14 August, 2020

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The Curious Incident Of “Issue 53” That Exposed The Tamil Tories

By TU Senan

TU Senan

As well as offering a way to end austerity and improve the living standards of the 99% of people, paid for by the richest 1%, Corbyn’s election manifesto also includes an improved position on foreign affairs. This includes sanctions on military and defence aid to Sri Lanka. All the key demands to improve the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka put forward by the Tamil community have been accepted by Corbyn and John McDonnell in a number of interviews, statements, and when they’ve participated in meetings.

In effect, the 13 demands put forward by the five key Tamil parties in Sri Lanka during the 2019 presidential campaign are supported. These were rejected by all the right-wing parties. In fact in Sri Lanka, the only candidates to support these demands were Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party (USP) and the Tamil candidate Sivajilingam.

Therefore the many diaspora organisations who claim to support these demands face an easy choice in the British general election. Corbyn’s policies have clear benefits for both the Tamils, Sinhala, Muslims in Sri Lanka and all workers and young people in Britain.

Of course, it’s not so simple for those on the right. They always claim to be “supporting people’s interests” while in reality defending only their own interests. Only a very small elite group among Tamils support the Tory party. They attempt to propose themselves as the Tamil ‘community leaders’. But they did not have anything in this election to “sell” to the Tamils as the Tory party has failed to actually commit to anything in their non-manifesto. The only thing they have going for them is the past episode of David Cameron visiting Jaffna and refusing to shake hands with Mahinda Rajapaksa. But that was just for show – none of the promises of that “backward” prime minister came to pass. Now they are cornered. So they invented a stunt. Gambling on Tamils’ inability to understand English, their offer to Tamils goes no further than a potential misinterpretation of the Tory manifesto.

On page 53 of the Tory manifesto there is one sentence saying they will support the reconciliation process in some countries and listing Sri Lanka and Cyprus as examples. They added that they will “maintain our support for a two-state solution” in the Middle East. But why do they refuse then to mention Israel-Palestine?

How do the pro-Tory Tamils explain the party’s close links with many right-wing dictatorial, human rights-abusing regimes across the world – which includes the Israeli government?  The Tories are also promising in this election to take legal action against any council if they propose to boycott Israel. Instead this term of “two state solution” is picked up by the Tamil Tories in their campaign to get votes for the Conservative Party in this election. They claimed the Conservative manifesto supports a two state solution for Sri Lanka in relation to Tamils.

The British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) are a small outfit that has no support among Tamils. When Tamil youth took to the social media ridiculing their false propaganda and lies, their tune changed. Now they claim that the “Conservative party supports the two-state theory by comparing Sri Lanka to divided countries”. They further state that it ‘implies’ Tories support a two-state solution.

The British Tamils Forum (BTF), another group suffering declining support among Tamils, released a statement on this. Some of the key leaders of the BTF are Conservative Party members. Their statement is embarrassing – the BTF claims that they contacted the cabinet ministers and MPs to explain to them what was written in English in the paragraph on page 53. To their dismay they confirmed that what it meant was what it says. The BTF statement confirmed that Conservative Chairman Paul Scully personally wrote to clarify: “The commitments on Sri Lanka and Cyprus were simply about continuing existing efforts” and that two-state line is not about Sri Lanka. But the BTC are still reading what they want and campaigning on lies.

This mess of lies and confusion came to be known among Tamils as “issue 53”, but the BTF has nonetheless declared that they will remain neutral! By ‘neutral’ they mean they will not support Corbyn’s policies officially while key leaders have continued to support the Tories. The rift between the BTC and BTF is not even political – but due to a personal clash between some individuals we have been told.

What is a ‘neutral’ position? It was a disgraceful act when some decided to be ‘neutral’ during the genocidal war of 2009 in Sri Lanka. How can someone remain neutral while a massacre is taking place? Similarly, it is absolutely outrageous for any organisation that claims to be leading the struggle of oppressed Tamils to remain neutral in the British general election. The majority of Corbyn’s policies (including the position on Tamils and Sri Lanka) give us a clear choice. It is not a coincidence that those who reject Corbyn’s manifesto also chose to support the capitalist UNP candidate in Sri Lanka. The Tamil National Alliance campaigned for the UNP while claiming that they will work with any Sri Lankan government – a position supported by the BTF.

This position has nothing to do with defending the rights and interests of Tamils. It is a class position – a position to defend the capitalist class, the big business bosses’, interests. They try to hide their true intentions behind the word ‘neutral’.

