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    This weblog is based on DIBUSSI TANDE's personal views on people, places, issues and events in Cameroon, Africa and the world!

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« April 18, 1980: Bob Marley Celebrating Zimbabwe | Main | Zimbabwe Cartoons »

April 18, 2007

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Madiba

This is the greatest tragedy of the negro.That after toiling in sweat and blood to gain our much cherished independence from the yoke of colonialism,we still have to sacrifice another generation to liberate ourselves from the clutch of ruthless dictators.It is time for us Africans to chart a course and rise like one man against the yeast of Presidents for life.On a more optimistic note,countries like South Africa,Ghana,Senegal and a number of Southern and Eastern African countries are pacesetters in our 'continental democracy'.With NEPADS Peer Review Mechanism(PRM),many self imposed authoritarians are gradually trying to woo the international community by adhering to more democratic values and principles.Though this cannot be said of the likes of Mugabe,Paul Biya etc who are still clinging to power in perpetuity.But a new dawn has set in Africa,and its time for us to show to the rest of the world that we can take our destinies in our hands.

Nga Adolph,
leuven(Belgium).

Tsangariga

From a Zimbabwean blogger:

"If our being Independent meant we were free from colonial bondage then our freedom was in vain as today more and more Zimbabweans find themselves in worse captivity than that the white supremacist government of Ian Smith ever inflicted on black Zimbabweans. If our independence meant we would get more protection from the police, then our assumptions are wrong as police are now murdering innocent people, arbitrary arresting anyone who does not conform to the ideas of Mugabe's despotic government. The severity of state organised violence against their own citizens cannot be understated, noone is safe men, women and children all face state orchestrated brutality."

http://crybelovedzimbabwe.blogspot.com/2007/04/independence-that-never-was.html


PAOLO  LAURENT

southern cameroons ,must liberate itsef from the colonial annexation of cameroun.
the two presidents of cameroun are ahidjo
the cattle rearer turn post office clerk,then carried-off by the french to became a president, no one voted him in office, same as paul biya. they get paid by the french masters to colonized s.cameroons and bakassi. today youth are confused as what nationality the really are. but with a militart take over we shall free ourselves.
what a pity like if the trouble of being
african is not enough ,some primitive old savages come occupy our country, we can even built an airport to travel to usa, we always have to 1000 miles to the towns to catch aflight, we cant bring any goods, these have to pass to their ports, we have no ccountry ,no citizenship ,no currency, what a pain to bear, only lies,lies, lies day in day out.

PAOLO  LAURENT

THANKS ALOT BRO DIBUSSI, FOR MAKING POSSIBLE
A PLATEFORM,THAT WE CAN ATLEAST MAKE THE
WORLD KNOWS ,WHATS GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY
(SOUTHERN CAMEROONS)FORLEFT TO THOSE FRENCHIES-AFRICAN, WE SHOULD BE SILENEC ONCE AND FOR ALL, AND THEY MARCHING ON OUR FATHERLAND SPEAKIND A ROTTEN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CALLED FRENCH.
ONE SYMETRY TO NOTE ON YOUR NARATION OF
ZIMBABWE UNDER COLONIAL OCCUPATION, AND SOUTHERN CAMEROONS IS AS FOLLOWS.

IN SOUTHERN CAMEROONS, OUR IAN SMITH IS (PAUL BIYA) AND HIS FRENCH MASTERS.
OUR ABEL MUSEREWA IS ( PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED BY PAUL BIYA, NGOLLE NGOLLE, CHIEF ENDELLEY ETC) WHO CONTINUE TO ROBBE US OF OUR INDEPENDENCE, FOR A COLONIALIST STATE OF CAMEROUN.
OUR NATIONALISTS OUR (CHIEF AYAMBA ETTE,AND THE SCNC ALL OVER THE WORLD)
OUR NATIONALIST WILL TAKE ON THIS COLONIAL ,OCCUPATION MILITARY AND LIBERATE
US FROM THE JAWS OF BRUTAL SLAVERY BY PAUL BIYA CAMEROUN.
OU

Kwensi

This write up, in my opinion, is rather one-sided. Yes, Mugabe is a dictator. So is Paul Biya of Cameroon, Kabila of the Congo, so is Bongo and Idriss Debi of Chad. Why is it that the western media focuses solely on Zimbabwe? Why is that sanctions have been placed only on Zimbabwe? By these sanctions, the West wants to make it crystal clear to Zimbabwe that the only role black Zimbabwean can play in their own economy is to be hired help in white-owned farms.

