Why protestors need Mubarak out now

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, February 11th, 2011 - 47 comments
Categories: activism, International - Tags: , , ,

Why do the protesters still demand that Mubarak leave the country before they leave Tahrir Square?

The answer is simple

To leave the square with Mubarak still in power will be to suffer detention and torture, and with tensions so high, probably deaths.

The protesters are safe in the square for now. But are frightened to leave without victory, which could, literally “be fatal”.

Under Mubarak’s rule all protests in Egypt are still illegal, and the consequences are very severe.

The protesters are aware of security personal taking film of people’s faces. As has happened in the past, the police have used photos and video taken at protests to launch arrests of demonstrators.

Disappearances and torture are the result.

Already the protesters have identified over 40 of their number who have mysteriously gone “missing” and believed to be in detention, they cannot be sure how many others have been detained by the secret police.

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that Egyptian authorities have arbitrarily detained at least 119 people since January 28 and tortured them in at least five cases.

CNN report

– Jenny

47 comments on “Why protestors need Mubarak out now ”

  1. Maui 1

    http://warincontext.org/2011/02/10/mubarak-refuses-to-step-down-insults-the-egyptian-people/

    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2011/02/10/mubby-speaks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AWCBlog+%28Antiwar.com+Blog%29

    [lprent: Check out the FAQ to find out how to embed links that have less of a risk of hitting the spam filter. Alternatively you could try writing an explanation about the links which will also tend to bypass the filter. But raw links are just about guaranteed to stay in the spam until I expend effort to fetch them out. ]

  2. Carol 2

    One of the comments I heard this morning (most likely on Al Jazeera), was that the revolution in the 1950s ended with promises to the protesters of democratic reforms. So the millions of protests stopped demonstrating and went home. But the promises from the government were never fulfilled. Leading protesters were brutally dealt with, and then came the 50 years of military dictatorship. So I hardly think the protesters are going to be conned again.

  3. Bill 3

    Egyptians don’t simply need to be rid of Mubarak. Omar “Sheik al-Torture” Suleiman, definately must go. And all the structures and various apparatuses that enabled the regime must go or it will re-assert itself in some form or other. And the army must go. (They are not benign and impartial observors.) And bread prices, driven up by speculation on Wall Street, must come down.

    And that last bit, the price of food, crucial as it was/is to mobilising people (nothing to lose but hunger) just isn’t being mentioned in the msm. But then, we can’t expect a corporate media to be critical of their banking mates now, can we?

    Better to surmise the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen and Jordan as some mysterious ‘coming of age’ for the peoples of the region who are just suddenly and inexplicably tired of dictatorships. Nothing to do with speculative trading on Wall Street providing the final straw that’s broken the camels back.

  4. ianmac 4

    Must be a chilling prospect for a protester in Tahrir Square.
    An ordinary citizen. Hungry. Tired. Uncertain about personal safety. Prospect of further persecution. Danger if staying. Danger if leaving. Strikes. Food shortage. Serious unemployment becoming worse. They deserve huge international support but from here in NZ, apart from signing petitions online, what else?

    • Bill 4.1

      What else? I could be way off the mark here. But I’m getting a sense that people are re-awakening to the fact that our governments are acting for the benefit of international finance and not for us, the people they are meant to represent.

      ‘Everybody’ knows that neo-liberalism has been a vehicle for driving down living conditions to enrich financial elites. And ‘everybody’ knows that our governments are ‘locked in’ to honouring trade and financial policies that empower and enrich elites but that do us nothing but harm.

      The bleakness visited on Arab populations (and who knows how many populations throughout Africa and elsewhere) is part of a continuum of the general impoverishment being visited on populations everywhere. The only reason we aren’t on the streets is because the rising cost of basic foods isn’t impacting on us to the extent it does on people who spend 80 or 90% of their income on basic food necessities.

      And the only reason we’re not in that self same situaton is because elites backtracked in fear from the idea of communism and conceded to demands for improvements in our lives over the san of a few decades. If they hadn’t, (and barring revolts and uprisings) our situation would be fairly comparable to that of our forebearers in the 20’s and 30’s. ie not a skip and a jump away from the stark realities faced by most people in the world today.