What has all the effort and money that has gone into lobbying and other shenanigans achieved? Money raised by workers and young people in the main. Getting the so-called “international community” to act is the result they peddle – but no results have been forthcoming. A major victory for them would be to get a country like Britain to at least put a sanction on military and defence support for Sri Lanka. A Corbyn victory is the only route on offer to this, but they still refuse to support it. Defending their own class is far more important to these fake defenders of Tamil interests than anything else. The Sri Lankan state, now led by the butcher of Tamils, has nothing to fear from this lot. 

Tamils must reject the bogus politics, instead mobilise towards strengthening real fightback. This means standing firm on our principles – our key demands – and only seeking an alliance with those who are serious about delivering on rights for all and an end to all forms of oppression.

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    Dear friend, British election is back and you are back to CT; Welcome back. Anyway, with all your interest on Thayaga Tamils, at least in your field of writing, how many essays you published in media and what is the general public response to them?
    Let me tell you my story in PM Cameron visit to Jaffna. I am one of those who vigorously opposed him going to Lankawe. I felt David Cameron visiting there will legitimize Lankawe’s claim of that the war was only a “Operation Humanitarian Rescue Mission, with Zero Casualty”. But when his pictures from Jaffna appeared in International Media, I switched side and wrote that is what I wanted. Remember British Prime Minister is an International political figure. He/she visiting to Jaffna to see what has gone there will do more than just rising the IC concern on the massacre done by Appe Aanduwa, but will lead towards a solution to the Aanduwa’s Annual Celebration of pogroms on minorities. The visit, whether right or wrong, gave a hope for Thayaga Tamils that IC is willing to find out what is going inside and it gave a hope that their problem will get addressed. Just for your rivalry with BTF (I am not with BTF or GTF) don’t undermine what PM Cameron visit to Jaffna has achieved.
    It is not a political concern for Thayaga Tamils that who should win in British election. But as they had long connection with Britain, even long before the massive Tamil refugees influx, they have a call to Britain to take their plight to UN, UNHRC, ICC, ICJ like international bodies. They believe British government is capable of doing it. So the election time need is, British Tamils get involved in the election process and make sure new government gets a mandate to solve the Tamils problem. Don’t interpret or misinterpret whatever in Tory’s Manifesto. But make sure, if it is missing in Labor manifesto, they will put it forward on the election meeting at least.

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      I was told by a conservative party stalwart that what was done was damage controlling measure to please Sri Lanka. Palestine has already two states, one a fully fledged one controlled by Jews and the other semi autonomous one controlled by Arabs. Cyprus has a fully fledged state controlled by Greeks and a de facto independent state controlled by Turks. Sri Lanka was grouped with them because the end result will be the same. In other middle east countries like Iraq (Sunni & Shia), Yemen (Sunni & Shia) and Syria (Arab & Kurd) there would be two states. Probably Conservative party may have thought of going along with BJP’s idea of Hindu & Buddhist states in Sri Lanka.

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        Dr GS:

        The two-state solution mentioned on p. 53 of the Conservative Party’s manifesto applies only to the Middle East (Israel-Palestine), as has now been clarified by them. The ambiguity arises from the fact that the relative adverbial clause in the relevant statement, viz.

        ‘We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, and in the former conflict zones such as Cyprus, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, where we maintain our support for a two-state solution,”

        can grammatically modify “Cyprus, Sri Lanka and the Middle East” or “the Middle East” only. Note carefully the word “maintain,” which implies the continuation of an existing state of affairs. The present British policy on Cyprus is NOT two-state (which de facto already exists in Cyprus), but rather its reunification based on a federal model (same as UN policy). So far as we know, Britain has never advocated a two-state solution for Sri Lanka. Therefore we can safely conclude that the clause in question (i.e., “where we maintain our support for a two-state solution”) applies to Sri Lanka only.

        • 1
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          Correction: The last few words of my post should read, “… applies to ‘the Middle East’ only.”

