by Esmerelda Weatherwax (July 2010)
The following speech was delivered by Ms. Weatherwax to the Second Symposium of the New English Review, Nashville Tennessee Saturday 19th June 2010.
The title of my talk today comes from the song ragged heroes by John Tams – opening track of Rise Up Like The Sun, the 1978 album by the Albion Band an English folk and country dance band.
It’s a ‘calling on’ song asking “where are all the ragged heroes, buried in their suits of pine” which these days brings to my mind the cortege of coffins of repatriated servicemen coming through Wootton Bassett.
The full line is “Let the critics sneer and prattle – give St George some fighting room” and it speaks of a resurgence of what it means to be English.
Not Scots or Welsh because the Scots and Welsh have never forgotten what it means to be Scots or Welsh, and they have institutions like the Scottish and Welsh assemblies that encourage them to be so.
But that song was written over 20 years ago and since then, especially in the last 15 years, there has been a perception that to be English is something of which we should be ashamed. This hasn’t been helped by a few incidents, some of which were much exaggerated, but there is a core of truth, where the exhibiting of an England flag or Cross of St George was, shall we say, discouraged.
It is a matter of public record that the Inspector of Prisons told officers at HMP Wakefield that their cancer charity tie pins of the St George cross might upset certain prisoners and should not be worn.
And there is a video clip doing the rounds on You tube in which Martin Smith who is the organiser of Love Music Hate Racism which is one of the arms of the left wing group Unite Against Fascism in which he says that he finds the sight of our national flags displayed in London ‘appalling’.
This antipathy against the flag was made worse when the British National party, who do have a core history of genuine racism, used the flag of St George heavily in their promotional material. It was against this background that one of the groups I want to talk about today formed.
March for England formed about 5 years ago from a group of football fans, who supported different teams, chatting on, I believe, the Spurs forum. That’s Tottenham Hotspur one of the big north London teams with a lot of Jewish fans. And they were talking about the state of the country, not just in the sense of the threat of jihad, concern generally about the standard of manners, a justice system that appears to favour the perpetrators not the victims, and instead of just moaning they decided to do something to make our flag a thing of pride again, and generate a feeling of pride in being English.
Their mission statement is
We WELCOME everyone to March For England, Regardless of Colour, Culture or Religion or Non Religion. United we can make this country a better place.
This site is not a political party. This website was made from groups of different people from all walks of life, colour, old, young, who got together to March For England rather than sit at home, or down the pub etc. and moan about it.
WE ARE ENGLISH AND PROUD - PROUD NOT RACIST
And this revolves round the top of the site
You make a living by what you can get – you make a life by what you give.
These are noble sentiments but I like the back of one of their polo shirts best
To us it’s more than just a flag, it’s our beating heart, it’s our soul, its everything.
Now the roots of the EDL.
When the London Underground and bus system was bombed twice during July 2005, with 52 innocent fatalities the mood was more of sorrow than anger. We were actually used to bomb attacks after 20 odd years of the Irish troubles and IRA activity but the reaction of the group responsible this time identity, be they defined by religion, ideology or culture, was totally different.
Whenever there was a bomb attack by the IRA we knew with absolute certainty that the horror expressed by our Irish friends and neighbours was genuine and that many more Irish people of all the religions and none were victims themselves of the troubles.
After July 2005, while there were Muslims who were genuine in their condemnation, and there were Muslims among the murdered, there was an element who either played the victim too much “Why are you picking on the Muslim community?” or were defiantly proud of the whole business.
And thus attitudes towards Islam did begin to harden.
Then it came to a head in July last year with the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment through Luton and as well as being greeted by cheering crowds of white, black, Sikhs all ages, they were confronted with a demonstration of Muslims, the women all in niqabs, holding banners proclaiming the returning soldiers to be “butchers and baby killers” and such.
A fight broke out, the police had to protect the demonstrators from a very angry crowd and it was the last straw, the one that broke the British lion’s back, for many people. It happened again in Barking on Tuesday and I may have time t touch on that later.
Now a few years ago Dag Walker, one of the regular commentators elsewhere who used the name ‘Son of Walker’ said, in answer to an incident from England, I forget the details, but he suggested “Unleash the Soccer Hooligans”
And I thought, yes, he’s got something here, because there is so much passion and energy amongst football supporters, in contrast to the anodyne blandness that afflicts so much of society.
