Negarakuku rap — end the persecution mania and listen attentively to the legitimate grievances sung by Wee

When Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister 45 months ago, he invited Malaysians to speak up and pledged to “hear the truth, however unpleasant”, from the people.

Wee had acted on Abdullah’s invitation and spoken up about the injustices and wrongs in Malaysia 50 years after Merdeka so that the country could be improved to become a better nation capable of competing with the rest of the world.

Instead of a “thank you” from the Prime Minister, Wee is now the target of a sledgehammer attack by the entire government machinery led by a cohort of Umno Cabinet Ministers orchestrating a campaign to demonise, criminalize and crush him.

The very spectacle of the entire state machinery led by Cabinet Ministers to crush a 24-year-old undergraduate for his rap on internet conjures an image of shame for Malaysia on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, both nationally and internationally.

Is the campaign to demonise, criminalize and crush Wee, with irrational, excessive and outrageous demands of prosecutions under the National Anthem Act, the Sedition Act and even the Internal Security Act, the stripping of citizenship, the cancellation of passport and extradition of Wee from Taiwan to Malaysia, the signal of the end of another one of Abdullah’s reform pledges when becoming Prime Minister 45 months ago — to “hear the truth” from the people?

As I informed the Malaysian Dialogue in Petaling Jaya yesterday afternoon, Wee can be faulted for his rough language, irreverent expression and lack of sensitivity when touching on religious matters, but he cannot be accused of being unpatriotic, disloyal or guilty of the capital crime of treason or sedition.

Wee had done what very few Malaysians had done, taking the national flag Jalur Gemilang with him when he went overseas to study, and waving the national flag when his multi-national university sports team won a game, showing his pride and love for the nation.

Which Umno Minister or leader demanding for a pound of flesh from Wee for his Negarakuku rap had such love and pride for the country as to take the national flag with him or her when going overseas?

It is a disgrace that the Cabinet last week spent a lot of time to discuss Wee’s case neglecting the many important national issues plaguing the country, particularly rising crime and worsening corruption. What is even more shocking, no Cabinet Minister had time to listen to the grievances of Malaysians articulated by Wee in his Negarakuku rap but only how to demonise, criminalize and crush Wee.

The Negarakuku rap video clip on YouTube has doubled to almost 2.5 million hits because of the irrational and outrageous Cabinet decision last Wednesday, reeking with double standards when extracting an apology from Wee and yet refusing to put the issue to rest by insisting that Wee face the full consequences of the law.

The Cabinet on Wednesday should end the persecution mania against 24-year-old undergraduate Wee Meng Chee and instead listen diligently to the legitimate grievances of Malaysians expressed in Wee’s Negarakuku rap.

Last night’s capacity turn-out at the DAP forum at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, organized at less than 48 hours’ notice and which had to be moved from the first-floor hall to a larger second-floor theatre because of the overflowing crowd, represents a clear message from the people that the high-level irrational campaign to demonise, criminalize and crush Wee Meng Chee should stop immediately.

The 400 people at the forum had earlier unanimously put up their hands to demonstrate solidarity with Wee and to demand immediate end to the campaign to demonise, criminalize and crush Wee.

Later, they also unanimously put up their hands when I asked whether they love the National Flag, the national anthem and the country and regard themselves as patriots.

Abdullah should salvage his pledge “to hear the truth, however unpleasant” from the people. Start by listening to the grievances of Malaysians rapped by Wee, whose love and patriotism for the national flag, national anthem and the country must not be questioned, as they are second to none in Malaysia.

  1. #1 by sabah tun on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:07 pm

    Without a doubt these Cabinet Ministers are showing how two faced they are when bringing up this issue. If so, let Najib and Kerispuding be tried for seditious comments and the Bocor Monkeys be taken to action for sexist remarks that do more harm to the community.

  2. #2 by sotong on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:18 pm

    This is really sad for the country……very petty….rampant corruption, abused of power, gross excesses and etc.destroying the country and her ordinary people they do not care.

    Petty people are grossly insecured and do not know what they are supposed to do in their jobs out of incompetency.

