Lack of Forgiveness 444


This blog is severely hampered by flu. I hate flu. In a globe-trotting life I have had a number of illnesses that became life threatening – peritonitis, typhoid, cholera, cerebral malaria, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension (thankfully misdiagnosed) severe arrhythmia. I was once declared dead and awoken by a cockroach eating my nostril as I lay naked on a corpse trolley in Kaduna. I refuse to die because of the thought of the people – Jack Straw, Islam Karimov, Alisher Usmanov, Tony Blair, John Reid etc – whose day I know would be momentarily brightened by news of my demise. But for sustained misery and feeling really, really awful and uncomfortable, a week with the flu, while not nearly as dangerous, is pretty well as unpleasant, at least to me.

As I lie in a sweaty bed, my thought are perhaps unsurprisingly not happy and light. I am paying keen attention to all the proposals for how to move forward the Independence movement after that check, and am struck by all the calls to reach out to No voters and bring them in.

I have no idea how to reach out to No voters because I find the majority of them stupid beyond my understanding. This is not because they desired an end result different to that I desired. That is a perfectly legitimate choice. It is because, by voting No, they are going to get an end result which is not what they wanted at all, and that was very obvious. Asking me to reach out to these unbelievably thick people is like asking me to go for a drive with someone who, against my advice, drove the wrong way down a motorway, causing a lot of people to get hurt as a result.

Through their No vote they are going to get five more years of Tory rule – which most of them absolutely did not want. And it is going to be Tory rule that lurches further and further to the right. It seems no proposition was too right wing to be applauded to the rafters by the Tory Conference.

Tax cuts for the rich. Benefit cuts for the poor. Openly declared government in the interests of multinational corporations. Censorship of the internet and severe restrictions on freedom of speech. The government intercepting all communications. Even more detention without trial. Permanent war in the Middle East. Leaving the European Convention on Human Rights and in consequence the Council of Europe – the first country to leave the body set up in 1946 to prevent the rise again in Europe of just the sort of proto-fascist measures the Tories wish to impose. To be followed by leaving the European Union.

All of these are direct consequences for Scotland of the No vote. This is much more profound than the entirely predictable and immediate dishonouring of the pledges on Devo-Max by Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Brown. Brown’s call for a petition to request him to work for what he assured the electorate was already “a done deal” is beyond contempt. It should do for his reputation what the tuition fee betrayal did for Nick Clegg.

Frankly I have no interest in any devolution measures that do not give Scotland control of its oil and whisky revenues, and those are not on offer. But there were people who voted No – 23% of No voters them according to Ashcroft – because they wanted the promised pretend “powers”. Well, you are not going to get those either.

Mostly, of course, those stupid No voters acted under the crass assumption, against all modern precedent, that the opposition could win a general election from a position of just 2 per cent ahead, eight months out. And the even more incredible belief that the Labour Party was still in some significant way different from the Conservative Party.

The consequences of what is coming will fall disproportionately on the poor, with even greater escalation of the UK’s astonishing wealth gap. There will be still more damage to the social fabric that Scots hold dear.

Now there are hard-hearted right wingers in Scotland, in the Tory Party and the leadership of the Labour Party, who wanted everything that is coming in terms of neo-con policy prescription. Those No voters who are wealthy and successful and want to get ahead further on the backs of the poor, made the correct intellectual choice to achieve their ends. They are deeply unpleasant sociopaths, but they are not stupid.

But those No voters who voted No because they believed a fair and caring society was achievable within the present structures of the UK, are so stupid I am astonished that their cerebral cortex can transmit a signal that sparks respiration. They are probably not capable of ever noticing their error.

I am not going to reach out to you, No voter. You are either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick. You will forever be a long way beneath my notice. This will be the last thought I ever give you. To quote a great line from Casablanca:

Peter Lorre: You despise me, don’t you Rick?
Humphrey Bogart: If I gave you any thought, I probably would.