The sanctions are there to make Zimbabwe ungovernable. If anything the situation in Zimbabwe should alert Africans to the fact that political independence means nothing unless it is backed by economic independence. I still recall this documentary that aired a few years back on BBC world, showing black South Africans women scavenging for food from dumpsters. Is this what these women fought so long and hard for? The S/African government is silent because it knows that what obtains in Zim is barely covered up in the its society. Any country whose economy is controlled by a small racial minority is in the same peril as Zimbabwe. It is high time African bloggers started giving balanced analyses of the situation in Zimbabwe instead of acting as sounding boards for the imperalists. Let's leave that to the BBC and CNN.

Dibussi

Hi Kwensi,

Just as I disagreed with you on Charles Taylor, I will also disagree with you with regards to Mugabe. I will not support a dictator just because he is or claims to be against the West. That is not a standard for good governancd in my book.

Every time someone says or writes something negative about Mugabe, African "nationalists" immediately claim that the negative comments are driven by imperialism, western propaganda and a biased western media. In other words, only a brainwashed African can dare criticize a saint and hero like Mugabe…. Well, I don't buy into that type of warped nationalism. Paul Biya will always be the same guy to me even if he suddenly starts speaking up against France and every Western country.

1. I don't need CNN to know that the fifth brigade's actions in Matabeleland in the 1980s were no different from that of the French and Ahidjo in the Mungo and Bamileke regions of Cameroon in the 1960s. I cannot justify one and then condemn the other…

2. During the Lancaster talks of 1979, the principle of land distribution was agreed upon by all parties, Black and White. So that policy in itself has never been an issue. The problem is that when the land distribution came to pass, it was not a well planned, methodical (re)distribution, but a chaotic, bloody and violent land grab spurred by political and partisan considerations. Again, I don't need the BBC to know this.

3. Neither do I need "western imperialists" to tell me that the brutal crackdown on all dissenting voices within Zimbabwe is reminiscent, if not worse than what happened under Ian Smith's minority regime. A Mugabe supporter once argued that the violence is justifiable because the opposition is made up of "traitors". Well, if that is the case, why not go peacefully before the Zimbabwean people, make the case on behalf of the "patriots" and defeat those darn traitors in free and fair elections? Is that not we have been clamoring for in our own countries, including Cameroon? Or does Mugabe get a free pass because he is "anti-Western"? BTW, when did Mugabe's anti-western rhetoric begin? In 1980? Let’s get real.

4. No Kwensi, I will not spend my time explaining or justifying the "other side" of Mugabe's demented actions because as far as I am concerned, there is no justification. We can have a legitimate debate about the actual cause of Zimbabwe's economic collapse - western sanctions or Mugabe's policies. Whatever that answer will be, it will never justify the punishment that Mugabe has inflicted and is still inflicting on his people. No amount of African nationalism will get me to say or write otherwise. This is a resolutely anti-Mugabe zone. I will never spin for the dictator. Never.

5. By the way, there a scores of indivuals blogging from within Zimbabwe who are telling it as it is. So the blogosphere is not made up of “ignorant” Africans who are writing ignorantly about Zimbabwe…

6. Bottom line? If given the choice to live for 10 years under Biya and for two years under Mugabe, the choice would be a very simple one; Biya wins hands down. And that says a lot...

