Tag: <span>Albert Einstein</span>

Salvador De Madariaga Portraits of World Citizens.

Salvador De Madariaga: Conscience of the League of Nations.

Featured Image: The Spanish writer Salvador de Madariaga and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina José María Cantilo talk during a session of the League of Nations (1936).

By Dr. Rene Wadlow.

The first two organizations using world citizen in its title “World Citizens Association” date from 1939, the eve of the Second World War when the dangers of aggressive nationalism became evident. Both organizations, one in the USA, the other in England, owe much to two friends who had worked together in the League of Nations: Henri Bonnet, a Frenchman living in 1939 in the USA and the better known Salvador De Madariaga of Spain living in England after General Franco came to power in Spain.

Salvador De Madariaga (1886-1978) was called, half ironically, half seriously, ‘the conscience of the League of Nations’; by Sir John Simon, the chief UK delegate to the League of Nations Council and Foreign Secretary. De Madariaga was chairing the Council at the time of the Japanese attack on Manchuria, and he was convinced that this attack, the first major violation of the Covenant by a Council member, Japan, was a key test for the League. He later chaired the League efforts to deal with this Manchurian crisis, as he did with the League efforts to deal with the Italian attack on Ethiopia (Abyssinia, as it was then called). 
Salvador De Madariaga had a free hand as chief delegate of Spain during the Republican years (1931-1936); before the Civil War and General Franco‘s victory ended Spanish influence in the League. Spain was not considered a ‘Great Power’; it was not a permanent member of the League Council, but it was large enough and had friends in South America (Spanish America as De Madariaga calls it), so that Spain was often chosen to lead League efforts when a ‘neutral’ state was needed.

Portrait of John Simon, 1st Viscount Simon, no later than 1922. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Morning Without Noon.

From the memoirs of De Madariaga, Morning Without Noon (London: Saxon House, 1974) written when he was 80 and recalling the period from 1921 to 1936; one gets a good view of the inner workings and the spirit of the League of Nations. They are memories rather than documented research as most of his personal papers were destroyed when Franco took control of Madrid; where De Madariaga had a house and office. Nevertheless, they are a vivid picture of the period and the early functioning of a world institution of which the UN is the continuation in the same buildings. The main League of Nations building for most of its Geneva history is now the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Palais des Nations, finished just as the League was ending its life, is now the UN’s main European headquarters.

Salvador De Madariaga had a first-hand knowledge of the League, having joined its Secretariat in 1921 when it was being created as the first world civil service by Sir Eric Drummond and Jean Monnet. De Madariaga come from a distinguished Spanish family. His father was a military officer who believed that Spain had lost the Spanish-American war to the USA because of a lack of technology. Thus he encouraged his son to have an international technical education, and Salvador De Madariaga went to the elite Ecole Politecnique and the Ecole des Mines, both in Paris and ended with an mining degree which he never used.

Portrait of Eric Drummond, 16th Earl of Perth. By Harris & Ewing, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

However, it gave him a certain image of having technical knowledge and so he was chosen to head the Disarmament Department of the League in 1922 as some people mistakingly thought disarmament was a technical problem. As De Madariaga argues in his book Disarmament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1929) written just after leaving the League Secretariat:

” disarmament is an irrelevant issue; the true issue being the organization of the government of the world on a co-operative basis.”

Jean Monnet à Londres en 1952. By AnonymousUnknown author (Keystone France), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

De Madariaga left the League Secretariat in 1928, largely because the League had accepted to fire Bernardo Attolico as Under Secretary-General and replace him by Paulucci di Calvoli Barone, a chief assistant of B. Mussolini. There were always persons from the Great Powers in influential League posts; but they were usually intellectuals who believed in the values of the League and not national civil servants. De Madariaga had met Mussolini twice in Rome during disarmament talks. It was De Madariaga’s habit of making quick instinctive judgements of people, and he did not like Mussolini from the start.

De Madariaga became a ‘premature’ anti-Fascist. The fact that the League would place a Fascist civil servant in a key position was for De Madariaga a step backward for a real world civil service. As he writes:

“Here began the downfall of the Secretariat. The Fascist Under-secretary’s room became a kind of Italian Embassy at the League (Save that the Ambassador’s salary was paid by the League), linked directly with Mussolini and openly accepting orders and instructions from him. Paulucci in himself an attractive and friendly person, was nevertheless zealous enough to go about even during official League gatherings sporting the Fascist badge on his lapel.”