444 thoughts on “Lack of Forgiveness

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  • Peacewisher

    Unfortunately John, they are ahead in yougov polls… although these days Peter Kellner is viewed as being not entirely unbiased by some…

  • Johnstone

    Tom
    7 Oct, 2014 – 12:35 pm
    The referendum is over so you can stop repeating the better together mantra, now. Incremental change is happening like you said. Increment no 1; begin bombing Iraq and Syria. No 2 announce proposed measures to clamp down upon nonviolent as well as violent terrorists, so just where do you think this kind of incremental change is leading to Tom? Stability? Strength? Jobs for whom?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Iain Orr (and others…) re MOAZZAM BEGG

    1/. The letter you propose.

    I think you will have seen from the reactions to your post (notably from “Baal Zevul” – and equally importantly, from the lack of reactions* – that the letter you propose sending to the Home Secretary is unlikely to get signatures from the people who have been shouting the loudest in cyberspace about the case.

    With the honorable exceptions of Nevermind (who said that he would sign) and possibly John Goss (who has had the courage to send letters in the past).

    You will deduce from this that most of the people on here are mere cyberspace warriors, content to sound off on here about this and other matters under the cloak of anonymity but unwilling to stick their heads above the parapet when it comes to doing something concrete. They are cowardly blowhards.

    2/. The Moazzam Begg interview on the Today programme.

    I heard this interview and find it difficult to agree with your characterisation of him as “impressive”. He is certainly an intelligent man but a slippery one as well.

    I share your view that “it is illogical to interview MB about his readiness to mediate on behalf of hostages and of the possibility – indeed the need – to negotiate with IS; and at the same time to expect him to denounce the organization with which he or others would be negotiating.” but the force of your point is weakened as I remember him saying that his influence might have extended to the abductors of the murdered taxi driver but did not extend to those holding various other abductees. I believe he said that he didn’t “know” who those abductors were, while not being entirely clear whether he actually “knew” who the abductors of the taxi driver were

    I was also struck by an expression he used to describe the abduction of the taxu driver – something like “he was taken into custody by the IS”. Perhaps a slip of the tongue, but the impression I got was that he sees the IS as a legitimate govt. If that is correct, then it would offer another explanation for why he was unwilling to condemn the IS in the interview.

    Having heard the interview, I am, if anything, less inclined than before to believe that he was as innocent as Mr Goss and others have claimed on here. The collapse of the case could well have been due to the security services being unwilling to reveal in court how they got their information on him.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    * it is of course possible that some have been in touch with you off-forum.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    For Cameron to band about MB’s name in order to flag him up with IS, as a UK Government lovey, is a sidestep to divert from the fact that we are fostering and have trained these criminals, what a coward.

    @ Tom If you have heard anything Mr. Junckers said about the EU’s stance towards a member that has now gained Independence, you would have know that it hardly would have come to grovelling.

    And if we could have only amplified the groans/ cringing up and down Europe and the world, when Cameron pleaded with over 25 foreign embassies/diplomats and attachees to make statements in favour of the union, what a desperate act to carry on living on Scotlands resources.
    pre empting the referendum and setting the agenda for the three party scare feast just days before.

    But thats the past and you will soon realise that devomax has turned to devomini, that you have given your trust to human rights abusers and self servers, puppets rather than representatives.
    and then, next May you will have to make a decision whether you want to be further punished with more of the same, or to vote in people who have Scotland at the centre of their hearts.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    The smearing of MB carries on with our local Habbapet, how twee and predictable.

    You have made your position clear, you don’t believe a man who has been wrongly convicted and who was forced under torture to spend his time in prison with people who have other agendas, that he has a bond with them and would most likely be the best go between you could find.

    Thing is he is the living proof that torture and extraordinary rendition was carried out under Straw and D. Milliband and your poor show, something you might have heard him say, is as cringeworthy as Camerons foul attempt to tag him as a target with his high profile comments.

    I wish you would be kidnapped and incarcerated for some years, without charge, without anyone knowing your whereabuts, off course, it should feel real, just to open your eyes to the silence inside you, the deprivation and rememberance of every word you uttered to hurt, one sentence after the other, you really deserve it today.