  3. #3 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:21 pm

    Wee Meng Chee’s Negaraku rap which got him the rap, crap and claptrap from the politicos’ traps can be summarised thus:

    “I love my country, but why does my country not love me?”

    From the reactions of the politicians, it proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Meng Chee’s was spot on in his sentiments.

  4. #4 by sotong on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:35 pm

    ……we are talking about senior Ministers…how low would they go to achieve their political survival and objectives to please their supporters?????

    With these leaders, there is little hope for unity in a modern, progressive and multi racial and religious country.

  5. #5 by pezze on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:37 pm

    The responses that came or rather the reaction that came from the jokers in the ruling parties are telling aren’t they? The reactions just tell us the quality of the people that we have in these ruling parties. Monkeys. Monkey see, monkey do.

    One monkey tried to curry some favor or popularise himself by highlighting the video and the other monkeys thought they should do the same.

    Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of monkeys in the cabinet!!! as well as UMNO, MCA and the likes.

    Isn’t it time we relocate these monkeys to a nice place in Ulu Klang, the area next to Taman Melawati, you know, just before the Kemensah waterfalls? OK lah, Zoo Negara. I think that’s where they belong. Not in Parliament or the Cabinet. No wonder the country is going down the drain.

  6. #6 by juarezfkw on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:47 pm

    DImana KEADILAN? 50 tahun merdeka, 50 tahum pembangunan, 50 tahun berdiam diri ! masa dah sampai! Vote NO to Barisan! Vote NO to discrimination! vote NO to corruption! We deserved a better malaysia! If this can happened to Wee, it can happened to you too! We love our country but do our country love us?

  7. #7 by June07 on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:49 pm

    To add salt to the wound, this is what Harian Metro and The Straits Times fan up the issue in which the song “Kawanku/My friends” was sung looooong way before the Negarakuku and in which it was collecting dust. Perhaps this would boost the sales of the newspapers but aren’t they irresponsible without checking the truth? And mind you, this might cause another ‘explosion” in time to come. This article was extracted from Malaysia-Today.

    The Straits Times

    PROVOCATIVE Malaysian rapper Wee Meng Chee has riled his countrymen again with a new song which hits out at Malays for being lazy and backward, the Harian Metro newspaper reported yesterday.

    Titled Kawanku/My Friends, its lyrics are a blend of Mandarin, Malay and English, with the Malay portion of the rap translated as: ‘Talk some more lah/Chinese go back to China/If all go back ah/This would not be Malaysia/I fear where you will find work/But it’s usual lah Malays also don’t like to work/All go into the jungle/Live like Sakai.’

    ‘Sakai’ is what Malaysians call primitive people.

    The rap ends with: ‘But this is my true feeling/It’s already been 50 years/Sleeping every day/Look forward lah/2020.’ 2020 is an apparent reference to Malaysia’s vision of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

    The four-minute rap and Mr Wee’s earlier parody of Malaysia’s national anthem are on a possibly pirated CD titled Pasar Malam Chart Hits which costs RM7 (S$3). Checks by local media on Friday showed at least one shopping complex here was selling it.

    The Taiwan-based Wee, 24, had apologised last week for hurting Malaysians’ feelings with his 5-1/2-minute rap parody Negarakuku, which has been airing on YouTube since last month and pokes fun at corrupt cops and lazy civil servants, among others.

    Amid angry letters in the forum pages of Malay papers on his raps, yesterday’s New Straits Times quoted Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar as saying that Mr Wee will not be stripped of his citizenship because to do so would be ‘to act emotionally, not rationally’.

  8. #8 by smeagroo on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:53 pm

    IN today’s Star, Sleepy head said what?

    I’ll be fair?

    Fun fair for ur bunch of clowns la.

  9. #9 by Jonny on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 2:53 pm

    Keris episode can be referred to seditious act – this was not spoken in parliament grounds. Lets call for fairness for all.

  10. #10 by Godfather on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 3:19 pm

    UMNO’s idea of “speaking out” means licking the a$$s of the government. Anything other than that would be regarded as seditious, insulting and treacherous to the country.