As luck would have it, just as he was thinking about leaving the League Secretariat, Oxford University was looking for a professor of Spanish literature for a newly-created chair. Although he had never taught, through League friends, he was named Alfonso XIII Professor of Spanish Studies at Oxford. Once when asked when he had studied Spanish literature, he replied:

“I didn’t need it before, so I shall study it now in order to teach it.”

He held this chair until King Alfonso XIII, who had nothing to do with the chair, was pushed from power.

In 1931 the Spanish Republic was born. The new Spanish Republic leaders, divided among themselves along political lines, were united in wanting the Republic to be represented by intellectuals so that they could explain the aims and values of the Republic. De Madariaga was named Ambassador to France but also asked to represent Spain at the League of Nations since League duties were not considered as a ‘full time job’, and he had League Secretariat experience.

Thus De Madariaga returned to Geneva, one of the few government delegates who knew the workings of the League Secretariat. De Madariaga, when he had been in the Secretariat, because he spoke Spanish, English, and French and was an excellent speaker, had become the chief ‘lay preacher’ for the League and had travelled throughout Europe and the USA giving talks to present the work and the ideals of the League.

Alfonso XIII of Spain on Time magazine cover, 1928. By Time Magazine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Geneva was a smaller city at the time and much of the intellectual life related to the League. The League had created the Committee for Intellectual Co-operation as an effort to build an intellectual network of support for the League. De Madariaga gives interesting pen portraits of people he had met in the League effort of intellectual cooperation: Paul Valery, R. Tagore, Albert Einstein, Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and others. Knowing leading intellectuals also opened doors to political figures in many countries. De Madariaga’s knowledge of a country’s politics went beyond his contacts with the delegates to the League.

Rabindranath Tagore. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Rabindranath Tagore: The Call of the Universal Real.

Crisis Situations.

The highlights of De Madariaga’s League efforts were the complicated entry into League membership of Mexico which had been barred by Woodrow Wilson who had bad memories of the Mexican Revolution. Although the USA was not a League member, Mexico had been barred by an annex to the Covenant. De Madariaga had to work so that Mexico would accept League membership without asking for it – such is the craft of diplomacy!.
His two most crucial roles were the League efforts at the time of the Japanese attack on Manchuria and the Italian attack on Ethiopia. His detailed accounts merit reading as to the difficulties of multilateral responses to crisis situations.

De Madariaga resigned as Spain’s chief delegate to the League as the Republic disintegrated, and Franco took power. From 1936 on, he lived outside of Spain, mostly in England and Switzerland and only returned to Spain to visit after the death of Franco. He devoted himself to countering those forces of aggressive nationalism which had destroyed the effectiveness of the League. As he wrote:

“If peace and the spirit of Europe are to remain alive, we shall need more world citizens and more Europeans such as I tried to be.”

De Madariaga encouraged Henri Bonnet, who had been the League Secretariat member in charge of the Committee for Intellectual Co-operation and who was then living in the USA to create in 1939 the World Citizens Association which he did with the young lawyer Adlai Stevenson and Quincy Wright, a leading professor of international relations at the University of Chicago.
De Madariaga helped to create a World Citizens Association in London, also in 1939 – both efforts were too late to block the tide of war. After the Second World War, De Madariaga helped create the College d’Europe in Bruges as a training field for Europeans, especially for those thinking of working in European institutions.

Quincy Wright, Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, from the 1940 MacMurray College Yearbook, where he was one of the speakers on “The Essential Elements of a Durable Peace” at the MacMurray Institute. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Quincy Wright: A World Citizen’s Approach to International Relations.

Special Program in European Civilization.

He continued his literary and historical interests, writing especially on the founders of ‘Spanish America’. He did some teaching, and in 1955 spent a year at Princeton University in the USA where a new “Special Program in European Civilization” had just been created. His lectures covered the literary analysis of his  Portrait de l’Europe (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1952). As his student that year, I was also interested in disarmament and the functioning of the League of Nations so we had many interesting talks. His was a witty and perceptive mind.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Simone Weil Portraits of World Citizens.

Simone Weil : Roots in the Ideal.

Featured Image: Simone Weil (1909–1943) – a French philosopher, Christian mystic and political activist of Jewish origin. By Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

“In the day of Victory, the angel of justice strives with the demons of violence; the heart of the victor all too easily is hardened; moderation and far-seeing wisdom appear to him weakness; the excited passion of the people, often inflamed by the sacrifices and suffering they have borne, obscure the vision even of responsible persons and make them inattentive to the warning voices of humanity and equity.”  – J. Naughton

 

Simone Weil;  who died on 24 August 1943;  was one of those warning voices writing a memo in London for General Charles DeGaulle’s;  Free French on the problems that would face France;  after the victory over Nazi occupation. 