      And as the elites roll back the gains we won, ‘What else’ we can do, is recognise our part or position in what is happening around the world…join the dots…reclaim or rediscover the concept of internationalism and fight and organise to put a stop to the incursions of corporate globalisation in our respective countries. And in the absense of the threat of the idea of communism, present elites with new fears and new threats.

      Demands, if formulated, developed and taken onto the streets give elites and their political rent boys the jitters. They can’t handle the prospect of people indulging in genuine expressions of democracy…a movement. ( Just observe how mainstream commentators can’t even begin to engage with or understand what is happening on the street in Egypt. It’s all about ‘Obama says this’ or Mubarak says that’. As though 80 million Egyptians are some kind of gathered yet absent curiosity that will be satisfied when the right configuration of political elites is put in place.)

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        I sort of thought of instances like the short changing of the Seabed Select Committee as indications of democracy at risk but maybe that’s a bit of a stretch Bill.

    • Jenny 4.2

      “Without peace in Palestine, there can be no peace in the Middle East, without peace in the Middle East, there can be no peace in the world.”

      Hi ianmac, stuck here in New Zealand, it is hard to think what one could do to make a difference in Egypt, but how about this?
      A practical way for New Zealanders to help the people of the middle East and Egypt is to become a volunteer or supporter for next Kia Ora Gaza mission to peacefully attempt to break the siege of Gaza.

      Kia Ora Gaza and other international peace groups by peacefully challenging the Egyptian regime over the siege of Gaza, is demonstrating that it doesn’t take huge armies or rockets to achieve justice in the Middle East.

      As is well known, the continuing existence of the Mubarak regime is closely linked to the oppression of the Palestinians, for which Mubarak gets $billions in aid from the West, as well as forgiveness for the brutality of his rule.

      The plight of the Palestinians has been a weeping sore in the Middle East for for more than 50 years, and it is accepted by foreign affairs experts of all persuasions that this injustice is the motor driving the rise and continued existence of a lot of the intolerant and dictatorial regimes in the Middle East.

      Operating under the auspices of the Viva Palestina umbrella group, Kia Ora Gaza and other international aid groups from around the world publicly defied the Mubarak government, who had announced after the raid on the Marvy Marmara, that no land aid convoy to Gaza would be allowed to cross Egyptian territory or pass through the Egyptian controlled Rafah crossing.

      Despite this the convoyers with the public support of the Arab masses were able to face down Mubarak and his thugs, and successfully transited through Egypt and Rafah to deliver a total combined aid assignment worth over $7million of medical and other banned goods into Gaza.

      Kia Ora Gaza is fund raising now for the next convoy to Gaza which will be leaving for Egypt later this year.

  5. Jenny 5

    .
    John Key says Mubarak should not go.

    The NZ Herald accuses “protesters” of being behind the attacks on journalists in Egypt.

    If what happened to UK Journalist Robert Tait, blindfolded and held in an Egyptian torture centre by Mubarak’s police, this week, happened to John Key or the Herald editors, they might alter their views.

    28 hours in hell

    The sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electrocuting device sounded like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face. Then came a scream of agony, followed by a pitiful whimpering from the handcuffed, blindfolded victim as the force of the shock propelled him across the floor.
    A hail of vicious punches and kicks rained down on the prone bodies next to me, creating loud thumps. The torturers screamed abuse all around me. Only later were their chilling words translated to me by an Arabic-speaking colleague: “In this hotel, there are only two items on the menu for those who don’t behave – electrocution and rape.”

    Cuffed and blindfolded, like my fellow detainees, I lay transfixed. My palms sweated and my heart raced. I felt myself shaking. Would it be my turn next? Or would my outsider status, conferred by holding a British passport, save me? I suspected – hoped – that it would be the latter and, thankfully, it was.

    Robert Tait

    • ianmac 5.1

      Thanks Jenny. Went back at watched Key on Egypt again.
      “Do you think Mubarak should go?”
      “NO!”
      Wonder if he has changed his opinion now?

