The Camp of the Saints (Jean Raspail)

We often hear hysterical lies about “banned books,” meaning any work that has ever been criticized by anyone on the Right. But all such books are freely available, globally, to anyone, in multiple editions, in all formats and from all major vendors. The only books actually banned are Right books, and there are multitudes of such books. At this moment, Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints, a fifty-year-old parable about the swamping of France by a million invaders from India, is perhaps the most dangerous book of all to the decades-long Left project of replacing the populations of the West with alien migrants. The people have begun to notice, so it is no wonder that the Left has today redoubled its efforts to ban the book. What better time to talk about it?

Raspail, who was born in 1925 and died in 2020, published this work in 1973. He was a writer and public intellectual in the French style. In his earlier life, he traveled extensively and wrote about his travels, mostly in South America and the Caribbean; in his later life, he wrote novels, many about imaginary worlds where honor and loyalty dominate the ruling class (sadly, few or none of those other novels have been translated from the French). He was a brilliant man, but his crucial work is this one, and it is the one for which he is known, because it predicted the future—not only mass migration, but even more presciently, the actions of Westerners, both elite and not, in response to a “peaceful” invasion by alien migrants.

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The book is most of all an indictment of the Western self-hatred that has inevitably led to our destruction, which Raspail saw long before most did, written not in the dry format of graphs and statistics, but in a visceral, slashing way. The Camp of the Saints is half satire—in the same vein as Gulliver’s Travels, what Raspail himself calls “coarse humor,” though arguably the tone is more misanthropic and bitter than satirical. The other half is a tragedy. It shows insight into the mind of all classes of the French, and spares none. This is a gloomy book; there is no renaissance here. It is meant, explicitly, as Raspail said in 1985, as “symbolic, a parable. History is speeded up to happen [in the book] over the course of days rather than a couple of decades or a generation. . . . The Third World invasion of the West is unavoidable. If we don’t see it, our children will.” We are those children.

The title comes from Revelation 20: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” The story itself is not complicated; most of the book is not telling the story, but relating how various Frenchmen respond to the challenge. One day, a million poor Indians seize a hundred ancient cargo vessels sitting at anchor in Indian ports. Why? Because a mystic, whose actions are primed and guided by Westerners, leftists living in India who regard their prime moral imperative as aiding those in the Third World to grab their fair share, preaches a gospel of the promised land, the West. The masses take it to heart, and take action.

The mystic promises a land flowing with milk and honey; an empty land, rich and plentiful, theirs for the taking. He preaches a bastardization of Revelation, combined with a concoction about how the weak god Christ has rightfully handed over power to the strong gods of the Third World, and then died contemptibly. The invaders are a lower class of civilization; they cannot even maintain the ships, but providence, perhaps, protects them from storms and their own inertia and stupidity. They do not announce their destination and they ignore all offers of help and communication. It is not just that the invaders are uncivilized; Raspail treats the invaders with unwavering loathing. They are a force of nature, more like a hurricane than a group of people. The ramshackle fleet is prevented from passing through the Suez Canal by the Egyptians, by force, and so passes south, around the Cape of Good Hope, through Gibraltar, and into the Mediterranean.

It may seem strange that the invaders are Indians, when hundreds of millions of other potential invaders were, and are, much closer to France. Raspail himself noted that he used Indians, rather than much nearer Africans or Middle Easterners, as the raw material for his book because of “my refusal to enter the false debate about racism and anti-racism in French daily life,” and a desire not to exacerbate already-existing racial tension, given the “mighty vanguard” of Africans who had already, in 1973, established a strong beachhead in France. This continues the symbolic nature of his project. For similar symbolic purposes, the invaders are invariably described as debased—not dehumanized, as such, but rather exemplifying the lowest and grossest characteristics of mankind, unmixed with any virtue, talent, or good.

Alarm slowly grows in the West, but all press is censored by governments, who fear “racism” more than anything else. In one of the innumerable instances here of preternatural prescience, the government punishes anyone who suggests there may be a problem, both directly and by encouraging violence by Left thugs, Antifa analogues, against any who suggest the invaders may be a problem. Raspail, in fact, specifically refers to the actual “hate speech” laws passed in France in 1972, and their inevitable exclusive use, as has unsurprisingly turned out, to prevent whites from complaining about their abuse and replacement. Just ask the man in England who this week was sentenced to years in prison for distributing stickers containing mild anti-immigration sentiments.