Dibussi

Mwalimu George Ngwane

Until we run down into the root causes of Mugabe's anti-West stance and his perceived dictatorial status hyped by the ubiquitous Eurocentric media,we shal not understand why Samori Toure, Shaka Zulu and Prempah stood up in arms against blatant colonial one armed banditry. Whether we choose to read the prints of history or ignore them determines how much Africans would continue to turn their backs on their heroes and applaud the comedy of our collaborators.
We all know that between 1980 and early 90s when Mugabe waited without any cry for the West to fulfil the promises of the Lancaster Agreement,he was the darling of the WEst with all kinds of leadrership accolades and trophies thrusted upon him. Then he decided to take the lid off the land issue and all hell broke lose.
For once and inspite of all the warped intepretations, Comrade Bob had support from his Southern neighbors who are only willing to tread the land path that Mugabe has been thru. The fundamental concerns of Africans especially EAst and South were how to regain the dividends of Independence. Mugabe waited for more than 20 years for the land issue to be peacefully resolved to no avail. Mugabe enjoys support from his party and never before have the so called Western analysis of the situation fallen out of rhythm with the reality on the ground. For one who has visited Zimbabwe thrice all these garbage about Zim being the most economically battered nation in the world is as flawed as the economic bland that Africans live on less than a dollar a day. Now that puppets like Morgan are failing to deliver, the West is turning to the churches. We have seen these before.
No matter how much Mugabe is "Cubanised" and Zim demonised the story of Dedan Kimathi's slogan of choosing to die on his feet than live on his knees will continue to spur Zim and its people to greater days. And this has nothing to do with the democracy of the chameleon that Cameroon and her neighbor Nigeria are exhibiting. While Zimbabwe is going thru a revolution with a hero-cult,Cameroon is going thru decadence on a rudderless ship.

Dibussi

Hi Mwalimu,

Thanks for your contribution to the debate. As I said before, the land issue is a real one which was recognized by all parties way back in 1979. So I have absolutely no issue with Mugabe's desire to redistribute land. That said, one has to be living in a different world to believe that the manner in which Mugabe implemented the land distribution in 2000 was appropriate; it was a recipe for disaster, an action driven primarily by politics rather than a real desire to right the wrongs of the past. That is my main problem with the whole exercise. So this posting was never about the land campaign.

Also before the demonization of the west, before the western propaganda, Mugabe had already failed as a leader from the Matebeleland campaign to the brutal manner in which he crushed all real and imagined opposition including from his erstwhile comrade in arms. All of this was before the "demonizaton" of 2000 and beyond. If the only criterion for greatness in Africa is to be "anti-western", then I guess Mugabe is the greatest African who ever lived. But if we are to hold this guy to the same standards that we hold the Biyas, then he is one of the worst that the continent ever produced. I know exactly when I realized that Mugabe was nothing but a dream derailed - I was still a secondary school kid then. That was long before CNN and satellite TV. So let no one tell me today about Western propaganda. I hold ALL African leaders to the same standards irrespective of the perceived hostility towards the West.

27 is too young an age to die ,and try as hard as he may, Mugabe will not kill Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe shall be free!!!!

SJ

In my opinion, the reason why the Debys, Biyas and Bongos get a pass where Bob Mugabe doesn't is that the perceived victims of the former are black, while that of the latter are white.

If the dictatorship of Mugabe did not affect the ancestors and cousins of Tony Blair and Co., Mugabe will enjoy the same benign and amusing treatment CNN, BBC and the rest of them mete to other African tyrants like the Biyas and Bongos, who enchantingly continue to enable the centuries old narrative of African exploitation by western interests. One of my Professors has called this reflexive reaction to any perceived threats against the descendants of Europenas anywhere in the globe the instincts of Manifest Destiny. Natives like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales in Venezuela and Bolivia respectively, know a thing or two about disrupting age old arrangements that threaten the entitlements of the European diaspora.

The western media, unlike ours who are quick to summon our high moral standards play their role in fostering this narrative very well; otherwise the role of Britain in particular, in the plight of ordinary Southern Cameroonians and Chagossians, for example, should have received the scrutiny it deserves. Alas, before being journalists and what not, members of the western press are who they are. Equally susceptible to that instinct of Manifest Destiny like any George, Tony or Jacques.