And that’s what happened. Various football groups got together and formed what has become the English Defence League. So named because there was already a Welsh Defence League and it’s such a good name.
I won’t go into details of all their demonstrations and rallies because you are all regular readers of the NER and so I am sure that you have read the reports on our site and elsewhere.
I decided to attend and observe the annual pro Palestinian and Iranian funded, Al Quds day march through London in October because I wanted to observe the EDL presence at the Counter demonstration.
As I wrote at the time, I saw no racism, I heard no fascism that day; I saw men and women, Iranian and English, standing shoulder to shoulder against the spread of sharia law and other abuses.
That article caught the attention of Pompey Dave the spokesman of the March for England committee who were also present and that is how I have come to know them, and through them to meet some of the members and leaders of the EDL and WDL.
By the way Pompey is nothing to do with prog rock or Dave’s personality. It is the nickname of the naval town of Portsmouth which is where Dave lives and their football team.
The first meeting I had with them was their Remembrance Sunday event in November, then the rally (an official EDL event) to welcome Geert Wilders to London. Then their St George’s Day parade in Brighton in April which was challenged by the UAF and turned from a family fun day out into something rather different.
Then there was the Patriots March through London last month. There was no counter demonstration to that, a letter was handed in at No 10 Downing Street and I was told about the formation of a new political party, The English Nationalist Alliance. Or Ena for short.
I don’t know whether this will ever be a serious contender for public office, maybe local and parish councils, but a formal Political party has a certain status and the modest subscriptions will provide legal expenses if nothing else.
As well as shorter conversations and e-mail exchanges with EDL organisers and leaders in preparation for talking to you today I had a long conversation with Joe Cardiff of the Welsh Defence League who is also prominent in the sister EDL.
He told me that although they started with football supporters, who give the movement an edge, a physical presence which has proved useful, they are now, probably a minority. The movement is the voice of normal people. They work a lot through facebook, sending out videos of their rallies and showing the world that they are not fascists.
Joe thinks we are winning, he points to how the movement has grown in just a year and he believes that it has the potential to be quite significant.
I asked him about David Cameron’s comments to the Muslims of Dudley. Cameron obviously thought at that point that there was no doubt about his becoming Prime Minister when he said that ”the EDL are a disgrace and must be watched. I will ban them if necessary”. Is there any official comment from the EDL on that?
Joe thought that at that point a few days before the election (we were talking a week or so afterwards) that Cameron wanted the Muslim vote. As we know Muslims often vote tactically as a block.
He doesn’t think that Cameron will ban the EDL. The group Combat 18 who were (still are) violent terrorists were never banned because it was thought better to have them monitored and not underground. The Dudley rally had a lot of local support because of the local opposition to the Mosque.
But the EDL are not violent – no organisation will get mass support, in his opinion, if they are not peaceful and he believes that the EDL have the potential to be a mass movement.
For example he met a lot of women at anti EU meetings and they will not come out to visibly demonstrate if there are hooligans. They very much want to attract these middle aged and elderly people.
I think that when they call themselves ‘hooligans’, for example there is something called the ‘hooligan channel’ on Youtube, they are being either ironic, joking, colloquial. It’s what the press brand them after all. They also call themselves infidels. There is a band called Alex and the Bandits, one of their songs goes,
“We’re coming, we’re coming, we’re coming down the road
We’re the infidel of the EDL,
and we’re coming down the road”
I asked about the involvement of Sikhs. One of the prominent spokesmen is a Sikh, Amit Singh. The Sikhs also organise around facebook, a young woman from Sikhs against Sharia spoke at Dudley, and talk of setting up a Sikh Division. A Jewish Division was set up recently.
On the subject of the Jewish Division I am going to briefly interrupt to tell you about another member I had correspondence with, a man who goes by the name Homo Sapiens who organises the Gay Division. He wrote to me:
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Division was created in early March 2010. Since at least September 2009, EDL had been making a point of defending the rights of gay people from creeping sharia in the UK.