      • ianmac 5.1.1

        Comment from Obama today, “US President Barack Obama has openly and sharply questioned whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s pledge to shift power to his vice president is an “immediate, meaningful or sufficient” sign of reform for a country in upheaval.”
        Will Key say now,” I agree with my friend Obama.”

  6. Bill 6

    Couldn’t help but notice our wonderful media (TV1 and Ch3) were suggesting that the protests will turn violent necessitating the army stepping in and taking a tough line.

    And still no mention of Suleiman’s background. So from one of Pepe Escobars excellent pieces on Egypt…

    Omar Suleiman, aka “Sheik al-Torture” (everyone in Egypt knows he supervised US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) renditions as well as torture of al-Qaeda suspects), born July 2, 1936, in Qena, southern Egypt, was a minister without portfolio and director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, the national intelligence agency, from 1993 to 2011.

    In the 1980s, he got training at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Foreign Policy magazine ranked him the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief in 2009, even ahead of Israel’s Mossad head at the time, Meir Dagan.

    It doesn’t matter that the Egyptian street abhors him; for the top echelons of the army he is the new rais. Al-Jazeera describes him as “the point man” for Egypt’s secret relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves him. Former bouncer and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Avigdor Lieberman has expressed “his respect and appreciation for Egypt’s leading role in the region and his personal respect for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Minister Suleiman”.

    According to a 2006 diplomatic cable on WikiLeaks, the CIA – what else? – also loves him; “Our intelligence collaboration with Oman Soliman [sic] is now probably the most successful element of the relationship” with Egypt. Suleiman always negotiated directly with top CIA officials.

    On the other side of the spectrum, Human Rights Watch stresses, “Egyptians … see Suleiman as Mubarak II, especially after the lengthy interview he gave to state television Feb 3 in which he accused the demonstrators in Tahrir Square of implementing foreign agendas. He did not even bother to veil his threats of retaliation against protesters.” Human Rights Watch notes at least 75 Egyptian activists and demonstrators and about 30 foreign journalists have been arrested since the protests began, and at least 297 people have been killed.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB09Ak01.html

  7. Bill 7

    Ominously
    9:24am The state news agency MENA says Egyptian military leaders have held an “important”‘ meeting and will issue a statement to the people. MENA says the chief commander and defence minister Hussein Tantawi chaired the meeting of the Armed Forces Supreme Council.

    Hopefully
    9:51am An army officer joining protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square says 15 other middle-ranking officers have also gone over to the demonstrators.
    “The armed forces’ solidarity movement with the people has begun,” Major Ahmed Ali Shouman tells Reuters.

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/10/live-blog-feb-11-egypt-protests

    • Rosy 7.1

      There is no chance that the people will support suleiman. It was interseting that neither he, nor mubarack were involved in the meetings yesterday. I thought it bizarre that western leaders expected a handover to suleiman would make this go away. Maybe there is an internal tussle going on and the army haven’t quite won it. I’m sure they will though. It seems that it’s win or lose after mubarack’s address last night, negotiated change has not worked out.

  8. Bored 8

    All we can wish for is that the army dont come in on the side of the regime, it will lead to further repression that will only result in more radicalisation of the cause of the protesters. Violence will beget violence inside and outside of Egypt, we should then expect direct terrorist action against states friendly with the percieved oppressors (USA, UK etc). Which is why Keys foolish pro Isreali pro status quo stance puts us in the firing line.

    Tomorrow will be crucial, the Palace is the target, a Versailles moment may be approaching.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      The other thing that we can wish for is that control of the army does not disintegrate into an internal military power struggle.

      Very very messy if it comes down to a competition between 3 or 4 generals who each think they can take the top spot away from the civilians.

      • Bored 8.1.1

        Perhaps the generals are out of their league and it calls for a lesser rank who is from and of the people to take the lead. An Egyptian Kemal perhaps.

    • Bill 8.2

      Bored. Are you buying into that Islamist state tosh? The people of Egypt are no more likely to launch terrorist attacks than the peoples of Eastern Europe were because of their thwarted attempts to gain democracy.