Kwensi

Mola Tande,

This is an issue on which we will never agree. If the western media is there to foster democracy and respect for human rights all over the world, it will not be selective in its condemnation of dictatorships whereever they maybe. The fact that the western media was silent when Kabila was hand-picked to succeed his dad in the Congo, the fact they are silent about Nguema's misrule in the Equatorial Guinea speaks for itself. This is not journalism, it is propaganda. The western media is driven by national interest not journalistic principles. That is why Derby will never be condemned- he caved in to their demands in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project. Biya is okay in their books because he knows who his masters are- he is selling off essential public services like water, electricity and urban transportation at below market value to American firms.

Mugabe is a dictator. He always was and the British gov't knew this but he was okay until he stopped doing their bidding. The UK gov't refused to fulfill its obligations as per the Lancaster accord because they deemed Zimbabwe an economic lightweight.

Mola Dibussi, how would you like it if some whiteman took all the arable land in Limbe for the cultivation of flowers and tobacco for the EU market while the poor are landless? That is what you expected Zim to put up with. I hope this article gets you a few quotes in the BBC weekly review of the African blogosphere. That is the only reason I think you will give such a loopsided argument on such a complex issue.

Kwensi

Mola Tande,

This is an issue on which we will never agree. If the western media is there to foster democracy and respect for human rights all over the world, it will not be selective in its condemnation of dictatorships whereever they maybe. The fact that the western media was silent when Kabila was hand-picked to succeed his dad in the Congo, the fact they are silent about Nguema's misrule in the Equatorial Guinea speaks for itself. This is not journalism, it is propaganda. The western media is driven by national interest not journalistic principles. That is why Derby will never be condemned- he caved in to their demands in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project. Biya is okay in their books because he knows who his masters are- he is selling off essential public services like water, electricity and urban transportation at below market value to American firms.

Mugabe is a dictator. He always was and the British gov't knew this but he was okay until he stopped doing their bidding. The UK gov't refused to fulfill its obligations as per the Lancaster accord because they deemed Zimbabwe an economic lightweight.

Mola Dibussi, how would you like it if some whiteman took all the arable land in Limbe for the cultivation of flowers and tobacco for the EU market while the poor are landless? That is what you expected Zim to put up with. I hope this article gets you a few quotes in the BBC weekly review of the African blogosphere. That is the only reason I think you will give such a loopsided argument on such a complex issue.

Dibussi

SJ, would you adopt the same cavalier attitude towards Biya if he killed 10,000 Anglophone Cameroonians? How many innocent souls were butchered in Matabeleland? That dictators such as Bongo and Deby get a pass in the Western media does not justify Mugabe's actions. I have watched the Zimbabwe story unfold for about 3 decades to be able to make my own personal informed judgment. So what the Western media thinks and rights is of marginal interest. BTW Mugabe is no Chavez. Neither is he Castro. Let us not add insult to injury please!

Kwensi, was this article about the land distribution campaign? And where exactly did I condemn the principle of land distribution? Whatever the case, Mugabe's 27-year tenure cannot be reduced to a single event which began only in the last seven years.

And what is this obsession with the Western media who do not even feature in my article? The most extensive external quote is from the pastoral letter written by Zimbabwean bishops early this month. Why not challenge the contents of that letter with a different set of facts so that we can all come out more knowledgeable? Or the Bishops also got their script from CNN?

I will repeat what I said earlier; today’s self-proclaimed African "nationalists" are making the same mistakes that many of their counterparts from an earlier generation made with regards to bloodthirsty tyrants like Sekou Toure. Being anti-West or pro-West cannot be an African leader's sole measuring rod.

BTW, thanks for informing me about the BCC African blog review, I did not know that one existed - even though you now accuse me of deliberately writing against Mugabe in order to feature on the review... Very funny...

SJ

Dibussi, no where did I justify Mugabe's dictatorship. Read my piece again and you will note that I speak of the victims of Mugabe's dictatorship! My argument is that Mugabe's dictatorship is demonized by what you term "western propaganda" because it's perceived victims are different from the victims of the dictatorships of the Biyas and Bongos. That western propaganda is similar to the type of "western propaganda" levied against Chavez and Morales. That does not read like a comparison between the these individuals. What I am comparing is the Western medias reaction, or to quote you, "propaganda" in their coverage.