  11. #11 by St0rmFury on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 3:38 pm

    I really feel sorry for Wee Meng Chee. I attended both the Merdeka Dialogue and the Defend Meng Chee forum later on the same day. YB Lim, you should remember me since I’m that young man who took a picture with you. After reading and listening to everything that has been said about the Negarakuku fiasco, I can see see that Wee has been turned into a political tool for both sides in an effort to attract more voters.

    UMNO will stop at nothing to persecute Wee to gain the Malays’ support. They even went as far as to claim that his “Kawanku” song is new and intended to insult Malays even though the Chinese were not spared in that song. By not accepting his apology, they are literally saying, “screw the Chinese, we don’t need their votes. We just need to focus on getting the Malay votes”; which I see is more practical since Malays are the majority race anyway.

    MCA, hmm… I don’t know what to say about them. They appear to be helping Wee, but it doesn’t look like things are working out so well. In their general meeting, they claim that DAP is only knows how to criticize but doesn’t take any action; which is true in a sense. I attended both dialogues and from what I’ve seen, some of the speakers are more focused on making fun of UMNO and MCA than suggesting how to help Wee. I could be wrong in this since my Mandarin is poor and I didn’t understand a lot that’s being said in the Defend Meng Chee forum. I would be glad if YB Lim can give his opinion on this.

    All in all, nobody would want to be in Wee’s position since he is being treated like a ping pong ball here. UMNO, MCA, and DAP are all guilty of using him as a means to further their political reach. But I guess that is to be expected in the vicious game of politics. UMNO and DAP must have seen him as a godsend to their sides. How can we help him without using him?

    PS: Don’t get me wrong, I’m still never voting for BN. But I just feel that by voting for DAP, I’m merely choosing the lesser of two evils here. My apologies if I offended anyone.

  12. #12 by madmix on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 3:38 pm

    Now this Multimedia body is investigating Wee and will question his family.(today’s reports). This idiot body is doing nothing about SMS scammers pointed out by Jeff Ooi. To them this is a bigger deal than cheating and fraud.

  13. #13 by shortie kiasu on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 4:14 pm

    Those public and civil servants who corrupted, abuse government coffers of hundreds of billions, squandered hundreds of billions of GLC monies for personal gains etc… should be declared unpatriotic ansd stripped of their citizenship of the country. No two ways about it. But it is not done here. They got a slap on their wrists, telling them “don’t do the next time, if you do it, do it intelligently and cleverly, and don’t get caught with the pants down”.

  14. #14 by negarawan on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 4:34 pm

    Hishamudin, Najib, Khairy and other BN ministers have done worse things than Wee to hurt the sentiments and cohesion of this multiracial country. Until equal punishment is meted out on them, this country is undemocratic and is full of corruption and social injustice.

  15. #15 by Bobster on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 5:31 pm

    21 innocent victims (+ the bus driver) died in the country worst accident last week. It is utmost unfortunate that our Cabinet ministers chose to ignore failure of our government departments to carry out their duty (as usual hangat-hangat tahi ayam for the time being going after bus companies as scape goats) but instead spending so much time harping on Namewee. Very good article in The Sun paper today hitting the relevant parties straight in the bull eye:-

    Apparently the country WORST accident has not awakened the ruling party. Namewee rap song instead becoming the music/target/opportunity for the ruling party to further oppress the minority. Let them go international in that case, make it big, so big that the world will be laughing at us. May be Namewee should consider rapping in English with Malaysian slang for the world to have a good laugh. With his talent he should try to complete in American Idol and make a name for himself. Like the case of former world No.1 golfer VJ Singh, this country refused him a PR status, does not appreciate his talent (due to skin color), people leaving the country and make it international. Who is the sucker end of the day? And they dare to turn back and accuse people for not faithful to the country?

    21 victims died for nothing. This is Malaysia, the history going to repeat itself someday. Another Malaysia Black Book of Record going to be broken …

    Najib said 4J:- First J Jaga Diri. Now I understand why.