      • Bored 8.2.1

        Bill, perhaps you should reflect that we cannot demand how people are. If they vote for an Islamist state so be it, we are not them. I personally hope they dont, the important thing is that they are working toward their own self determination, not something imposed as a proxy of Washington.

        • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1

          Let’s take into account that Egypt has a huge population under 35 – and well educated too.

          If Iranian citizens under 35 had their way, the theocracy in Iran wouldn’t last one more week.

    • Jenny 8.3

      “Tomorrow will be crucial, the Palace is the target, a Versailles moment may be approaching.”

      Bored

      Bored, Congratulations, you were right on the money

      The Versailles moment has come

      “Euphoria in Tahrir Square as Mubarak flees Cairo”

      • Bored 8.3.1

        Thanks Jenny. You have to be congratulated fro upholding the posts for the Egyptian people. Well done.Word of caution: this is merely the beginning, the difficult bit is yet to begin as Egyptians determine where to from now.

  9. Bored 9

    Just a few thoughts on what to watch for tomorrow as direct coverage gets sketchy…Brent Crude rising rapidly and US stocks sliding will indicate that all is not well for the Mubarak regime. Events of this type have the capacity to undermine the weak confidence in the world markets since they were reinflated by unsustainable public debt. Events in far away countries can have profound affects upon empires. Stay alert as we will likely wear the economic fall out.

  10. Rosy 10

    The BBC persian service has been jammed in Iran
    “It appears that the trigger point was a joint broadcast on Wednesday by the corporation’s Persian and Arabic services in which Iranian and Egyptian callers exchanged views.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2011/feb/11/bbc-iran

    It’s also the 31st anniversary of the Iranian uprising. The wider implications of a jobless man setting himself on fire in Tunisia aren’t going to be over with Egypt. I’ve read somewhere that the Saudis are supressing unrest, but it hasn’t made the mainstream news yet.

  11. Has anyone asked the Labour Party why it spent the last 20 years treating Mubarak’s NDP as comrades in arms at Socialist International?

    Given Lianne Dalziel went to the last Congress, did she ever raise human rights issues or indeed liberal democracy with the Egyptian delegate? Indeed is this why Labour is quite quiet on this issue?

    Why did Socialist International only eject the party at the end of January 2011? Was it satisfied the NDP was a fraternal member of this movement of democratic socialist parties until then?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Has anyone asked Key why he still supports the Mubarak regime in 2011?

      BTW how is it that you even know the Labour Party said anything supportive of Mubarak at S.I.?

      • Libertyscott 11.1.1

        I am not supporting or condoning anything Key says. It’s a distraction to say “oh but the other guy did this”, when you’re guilty of a similar sin.

        If the Egyptian NDP had been part of the International Democratic Union (which National belongs to) I would have said the same thing about the Nats. (Indeed the IDU has one less than honourable current member, Fidesz in Hungary, and several have rather awful pasts)

        Labour is a member of a club that also invited and sustained the membership of a dictatorial party which is part of a regime that it now conveniently detests.

        I don’t know if Labour said anything supportive, or critical, but nothing about the membership of the NDP appears in any of the S.I. public records except for the expulsion a couple of weeks ago.

        I don’t think you can blame the Nats without also saying Labour also had friendly relations with the Mubarak regime both times it was in power, and also shared a platform with its ruling party.

        By the way the BBC raised this very point with the British Labour Party a couple of weeks ago, now that it is cheering it all on. Or are you just ignoring a very inconvenient truth that the Labour Party in NZ frankly didn’t think this was an issue until Egyptians started standing up?

        Wouldn’t it just be more honest to own up about it, say it was an oversight or admit that when Labour is in government it by and large doesn’t want to annoy NZ’s trading partners either?

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1

          I am not supporting or condoning anything Key says. It’s a distraction to say “oh but the other guy did this”, when you’re guilty of a similar sin.

          You’re still holding onto the transparent pretence of being honest and balanced in your criticisms, when your post did not note the hypocrisy of the current Government & PM’s support for Mubarak.