Her memo concerning the need for humanity, non-violence, and equity;  was published after the War;  as Enracinement in French and The Need for Roots in English.  The memo;  too philosophical for people;  who were primarily concerned with the upcoming D-Day;  and the need to coordinate the different resistance movements within France;  had little impact.

No one in the Free French leadership was sure;  where Simone Weil fit into the different groups;  which had assembled in London.  The Free French officials had quickly rejected her request to be sent back to France;  to partake in armed resistance or in helping the wounded.  Simone Weil had had a short experience with armed combat;  as part of an anarchist brigade in Spain in the Civil War against Franco;  but her poor eyesight and very fragile health;  had quickly put an end to her armed participation. 

Simone Weil

Simone Weil (1909–1943) – a French philosopher, Christian mystic and political activist of Jewish origin. By Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

A Poem of Force.

She returned from Spain convinced of the need for non-violent action;  influenced by her philosophical interest in Indian thought and the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi.  She also returned from Spain as a convinced opponent of the death penalty;  having tried to stop her anarchist co-fighters;  from executing prisoners of war and Catholic priests. Her non-violence is expressed in a powerful prose-poem ‘L’Iliade: A Poem of Force;  published in both French and English;  first under her pen name, Emile Novis.

She had begun her intellectual life as a Marxist;  but an anti-Stalinist one. As a young philosophy teacher;  she had housed Leon Trotsky in her Paris apartment;  but found Trotsky dogmatic and too willing to justify the policies of the Soviet Union even as he opposed Stalin.  Simone Weil’s Marxism was embodied in no political formation;  and was more an ideal form based on compassion;  for the fate of workers than from an expression of class struggle.  Simone Weil was above all indebted to the writings of Plato;  and her teaching was largely related to Plato and classical Greek thought.  The cave from where one only sees shadows is her image of the world;  in which we live. 

Leon Trotsky

Headshot of Russian Revolutionary political leader and author Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940), 1930s. By Лев Давидович Троцкий (1879-1940), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

She was interested in the spiritual dimensions of religion;  without ever becoming a member of an organized religion.  She came from an agnostic Jewish background.  Her brother;  André Weil;  who was able to leave France for the USA in 1941;  was a well-known mathematician;  whose career was largely spent at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton;  New Jersey.  The Institute had been created to house Albert Einstein;  and was home for a good number of theoretical mathematicians.

Joseph Stalin

 

Joseph Stalin, Secretary-general of the Communist party of Soviet Union (1942). By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Osiris in Egypt and the Krishna of the Gita.

Simone Weil was interested in Taoism, Hinduism and in the person of Jesus.  As she wrote;  Osiris in Egypt and the Krishna of the Gita;  were also incarnations of the Divine.  Her views of Jesus as Prince of Peace kept her outside the Catholic Church;  but after her return from Spain;  she started meeting with Catholic intellectuals.

The most significant of these was Gustave Thibon (1903-2001);  who lived not far from where I live in Ardeche, south-central France;  but I never met him.  Simone Weil and her family had been able to leave Paris in 1940 for Marseille in what was then still “Unoccupied France” under the French government of Vichy. 

Gustave Thibon.

Simone Weil’s parents and brother left for the safety of the USA;  but she refused to leave those suffering behind.  Thus; through mutual friends in Catholic intellectual circles;  she went to live in Ardeche;  helped by Gustave Thibon. 

She left all her writings;  nearly all unpublished; with Thibon when she left Ardeche to join the Free French in London.  Thibon oversaw the publication of her writings and wrote perceptive introductions to many of them after her death.

 

Gustave Thibon was a self-taught philosopher and poet but also a wine producer;  wine being the economic base of our area. Thibon had left school at 16 at the death in the First World War of his father;  in order to help his grandfather tend the wine vines. 

Thibon remained a farmer all his life;  even after the Second World War;  when his philosophical writings became well known;  and he was often asked to give talks in different European countries.  Thibon understood the driving energy of Simone Weil;  her constant questioning of ideas and her desire to put her ideals into practice. 

Gustave Thibon

Gustave Thibon 1982. By Bohémond, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Network of Intellectual Catholics.

Gustave Thibon was part of a network of intellectual Catholics;  who were also concerned with the future of France after the war.  Along with Thibon;  the group included Louis-Joseph Lebret;  a Catholic priest;  who played a large role in creating the cooperative movement in France;  and who helped draw up the first development plans for Senegal after its independence in 1960. Francois Perroux;  whose economic ideas set the stage for the first post-war reconstruction;  and planning in France was also a member of the network.  