As the “Last Chance Armada,” so dubbed by sympathetic talking heads, approaches France, the government does nothing but wring its hands, while offering worthless words about the ancient grandeur of the nation. Much of the book is a build-up to the crucial speech by the prime minister, right before the invaders land, to tell the nation what to do. He writes a speech in which he orders resistance by force; but as he gives the speech, his will cracks, and he simply tells everyone to follow his own conscience, which means nothing can or will be done to resist the invasion. Almost nobody in France, not just the elites, has the will to resist; they are all hollow men, unworthy of their ancestors, and by implication unworthy of keeping what their ancestors won and built. “For the West is empty, even if it has not yet really become aware of it. An extraordinarily inventive civilization, surely the only one capable of meeting the challenges of the third millennium, the West has no soul left.” The invaders run aground in southern France on Easter Sunday (Raspail is not particularly subtle), or at least the 800,000 who have not died on the way do, and sweep ashore.

Nearly everyone has fled the south; the invaders occupy the land, then spread out, in the “Winning of the North.” The jails are opened, and local criminals join the invaders, disappearing into their ranks in the chaos. Those few brave Frenchmen who resist with force are bombed to smithereens by the French government, which continues to only use any force against those on the Right, anyone who opposes the invasion in any way. Meanwhile, other vast fleets are forming to overwhelm the entire West—that is, the lands where the white people (about which Raspail is very explicit, and to which we will return) have successfully carved out a way of life superior to anything accomplished before in the history of mankind. At the end, it turns out the author is writing in Switzerland, some years later. Switzerland has held out, while new governments dominated by the invaders have apparently formed everywhere else in the world. But the next day Switzerland, under pressure, is throwing open its borders. The West is over. The end.

I am not sure actually reading this book is as powerful as it once was. Raspail wrote it as a warning; but we are living in his post-landing phase. The Europeans, or rather their rulers, have voluntarily admitted many millions of invaders over the past decade, and are now reaping the reward, both in crime and in the destruction of their societies. Just this week, for example, the French government turned over an ancient palace, a historical artifact, to a teeming mass of African migrants as their free habitation, against the violent objections of the local population. Young, unattached men, as are the vast majority of migrants today, they will no doubt destroy much of it, as is standard practice for migrants housed at our expense. And here in America, what need have we to read about future problems, when all around us migrants are robbing, raping, and murdering Americans with impunity, while those who complain or fight back are silenced or put in jail? It is no surprise what is happening—the government of Venezuela said this week that their country’s murder rate was the lowest in twenty years, because many of their murderers had migrated, to America. Rinse and repeat. Raspail could have written these vignettes, but for him it would have been fiction; for us it is reality. The question is therefore what to do about it, given that we have already been betrayed by our rulers.

The Camp of the Saints received mixed reviews when it was released—not about its quality, but rather about its politics, which were plenty controversial. This was when narrative control of the Left was not nearly as complete as now, so the book was openly and objectively discussed at the highest levels, including by Francois Mitterrand, and reviewed in the most respected newspapers and journals. Today, however, the book is known primarily through its caricatured demonization as “raaaaaacist,” meaning in this case mostly that it is willing to see white interests in the same terms as the interests of other racial groups. It is forbidden to talk objectively about, or even to admit to reading, the book (though occasionally the taboo is broken, as in an excellent article by Nathan Pinkoski last year in First Things). For the same reason, great efforts have been made to make the book very difficult to obtain; I bought my copy in 2018 for twelve dollars, but now it is only available on Amazon (and not for much longer, I am sure) for several hundred dollars on the secondary market. This is how innumerable Right books are banned, both by direct methods and by social pressure to ignore a book (and elsewhere in the West, by criminalizing possession). If The Camp of the Saints were in print, neither Amazon nor any other bookseller would allow its sale, but it is not in print, because the copyright holder for the English translation forbids any new publication. However, you can find electronic copies online, and there are print versions available in other languages, for now.