          Wouldn’t it just be more honest to own up about it, say it was an oversight or admit that when Labour is in government it by and large doesn’t want to annoy NZ’s trading partners either?

          You’re speaking about honesty now? As above mate. While its clear that no leader should have a policy of pissing of trade partners as a matter of course, at least the US could bring themselves to say that it was time for Mubarak to go.

          If only Key had that much backbone.

          And you might want to remember John Key kowtowing to China around the time of the Nobel Prize for Literature winner’s house arrest. And pandering to Chinese security for assaulting one of our MPs (as much of an ass as he was being).

          • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1.1

            Or being one of the few leaders that’s moved closer to the US in last few years.

            How are those war crimes trials moving along?

            Perhaps the National Party should ask the GOP what their position is with regard to Bush Cheney Rumsfield Rice et al at the next meeting of the International Democratic Union

    • Pascal's bookie 11.2

      Way to stay classy there Ls.

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    Off the aj blog, found this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgw_zfLLvh8

    Translation

    “I went down and I said I am not coming back, and I wrote on every street wall that I am not coming back.

    “All barriers have been broken down, our weapon was our dream, and the future is crystal clear to us, we have been waiting for a long time, we are still searching for our place, we keep searching for a place we belong too, in every corner in our country.

    “The sound of freedom is calling, in every street corner in our country, the sound of freedom is calling..

    “We will re-write history, if you are one of us, join us and don’t stop us from fulfilling our dream.

    • Jenny 12.1

      To be in Tahrir Square today, eh Pascal?

      Surely that would be to experience one of the greatest liberating movements in modern history.

  13. Roger 13

    Another problem here is that Egypt is seen as a bellwether state. There are protests and uprisings occurring in Jordan, and other Arab and Asian countries are looking on. If democracy and people power fails here it is unlikely to succeed elsewhere. This could be comforting to other dictators to see that when protest seems to be at the point of gaining concession and it seems that regime change is an inevitability, just waiting it out and asserting your authority harshly when the crowds are weakened is the best course of action. Other dictators will be happy to be given a lesson they can all learn from.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      I agree, but I’m quite hopeful that there will be genuine reform in Egypt, the emergency law is gone, and if they can keep momentum up through to free elections then the point will have been proven.

      If it fails, then the opposition will have not gone away, it will simply change, most likely radicalise. That’s what is so stupid about the line Fox is pushing so hard on the Brotherhood. If there is no real reform, and the regime doesn’t change enough, and this is seen as being due to western pressure at the behest of Israel, (which is quite likely ti be the narrative) then the militant factions Fox so fears will have a recruiting bonanza throughout the ME.

      • Bill 13.1.1

        The Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence quite some years back. And they have repeatedly stated that they don’t want positions on any cabinet or equivalent. Electorally they have between 15 – 30 % support.

        I can’t quite see why there would be a sudden gear shift in rates of recruitment to militants should the old status quo be reasserted. People want food, not some Islamic state. I know I’m repeating myself, but the catalyst for these uprisings has been the unaffordability of basic food items. And they got unaffordable because of speculators on Wall Street. The peoples across the Arab world endured dictatorships for decades. But they didn’t endure hunger.

        And the culprits who brought about unendurable conditions are getting off. Hell, they and their actions aren’t even mentioned in any mainsream analysis I’ve read.

        If people want to rise up against the regime that makes them suffer, then they first of all have to recognise the regime. Mubarak and all the other dictators across the Arab world are just the ‘go-for’ boys, not the architects.

        • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1.1

          I can’t quite see why there would be a sudden gear shift in rates of recruitment to militants should the old status quo be reasserted

          I don’t think it would necessarily be sudden, but the narrative of the militant sunni groups is long standing. The idea that the west is the far enemy that props up the near enemy (the autocratic arab regimes that are the ultimate target of the militants) isn’t something that OBL dreamed up. It’s a narrative with an awful lot of merit and I think it’s morally (and strategically) imperative that we don’t feed it.