In an interview from September 2009 where a representative of EDL is asked about gay rights, and he says "The EDL is in no way homophobic and will defend the rights of homosexuals to live in peace and security as much as they are defending their own rights to live in peace and security, through peaceful protest."
EDL welcomes gay people to join in the struggle to protect our values, especially as gay people would be some of those who suffer most under an islamic regime. In this context, the LGBT Division was set up when it was recognized that there were individual gay people attending demos, but they were not united as a group within EDL. The Division was intended to enable gay people to focus on working together to further EDL across the regions of Britain.
The Jewish Division formed when Homo Sapiens met a Jewish friend who was very concerned at the event expected at the Troxy Theatre in Whitechapel. The Jewish Division was born and grew very quickly.
As with the creation of the Gay Division, it also turned out there were more jews and gay people in EDL than people had realised before the creation of these non-regional Divisions.
Returning to my conversation with Joe Cardiff the told me that there are also what they call the armchair warriors, and that isn’t a derogitary term. They are the retired supporters who spend a lot of effort writing to organisations like the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, their MPs on important issues, such as the spread of halal meat into mainstream catering. I’ll come back to that.
Members of the EDL have turned up at communist and UAF meetings to genuinely and peacefully debate the issues that concern them and have really rattled the anti-fascists.
I asked about the role of the different groups, English, Scottish, Welsh and Ulster DLs. They are not independent, they are a family, they describe each group as a sister group and like the best of families they work together, liaising on where to rally, and invited to each other’s rallies. They don’t demonstrate in Northern Ireland as the situation there is too complicated and Islam is not so numerically widespread but they provide moral support.
I will confess at this point that I know very little about the Scottish Defence league – Scotland is another country and they really do do things differently there.
I know there is an Australian Defence league as I have seen their facebook page and I believe that they are considering an event in or around Cronulla. But don’t take that as definite, not yet.
There are plans to commemorate the anniversary of 11th September with European groups of similar mind, in Europe. Arnhem has been mentioned, or the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium, which is a very evocative place, as I know. These are places where much blood was spilt in the cause of freedom.
Joe gets requests for information and advice as to how to set up a division, or a national league from many places, including Minnesota.
His advice – just do it, we grew from a handful. Just do it, but in the beginning, be prepared to be beaten up.
They have a lot of support amongst servicemen. Those currently serving are not active, for obvious reasons, but many ex-servicemen are and they are very effective on rallies as stewards. They carry themselves very well, with a natural authority which commands respect and I think are one of the reasons the events I have attended and observed have been so well ordered.
A lot of the women who write the letters and do some of the work with service charities are wives and mothers of servicemen – which does seem to be mostly army.
To my mind the EDL is set up a bit like two great British Institutions.
First the Church of England. If you believe in the core principle then you are welcome to just turn up. There is no membership, no fees or subs to pay, no card to carry. No membership list which can be hacked and spread about.
And what he didn’t spell out is that with no formal membership no one can be intimidated at work for membership of a group of which management disapprove. We are still allowed our opinions.
Secondly the British Army. Not the chain of leadership and command as such but the divisions as regiments. Some divisions are locally based – the Essex Division, the Kent Division, etc like the Royal Anglian regiment say. Others are special interest specific, the LGBT division, or the Over 45 Division, like say the Parachute Regiment or RAMC.
Joe’s specific worry in Wales is the growing presence of the Cardiff Sharia Court and the intended halal meat processing plant to be opened in Neath. This is welcomed by South Wales local government as it will provide 3000 much needed jobs. What they don’t grasp is that most of these jobs will be for Muslims. While non muslims are allowed to work in the halal meat trade they must be under the supervision of Muslims. So if local men, who are not Muslim do get a job there, their career prospects are nil. Plus it is affecting the jobs of local slaughtermen and farm workers, and doing nothing to stop the inhumane methods halal involves.
Halal slaughtering is a major concern. You will be aware that the KFC chain has recently opened a lot of halal certified branches in areas with a high muslim population. Even where I live which is effectively outside London many of the private ‘chicken and ribs’ establishments show the word in Arabic somewhere on the window, to attract the knowing but not repel the unknowing.
The fear, a valid one, is that KFC etc do not bother to have two separate suppliers of chicken. That it is all halal but only certified so for serious Muslim consumption in those branches which do not also serve bacon and pork sausage.
