27
Jun
13

A Note About the People of Senegal

SENEGALESE SAY…TERANGA..TO THE OBAMAS

by @zizii2

Teranga means “Welcome” in Wolof, the predominant language. And the people living on this Westernmost bulge of the African continent truly are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever know. Climactically, however, Senegal is the Western Hemisphere’s house of horrors, as many of our hurricanes are birthed off Senegal’s coast when hot dry Sahara and Sahel winds meet southerly cold North Atlantic winds plus moisture from the warm Atlantic Ocean currents, The ITCZ clash zone known as The Doldrums  , to form the building blocks of storms

  .
Yet nothing takes one’s breath away more than standing on the craggy Senegalese coast in the evening and seeing the copper-gold sunset over the rambunctious Atlantic ocean. No wonder Senegal’s world famous poet and first post-colonial President, Leopold Senghor, called this land his “Childhood Kingdom” whose heartbeat is the Tam Tam (talking drum).

© BuildingOn

*******

Senghor’s eyes, though were mesmerized by the beauty of Senegalese women. His famously erotic poem, Black Woman, published in his 1948 Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache  , became a historical landmark for placing the African woman on a pedestal as a worthy model of beauty, thus challenging the centuries-old denigration of black women as antithesis of ideal white femininity.

Naked woman, black woman

Dressed in your color that is life, in your form that is beauty!
I grew up in your shadow. The softness of your hands
Shielded my eyes, and now at the height of Summer and Noon,
From the crest of a charred hilltop I discover you, Promised Land
And your beauty strikes my heart like an eagle’s lightning flash.
[…snip]
Naked woman, dark woman
Oil no breeze can ripple, oil soothing the thighs
Of athletes and the thighs of the princes of Mali
Gazelle with celestial limbs, pearls are stars
Upon the night of your skin. delight of the mind’s riddles,
The reflections of red gold from your shimmering skin
In the shade of your hair, my despair
Lightens in the close suns of your eyes.”

Senegalese Women

©skyscrapercity.com

***


With a map shaped like a lion’s head in profile with mouth agape swallowing tiny strip of Anglophone Gambia along with the gush of the Senegambia River, Senegal was once France’s crown jewel in its vast colonized territory of French West Africa, with Dakar as capital and St. Louis as commercial hub. The map showing relationship between the 2 countries is one of the tragically absurd illustrations of the hideous legacy of colonial rule that created boundaries that bear no connection to the ethnic, linguistic or regional alliances, but rather the competing interests of European colonizing powers. The British were not gonna let Gambia and control of the Senegambia River go. So Wolof-speaking Gambians live not only in a different country from relatives in Senegal, but until the last couple of decades, could not communicate directly with one another without talking through interpreters and routing calls through London & Paris.

(c) LonelyPlanet

****

Stable Governance: Senegal was spared the post-independence curse of political turmoil that practically embroiled most parts of the African continent, especially the West African region, even when every country along it’s Easter & Southern border was wracked with instability. Never suffered military coup d’états, and no dictator clinging to power as Senghor set a great example and handed over power democratically in 1981, unlike other first generation political leaders on the continent.

And so it was truly monumental when political unrest broke out in the run-up to the Senegalese elections last year after the public, especially youth staged vigorous protests when the octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade tried to change the constitution to extend his bid for office and line up his son to take over after him. The leading opponent Macky Sall fought hard, prevailed and is the current President and now faces task of re-uniting country and all political factions. Mind you, this is no 2 party fight as there were over 20 political parties contesting

*****
The one area where there is aggressive competition is in commerce and wrestling. If you’ve encountered Senegalese African craft vendors in any US city, you have an idea about how unrelentingly they pursue a potential customer until you close the deal. The networks of commerce go back centuries to TranSaharan trading routes plying wares, salt, gold and slaves across the empires of Ghana, Mali & Songhai.

Contemporary Senegalese economy is similarly buoyed by commerce, much of which remains unaccounted for in macro-economic data., but simply dubbed the informal sector

Wrestling

***

Some credit the culture of political, religious and cultural tolerance  in this majority Muslim country to a fascinating amalgam of a form of Sufi-influenced Islam called Mouridism syncretized with indigenous belief systems. Sex Work is legal but with health checks of sex workers strictly enforced.

*****

Senegalese food is literally a banquet of all the grains, meats and spices that itinerant market traders have carried for centuries from places far and near across the Sahel. Now of course with imported and colonial legacy cuisines added. Teranga is displayed in the communal character of mealtimes. Everyone dips in the same big platter of the national favorite ceebu jën

© National Geographic

ceebu jën © foodieinternational.com

*****

Senghor may have romanticized women, but another world renowned writer, Mariama Ba spoke reality about the plight of women.

