must be smashed. We must continue the great work begun by Colonal Muammar al-Gaddafi. The Green Banner must fly beside the Red Banner.

gadaffi1.png

backstab.jpg

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Sun Oct 21, 2012 19:49Report this post to the editors

I might also add to the above, that in terms of seduction, replacing the dopey and demented looking George W. Bush with a smart, handsome, young, Black lawyer was a master stroke. It was no accident that Wall Street backed Obama to the tune of 600 million dollars in the last election. Even today, many in the Left consider Obama one of their own - despite the fact that it is admitted by the Americans themselves that 99% of victims from drone attacks are completely innocent civilians, and despite the fact that Obama has not deviated from the so-called "Bush Doctrine" by one iota. Guantanimo has actually had more money spent on it.

For this reason, I actually think its better if Romney wins in the US election - if only to break this disastrous spell that has mentally castrated the Western Left.

author by Tpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2012 00:09Report this post to the editors

This is an excellent analysis and I completely agree the official Left has been conned and seduced. It has been quite pathetic to see the lukewarm reaction. They are completely stuck in their thinking and refused to accept that they have been totally misled and fooled.

I can't remember where it was that I saw it, but very soon after the start of the so called Arab Spring, there was one writer who predicted Libya, Yemen and Syria would be next and that Western capitalism had decided to throw all the cards up in the area with regards to the Middle East and to reshape their entire region to their own liking.

A point should also be made about the TV station Al Jazerra who gave good coverage during the 2nd Gulf War and in Afghanistan and were prepared to show the carnage that was going on. They did seem like a real voice for the Arab people. However given they were owned and backed by the State of Qatar which has a medieval like monarchy and who are anything but regressive, it seemed odd. But they finally showed their true colours during the Libyan attack. (See for example comments in http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100382 ). And then in the past year there have been many resignations from the broadcaster in disgust at their twisted and outright propaganda in the case of Syria. But this makes sense because backward Qatar has been implicated along with Saudi Arabia that other bastion of democracy with being the main Middle Eastern financial backers of the mercenary terrorists in Syria that have been killing civilians with snipers and bomb attacks. That is not to say the Western powers are not involved. They are and are working hand in glove with these people. But regrettably the Left is either too scared, too clueless or simply in denial to call out what the Western propaganda has been which is pure lies. The way it works is that the so-called rebels kill some people and then simply blames it on the Syria government forces. They have done this time and time again and it is just incredible that these lies are accepted at face value.

Alas though this is really only detail in the wider context raised in the article above. I think what the above article gets at without directly saying it, is that the Left likes to drone on about the Class War and indeed the Class War is alive and well today and is being carried out right under our noses in the form of the War of Terror and the Financial Crisis but that seems to be their only tool in the analysis. What is equally more important is the fields of advanced propaganda, marketing, fashion, lifestyle, opinion polls, media, the role of the intelligence apparatus and even conspiracy -the word that scares the be-jesus out of the Left. For example during the lead up to the Iraq War, the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was a conspiracy because the way this story was pushed was conspiratorial. Likewise in Gulf War I about the Kuwait babies -when we later found out the story was concocted by the PR firm used to sell the war to the American public and the actual claim was read out by the Kuwait ambassador's daughter after much coaching and rehearsal. Anyhow the point is that the capitalist class in power are extremely adept at using all these other fields which are really all different forms of psychology to complete control, shape and manipulate public opinion and relying on class analysis alone can't handle the other forces (like marketing etc) that the capitalists have mastery over. There has been simply no effort or realization that the use of these tools is what keeps the population in check and largely living in an alternative delusion universe. And that's why this article is so good because it hits the nail on the head. People have been seduced by these bastards.

author by Gearoid O Loingsighpublication date Fri Nov 02, 2012 06:04Report this post to the editors

Yes, the left were generally disgraceful in their reaction to what happened in Libya. But lets not go overboard. Libya Socialist???? Don't make me laugh. The working class were never in power in Libya. The regime was a capitalist regime, with a one man show. I know the arguments about his little green book. Get real.