Members of the EDL have been seen in local branches explaining to the manageress why halal meat is unacceptable, and bacon desirable. While they were polite the manageress hadn’t a clue what they were on about.
More effective was the deputation who turned up at a KFC management conference at a hotel in the North West to state their case. While the senior managers looked very discomfited, they had no doubt what the EDL were talking about. It’s on youtube if you want to look it up when you get home.
What I cannot understand is that there was a horrific incident in London recently where an urban fox got into a family house and injured twin babies in their cot. The Mum has asked the council to do something to cull the plague of urban foxes in Hackney and the police organised for the ones in her garden to be trapped and humanely destroyed. She is now under police protection following threats from animal rights activists.
The same animal rights activists who are completely silent about the increasing number of halal slaughterhouses.
Another general problem is getting a fair press. Journalists are all members of the NUJ. The rules as to how to report the BNP seem to have been extended to the EDL.
You may be wondering what effect the new government has had since the election. There is no obvious change that I can yet discern. Cameron and Clegg are appeasers – you can see that in their behaviour over Israel. But they did accept the letter from the ENA, which is more than Gordon Brown ever did.
The BNP were expected to do rather better than their results showed on paper. The BNP as a party have a racist history – but many people voting for them are not what I would define as racist.
What started as a protest vote has become an anger vote because no one else is listening. Any expression of the opinion that we are not comfortable with multiculturalism is greeted with a shrill cry of racist. So the dog having been given a bad name, many people felt they had no alternative.
The left wingers were absolutely terrified in Barking and Dagenham, I know some of them and they were petrified, not so much of a BNP Member of Parliament, but of them gaining control of the council. They had 12 council seats and were expected to increase that to 20+.
In the event they lost all 12 seats, the conservatives who were totally unobjectionable lost theirs and there is now no opposition whatsoever in B&D. All 51 council seats are labour.
This may change next month – a new Labour councillor (for the ward which had been that of Richard Barnbrook) has to step down as she was an employee of the council at the time she was elected and that is against the rules. There will be a by-election next month.
In nearby Newham all 60 councillors are now Labour. The opposition there was the Christian People’s Alliance lead by Pastor Alan Craig who has been very vocal against the Mega mosque. Then only a few weeks ago one of the Newham MP was stabbed during his surgery by a Muslim girl, acting alone, in what thankfully the slocal police and local press have identified as a terrorist attack. It is sub judice now; her trial for attempted murder is later this year so we will see what the prosecution and national press make of it then.
Now in Tower Hamlets the Islamist Respect Party MP, the gruesome Georgie Galloway, lost his seat. No surprise there, and most of the Respect councillors also lost their seats. Labour has a vastly increased majority and the party is still under suspicion of infiltration by the Islamic Forum of Europe who operate out of the vast complex in Whitechapel centred round the East London mosque. You can see my pictures of just how much of the block this takes up on the NER.
Every Inner London borough is Labour controlled. London is a one party state.
I was glad to see Respect lose their seats and I am no lover of the BNP either but a one party state is not a healthy situation for any borough, and certainly not our capital city.
While left wing friends profess themselves happy with this, for them the end justified the means in order to remove the BNP, those means have caused some disillusionment with the democratic process.
There a saying – no matter who you vote for the government always get in.
As well as the candidate who worked for the council in Barking there is postal vote fraud being investigated. Numerous examples of more people living in a one bedroomed flat say, than would be physically possible to contain at one time, unless they all slept standing up. This one instance in Barking and the rest in Tower Hamlets.
Votes miscounted in Leyton in favour of Labour and the possibility of a by election there.
Intimidation alleged at the polling stations in Stepney.
People who queued for hours to vote and the polling stations closed before their turn came. That happened all over the country, but Hackney and Islington spring to mind.
Demographic changes everywhere. But all candidates for the 4 main parties in Bethnal Green, where my father’s family come from, were Bangladeshi. And two of them are cousins.
Now at the end of last month there was a big spread in the Guardian, a shock horror expose of the right wing fascist thuggery of the EDL. It was mostly rubbish. There was one bit that may turn out to be true. I’ll quote,
According to Lowles (Nick Lowles, of the anti-fascist group Searchlight, bedfellows of the UAF) the stakes are high. "What we are seeing now is the most serious, most dangerous political phenomenon that we have had in Britain for a number of years," he says. "With EDL protests that are growing week in, week out there is a chance for major disorder and a political shift to the right."