  • John Monro

    Hi Craig, get a flu jab next time please, so we won’t have to hear of your suffering. I generally like your blog, and your opinionated opinions. I don’t live in Scotland, though some of my older family do, and they voted no. I would have voted yes, not so much because I really know what’s best to do but because all four of my grown up children would have voted yes if they lived in Scotland. I wonder if anyone on the yes side ever suggested to those voting no, and a lot of them would have been older folk, that they should take advice on their voting from their own children or grandchildren. I think the reasoning is obvious, if you’re old, like me, I’m not going to be around that long, but for my children and grandchildren Scotland is going to be their home for many years. If they are convinced the best thing for their future is to be independent, and if your children and grandchildren have inherited the intelligence and reasoning that you have, which is certainly going to be the case, isn’t that the best reason of all to vote yes?

    However, you seem to be in a very unforgiving and unkind frame of mind in your outburst. You are denigrating the majority of your fellow citizens very unfairly. They are not stupid or evil. Very few people are evil, indeed I’m not sure I even accept the concept, though of course you have experiences in your life in regard to evil that I don’t, so maybe there is in a few cases. At the most, if people have voted no, then you have the right to say they’re wrong, or misguided, or are easily manipulated or whatever, but your rant is I’m afraid to say, completely OTT.

    It is obviously a great disappointment, but if the justice of the case is on your side, and I think it is, then Scotland will eventually become independent.

    I had a great argument with my offspring just before the vote. I’m a bit of an old cynic, if you vote yes, all well and good, but I strongly suspect unless there’s a real examination of many alternative, and a strong intellectual debate on the nature of democracy, representation, and its relationship to our changing society, communications and in particular the urgent environmental issues facing us, that what Scotland would achieve with independence would likely be merely a rather more parochial version of what you already have. I say this, living in NZ, we are independent, similar population and resources, similar culture, and I can guarantee you this country is just as badly run as any Westminster government, which isn’t surprising, as we’ve modelled the system exactly on this. The opportunities for NZ are amazing, but it is as if governments are designed exactly and most effectively to ensure progress is an illusion.

    My offspring’s answer to this, you may be right, Dad, but so what, isn’t it the Scottish peoples’ right to make their own choices in this regard? If it’s a rotten government, at least it’s your own. I can’t answer that one, really.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Nebelmind

    “The smearing of MB carries on with our local Habbapet, how twee and predictable.

    You have made your position clear, you don’t believe a man who has been wrongly convicted and who was forced under torture to spend his time in prison with people who have other agendas, that he has a bond with them and would most likely be the best go between you could find. etc, etc, etc…zzzz…”

    ____________________________

    I realise that reading + understanding is not your strong point, but I was under the impression that we were talking of Moazzam Begg in connection with the abandoned prosecution in the UK and not about his time in Guantanamo?

    Kindly refer back to the various comments about him and then you can apologise for yet another silly, ad hominem post.

    ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

    For a man of peace you seem to harbour remarkably yiolent thoughts. First you threaten (several times) to punch me in the face and now you’d like to see me in clink. Must be in the genes, eh?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    PS to Nebelmind

    Do you strut around with a whip (à la J.S.) when on the campaign trail?

  • mark golding

    Clearly our own SIS are interacting with Bashar al-Assad’s ‘gang’ including his military chiefs- Bashar himself is jittery of ‘face to face’ meetings anticipating a Gaddafi-like MI6 assassination attempt; not quite the ‘poisonous pact’ that Sir Richard Dannat suggests, in fact, the opposite..

    Bashar would like nothing better than to be embraced by the west as an indispensable partner in this new “war on terror” -and so be it; well covertly I mean, sub-rosa absolutely. And Britain, hopefully the US of A as well will be extremely accurate, meticulously mindful of civilian casualties; especially WHEN, in the long run, our special forces people are interweaved and mind melded (using the very latest satellite communication devices) with the Islamic State (ISIS) (confirmed by Rob-thank-you). Fitly the RAF chaps at Akrotiri are passed coords from Troodos and are using those accurate British Brimstone missiles to boot.

    The ‘Long War’ has only just begun.

  • Mary

    Hello again everyone. I also have lack of forgiveness for the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. Any mention of conditions in Gaza seem to have disappeared from the ‘news’.