Although Thibon and the others were orthodox Roman Catholics;  they were united with Simone Weil in trying to build a synthesis between philosophical thought and economic conditions;  especially of the poorest and those ground down by repetitious factory work.

Simone Weil’s health, always poor, declined in London, and she died at age 34. It is only after her death that her writings in notebooks were structured into books.  Her life and writings are a prime example of the effort to establish a link between society and the direction of thought.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Albert Einstein Rapprochement of Cultures.

Albert Einstein: Remember Your Humanity and Forget the Rest.

Featured Image: Albert Einstein (1947). By Photograph by Orren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom.  Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels?  We appeal as human beings to human beings: R ember your humanity, and forget the rest.
                                             – Russell-Einstein Manifesto, 1955

14 March is the birth anniversary of Albert Einstein, born in Ulm, south Germany, in 1879 and died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1955. I was a student at Princeton University from 1953 to 1956, and as I liked to walk in the late afternoon, I would cross Albert Einstein, who also liked to walk, coming from his office at the Institute for Advance Study. I would say “Good Evening, Professor Einstein” and he would reply “Good Evening, Young Man”.

Einstein’s home was on Mercer Street, close to the University campus and seeing him was a sort of link to the history of science − though I had no idea of what his scientific ideas were all about.  In the popular mind, Einstein was somehow related to nuclear science and thus the Atomic Bomb, but the relation was not clear.  The link with the A Bomb was much clearer with J. Robert Oppenheimer who was the director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1947 to 1966 and that I would also cross occasionally on my walks.

The Manhattan Project.

  Oppenheimer had been the scientific head of the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb during World War II. Oppenheimer later disagreed with US government policy concerning control of nuclear weapon. In the “guilt by association” atmosphere of the early post-war, Oppenheimer, having been friends with and married to people who were communists, had his government security clearance taken from him in 1954.  He returned to “pure” theoretical physics, and symbolized for many of us at the time, the mindless anti-Communist associated with Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Einstein was never really involved with nuclear physics though some of his ideas had been used by those working directly on nuclear physics.  In his years at the Institute for Advanced Study, which he joined in 1933, he was trying to develop a unified field theory which would unify four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force − all to provide a unified understanding of the basic laws of the physical universe.  

He was never able to work it out, but the Institute for Advanced Study was created in 1930 to allow a small number of important thinkers to go on thinking without having to do any university lecturing or to publish in order not to perish.  Einstein had the look of someone who was thinking, and probably few asked him for a reprint of his last paper.

My admiration for Einstein was unrelated to his scientific ideas which I did not understand but to his work for peace and for stronger world organizations that could promote peace.  As he wrote “Just as we use reason to build a dam to hold a river in check, we must now build institutions to restrain the fears and suspicions and greeds which move people and their rulers.”

One World or None.

The 1950-1953 Korean War was just winding down with no “victor”; the French war in Vietnam was still on. Europe was divided. By 1955, ten years after the first use of nuclear weapons on Japan, both the USA and the USSR had a range of thermonuclear weapons more potentially destructive that the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “One World or None” had been the cry of those, like myself, who joined the United World Federalists in 1951 as a secondary-school student. We were looking for leaders to articulate the effort for a nuclear-weapon free world.  

Albert Einstein was such a voice, and he had joined the Advisory Board of the  World Federalists.  He was by conviction and also by life experience a world citizen: German born, educated in Switzerland, he had become a Swiss citizen.  He saw the narrow, aggressive nationalism of Hitler destroy much of German scientific life and then turn to the wholesale persecution of Jews and political opponents.  Einstein was fearful of the narrow anti-communism in the USA in the late 1940s- early 1950s.  There were even voices which said that his anti-atom bomb efforts were disloyal and paving the way for a communist takeover of the US.

The League of Nations Committee.

Albert Einstein, while working in Switzerland, in the 1920s had been active in the League of Nations Committee on Intellectual Cooperation − an early effort to develop cooperation among intellectuals in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the arts to work for cross-cultural understanding and peace.  Bertrand Russell − the multifaceted English intellectual − had also participated in the League efforts and saw the need for a new wave of action directed to the dangers of US-USSR war where nuclear weapons might be used if ever a situation became desperate.  Bertrand Russell wrote the Manifesto and asked a small number of nuclear scientists from different countries to co-sign the statement.  

Albert Einstein signed the statement − one of the last things he did.  Russell received the signed letter a couple of days after the announcement of Einstein’s death.  The Manifesto became the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and was publicly issued in July 1955.