        • 2
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          Leonard, two states does not mean two independent states. It could be two autonomous states under a single nation. For Cyprus the solution put forward is unification of the current divided land. Similarly the solution for Sri Lanka is sharing of land and power between Sinhalese and Tamils. It is obvious to anyone that when land and power are shared, there will be two entities, one controlled by Sinhalese and the other by Tamils. Whatever Sinhalese try to do by denying or delaying, the end result will be two autonomous states in a Sri Lanka. Mahinda regime denied it despite promising to do it, while the last regime which promised to settle the problem played delaying tactics. No more leverage will be given to the present or future regimes, and they will have to carry it out. Modi has clearly spelt it out thrice. Gota knows what Modi means and that is why he is jumping up about saying that he cannot implement what Modi wants as Sinhalese are against it. By saying that Tamils cannot have justice without Sinhala consent shows the racial inequality in Sri Lanka. Two state solution is the best for Sri Lanka which will rectify the gross injustice done to Tamils by British empire by not returning their sovereignty when they left. Look at the way Sri Lanka being humiliated, all because of this intransigence. Be braced for further ignominy if you refuse to comply.

          • 2
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            Gnana, Modi will make sure the new Tamil state be under Indian control, if there is one. The new Tamil state will be in line with what you lost to Protugess (Also considering the present day realities.) You will never get Eastern province as part of your homeland. I personally do not mind granting you demalas Jaffna peninsula and part of north (Or even the whole of North). But if you demalas get too greedy and keep insisting on the East, the whole thing will back fire on you. Lets wait and see. Good luck in your twilight years.

    • 1
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      Mally. Interesting Stuff as usual..
      When Suren Surendran offered that USD 4 Billion, I thought GTF is the real deal..
      And they are the Thayaga Thamils..
      I mean how can the refugees who came in boats collect that sort of Dosh to help Dr Ranil and his mates in the TNA..

      Anyway , the latest Polls say Boris will get in…What do you reckon ,
      With your experience in all sorts Thamil Politics in the Diaspora I am sure you would know who has the a better chance..

      You know wahat , Mally ?.I like Jerry ,,
      He is a real Commie , unlike our Communists who have changed their colour after getting PhDs .

      Jerry iss till on about taking from the Rich and giving it to the poor. Isn’t he?.

      And I don’t think he is interested in giving self Governing Homelands to you and your Muslim brethren who speak your dialect.

      This Tory promise I don’t think will materialize in Lankawe although it is in their Election promises .

      But what I am pleased about is our Urdu speakers in East London may use it as a precedence and agitate for a Separate Federal State .for them going forward..
      And you guys also may follow suit and ask for one for Thamil speaking peoples..

      Our Sinhalese in England I don’t think will want one even if the Torries offered them one alongside Urdu and , Thamil speaking people..

      Wonder which Party our Sinhala Bros will pick this time?..

  • 2
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    Senan,
    “On page 53 of the Tory manifesto there is one sentence saying they will support the reconciliation process in some countries and listing Sri Lanka and Cyprus as examples. They added that they will “maintain our support for a two-state solution” in the Middle East. But why do they refuse then to mention Israel-Palestin”

    I don’t know what is exactly written in the Tory manifesto. If what you said is true, Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists including Mhanayake’s who use this statement to create anti western, anti-Tamil propaganda in order to cheat ordinary Sinhala masses again and again. The about statement is very clear that in Srilanka they support for reconciliation process.
    You focusing only about tory Tamils but you are not telling the real dangerous propaganda by leftist sponsored Gotabaya lead Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism. This is very dangerous to Srilanka as a whole.

    • 0
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      ajith
      You say you do not know what is exactly written in the Tory manifesto, but you fault Senan for exposing the alliance between the UNP supporting TNA in SL and the Tory supporting BTF in the U.K.
      So is it not better if you just keep quiet without being critical of him
      by talking about leftists sponsoring Gotabaya’s Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism when there are no leftists there with that lot. Why do you think Tisza V, Vasu, DEW and such others are leftists?

  • 6
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    Mallaiyuran & Ajith,

    We are all upset, angry and are fighting with each other while the big wigs in the BTC, BTF, GTF, TGTE and every other conceivable organization have become millionaires with the money they have raised from the community(legal or illegal).

    Remember, all politicians have a conscious – when in the opposition. Corbyn is no exception to the rule. For that matter, take the TNA for example. What have they done for the ordinary people? At every election, they make promises but what have the done for the people? Just name one.

    All politicians are all the same. They all lie to enrich themselves. The smart and the crooked have joined them(like the BTF, BTC……) and are dipping in to the pockets of the people to enrich themselves by making false promises. They are all running to the bank, laughing at us, the gullible. In the meantime, we are fighting against each other defending these crooks and their promises & intentions.