Gaddafi had no problem signing oil deals with western companies and Britain had no problem rendering opposition islamics for torture in Libya (by the way I believe torture and socialism are no compatible). MI6 handed them over. Would they do that with Cubans? Never, because Cuba is not capitalist, Libya was and is.

That said, yes the left behaved disgracefully. Chomsky, well though the anarchists love him, he is just a liberal at the end of the day, he even called for a vote for the Democratic Party a number of years ago.

Gearóid

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Fri Nov 02, 2012 07:23Report this post to the editors

A Ghearóid, a chara,

Yes, the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was Socialist. Irish Socialists barely dare to dream of Ireland ever becoming anything close to as Socialist as Libya was. Imagine Ireland with our natural resources nationalized?

Bourgeois economists, Waniss Otman and Erling Karlberg describe the Libyan worker, in the Jamahiriya, as "one of the most protected in the world," adding that Libyans have a "subsidy mentality" and a "job-for-life outlook which has ill-prepared Libyans for the more aggressive and cutthroat world of competition." Jay Hallen, a financial consultant with experience in Iraq and Egypt, argues that Al-Gaddafi's moves to virtually eliminate property rights must be reversed, and that Libya's oil wealth should be used to create venture capital funds.

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/14/142289603/libyas-economy-...i-era

This is what the likes of the SWP have supported - turning the Libyan worker over to the greedy claws of the international banksters and speculators.

As for putting Jihadist psychopaths like Abdelhakim Belhadj in prison (even from the hands of the Brits), my only complaint against Al-Gaddafi is that he released him, after only seven years. We see now what these rats will do to a country if they are let loose. Libya destroyed. Syria devastated. The likes of Belhadj - and the mercenaries coming out of Ireland, such as the SWP's chum Madhi al-Harati, are dangerous, psychopathic, murderers and decent human society needs to be protected from them. Tens of thousands of Libyans would be alive today, and tens of thousands more would not be disfigured for life, if Al-Gaddafi had not been so incredibly lenient with these mercenary psychopaths. And we should make no mistake. The likes of Belhadj and al-Harati are primarily motivated to murder innocent people, not out of any religious fervour, or political belief, but from the money they get from the USA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for carrying out terrorist attacks.

Gearóid, you mention Cuba. The Jamahiriya was at least as democratic as Cuba is. Its just that Cuba has always been trendy among Lefties, while Libya has not. The main reason for this is simply that Al-Gaddafi stayed independent from the USSR, and also funded independence movements, such as the IRA, that the trendy Lefties didn't like. It also comes down to the fact that the bourgeois media demonized Al-Gaddafi far more then it demonized Castro, and most of the Western Left lazily spend hours in front of bourgeois TV channels and reading bourgeois newspapers, like the Irish Times, and they absorb the venom unconsciously - then vomit it out, as if it was their own thoughts.

Your main argument that Libya was not Socialist seems to be an Anarchist argument, i.e. that Socialism doesn't exist unless the Workers are in direct control, thus, the USSR was never Socialist, etc. But, again, you mentioned Cuba. The workers have never been in direct control there either. Indeed, Libya was decades ahead of Cuba, when it came to Direct Democracy, specially in the workplace. I will agree that the Libyan economy was liberalized towards the end, and that was a mistake. However, this mistake mostly came about by the functioning of Direct Democracy. In the mid 1980s, the Peoples Congresses constantly criticized Al-Gaddafi's firm stance against private property. Far from being the dictator that the West likes to portray him as, Al-Gaddafi accepted the will of the Peoples Congresses, and allowed a certain liberalization of the economy. However, he insisted that the commanding heights of the economy remain in public ownership.

As for doing deals with British and US oil companies, this was the case right from 1969. Libya didn't have the technology or the access to markets that these companies had. The same is true of Chavez and Venezuela, they still do a huge amount of business with US oil companies.