    2014/10/2

    In Occupied Palestine

    Zionism in practice – Israel’s Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Property

    24 hours to 8am
    30 September 2014

    2 attacks – 18 raids including home invasions – 3 beaten – 1 wounded – 2 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage – 7 taken prisoner – 10 detained – 111 restrictions of movement

    Northern Gaza: Israeli Army fire wounds 14-year-old boy
    Incursion: Israeli Army bulldozes crops on Gaza farmland
    Israeli soldiers beat up 3 people including 2 reporters
    Jerusalem: families evicted as Israeli police assist settlers in violent home invasions and occupations
    Israeli Army orders destruction of 7 Palestinian homes
    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 9 towns and villages

    http://www.sapienspromise.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3274

    ~~

    Also Jonathan Cook from within the belly of the beast.

    Israel’s occupation is more complex than a genocide
    By Jonathan Cook

    The National – 7 October 2014

    Israeli officials were caught in a revealing lie late last month as the country celebrated the Jewish New Year. Shortly after declaring the most popular boy’s name in Israel to be “Yosef”, the interior ministry was forced to concede that the top slot was actually filled by “Mohammed”.

    That small deceit coincided with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations. He outraged Israelis by referring to Israel’s slaughter of more than 2,100 Palestinians – most of them civilians – in Gaza over the summer as “genocide”.

    Both incidents served as a reminder of the tremendous power of a single word.

    Most Israelis are barely able to contemplate the possibility that their Jewish state could be producing more Mohammeds than Moshes. At the same time, and paradoxically, Israel can point to the sheer number of “Mohammeds” to demonstrate that at worst it is eradicating the visibility of a Muslim name, certainly not its bearers.

    [..]

    Observers, including the European Union, concede that Israel continues with incremental ethnic cleansing – though they prefer the more obscure “forcible transfer” – of Palestinians from so-called Area C, nearly two-thirds of the West Bank.

    Israel has mastered, too, a sophisticated apartheid – partly veiled by its avoidance of the more visual aspects of segregation associated with South Africa – that grabs resources, just like its famous cousin, for one ethnic-national group, Jews, at the expense of another, Palestinians.

    But unlike South African apartheid, whose fixed legal and institutional systems of separation gradually became torpid and unwieldy, Israel’s remains dynamic and responsive. Few observers know, for example, that almost all residential land in Israel is off-limits to Palestinian citizens, enforced through vetting committees recently given sanction by the Israeli courts.

    And what to make of a plan just disclosed by the Israeli media indicating that Mr Netanyahu and his allies have been secretly plotting to force many Palestinians into Sinai, with the US arm-twisting the Egyptians into agreement? If true, the bombing campaigns of the past six years may be better understood as softening-up operations before a mass expulsion from Gaza.

    Such a policy would certainly satisfy Lemkin’s definition of genocide.

    One day doubtless, a historian will coin a word to describe Israel’s unique strategy of incrementally destroying the Palestinian people. Sadly, by then it may be too late to help the Palestinians.

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2014-10-07/israels-occupation-is-more-complex-than-a-genocide/

  • mark golding

    Welcome back Mary – I note The Tel Aviv regime started pounding Gaza in early July. More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians including women, children and elderly people, were killed in the Israeli onslaught. Around 11,000 others were also injured.

    Israel has prevented dozens of trucks loaded with building materials from entering the besieged Gaza Strip, despite earlier promises to allow such a move.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14545-israel-bars-building-materials-from-gaza

    I have written to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing disgust.

    [email protected]

  • Iain Orr

    Habbakuk on 7 October @ 10.23 pm and others on MOAZZAM BEGG: First, an update on the letter I have proposed sending the Home Secretary. That is now ready to go (revised text available on request, even if you do not wish to sign it) and several people have indicated their wish to sign. Since I have no problem with my name and email address ([email protected] ) being public, grateful if anyone who wishes to sign the letter would send me, by email today, their real name and email address and/or postal address if they wish these details to be included in the letter. [The Old Bill knows where you are anyway, though your car, if you have one, and phones are probably not bugged – unlike MB.]