Mariama Ba

Today’s Senegalese women continue the balancing act of carrying on with a regal gait while fighting reconstituted forms of discrimination

One of the more inspired repurposing of a site of horror is the founding of the Mariama Ba Girls School on Goree Island that had borne witness to the Slave Trade for centuries

This video features girls at the school doing a program discussing the writer’s seminal novel Une si Longue Lettre (So Long a Letter)

Other areas where Senegalese women are seeking empowerment is through adult education and running a women-only taxi service. That 2nd video is hilarious

****

And… nothing sets a heart aflutter, as the Obama Family must be experiencing tonight in Dakar, than Senegalese music and dance, be it from world renowned artist Youssou Ndour, or upstart hip hop-inflected sounds of today’s street

_______________________-

*****POSTSCRIPT*****

WOW!!!!!!!

WashingtonPost just posted a story this evening about President Sall of Senegal having reunited President Obama with the un-named Senegalese guy he qrote about meeting  in Barcelona in his book _Dreams from My Father_. Here’s the passage from the book.

““What was his name? I couldn’t remember now; just another hungry man far away from home, one of the many children of former colonies – Algerians, West Indians, Pakistanis – now breaching the barricades of their former masters, mounting their own ragged, haphazard invasion. And yet, as we walked toward the Ramblas, I had felt as if I knew him as well as any man; that, coming from opposite ends of the earth, we were somehow making the same journey.

When we finally parted company, I had remained in the street for a long, long time, watching his slender, bandy-legged image shrink into the distance, one part of me wishing then that I could go with him into a life of open roads and other blue mornings; another part realizing that such a wish was also a romance, an idea, as partial as my image of the Old Man or my image of Africa. Until I settled on the fact that the man from Senegal had brought me coffee and offered me water, and that was real, and maybe that was all any of us had a right to expect: the chance encounter, a shared story, the act of small kindness.”


118 Responses to “A Note About the People of Senegal”


  1. 11 bojoflo
    June 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    GE – Am I 1st?

  2. 12 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    1st?

  3. 14 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  4. June 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    ZiZi, you are putting us old cobweb BT’s to shame……. need PBO to leave Africa to get my self-esteem back. Bravo once again!

    • 16 Vicki
      June 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Agree, lp. Such a juicy post I will have to read it again to grasp it all.
      First reaction is horror at the map with Gambia intruding. greed has no end. have to wonder if Senegal has water issues due to the virtual bisection.
      Back to map for another look.

    • June 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Oh Dear, senior BT, I am just feebly emulating your eminence. I look forward to reading the piece you are working on for post trip, 😀

      • June 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm

        I already trashed it in shame…….I am a lost soul. You have destroyed me!

        • June 27, 2013 at 10:16 pm

          Pls, don’t say that. I luuuuuuuuuurve you 😆

          • June 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

            Please continue stroking my ego….. a lot of damage has been done! In all seriousness, your posts are exceptionally informative, and looks like you got this WordPress monster tamed…. Thanks again!

            • 21 vcprezofan2
              June 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

              No need for ‘bruised egos’, LP, none! Remember what I told you recently? I was serious.

              Although ‘leaders’ here have a unified goal (illuminating AND furthering the PBO presidency by bringing to the TOD village relevant news, info, instructions, encouragement, fun, kicks in the butt, whatever is needed to move #FORWARD), ALL of you have your areas of strengths! I wasn’t kidding when I said that there are many times when I can tell who compiled a post without having read the byline. That diversity of approach not only spices up life in the village, it reaches out to the entire community and knits us together because not everyone ‘learns’ in the same way.

              So basically I’m saying your style is yours and Zizi’s is hers and yada, yada – AND WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THAT AND LIKE IT LIKE THAT! [Of course there are moments of overlap, but that too is expected – like how in a long marriage some couples grow to resemble each other 😉 😉 ]

              Lady Mayor and CEO Chips had a vision and laboured long and hard and lovingly and patiently and humorously and ….. (fill in your word choice) to get it off the ground and soaring in the air, and in the doing she has set a marvelously high standard. She has also attracted the best of the best to fly with her and it’s all kinds of fun to see each one carve out a little piece of the sky and spread wings and fly too. We here are blessed in so many ways with the diversity in unity we can experience daily!