In this book the term racism, and even more interestingly, antiracism occur with metronomic regularity. Raspail was very well aware of the power of this cant, which even then had lost all substantive meaning, instead being merely weapons to be used against white men and women. More broadly, he keenly understood elite thought, present and future. Speaking of how, as the invaders swarm ashore in the south, “local” Africans and their allies take over and destroy the nice restaurants and coffee shops in the fashionable areas of Paris (shades of the Floyd Riots), Raspail notes sarcastically, “Now, it’s a known fact that racism comes in two forms: that practiced by whites—heinous and inexcusable, whatever its motives—and that practiced by blacks—quite justified, whatever its excesses, since it’s merely the expression of a righteous revenge, and it’s up to the whites to be patient and understanding.” Nothing has changed in fifty years, despite the enormous transfer payments made during that time by whites to blacks and others in a vain attempt to achieve racial comity. In the author’s introduction to a 1985 French edition, he acknowledges (sarcastically, perhaps) that “no one would wish to renounce his own human dignity by acquiescing to racism,” even though “all persons and all nations have the sacred right to preserve their differences and identities, in the name of their own future and their own past.” It is this that is the crux of the matter—this “sacred right” is, to this day, denied to anyone who is a native of the West, by our own ruling class, in favor of those from different, and worse, civilizations.

The real target of Raspail’s ire, however, is the French themselves, and by extension all those who have inherited the West, the most glorious civilization in human history, by an order of magnitude, and then thrown it away. Most of all it is the elite he attacks, responsible for the nation, but who come to see the “end of France as we know it” as the “rebirth of man.” They all “spout pretty much the same line—a world reborn, one race, one religion, no more exploitation of man by man, death to Western imperialism, universal love and brotherhood, and a thousand other goodies of the same confection.” But everyone else is also responsible for the disaster. First, the educated but not elite (exemplified at the time by hippies), who see the invaders as their real “brothers, and sisters, and fathers,” with whom they want to merge and become indistinguishable, while they also want to join the looting. The opening chapters of the book are a confrontation between an old man who has stayed behind while all others have fled, in his house built by his ancestors in 1673, and a young hippie. The hippie viciously lectures the old man about the new order of things. “Your world doesn’t mean a thing. They won’t even try to understand it. . . . And they’ll build a fire with your big wooden door. And they’ll crap all over your terrace, and wipe their hands on your shelves full of books. . . . What’s beautiful won’t be, what’s useful they’ll laugh at, what’s useless they won’t even bother with.” He’s correct, of course, as we’ve seen. The hippie regards this as a wonderful thing. The old man calmly and deliberately shoots him.

Second, the working class, who refuse to do anything, but either, afraid and passive, acquiesce, or desirous of an easier, freer, lifestyle, believe the “myth of redemption by the Ganges armada.” Third, the press, who in 1973 did not consider themselves, and were not considered, elite. Raspail correctly sees them all as snakes. He identifies all the techniques of low cunning still used today by the Left in their domination of the media, whipping up moral panics against anyone accused of “raaaaaacism,” with the inevitable destruction of decent society and resistance to filth and degradation, and creating propaganda phrases such as “citizens of the world” to ease the path for the invaders. (This week America’s press was trying out the fresh term “newcomers” for our own equivalent of the Last Chance Armada, having decided, or rather been directed, that “migrant” had become irrationally negatively viewed.) Raspail even identifies how, as we have seen fully emerge in recent years, the Narrative turns on a dime, because it is an emergent property of what Raspail calls “the beast,” the collective of the Left. Its most important and constant message, then and now, is “racism in the cause of self-defense is the scourge of humanity.” Raspail shows the hate whipped up against any figure who can be cast as the living proof of supposed racism, and the censorship by the media of anyone who disagrees, along with the spreading of obvious lies, such as that the Indians come not to take, but to perfect Western society with their own wondrous contributions. All this has exact equivalents in 2024 America.