I don’t want major disorder, I want it done in an orderly fashion if possible, but nothing they fear is a danger to us, and it shows how rattled the intelligensia are.
Because our other big enemy is the out and out snobbery of the bourgeois left wing. I like to keep emphasising that they are bourgeois, members of the middle class because they are Marxists, and Karl Marx was always criticising the bourgeoisie.
Earlier this morning Hal Bynum said that we need to reach out to the truckers. These are our lorry drivers, panal beaters and fitters. In the 1920s and 30s the bourgeoisie patronised the white working class. George Orwell found their hero worship of the strong and tough miners quite amusing on the surface but tinged with latent homoeroticism underneath.
They reserve their patronage now for ethnic minorities, and, as many black Christians are shrewd enough to see through it (and followers of the Sky Fairy, their atheist insult for believers, are beyond contempt anyway for different reasons) they like Islam.
Women who would shriek “Sexist” at any remark about lipstick and handbags are silent on matters such as the veil, FGM and forced marriage. As I said, animal right protestors are very anti fox hunting and pro vegetarian, but seem happy with halal slaughtering.
I don’t know why this is and I have given up wondering. They are part of the problem, they will only be part of the solution if they change themselves. We have no time to wait for them to do it – and we don’t need the Guardianistas of this world to save us.
But they are scared, as are the bruvvers. These are some extracts from the Sunni Forum about the EDL, who at that point last week were organising a rally in Tower Hamlets against a rather nasty preacher, Zakir Naik.
this is serious and y am i not suprised to see a filthy dirty sikh at the heart of this organisation.
muslims should just live in peace in non muslim countries, until we a strong enough to rule. Mufti, taqi usmani reportedly said: "Our followers 'must live in peace until strong enough to wage jihad'"
Brothers: get to the gyms and train. I would say get to the firing ranges and train there too but I think thats illegal in the UK. As shaheed Malcom X said: "Respect everyone but if someone puts their hand on you, send him to the grave."
alhamdolillah, this is a great blessing from Allah.
it ensures that our people do not integrate with the kuffar like the hindus and sikhs are doing. the generation of hindus and sikhs who were born and brought up in the west are slowly being assimilated into the western culture and are becoming part of the essence (or should i say stench) of that culture...
I dont suggest firing ranges as there is no benefit fue to the problems with acquiring and storing a firearm for any future trouble.
I recommend buying a powerful bow and arroW set and setting up archery (a sunnah) in your local community. When it kicks off we need to have something to defend ourselves with inshallah.
To which I would remind the young bruvver that in the field of archery the EDL are the descendants of the longbowmen of Agincort.
they really are deaf dumb and blind with a dirty filthy mushriq sikh dog rearing them on. i suggest EVERY SINGLE BROTHER (and sister) on this forum prepare themselves. We just dont know what the future holds so your spare time should be focused on islam and training...
Their hatred for the Sikhs is interesting and seems to be spilling into the Guardianista view of the non white, non mainstream English members, of which there are quite a few. The black and mixed race boys, and members of the gay Division are regarded as sadly naive and being manipulated by evil persons with an agenda.
While the Sikhs are criticised for being ‘racist’ in their opinion, although not criticised with as much venom yet as they reserve for the Jews. Sikhs are almost considered to be honourary Aryans and/or Jews so far as the anti Nazis are concerned.
These are two quotes from EDL members taken from one of the forums. This is in the public domain.
· We're a rough and ready patriotic organisation, who may not be to everyone's taste, but we're 'not' Nazis!
· However what I would say is that the UAF do not really believe that the EDL are Nazi. Britain never ever took to Nazism much to the surprise of Adolf who thought the British/English or Anglo Saxons as he saw it would be great allies in bringing the US (more Anglo Saxons as he saw it) to fight the common enemy i.e. the red fascists.