At the back of all this, you have to remember what Al-Gaddafi spent the last ten years doing. He set up the African Union. He kept Africom out of Africa. Over the last ten years, Libya invested 150 billion dollars in infrastructural projects all over Afria - including giving Africa its first communications satellite, thus freeing it from dependence on Europe, and being subject to European censorship. African nations had been collectively paying Europe 500 million euro a year in satellite rental. Libya put one in the sky for 400 million, and turned it over to the collective use of all Africans. To further make the point, this satellite was totally designed and manufactured in Africa. Al-Gaddafi was working towards an African Central Bank, that could have freed all of Africa from the genocidal claws of the IMF and World Bank. To this end, he had stockpiled 140 tons of gold in Tripoli, to be the basis of this bank. He was only months away from introducing the Gold Dinar. Once this was introduced, the plan was to make the West pay for African commodities in gold - not in worthless US paper dollars. And make no mistake, the use of the dollar murders millions of people in Africa every single year. Al-Gaddafi wanted to end this Holocaust of the Innocents. And that's why the international banksters had to murder him, i.e. get their puppets like Obama, Cameron and Sarkozi to to it (with the shameful complicity of most of the Western Left.)

To be honest, that Al-Gaddafi is not regarded as one of the greatest Socialists of all time is only due to ignorance, laziness and mental weakness among the elites of the Western Left. It could also be to do with certain funds being channeled into these "Leftist" groups, by the like of self confessed CIA agent, Madhi al-Harati. Are we to believe that he was channeling hundreds of thousands of euro from the CIA, through Ireland, to the rats in Libya - and none of it was given to those who were supporting his cause in the SWP and their front organization, the Irish Anti-War Movement?

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Fri Nov 02, 2012 07:50Report this post to the editors

By reducing the infant morality rate in Libya from 125\1000 in 1969, to 14\1000 ten years later, Al-Gaddafi saved millions of lives. If he had to break the heads of a few comprador rats to do that, I think the bargain was a good one.

Please watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfxbC7Dk1ec

author by All Knowing.publication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:11Report this post to the editors

The Irish Left who Supported an autocratic dictator is proof that people in Ireland who call themselves "Left" are really on the right.
The people of Lybia got rid of him.
That thug will be replaced by worse I suppose.

author by Oligarchpublication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:23Report this post to the editors

P.S.
Libya is awash in oil.
Libyans are poor.
Not one member of the dictator's family is poor.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:22Report this post to the editors

Nigeria is awash with oil. The USA is awash with oil. Both of these countries have massive foreign debts, millions of people in poverty, and no proper social security network. Libya, in complete contrast, had the highest standard of living in Africa. And one of the highest in the world. Ever wonder why the so called "rebels" had beautiful new 4X4s to drive around in? You didn't see too many old cars among them - and most of them were dressed in expensive designer clothes. Every Libyan family got a social salary - not a state handout, but their own share of the oil. Libya had free health care and education, right up to Phd level and beyond.

Despite the information you got from the yellow press, and from CIA infiltrated groups like the Irish Anti-War Movement, the vast majority of Libyans supported Al Gaddafi - and still do. Not only did NATO need nine months of aerial bombardment to smash the Socialist Jamahiriya, but it also needed to bring in 6,000 Qatari troops, and thousands of Jihadi mercenaries from all over the Arab world - simply because the vast majority of Libyans rejected NATO and its rats. The same is true of Syria today. The vast majority of Syrians reject the CIA \ Mossad Jihadis - most of whom are foreign mercenaries.

author by An Draighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:42Report this post to the editors

One of the main grievances the few Libyans who joined NATO's destruction of their own country had was that Al Gaddafi regarded Libyan oil as African oil. He did not want to waste this wonderful resource by turning Libyans into worthless fops, as the Gulf states do with their populations. Instead, he invested over 150 billion dollars in infrastructure projects all over Africa, including roads, schools and hospitals. He stockpiled 144 tons of gold in Tripoli to be the basis of an African Central Bank. He also used the money to keep Africom out of Africa. While Al Gaddafi was leader of the Revolution, Libyan oil was Africa's first line of defense against Western imperialism. Now Libyan oil is a weapon for the rape of Africa.

Groups like the SWP, SP and PSF need to hang their heads in shame. They sided with the rape of Africa, when they sided with Nato's rats.

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL_OkGQ0B9I
author by fredpublication date Wed Nov 21, 2012 05:22Report this post to the editors

simple clear article on countercurrents about what really happened in Libya and what is happening in Syria

http://www.countercurrents.org/gatto171112.htm

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