For a nuclear-weapon free world, we still need vision, leadership, responsiveness, empowerment, and persistence.  An ongoing challenge is to stay focused and specific and yet have a broad, integrated and unified vision.  We need to be flexible and receptive to new ideas and new openings but also have stability in our identity as world citizens.  

By Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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world citizens UN: Growth of World Law.

Citizens of the World Diplomacy.

Picture by  Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

The crisis today in human affairs is represented not by the absence of human capacity, but by the failure to recognize that the capacity exists. What gives hope its power is the release of human energies generated by the longing for something better”.

Norman Cousins.

The Association of World Citizens.

Douglas Mattern;  was the founding  president of the Association of World Citizens;  when in 1975 he brought together individuals;  who considered themselves as Citizens of the World;  but were working within a host of other prizce organizations. He has since died;  but his efforts for world citizen diplomacy has continued and expanded.

One of the primary duties of State leaders;  is to identify and then to defend against enemies. As soon as a pair of states begins to identify one another as enemies; as the USA and the Soviet Union did in 1945 at the end of the World War;  they take steps that confirm and amplify the initial fears;  thus starting a cycle of action and reaction.

For American leaders;  the Soviet Union represented not only an expansionist state;  but was also a leader of a more vague and undefined “international communism”. For the Soviets the USA was an atomic-weapon state; but also the champion of an effort to destroy the “socialist system”.

Many citizens feel that if a government fails to be vigilant in its “threat assessment” of the present danger;  then that administration does not deserve to govern.

Cycles of Distrust and Resort to Arms.

We see after “9/11”; the same political and security mechanisms made all the more difficult; because “Islamic Fascism” is even more vague and undefined than “International Communism”; and does not have a specific “home state”; as the Soviet Union or China had for Communism.

There are basically two types of activities; which people can take to modify; such cycles of distrust and resort to arms.

The first is the role of “kibitzer” — the person; who is on the sideline in a game of cards; who says after each hand

“I would not have played the Ace of Hearts then.”

Likewise we can say :

“If I were in the place of President Bush; I would not have gone into Afghanistan, much less Iraq.”

A good deal of world citizen energy; has gone into efforts to convince governments that nuclear weapons; nuclear-weapons testing; and keeping nuclear weapons on “hair-trigger alert” is unwise.

It is likely that had there not been the anti-nuclear efforts starting in 1945; when as Albert Einstein said 

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking; and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe”.

Governments would have continued to develop and test nuclear weapons; driven by only technical and strategic considerations.

Photograph by Orren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Moral Voices.

Much of the drive for arms control and disarmament has come from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and from community-based moral voices; such as that of Martin Luther King, Jr who said :

“I do not minimize the complexity of the problems; that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I am convinced that we shall not have the will, the courage; and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field; we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual re-evaluation; a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things that seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal; and have come under sentence of death.

It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war!’; It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the eradication of war; but on the affirmation of peace.”

Martin Luther King, picture: Colors by Emijrp, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The value of being a “kibitzer” at the United Nations through non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the UN; is that one can give advice to a host of governments. Out of the 192 UN members; some governments will be interested and take up ideas which; later may be found in resolutions.

NGO representatives cannot claim “ownership” of the ideas; but the constant repetition of basic ideas of conflict resolution, human rights, and a fairer economic system; keep these ideals in front of decision makers.

Citizen Diplomat.

Another approach is the role of “citizen diplomat”. As Douglas Mattern notes:

Citizen diplomacy is an idea whose time has come. With modern technology; individuals and organizations from diverse parts of the globe; can have instant communication through the Internet, telephones, and fax machines.

The marvel of telecommunications; along with the relative ease and speed of travel; provide the capability for joint activity among people that was not previously possible.”

Mattern tells of his experiences as a citizen diplomat in the Soviet Union; on “Citizen Diplomacy Volga Peace Cruise” — trips starting in 1983; organized by Alice and Howard Frazier of Promoting Enduring Peace.

During the eleven hundred mile trip on the Volga with stops at major cities along the way; there were workshops and exchanges of views and perceptions. Later in 1986; there was a return trip down the Mississippi; during which thousands of Americans came to greet the Russians on the Delta Queen steamboat; and to extend their own message of peace and friendship.

The multiplication of such examples of citizen diplomacy; helped to break down the walls which the Cold War had created; both physical and mental walls. Mattern sets out the basic aims of citizen diplomacy:

“ Our unyielding task is to build a world community that respects law and justice, the sharing of resources, and the creation of a new civilization based on respect for life, respect for the environment, and respect for each other.”

Rene Wadlow; President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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