          If comparatively peaceful attempts at revolution fail, I don’t see why the people will do anything other than look to more radical options. If the west assists in making the peaceful attempts fail, and thereby confirms (again) the long standing militant narrative, then I can’t see how that could be anything but good news for the people pushing that narrative.

          I’m aware of where the Brotherhood is at now, and find the western fears about it to be ridiculous and counter productive.

  14. Rosy 14

    They did it!!!!! A long road ahead, but the people ousted a dictator. Amazing what you can do when you’ve nothing left to lose.

    Dou ya think Shonkey will offer his friend asylum? teehee

    • WhatDoYouMean 14.1

      So happy about this. I can not describe how I feel for the people of Egypt right now.

    • Bill 14.2

      Being rid of an individual member of a regime is one thing. Being rid of the regime, quite another. And it looks like the army wasn’t broken; didn’t come over onto the side of the people. Which spells disaster.

      When the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ‘salutes Mubarak for all he has given in sacrifice in times of war and peace’, you have to hesitate and wonder what it might mean for a populace when there is a military coup in a military dictatorship. A transfer of power and a continuence of the same old regime, albeit with a bit of window dressing is my guess.

      • Rosy 14.2.1

        Yeah I think that is in the back of evryone’s mind.

        I like this report:
        “On the ground were military police in red berets, all smiles and thumbs-up to demonstrators. Apprehension about what might happen next in an Egypt now under army control was being pushed aside to allow for celebrations, but as the procession reached the high-walled Ministry of Defence, Egyptians could not resist reminding their new overlords of who now held the balance of power in the Arab World’s most populous nation. ‘Here, here, the Egyptians are here,’ they shouted up at darkened windows, pointing down to the street.”

        Hopefully they will hold the military to account (fingers are crossed). The military have issued a statement saying Mubarack and Suleiman’s statements were not approved. So it looks like there has been a tussle between the military and the regime behind the scenes.

        • Bill 14.2.1.1

          It was Suleiman who announced on TV that Mubarak as gone and that. “He (Mubarak) has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”

          This from a guy (Suleiman) who doesn’t believe Egypt is ready for democracy.

          The regime has undergone a face lift. Nothing more. In all the anouncements I’ve read so far there is no talk of we as in all Egyptians. The language is still utterly couched in the language of overlords. We (your new masters) will look at your demands etc.

          I get the impression that nothing has changed and suspect the regime will play on the misplaced trust that many seem to have invesed in the army…divide and conquer.

          • Rosy 14.2.1.1.1

            yeeah. I fear you’re right, but… I guess it will be tomorrow before any real indication of where it’s all heading.

          • Carol 14.2.1.1.2

            The Egyptian military and Suleiman are under the US government influence. Obama has just made a victory speech, proclaiming the will of the Egyptian people, their desire for democracy is one that US people celebrate and understand. Subtext: Egypt will have a US style, and manipulated, democracy

            It was an inspiring speech from Obama….. but we all know how much his rhetoric is just an upgraded shop window for the same old US power machine.

  15. T 15

    Here’s hoping for a speedy establishment of democratic systems in Egypt. But in the meantime, my congratulations to the people of Egypt!

  16. Jenny 16

    To upgrade an old saying for the 21st Century. ’48 hours is a long time in politics’

    Kia Ora Gaza

  17. richard bartlett 17

    Watching young Tunisian and Egyptian people liberating themselves (as they surely have) has been, for this aging socialist, uplifting and fascinating and life-affirming.

    It was a “Berlin Wall Moment”, not just for themselves, but for the entire middle east.

    As we know, there is no action without a re-action, and it seems to me not merely ironic that the naked greed which spawned the sub-prime fiasco, can be traced directly through to these popular revolutions.
    Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Libya are also ripe for similar reforms, which creates the very real prospect of upsetting the balance of power (vis-a-vis Israel) in the entire region.
    Meanwhile these events demonstrate that, in reality, governments don’t control shit.

    It is ALWAYS the PEOPLE who have the POWER.

    Lenin famously said the Bolsheviks didn’t win power, but merely went out on the street and “picked it up”.

    See you out there !

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