              THANKS HEAPS and HEAPS, Zizi and LP and LL and Utal and Amk and Tally and Japa and anyone else who has been a ‘guest blogger’!

              … Oh yes, and GAZILLION THANKS, Ye FUNNY ONE – Chips Chica!!! Also, too, oodles of love for the Chips-Obama Travel Group!!

              ——- Get out! Just noticed the ‘similarity’ of your village monikers :- Zee-zee, El-pee, El-el, U-tee, Cee-cee, Ta-lee; ja-pa! Alright, okay, I’m just being silly, but silly moods like this overtake me from time to time. That’s precisely the reason I do not drink alcohol – can’t imagine what alcohol would do to my decidedly already loopy mind. Something tells me going to bed early might be a good choice for me tonight. 😀

              • June 28, 2013 at 12:08 am

                I am at a loss for words……. you truly are a beautiful and warm hearted soul. I am going to print this and frame it……Even though this was all in jest….. you created an endearing soliloquy that I deeply appreciate, and am sure the other BT’s do as well. TY endlessly VC!

  5. 27 bojoflo
    June 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Really enjoying all these great photos — Thanks 🙂

  6. June 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

  7. 29 ChristiMTL
    June 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    This is very informative zizi2…thank you
    .

  8. June 27, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    This is the same company who’s owner made his employees take an unpaid day and pose for a Romney event in Ohio & TV ad….

  9. June 27, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    BRAVO! BRAVO! Zizi!!!!

    Yes We Can

  10. 32 Layla
    June 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Genial zizi! completement genial!

  11. 35 theo67
    June 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    That wrestler is very fit. 😯

  12. 38 Nena20409
    June 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Wow…..Zizi2…..You’ve done it again…..seriously educating this Rita 😉 Thank you.

    A Three way at the Top? Layla, Amk and Bojoflo 😎

    As HF2 would quote Jodi Kantor: Hmm?

  13. 39 Bill R.
    June 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Very happy about the passage of the Senate Bill for Immigration Reform. However, I know full well that Boehner values his job more than even he values the GOP prospects in the future. So he will not allow a vote on real immigration reform in the House. Pro-Reform people need to mobilize with marches on Washington to make sure the American ppl know who is blocking reform.

  14. June 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Beautiful, informative post zizi! 🙂 Thank you once again for another great entry.

  15. 43 JER
    June 27, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you Zizi for your very informative post.

  16. 44 forus50
    June 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks zizi that’s great info. Now if I can only retain some of it!! So the Obamas have a 7 1/2 hour flight? It is such a massive continent huh?

  17. 45 forus50
    June 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Perhaps most of you have seen this already but a friend of mine at work who was celebrating Dead DOMA today with cupcakes for everyone (and she and her partner were in the paper today with a picture of them celebrating in a street parade last night!) sent me this music video. https://twitter.com/FORUS50/status/350425815885938689

    • 46 forus50
      June 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    • 47 Layla
      June 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Ah yes DDD, dead doma day, June 26, 2013.

    • June 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      You missed my music thread last week….. was the 1 song I posted…. I noted that last year on BET’s music video show 106th & Park, a white lyricist who didn’t even have a record deal, released that video to an all black audience. I knew then SSM was no longer if but when.

      • 49 forus50
        June 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        oh I did miss it LP! And it was last week when she sent it to me at work. Beautiful music that allows people to see SSM for what it is.

        • June 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

          So I got bored w/ the NBA draft and need some help here Forus…. when did this happen!!!

          Stallworth used to torch Auburn when he played at Tennessee, but this guy was in jail for vehicular manslaughter 3yrs ago!

          • 51 forus50
            June 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm

            om gosh nothing surprises me anymore. I don’t know much about him but at least he has opinions and voices them. Unlike Michael Jordan who refuses to contribute to the dialogue. People are complicated. Which is good but frustrating to deal with sometimes particularly in politics when they so obviously vote against their own self interest.

            • June 27, 2013 at 10:39 pm

              He is also doing a Q&A w/ Jeremy Scahill for “Dirty Wars” premiere in some city….. and I saw a pic w/ him/scahill/ and Lupe’ Fiasco at another showing of the drone film…. I’m baffled!

  18. 53 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I didn’t notice the lion’s head until you pointed it out.

  19. June 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Fact.

    Requirement.

    Yes We Can

  20. 59 Vicki
    June 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    POTUS out of patience for dummys. “Flat earth society” and “scrambling jets for a 29 year old……………hacker.”