    • 1
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      Chana Obeyesekekere,

      You have mentioned about BTC, BTF,GTF,TGTE, TNA and asked the question what they have done to Tamil People. Have your ever asked a question why Srilanka which was better standard of living, better economy, better stability at the time independence now become one of the poorest countries, three insurgencies which killed over 200,000 people and affected all people including 75% Sinhalese and 25% other minorities? There is no law order, no independence judiciary, corruption everywhere, racism in every institution etc.?? If the governments and political and religious institutions in Srilanka is good enough to unite the people, respect their identity and rights, you don’t need to worry about these organisations and their existence. They will automatically die.

  • 5
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    not only BTF, BTC but also various other tamil diaspora orgs like CTC, ATC, and TYO that have hijacked the tamil cause have lost their relevance to the Tamils and their struggle just like the TNA.
    /
    UK has armed and trained sri lankan forces and recenlty destroyed documents relating to their role in ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign waged against Tamil militancy in sri lanka. the west/us is the biggest aggressor when it comes to securitizing/militarizing the indian ocean and tamils in eelam are at the receiving end of this militarization. not only is the west complicit in genocide of Tamils but have helped war criminals off the hook while doing lip service to human rights. they have once again extended their support to the farcical reconciliation process. and here we have tamils asking what relevance british politics has to the tamils in eelam. thankfully Corbyn’s policies are a fresh breath of air.

  • 5
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    British politicians are no different from our guys. After all, we got all these rotten things from them.

  • 4
    4

    “A major victory for them would be to get a country like Britain to at least put a sanction on military and defence support for Sri Lanka.”

    Tell them to do that. In return Native Sinhalayo will put sanctions on Demalu. Sinhalayo can survive without Demalu but Demalu cannot survive without Native Sinhalayo.
    Native Sinhalayo demonstrated the effectiveness of this weapon after the terrorist attack by Muslim extremists.

  • 4
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    The reality is that the so labelled Tamil groups in UK have a considerable say in British electoral politics. So the main parties in UK are trying to woo these groups by making all sorts of statements. The labour talks of arms sanctions. Conservatives talk of partitioning Sri Lanka into two. Little do they realize that the white man has a record throughout the history to paint rosy pictures and turn around. That has been the record throughout the history. Whichever party that wins the elections in UK, can ultimately bust the financial position of these Tamil groups and that is what they should look out. Even India recognizes that it cannot match the “aid cum loan giving” capacity of China. Any thing actually done to appease these groups by the winner of UK elections will make Sri Lanka be closer to China. In terms of geopolitics is that what the west want?

    • 1
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      You have no sense at all when you say that Tamil groups in UK have a considerable say in British politics. British policy on Sri Lanka is formulated independently of Tamil or Sinhala lobby. They know everything that has happened in Sri Lanka, and their stand for accountability, justice and reconciliation will not change. Problem is with the Sinhala politicians who agree for these in international fora, but do nothing about it. Patience is running out with them and very soon the stick will be given. They are not bothered by your threat of making Sri Lanka closer to China. Can you remember the period 70 to 77 when west ignored Sri Lanka. In terms of economics is that Sri Lanka want ?

      • 0
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        Oho! I think it is the types of the writer above who wants the west to ostracize Sri Lanka and thereby make Sri Lanka more closer to the Chinese orbit. What stick are you talking about? Accountability! Pooh! Do they account for what they do in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay? It is sad to note that a noble concept of accountability is degenerates into tool of harassment where some are more equal than others. I don’t buy your theory that the West are group of countries that would formulate their policies independent of internal electoral politics.

  • 2
    2

    Damn shame that the BTF is unable to read and interpret what is written in a Manifesto of a British Political Party, in this instance the Conservative Party. No British Political party will put forward a TWO-STATE SOLUTION for Srilanka. Their diplomacy remains the same notwithstanding a General Election.
    This interpretation of the BTF has also been picked up for the politics of the Sinhala hardliners!

    The rift between the BTC and the BTF…..
    The rift between the TNA and the political outfit of EX; CM Wigneswaran…..
    The inner rift in the TELO…..
    The inner rift in the EPRLF…..
    The inner and outer rift in the ETC ETC….
    They all claim to support the cause of the Tamils; But alas, it is drifting mode for the Tamils themselves!

    Icidentally, in Srilanka all the former Leftists are with Gota, with the notable exception of Bahu,and Siritunga Jayasuriya.

  • 4
    1

    There are about 150000 Tamils in UK. Only about 40,000 can vote. Plus they are scattered around UK. They cannot swing a election like the Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshis and jamacians. The white man is taking Tamil money and taking them for a ride. Long as the money keeps coming the Tamil issue will be in the media. Tamils are idoits to think that the Aryan English give shit about the dravidians.