  16. #16 by Bobster on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 5:46 pm

    Anyone heard what Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon said yesterday? Shake head disbelieve. Enough to vote Gerakan out.

    The way it goes this country going kuku (crazy) with leaders harping on minor issues and chose to ignore the major ones.

  17. #17 by justiciary on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 6:05 pm

    You know why the non bumiputras are in such a pitiful and sorry state today.It is because most of the stupid voters cast votes for the U M National Org. led gomen and gave them 2/3 majority for 50 years.As a result,these bums have become arrogant and also corrupted.They got eyes but cannot see.They got brains but cannot understand problems and solve problems.They got limbs but cannot work.So we are in what we are today.Lost football,uni versity ranking,T.I ranking etc etc.We are far behind the red dot now.If nothing is done to arrest the ‘slide into oblivion’,we will soon find ourselves struggling behind Vietnam and the Philippines.

  18. #18 by smeagroo on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 7:43 pm

    Hey it is still okay to blow someone up with C-4 but dont u ever ever do a rap.

    It is okay to plunder the nation and let the raykat live in misery with rising costs but never ever do a rap song.

  19. #19 by lakshy on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 9:19 pm

    I finally managed to download and hear the rap. And I really dont see what all the fuss is about. He did not show disrespect for the anthem and the national flag.

    In fact if truth be told, I think he sang the anthem with great feeling.

    Hey Ministers! MP’s! Wake up! This song is a message to you guys about how people on the ground feel……be they Chinese, Indian, the natives and even the malays!

    Corrupt cops, slow and inefficient civil service, unfair education system. We are all facing this problem! What are you guys doing to address these problems? And dont tell me you are going to appoint another one of your commissions or engage a consultant (using my taxed income) to find out while you enrich your own pockets.

    My vote is for change! We need to totally vote out BN everywhere! Thats the only way to wake them up and shake them up! Time for the rakyat to do their part!

  20. #20 by undergrad2 on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:16 pm

    Kill the messenger does not mean killing the message. Other messengers will take his place.

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:20 pm

    “I really feel sorry for Wee Meng Chee.”

    Why feel sorry for him? Feel sorry for his father. The old man did not do anything.

    As for NameWee he is basking in the sun as he sings his rap song about the injustices done to his people. I do not know of a better way to start off your singing career as a rapper. Do you?

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:22 pm

    My advice to NameWee, enjoy while it lasts.

  23. #23 by undergrad2 on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:27 pm

    My message to BN politicians: stop criminalizing musicians who use music as their preferred medium to make political statements about the sufferings of others. That’s what musicians do when they are not crooning about their love for another human being.

    To opposition politicians: stop exploiting the issue.

  24. #24 by izrafeil on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:39 pm

    LKS, nampak ada double standard, ingat tak ada ADUN dari Kelang mohon maaf, Pak Lah kata maafkan lah dia dah “insaf”. Apa kena dengan Pak Lah ek, orang buat istana besar2 makan $$ di maafkan. Apokenajang?

  25. #25 by izrafeil on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 10:47 pm

    If you are reading this, please note that MacroKiosk operating within has failed to deliver SMS sent to 012, and no refund has been made by either Maybank or MacroKiosk, also it failed to send SMS overseas (to indonesia except to phone provider with prefix +62818xxxxxxx) although they have deducted monies from the Maybank2u users. Please dont waste time investigating Namewee because Pak Mahathir guarantee the bill of freedom under Cyberjaya law watsoever!!

  26. #26 by malaysia born on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 11:16 pm

    The next step, people, is MORE music video about the bad state of the nation.

    The ideal release date for these ‘hit’ music video will ideally be when they announce the next general election.

    Bombard the new villages, the kampongs, the towns, the cities with the new release.

    It’s war and it’s going to happen in cyberspace!

  27. #27 by mendela on Monday, 20 August 2007 - 11:47 pm

    Negarakuku is good, but I think kawanku/my friend is better, go judge yourself!

  28. #28 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 7:59 am

    The issue with Namwee is that his grievance is legitimate and presented well – its a nightmare for UMNO hegemonist who neither present well nor have much legitimacy.