  21. 61 nospin
    June 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I am enjoying this series. Thanks Zizi I am learning a lot. Thank you Chips for creating a community that is a melting pot of cultures, diversity, ideas and views and they all blend so well together. TOD feels like that big platter in Zizi’s post where everyone can join in.

    Love it. TOD is something very special.

  22. June 27, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  23. June 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  24. 64 a4alice
    June 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    zizi – this is SO educational. thanks so much for bringing Senegal alive for us. 🙂

  25. 65 Kreen
    June 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you zizi2. As the resident Senegalese woman member of TOD since its inception, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a beautiful and accurate description of my beloved country. You brought tears to my eyes! Excellent job!

    • June 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Oh my! I bow to you, dear neighbor. my hubby worked in Senegal for 3.5 years and apart from shorter visits, I got to spend a year’s sabbatical leave with him in 2006-2007, so i got know many of the nooks and crannies of your lovely country. Wish I could have written more, but I didn’t want the post to get too long 😆 😆

  26. June 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm

  27. 69 Layla
    June 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    AP

    DOVER, Del. — A bill that would have expanded the ability of Delaware authorities to prohibit people with mental health issues from having guns was defeated Thursday in the state Senate even after being revised to placate the National Rifle Association and other critics.

    Senators voted 13-to-6 Thursday to reject the measure, which was pushed by Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. His father, Vice President Joe Biden, has been spearheading the administration’s efforts to expand background checks and pass other gun restrictions since the mass shooting last December at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead.

    The Delaware legislation had cleared the House with only one dissenting vote.

    “I’m very disappointed. This was a commonsense piece of legislation,” Beau Biden said. “… I can’t explain what happened today in the state Senate.”

    The bill had been pulled from the Senate agenda Tuesday, but Rep. Michael Barbieri, the chief sponsor, said he was unaware of any problems prior to Thursday’s Senate vote.

    “I’m pretty shocked, especially since we compromised on our side” said Barbieri, D-Newark. “I thought we had appeased everybody, including the NRA.”

    After successfully pushing for an amendment to raise the standard of proof for taking away someone’s guns, the NRA took a neutral stance on the bill, neither endorsing nor opposing it. The NRA had said it would oppose the bill unless the standard of proof for declaring a person dangerous was changed from “a preponderance of evidence” as initially written, to “clear and convincing evidence.”

  28. June 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm

  29. 75 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    The UK looks set to become the first country to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people, after the government backed the IVF technique.

    It will produce draft regulations later this year and the procedure could be offered within two years.

    Experts say three-person IVF could eliminate debilitating and potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases that are passed on from mother to child.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23079276

    This could also lead to eliminate the cancer genes ?

  30. June 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Zizi, since she’s hosting Hardball tomorrow, just maybe she’ll take notice …

    Thank you!!

    #FORWARD Together

  31. 80 japa21
    June 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Just stopping by to say have a good weekend folks. Will be out of touch until Monday. But wanted to leave you with this tweet. This guy is a professor in Montreal, specializing in US and Canadian politics. He responded to one of my tweets a few days ago and we have had a small series of interactions. He just put this one out. View of Governor Good Hair from up north:

    • 81 japa21
      June 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Trying that again. Don’t know why it isn’t showing up, so if this shows up twice, I apologize.

  32. June 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

  33. 84 Layla
    June 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) – The Obama administration said on Thursday it was sanctioning North Korea’s Daedong Credit Bank for its role in supporting Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction program.

    The U.S. Treasury said Daedong Credit Bank has been providing financial services to the Korea Mining Developing Trading Corp, or KOMID, which it said was Pyongyang’s premier arms dealer, and the Tanchon Commercial Bank, or TCB, its main financial arm.

    “Since at least 2007, Daedong Credit Bank has facilitated hundreds of financial transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of KOMID and TCB,” the Treasury said. “In some cases, (it) had knowingly facilitated transactions by using deceptive financial practices.”

    The Treasury said it was also sanctioning a Daedong front company called DCB Financial Limited, that company’s representative, Kim Chol Sam, and Son Mun San, the external affairs bureau chief of North Korea’s Bureau of Atomic Energy.

    It said the front company had carried out international financial transactions as a way to avoid scrutiny by institutions trying to avoid doing business with North Korea.

    The action generally prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in any transactions with the entities or persons targeted, and freezes any assets they might have in the United States.

    The fresh set of sanctions follows a decision by the United States in March to target North Korean’s Foreign Trade Bank, its main foreign exchange institution, to try to choke off cash to the government in Pyongyang.

    Banks in the European Union have been reluctant to do business with FTB in the wake of the U.S. sanctions, and China’s biggest foreign exchange bank, the Bank of China, closed FTB’s account.

    Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen told reporters on a conference call that he expects banks outside the United States to continue to limit or terminate their dealings with the sanctioned banks. “Being exposed to a financial institution like Daedong Credit Bank exposes those financial institutions to real risk, in particular reputational risk,” he said.

    Cohen said previous sanctions had increased the North Korean regime’s financial isolation and that these latest designations would ratchet the pressure up further.

    The United Nations said in May that increasingly tough financial sanctions, an arms embargo and other international restrictions on trade had significantly delayed expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arms program. The report did not cover the effects of the sanctions imposed in March. (Reporting by Paige Gance; Editing by Vicki Allen)

  34. 85 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    The shock wave from an asteroid that burned up over Russia in February was so powerful that it travelled twice around the globe, scientists say.

    Using a system of sensors set up to detect evidence of nuclear tests, they said it was the most powerful event ever recorded by the network.

    More than 1,000 people were injured when a 17m, 10,000-tonne space rock burned up above Chelyabinsk.

    The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    The researchers studied data from the International Monitoring System (IMS) network operated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

    The detection stations look out for ultra-low frequency acoustic waves, known as infrasound, that could come from nuclear test explosions. But the system can also detect large blasts from other sources, such as the Chelyabinsk fireball.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23066055

  35. 86 Jovie
    June 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

  36. 87 criquet
    June 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    This House unfer Boehner is a disgrace.

  37. 91 arapaho415
    June 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Instead of PBO’s golfing on Sundays, the MSM should be reporting on the salaries for 435 representatives, plus their staffs, etc. all for a grand total of 16 days work during the summer.

  38. 92 arapaho415
    June 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    From the last thread, for those SecDef Hagel fans:

  39. 96 Jovie
    June 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Pegasus is up to over 200 miles in just 4 minutes.
    That thing climbs fast!

  40. 98 arapaho415
    June 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Ladyhawke,

    Thank you for alerting TODville on the last thread that Joy Reid will be in Tweety’s chair tomorrow.

    I’m not skilled at a turn of phrase that is needed to be a true Twitter warrior (like Bobfr and UTA), but here’s my response to Ms. Reid.

  41. 100 Layla
    June 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    HP
    On Thursday afternoon, home-shopping network QVC announced on its blog that it would be “taking a pause” from its relationship with Deen. CEO Mike George said that Deen would not be appearing on the channel in the immediate future, and that QVC would phase out her products over the next couple months

  42. June 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm

  43. 102 Jovie
    June 27, 2013 at 10:41 pm

  44. 105 sjterrid
    June 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you so much, ZIzi for the post this morning and this very informative post on the people of Senegal. Looking forward to learning more from you on the rest of this journey.

  45. 106 Layla
    June 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    theunconventionalpoet

    Iam off to hopefully dream of places unknown

    to dream of better days

    to explore worlds we don’t understand

    goodnight my fellow friends

    tomorrow is another beautiful day

    tomorrow is the future

    the right now will be the past

  46. 107 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  47. 111 amk for obama
    June 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Hey bt, I asked you to highlight this vid eons ago.

  48. 114 nathkatun7
    June 27, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    There is one great Senegalese that was totally ignored: the great physicist, turned historian, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop! Dr. Diop is ignored because he dared to challenge European accounts and interpretation of Ancient African History that sought to cut-off ancient Egyptian civilization from any connection with the history of Africa. As far as I am concerned, Dr. Diop is one of the great thinkers and scholars that Africa has produced.

    • June 28, 2013 at 12:48 am

      absolutely. I teach him in my classes. Just didn’t wanna make post too college class session-y. But thanks for the input

      • 116 nathkatun7
        June 28, 2013 at 5:08 am

        Hi Zizi, my comment was not at all intended as a critique of your excellent post. After re-reading it, I know I should have framed it better. For that, I deeply apologize. Both your posts, yesterday and today, about President Obama’s Africa trip have been quite educational. On top of that they are so well written that even most of us who are not as knowledgeable as you are can quickly grasp all the details you shared. I have also always enjoyed reading your posts and commentaries on this and other blogs. And, as old as I am, I wish I had the opportunity to attend one of your classes. Your vast knowledge of literature, history, politics and economics is breathtaking.

        Thank you for your excellent posts. Please forgive me if my effort to introduce an often forgotten brilliant African thinker/scholar/historian, from Senegal, came across as a critique of your brilliant post. That was absolutely not my intention.

  49. June 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

    thank you so much zizi. you rock


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