However Britain didn't do red fascism either and this is what the UAF hate. So for a patriotic pressure group like the EDL that supports the core values of freedom and democracy that took over one thousand years to achieve then to them the EDL are supporting the status quo between the rich and poor. This is their real cause and the reason why they hate the EDL
The BNP insist that the EDL, many of whose members support Israel because that country is in the frontline of Jihad, are Zionist funded and led and BNP members are forbidden to have EDL connections. The BNP have tried to infiltrate the EDL, and I have been told were responsible for the only really problematic incident on one particular demo. And of course, lacking a voice some members of the EDL may well have voted BNP in the election in either protest or anger.
The other theory which I found on a Muslim/left wing site is that the EDL have been set up by MI5 to smoke radical Muslims out. Their evidence for this is the number of ex-servicemen or service families involved. They are apparently being paid from Govt funds for the mission. In a way I hope that one proves to be true – I am a retired Govt Civil Servant and my husband is an ex-serviceman, the money from an undercover mission would come in very handy to pay the bills. But no one has yet passed me a paper bag stuffed with used five pound notes.
What next? Well I have re-written this page twice, things are moving that fast at home.
The EDL have been working on opposition to the attendance in the UK of a Muslim preacher called Zakir Naik. He is on record as saying:-
“Beware of Muslims saying Osama Bin Laden is right or wrong. I reject them … we don’t know.
“But if you ask my view, if given the truth, if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him. I don’t know what he’s doing. I’m not in touch with him. I don’t know him personally. I read the newspaper.
“If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
He was due to attend a “Peace Conference” at Wembley Arena (a large concert hall, not the famous Wembley Stadium which is part of the same complex) and at Sheffield Arena in the north of England next weekend.
As a side event he was to speak at the Troxy Theatre in Whitechapel in London’s east End tomorrow.
The EDL was planning demonstrations at all three, plus the armchair warriors were busy telephoning Wembley to politely express their disquiet at Naik‘s preaching. And as the East End is my ancestral homeland, where my father’s family have lived from at least the 18th century until very recently when they joined the East End diaspora out of London I was sorry to be missing that particular protest, although I am glad to be here.
First, just before I traveled here the one at the Troxy theatre was cancelled. The police spoke to the Borough Council and the Council reminded the theatre that they had signed up to the borough’s “no place for hate’ policy and that Naik’s opinions suggested that he is indeed a ‘preacher of hate‘. They cancelled his appearance.
The UAF still intend to demonstrate tomorrow, to tell the EDL that they are not welcome in east London. The MP Jim Fitzpatrick has critised them. This is from the local paper the East London Advertiser.
The Poplar and Limehouse MP is accusing the organizers of using the EDL for their own propaganda when the danger has passed. Unite against Fascism’s website this morning says its rally at Stepney Green Park and march to Whitechapel is still going ahead on Sunday “to hammer home the message that the EDL are not welcome in Tower Hamlets”
As most of the members of the EDL who would have been going, are, like me, people born there, or to families who had lived there for generations, that isn’t going to go down well.
Then yesterday I heard that the new Home Secretary Theresa May has banned his entry to the UK completely. She says
“I have excluded Dr Naik from the UK. Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour.
“Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right and I am not wiling to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK“.
As we say in England, which is a football, sorry soccer, analogy “Back of the net”.
Good news for once, and the victory is down, I believe to the EDL. The Home Secretary isn’t doing this just because the EDL say so, of course. But they are pointing at the reasons why he should be banned, and that public opinion supports a ban, and she has listened.
These conferences are still going ahead next week, so far as I know, with the remaining speakers and the EDL intends to continue with their picket.
There was another Muslim protest against returning British Soldiers in Barking on Tuesday. I was there and you can read my report in the NER. The group call themselves Muslims Against Crusaders and we think they are the latest incarnation of Anjem Choudary’s Islam4UK. They are horrible. They have announced their intention to challenge the Yorkshire regiment’s Homecoming Parade through Bradford next week.
There is an EDL rally planned for Bradford later this summer and a return to Dudley and Luton. So it should be a busy and interesting summer.
A woman who posts on the MfE forum as Boudicca told me that I must let America know that Great Britain is not finished – we are not the nation of dhimmis that some contributors of US web discussions fear that we are.
And I will finish with a message from Pompey Dave on behalf of March for England
We are not giving up our fight. The British Lion is waking up and the fight back has begun.
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