Fourth, religious leaders. The Christian churches, especially the Catholics, come in for some of Raspail’s most pointed attacks. He identified, correctly, that most Catholic hierarchs did not believe in God, but believed very strongly in Left ideology. (Raspail himself was a devout Roman Catholic.) Christian leaders, in essence, create a false religion of invader worship, calling the invaders “a messiah with a million heads,” and saying “there’s a million Christs on those boats out there.” That is, they substitute a temporal Christ for the real Christ, failing to grasp, or maybe grasping only too well, that if everyone is Christ, there is no room left for the actual Christ. The Protestant World Council of Churches announces “present-day Western society can’t be saved, but has to be torn down so that we can build a new world of justice on its ruins, with the help of God.” Pope Benedict XVI (!) sells all the Church’s possessions, to give the money to the invaders, the “poor unfortunates whom God has sent knocking at our doors,” though when they land they trample the priests waiting on the beach.

As a Belgian consul in India says, before he is later also trampled by an Indian mob, to a churchman: “You’ve been ‘bearing witness.’ Bearing witness to what? To your faith? Your religion? To your Christian civilization? Oh no, none of that! Bearing witness against yourselves, like the anti-Western cynics you’ve all become. Do you think the poor devils that flock to your side aren’t any the wiser? Nonsense! They can see right through you. For them, white skin means weak convictions. You can thank yourselves for that. The one thing your struggle for their souls has left them is the knowledge that the West—your West—is rich. To them, you’re the symbols of abundance. By your presence alone, they see that it does exist somewhere, and they see that your conscience hurts you for keeping it all to yourselves. . . . You know, there’s a very old word that describes the kind of men you are. It’s ‘traitor.’ ”

And fifth, completing the evisceration of French society, the middle classes, unwilling to take a stand, mute and weak, ceding physical space as demanded by the invaders and their already-in-place African and Middle Eastern compatriots, fading into the background as the new order rises. Even the handful of military men who volunteer to defend the beach, against the government’s wishes, lack the will to do what is necessary, and most of them just take to their heels, not from fear, but because they cannot summon the mental and moral fortitude to do what is needed.

To be sure, every single Frenchman who assists the invaders is wrong not just about the coming utopia, if they believe in that, but about the invaders and their motives, which they elevate far above the mundane and base reality. None of them want anything from the West, except to grab, without effort and without any plan for replenishment, our material goods—fancy cars, fancy watches, nice apartments. In the book, and in real life, migrant invaders are believers in a type of cargo cult, imagining that somehow the West is a land of plenty, without understanding that the West’s plenty is a fragile thing dependent on the structures we have built for more than a thousand years. And, certainly, they don’t want any of our high civilization: our art, our political systems, our education, or anything else about the West. Most, especially those now coming, from far further away than Mexico, seem to come (though nobody ever inquires of them) simply because life is better here, for some magical reason, some property of the soil, and that by physically existing here they can have more enjoyable lives, which they are owed, because colonialism.

Raspail’s universal term for the inhabitants of the West, those under attack, is “white.” Strictly speaking, this is not true, but it is true that white people (that is, those of European descent) made the West. No white people, no West, and we all would live, at best, in the world of the sixteenth century, and more likely the world of the eighth century, and not a good version of it. There will never be an “Antiracism Museum in the UN’s new Hanoi headquarters,” as Raspail mentions in passing, because without the West, there will be no UN, and no museums in the land where the West once was. We can argue culture versus genetics, and whether, in a few hundred or a few thousand years, a new worthwhile civilization might arise from new raw material, but this is just the obvious, simple truth. Still, it becomes jarring after a while, as Raspail contrasts the loathsome masses of invaders, all “black,” with the “whites,” who, while they come in for a great deal of abuse, are not seen as debased in the same way. In real life, migrant invaders, or potential invaders, are not as vermin-like as Raspail paints them, and there is a real risk to viewing other human beings in this way, even if opposing their invasion is entirely justified.

Raspail acknowledges that being white is only in part a question of color, but also a “whole mental outlook”—really, a culture. He points out (or rather, an Indian Frenchman fighting at the last stand of a handful of honorable men points out) that every “white” cause always has many non-whites fighting alongside the whites (Rhodesia is a good example, though not given here). Still, we should talk about the elephant in the room—the claim, heard with increasing intensity from a growing number of quarters, that we need political action which begins from the premise that white people have interests as a group, in the way that every other group has interests. This is the third rail of American politics, of course. No white person who does not want to be expelled from any connection to polite society has been allowed to advocate for white people as white people for more than sixty years. Perhaps, once, in a society where white people were the ruling class, and were not persecuted, but historically had engaged in persecution of non-whites as a small element of their history, this informal restriction made sense. It appears to make much less sense now, when anti-white hatred is a key pillar of the Regime’s ideology.