  29. #29 by pamelaoda on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 8:50 am

    I just salute Namewee for his gut and I confessed I do not have. Namewee has penned it, sung it and display it in Youtube..I guess he is even outspoken than LKS lol…Uncle got disciple…Famous overnight..if I were him, if really dead end and no choice then move out and bring his family along.

    From his creation..he is so damn talented!

    Again Malaysia is famous

  30. #30 by Libra2 on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 12:01 pm

    The fact is, all non Malays are singing the same song. The only difference is, Wee put his clip on the web and we do it is our daily conversations – at kopitiams, dinner tables and get-togethers.
    If only UMNO realizes how lowly they are looked upon, not due to racial prejudice but their own behaviour.

  31. #31 by Quah_Khian_Hu on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 1:18 pm

    As a Malaysian, I personally do not agree with the controversial blogging of the “Negaraku ku” short video. I am very reluctant and even refuse to mention the improper modified word used by this short video in addressing our national anthem. Although I am a non Muslim, I am quite disturbed by the first impression of the irresponsible lyrics of this short video. My comments are not racial objected neither bias on any race. This is the issue of how we perceive and demonstrate our sense of grace, faith and loyalty to our country Malaysia.

    Everyone in this country is responsible for each other. Every entity in this country is fully dependant on other entities within the country. No single race in Malaysia could survive in peace, prosperous and harmony without having understand each others needs, what else being courtesy for the sensitivity and taboo of others. The controversial short video is not acceptable as it contained vulgar and insensitive lyrics deliberately disgrace and desecrate our National Anthem. The National Anthem represents the honor and dignity of all Malaysians.

    I do agree in this cyber era, no person shall be prohibited from freely demonstrate any expressions particularly via the borderless cyber net. It is perfectly not wrong for any person to criticise the administration, regulations and policy systems of the incumbent government of Malaysia for good. Being a Malaysian, specifically, the person has to instill a sense of responsibility for every drawn comment and critic. What else if it touches the sensitivity of others. To be more precise, the person certainly owes a duty of care for the critic comment and must reap the consequence for his own act. This is the law of nature.

    Let us put the entire scenario into a nutshell. We have to always remind ourselves that the racial harmony, success and achievement of our country are not developed within a day or two. It has been a long concerted effort contributed by all our great grandfathers 50 years ago. Let us do not desecrate this success by a spilt of ink created by just a small number of irresponsible individuals.

    Let us think of what we can do and contribute to the country in making Malaysia a better country. Let us transform the flaws and shortages in the existing racial relationship into the strengths of all Malaysians.

    We have to always remember that not every other country has the privilege to experience the variety of culture, religions and languages as we possessed in Malaysia. Uniquely, we have ALL in Malaysia.

    This is the land we were born, bred and live. This is the land we will be buried. This is also the land for the next generation of Malaysians and generations to come.

    Let us appreciate each other. Malaysia is OUR country. Malaysia belongs to ALL Malaysians.


  32. #32 by iloveMalaysia on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 3:07 pm

    The government are actually robbing their own race! Being a Malay is not excluded. Look at the Malays in the kampung or the orang asli… in what conditions are they living in? Where have all the money gone to? Guess who is robbing who? Chinese robbing the Malays? No way man!

    All those big government projects have been taken by GLC companies. Where have all the government funds gone to? Give a deep thought about it. Is time for us to stop being ignorant and stop being used by the politicians to pursue their own needs. Being a politician is to serve the rakyat and Malaysia! Not to fill up their own pocket with the rakyat’s money. Is not about Malays, Chinese and Indians anymore. We are Malaysians. We need each other to survive.

    We as Malaysians should start thinking for ourselves and start bucking up. Normal Malays in the street are not even bothered by all these issues. Everyone just want to live in a peaceful and harmonious environment. Duit tarak cukup utk makan mau cari hal lagi?

    But guess what? What are those selfish people who are pursuing their own ambitions at the expense of the rakyat are doing? They create chaos so that they can gain your attention and you will support their propaganda. It may seems they are helping you! But the truth is we have been used.