    There are, of course, different opinions on MB and on the extent to which BBC and other interviewers or reporters display commendable or unwarranted persistence/ hostility when interviewing him and others. Those who have listened to the Sarah Montague interview on 7 October may like to have the link to the full 13-minute video version
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29521198

    However, I also recommend listening to the 8 minute interview carried on the BBC world service’s Newshour https://twitter.com/BBCNewshour/status/519475473844539392
    I heard it very early this morning but am not sure who the interviewer was. He certainly pressed MB hard – in my view both fairly and unfairly. I did not find MB in the least slippery but would like to learn how you and others react to it.

  • John Goss

    “The collapse of the case could well have been due to the security services being unwilling to reveal in court how they got their information on him.”

    Quite the opposite in my opinion. The collapse of the case could well have been due to Moazzam Begg being willing to reveal in court what information he has got on torture, Jack Straw and others.

    One reason they wanted him in prison was so they could push through another abominable so-called anti-terror act, Justice and Security Act 2013, which Begg and Cage were condemning. It is so that the spooks, protected by government at the highest level, have anonimity and protection from prosecution.

    Likewise Cameron’s plan to replace the protection of the ECHR from our statutory obligations. The writing’s on the wall.

  • Vronsky

    Craig, I hope your gloominess on this is just the flu at work. I’d have commented sooner, but I was off sunning myself in a small independent country – Malta, which I love dearly (associated with an ancient, vivid love affair).

    Anyway.

    I guess from many of your posts that you have never canvassed. You should. On the one hand it will reinforce your opinion that an awful lot of the people who won’t vote for you are simple idiots. However you will also discover that many of the people who *do* support you are idiots of exactly the same kind. Hence Vronsky’s Political Cancellation Theorem: political idiocy is randomly distributed, therefore sums to zero, thus can be ignored. QED.

    It’s why your blog matters – influence the influencers. There really are thoughtful people out there. Keep talking to them.

  • Mary

    Sorry to learn that Craig has been ill. Was it flu or man flu I ask? Anyway hope he is OK now. Good health is all.

  • Iain Orr

    Today’s articles in the Telegraph and the Guardian about Moazzam Begg and the Syria/Iraq hostages (before during and after his time in Belmarsh Prison) show how easily – unavoidably? – news reaches readers with built-in reportorial and editorial biases. That is why the concentration of media and political power in the hands of those who share so many neo-liberal superstitions is so anti-democratic. And why a neutered BBC is all that our transnational politico-commercial oligarchs will tolerate.

    These are the online texts (both also in their print editions), together with readers’ comments.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/07/moazzam-begg-offered-secure-release-alan-henning

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11147150/Moazzam-Begg-under-pressure-to-reveal-his-Isil-knowledge-to-help-hostages.html

    But at least MB’s voice has not (yet) been silenced. I hope I live to hear him invited to contribute to Radio 4’sThought for the Day.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    Have sent you my particulars Ian and thanks for the radio interview. I listened carefully and thought that the interviewers background and research was up to the standard and level of MB’s knowledge of the environment, the people he got to know, the factions on the ground and the preamble’s that led to IS being established.

    Its proper flu Mary, the one were every bone and joint in your body ache’s and you sweat like a panther on heat, I hope he can keep the not so little nipper away from getting the same, but it hardly ever works, usually it goes through the whole family, sometimes the wider neighbourhood.

    It takes a special Grog, a full ration of best Navy Rum, a fat slice of lemon, a sprinkle of sugar and an equal amount of piping hot water. Drink as hot as possible and then get wrapped up in blankets, works for me.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    sorry mistake,’ was’ should be ‘wasn’t up to the standard’. MB did not come over as cagey or slippery.

  • Richard

    “I am not going to reach out to you, No voter. You are either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick. You will forever be a long way beneath my notice.”

    In an egalitarian, fair and equitable kind of way, presumably.