You can imagine a society where every racial, ethnic, and religious group advocates for its own interests. That’s called “the vast majority of human history,” in Christendom and everywhere else. You can imagine, if much more aspirationally, because there are zero examples, a society where no group advocates for its interests, but rather works exclusively for the common good, where the common good includes the whole nation, or even, without distinction, all mankind. You can also imagine a society where every group, except white Christians, is allowed to advocate for themselves. But it’s not a stable imagining, because inevitably the white Christians will be demonized, as the universal outgroup, and then become subject to expropriation, followed by extermination (as the society fails, because it was, always, primarily built by those white people). We even have a live, real-world example of this “imagining”: South Africa, soon to be a completely failed state, where the likely future prime minister openly calls for white genocide to follow his election. So it will always end. The logic is inevitable, which is no doubt why it is forbidden to speak of it.

Raspail, no doubt thinking along similar lines, states that if white people don’t work together, they are doomed. In his novel, that is true. And white people in America certainly have excellent reasons to be resentful. They were told that if they submitted to the costs and frictions of affirmative action, massive transfers and handouts to black people, of both money and intangibles, along with the rewriting of the American constitution in the name of so-called civil rights, for just a few years, then just a few decades, the reward would be a color-blind society, where we could all get along and nobody would demand the unearned handouts from white people anymore, or notice race in any meaningful way. This actually seemed like it was near attainment in the 1990s. But it was just a ruse; the white people were lied to (mostly by other white people, to be fair, whose ideology drove them to self-hatred). The goal of the Left was always total expropriation of white people and then, if at all possible, their extermination, a goal made explicit by many powerful people in 2020. How, given this history, should white Americans respond?

I have often pointed out the obvious, that the “white nationalists” constantly touted by our Regime media are effectively nonexistent in America today. They are boogeymen conjured up by the Left to allow political action, as well as private and state violence, against whites, all fueled by Left doctrine combined with ethno-narcissist hatreds that are encouraged by the Regime. I note that when whites were the de facto ruling class, there needed be no organized “white” movement, or even recognition of whites as a group, for white interests to be protected. (It was a bit anomalous there was not, given that in every non-Western nation, the ruling class always organizes around ethnic grounds, and makes no bones about it. But America has always been more aspirational.) Why, however, when they are no longer the ruling class (or, more precisely, when those who are white and in the ruling class espouse and practice vicious anti-white hatred for all but themselves), should not whites organize as whites? I don’t have a good answer why not, especially as whites become an absolute minority. And I have been predicting for some years that eventually some political figure will rise who will promise to protect whites and advance their interests. “Why not?”, as more than one figure in The Lord of the Rings says about a choice to put on the One Ring. It feels like we should resist it, but it also seems like it only feels that way because we have been propagandized we must feel that way, because our enemies fear an awakening. We will see.

Aside from the racial angle, though, what should our approach, as a nation, be to invading migrants? We should begin by being very clear that any uninvited migrants to a nation are the public enemy, hostis. In Carl Schmitt’s classic formulation, they are those who “negate [our] way of life and therefore must be repulsed or fought in order to preserve one’s own form of existence.” This more broadly includes any group (a) that arrives without formal permission, or (b) arrives by abusing procedures of permission (such as by falsely claiming “asylum” from persecution, as the vast majority of migrants to America do today, having been taught to do so by malignant groups such as Catholic Charities), or (c) any permitted migrants who have demonstrated they will not or cannot assimilate, and (d) any group of permitted migrants that becomes, in the judgment of the native population, too large or too alien to wholly assimilate, or whose assimilation would change, or has changed, our dominant culture to an unacceptable degree. All of these are the enemy, and the only choice we face is how we should remove the threat to our way of life. Under no circumstances should any more of these be admitted, and all here already, for whatever reason, must be expelled posthaste. We may choose to extend Christian charity to them, if and only if they remain in their own lands, a question to which we will return, but any admission of such a group to our nation, or refusal to expel them if they have already arrived, is a sin against God, because it is a betrayal of the charitable obligations we have to our own families and people. I think neither Saint John Chrysostom nor Saint Basil, who wrote extensively on charity and whose work I have earlier discussed, would disagree.