    • 1
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      Tamils are idoits to think that the Aryan English give shit about the dravidians. “

      Niro, are you Ramayana’s idiot Tamil Dravidian or Lion Birth Native Sinhalayo Bengali Aryan? Mahavamsa says you are Lion Birth Bengali Aryan (Bengalis are Aryans?) and Ramayana says you are Native Dravidian Tamil. You accept the Tamil story Ramayana or Telugu Pandit’s, (whom ran out of TN to escape religious war) Mahavamsa?

      • 0
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        Mallaiyuran
        It’s obvious that ramayana is a load of horseshit much like most of tamil history so the most logical is to go with mahavamsa.

  • 3
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    The many Tamil outfits are fighting with each other to’own’ the ‘Tamil cause’. The British will have to learn the hard way that none of them can be trusted.

  • 2
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    Within the next 10 years, this group of disgruntled ex Lankans living abroad and crying foul will all be
    horizontal below the earths surface. So let them vent their angry feelings. Sanity will eventually prevail.

  • 2
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    Senan

    *** I take your criticism of Tamil Tories as a Constructive Criticism and I myself am a Tory supporter. But you have to look at it from the point of view that Britain is no longer a World Power to make thing happen in Sri Lanka > No doubt Britain can make a contribution to hurt Sri Lanka by amrms embargo , Aid , Investment and so on. But the only Power that can influence the course of events in Sri Lanka is India under Modi and he has spoke nd let us see whether he will implement.it.

    1) In effect, the 13 demands put forward by the five key Tamil parties in Sri Lanka during the 2019 presidential campaign are supported. These were rejected by all the right-wing parties. In fact in Sri Lanka, the only candidates to support these demands were Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party (USP) and the Tamil candidate Sivajilingam.

    *** I am not sure who you are referring to when you say right wing parties.

    2) Therefore the many diaspora organisations who claim to support these demands face an easy choice in the British general election. Corbyn’s policies have clear benefits for both the Tamils, Sinhala, Muslims in Sri Lanka and all workers and young people in Britain..

    *** As I have said Britain has no influence in Sri Lanka. It is Mr.Modi wo has to deliver it.

    David Cameron is a Gentleman and he comes from the British Aristocracy and he is related to the Queen . Although initially I was apprehensive about his visit to Sri Lanka seeing the PM with the CM on the Balcony and his vistis to the camps had beneficial effect so I agree with Malliuran

  • 1
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    This is a tactic used by colonial power then, “DIVIDE & RULE”

  • 8
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    Diaspora tamils want the tamils in sri lanka to keep agitating so that they can keep the money rolling in to maintain their comfortable acquired luxury life style!
    If they wanted to help their bretheren here after the war shouldn’t they have contributed financially for the economic upliftment of the north rather than asking for a division of the country which is a lost cause.
    Everybody will keep stirring the tamil pot of money for personal enrichment and not for betterment of the community!
    Who wants to take a lachcham of land in his coffin?

  • 2
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    To Tamil Diaspora,
    Send your hard earn money to your brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. They have been struggling ever since they had placed their trust on TNA. Tamils are suffering since their slavish obedience to TNA. Ex. They listened to TNA and voted in 2010 for Sarath Fonseka; in 2015, for MS, in 2019 for SajitP. The real Tamil Candidate (Sivaji) lost the election and lost his deposit too! How can you promote a 2-state solution whereas Tamils in the North didn’t want to vote for their own man! They have clearly rejected the 2-state thingy right away and voted a Sinhala Buddhist!
    British Cons & Libs lie to Tamils and this 2-state thingy is an excellent and timely bait to catch the Tamil fish! Cons and Libs say they can influence SL but what have they done for the last 4 years? They are no different from Sajith Premadasa who promised heaven but had done nothing as a powerful cabinet minister and deputy leaders of the UNP for the last 4 years. But foolish Tamils and Muslims trusted him but the intelligent Sinhalese gave him a slap. That’s why I say not to spend your hard-earned money for those British lies!
    As some comment writers say India’s Modi can do more than anyone else; but he too is careful when he deals with President Gotabaya since China is a silent backer of the new President. Believe me he will take back the Hambantota port too with the credit line supplied by Modi.
    He (Gotabaya) will shoot two birds with one arrow!
    The best is to go to him accompanied by Modi (like Sumanthiran is trying to do today), and find out a solution acceptable to all Tamils in Sri Lanka.

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  • 0
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    I am sure the “Butcher” you mentioned is V. Prabhakaran. Right?

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