    Most people would like to be more intelligent; but we have the brains we were given and there isn’t much we can do about it. My own working assumption – for which I can offer no direct evidence, so please don’t ask; it is just a working assumption – is that none of us are very bright; we are all varying degrees of thick. But we can understand this: that we are not responsible for our own intellect. If we were, would we not have given ourselves more of it?

    Think of how bright the average person is. Half the people are less bright than that, yet they still have the same vote as people in the upper half – or the upper 1% for that matter. What can we do about that? Well, learn to live with it, I suppose. All alternatives that I can think of sound worse.

    But the thick(er), the gullible and the distracted are easy prey for politicos who see wider humanity as a resource to be exploited. Consider Cameron (who isn’t conservative, by the way, either with a big ‘C’ or a small one), Blair and Bush II. All went to good Universities in their respective countries, yet none come across as too bright and certainly not terribly well informed given the advantages they have had over the rest of us. Yet they wangle their way into powerful positions. They are connected, that’s all. Birth, not worth, (along with an ambition born of rampant greed) is their qualification, but they or their advisors are practiced in the art of salesmanship and they can usually get enough votes to secure their salaries, expense accounts (very useful for paying the mortgage) and pensions while the country continues to go down the tubes.

    Britain is finished with or without various separatisms. I told my ex-pat uncle that years ago when nobody (including me) suspected that the idea of Scottish separatism could get 45% of the vote. The various separatisms (or “independence” as their respective supporters insist on imagining them to be) would, if they eventually prove to be successful, simply add another nail to the coffin. What goes around comes around and we have been dropping bombs on people and interfering in their affairs for so long that it has to be our turn sooner or later. It is something to look forward to, I suppose. Just in case that isn’t bad enough, we are allowing mass immigration and thus yielding to pressure to concrete over some of the best agricultural land on the planet – an environmental disaster which is totally avoidable – and our children leave our useless schools and universities ignorant and stupid, but believing themselves not to be. Our ancient protections are going or gone and we prefer to trust in the comforting-sounding confidence trick of European Human Rights instead of our tradition:- that everything is permitted unless it is specifically forbidden, habeas corpus, double jeopardy (gone), jury trial, that we have a right to privacy etc. That tradition starts from the implicit assumption that your rights are something innate, something that you are born with and with which the State cannot interfere without good reason. By contrast, if the State needs to give you your rights, to set them down explicitly on a piece of paper, the assumption must be that you don’t have them by default. Rather, they are a gift of those nice people who collect your taxes. There will, of course, in the small print, be the exceptional circumstances when the self-declared munificent State can withdraw the rights which you didn’t have in the first place, but which it has out of sheer goodness and virtue, given you. Who do you think gets to decide what those circumstances are? You?

  • Iain Orr

    Richard – I agree with you wholly on one point – that rights are not given to us nor are they natural – they have to be asserted, won and defended. I half agree with you on intelligence – that it does not help either rational or emotional debate to use supposed lack of it (“thickos”) as a term of abuse. “Intelligence” as an unqualified term does not identify any single or multiple dimension that can be measured. It’s an evaluative concept used in assessing a huge variety of activities, including criticizing other assessments. For instance: “To regard bombing as an intelligent way to deal with `the threat by IS to the UK` is neither an accurate analysis of political and social developments in Syria and Iraq nor an intelligent way of responding to them.”

    I do not agree at all that Britain in finished, whether Scotland or other parts of it separate into other political units or not. The island will remain where it is (subjects to supra-human tectonic and other geological processes) and with a population substantially related to the present population. What urgently needs changing and will change are Britain’s social, political and economic institutions. These can all change for the better. It’s not utopian to think that is the likeliest outcome. We are nearly at the end of the absurd experiment to see how long we will tolerate sacrificing human lives on the neo-liberal altar of power exercised by those who have managed to seize its levers in their own oligarchic hands. Slavery ended because the slaves revolted.

  • Ellie

    Craig, thank you for this. Some comfort in knowing it isn’t just me who despises the Scottish electorate. Always knew there’d be some who voted No for self-interested reasons, and some because they’re stupid. But so many? The best I can wish for them is a peaceful relocation to Witney/ Doncaster/ Tatton Park. But mostly I just hate them for ruining our lives.

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