Then do we, America, owe the masses in the Third World anything? No. As a political and moral matter, we owe them absolutely nothing. We should be very clear, contrary to laughable claims that are often made, that we in the West are in no wise responsible for the problems of the Third World, which are wholly of their own making, and merely representative of the plain fact that most cultures on Earth have always been awful, relative to the West. In fact, if “owing” is the question, the Third World owes the West. Colonialism was a net blessing for every place it occurred. King Leopold’s Ghost was a hoax, the Aztecs deserved to be destroyed, and India would be nothing today but a fractured land swept by famine if not for having been raised up by the British and fed by American technological advancements.

But what of Christian charity? True, most demands for Christian charity toward the Third World are mere extortion, couched by malevolent non-believers in language they choose because they think it unanswerable, aided and abetted by a feminized heretical version of Christianity, which substitutes Left ideology for Christ. As Raspail comments, “Charity is a very convenient weapon, especially when used with singleness of purpose.” Still, a Christian can occupy a middle ground, recognizing the humanity of every man and woman on Earth (something Raspail, at least in his narrator alter ego here, fails to do), and once he has completely fulfilled his duties to those to whom his primary duties are owed, his family, his community, and his fellow countrymen, perhaps he may choose to direct some resources towards the betterment of the Third World (which should mean strict paternalism, not handouts, given that trillions of dollars have been wasted through handouts over the past seventy years). There is, however, certainly no requirement he do anything at all.

What should we do right now, given we are where we are, thanks to the traitors who rule us? Our rulers forbid any taking of action, while actively encouraging and assisting invasion, at the same time rewriting history. Thus, for example, the (invader-descended) mayor of London recently celebrated his renaming of London’s iconic “tube” lines, including to name one “Windrush,” after the ship which carried the first set of invaders to England in 1948. (Most certainly, anyone who objects by voicing anti-invasion sentiments will be sent to prison.) Weirdly, even when European politicians are elected by those who still want to keep invaders out, they immediately entirely reverse themselves, and welcome even more invaders with open arms—the most infamous recent example being Italy’s Giorgia Meloni. No doubt the same is true of the AfD in Germany, were they to come to power, although it is certainly amusing to see the German elites tie themselves in knots and prepare to shoot themselves in the foot in their efforts to avoid even the possibility that the AfD might curb migration a tiny bit.

So, again, what does all this say about America in 2024? I don’t care much about what happens to the French, Italians, or Germans. As I’m fond of saying, Europe is over. There is no redemption for that ancient civilization. Raspail saw that in 1973, and it is vastly clearer now. I mean, sure, you could imagine that the Europeans wake up some day, expel all invaders who have arrived since, say, 1950, along with their descendants, unless they first pass a rigorous screening for having totally assimilated and having no indicia of anti-European activity, and that the Europeans also start having four or five children per woman, while renewing themselves spiritually and becoming a virtuous people. Good luck with that. If the vast majority want to destroy themselves and the nation, that’s unfortunate for the remnant who don’t, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, and they should probably emigrate, or move to Hungary and hope that she can hold out against the hordes.

The solution, in America, isn’t much different, but I suspect there is much more will here. We need to shut the border and expel every person here in the categories of unacceptables I list above, both by the direct means of mass deportation at gunpoint, and by indirect means, such as cutting off all free money and aggressively criminalizing employment of non-citizens without special, and very difficult to obtain, permission. (We also need to retroactively eliminate the misreading of the Constitution that allows so-called birthright citizenship.) Greatly expedited and widely publicized extra-harsh punishments should also apply to any non-citizen who commits any crime. Such actions and incentives will quickly reduce the invader population. We need only to find the will, which of course first requires the replacement of our traitorous Regime with a government that rules in the interests of the people.

To be sure, none of this will itself renew America, or refill America; there would then be a lot more work to do. But you have to start someplace. As I say, Raspail uses Revelation 20 as the book’s epigraph, verses seven through nine. However, he omits the last sentence of verse nine: “And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” Maybe that is metaphorical fire; let’s hope so. But it is the only possible solution.

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