    We as Malaysians should not blindly follow what have been said.

  33. #33 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 - 1:59 am

    “Talk some more lah/Chinese go back to China/If all go back ah/This would not be Malaysia/I fear where you will find work/But it’s usual lah Malays also don’t like to work/All go into the jungle/Live like Sakai.’ June07

    I hear the Sakais are organizing a demonstration against supporters of this WeeWee guy. They say his use of the name ‘Sakai” is intended to be derogatory.

  34. #34 by ktteokt on Friday, 24 August 2007 - 10:00 am

    They are in fact a group of “modern uncivilized sakais”, no doubt about it. Look at the way they talk, look at the way they act. Remember the days of the “Suqiu” when Hishammudin threatened with a group of “hooligans” to burn down the Chinese Assembly Hall in KL? Such is the act of a so-called Minister of Youth, so what else can they not do? Send them back to the jungles where they belong!

  35. #35 by ktteokt on Thursday, 30 August 2007 - 2:27 pm

    Perhaps these people on top did not listen carefully to the song by Namewee. He did not alter anything on the National Anthem. The National Anthem was played in its “original form” throughout his song as background music only. So what violation of the so-called “National Anthem Act” are they talking about?

  36. #36 by rachrach on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:27 pm

    Namewee may have been insensitive and rude in his song but we can not deny that he is singing the truth. . I can say that his song is a blessing in disguise, because of it has created an opportunity for many to voice out their opinions. What he sang is what we all gone through daily as Malaysian. It is just that many just choose to live with it quietly. When will our leaders learn to take criticism with an open mind? Malaysian leaders should be aware that with the Internet, there is no way to shut the people up. Suppressing freedom of speech is only avoiding/hiding the problem. Why not take the criticism opnely, ponder upon it and take constructive actions against it?

    I do not agree entirely with Namewee’s action but I must say that he has successfully caught the attention of everyone. I believe he acted this way because he still cares (about his birthplace, his homeland). Many just don’t care and left the country. This is a great loss to Malaysia. I know many who studies overseas (because we failed to attend local university) stay back and live their live there. I am one of them.

    It is not that I do not love my country. I believe all of us who left, love Malaysia. Even though I am not bumiputra, Malaysia is still my birthplace, my homeland but I have been disappointed over and over again with unjust treatments and many underlying problems that our country has.

    It is easy to see why many choose to leave. Which environment would you want your children and yourself to live in?

    A) A place where you can walk alone at night with no fear. A place where you get the same benefits in entry to university as the local does by being a PR. A place where you can leave your shoes outdoors and still find them the next morning. A place where police are out to help you. Or

    B) A place that you have to drive from point A to point B (even it is less than a km) with fear. A place where you have to make sure you lock your home airtight. A place where you do not get equal opportunity to education as a citizen. A place where the police are out to get something from you.

    The choice is obvious. Our leaders should wake up and do something. The country is losing talent to other countries that welcome them with open arms. By suppressing the speech freedom and reacting childishly to Namewee’s song will just validate their incompetence to lead.

    I am appalled with people who keep bringing up the 13 May incident. I agree that it is an incident that we should learn from and prevent it from happening. However, the incident has been brought up more as a threat than a lesson. A threat to those who are not happy with the special rights that the bumiputras have.

    I hope that all this will improve and Malaysia will be able to attract all the lost talents back to contribute to their country.

    By the way, Namewee did sing the Negaraku part very well. Hopefully one day, we can look back and laugh at this incident and get Namewee sing our national anthem non stop for the whole of National Day as a punishment.

  37. #37 by lopez on Sunday, 2 September 2007 - 12:02 pm

    Why are these people so eager and desperate in putting gags on others, e.g Namewee and many others

    We don’t know anymore what can be said anymore and otherwise.
    If doing right is wrong, then tell us what is right in simple language minus all disclaimers and qualifications.

    Singing away is one of the ways to blow away the hardship impounded upon us. Read the global newspapers on their findings, it is global common knowledge of our plight.

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