My contribution spoke to the selective coverage of what the contributor Mr. Ngwane called the Eurocentric media, all the comparisons end there.

You'll provide me the opportunity at some point to talk Biya and "Anglophone Cameroonians" later on.

Dibussi

SJ,

Thanks for the clarification.

Kwensi

Tande,

My problem with your article is that it fails to establish a connection between the land issue and Muagabe's (mis)rule and dictatorship. The two issues are intricately linked.
The Matabeleland slayings you base your villification of Mugabe on was there before this land grabbing came about. Did you or any other citizens' journalist write about it then? No. The masters had not given you the nod. Now they have and you and couple of others are having field day. No objectivity just go for the jugular!!

Let me make one thing clear. I am not a supporter of Mugabe. As far I am concerned, he is an opportunistic politician who did not do anything about the land issue until his political future was in jeopardy. What I don't agree with is the fact that you label anybody who is not as ferocious in his attacks of Mugabe as you and the western media are as unsophisticated Africanist who will tolerate the most atrocious acts as long as it is at variance with the West. That is not the case. History is riddled with dictators who were propped up by the western gov't until their outlived their usefullness. The case of Saddam Hussien is a perfect example. He killed Iraqi Kurds in their numbers with weapons supplied to him by the very upholders of democracy and human rights in the West and nobody said a thing about it until he started thinking for himself. What I ask is that people who shape public opinion like you should try to be balanced in their analyses. Isn't that what (citizens')journalism is all about?

Fred

This is a most unecessary discussion because we have two legitimate sides to the same story.

1. Mugabe is another African tyrant whose hands are red with African blood.

2. Mugabe is an African tyrant who has drawn the anger of the West largely because of his treatment of the White minority in Zimbabwe. There is more focus on him as a result.

These two statements do not cancel each other as some would like us to believe, but instead complete each other. And each can stand on its own without the other.

The Kwensis and the Ngwanes have to accept that even without Western meddling, Mugabe will still be among the worst dictators on the continent. We can praise Mugabe for taking on Blair and Bush (the "western imperialists") while at the same time unequivocally condemning his brutality against the people of Zimbabwe.

But the Dibussis and Ngas also have to concede that the West's macabre interest in Zimbabwe is also part of the ongoing narrative and that part of Mugabe's "madness" is simply to spite the West (Talk about cutting your nose to spite your face...).

In the end, a complete Zimbabwe story can be written without focusing on the activities of imperialist powers. Similarly the story can be written without focusing on the dictatorship. And anyone is free to choose their prefered angle based on what tickles their fancy.

So Kwensi, why not write about the West's actions in Zimbabwe not as a challenge to Dibussi's own article but as a continuation? That would be more enriching than the ongoing debate which is beginning to veer into ad hominem attacks such as the insinuations that we're having this discussion just because someone wanted to please his "masters" in the West and get profiled on the BBC - unecessary low blow.

So let's close the book on this one and move on to more exciting stories. hey when are those Cameroonian elections taking place? Will there be a coup in Nigeria after the presidential elections?:-)

Mwalimu George Ngwane

Hello All
I wish to recommend the latest book on Zimbabwe to any objective observer. It is called "The Nativist Revolution and Development Conundrums in Zimbabwe" by a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. His name Sabelo Ndlovu Gatsheni,ACCORD Occasional paper series Vol1, No 4, 2006.
The work gives in my opinion a balanced appraisal of the situation in Zim.
Mwalimu

nkomo

President's brother condemns Zimbabwe policy

By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg

Published: 21 April 2007

The South African President Thabo Mbeki's softly-softly approach to Zimbabwe has earned a withering rebuke from his own brother, Moeletsi, who has condemned South Africa's ruling class for being the major obstacle to saving Zimbabwe from collapse.

Mr Mbeki, who is a wealthy businessman who sits on the boards of various organisations, and is an analyst for one of Africa's largest banks, described his brother's policy as "a do- nothing scenario while appearing to be doing a lot".

He spoke as President Mbeki vowed to maintain his quiet-diplomacy approach on Zimbabwe. Mr Mbeki was not impressed.

President Mbeki was last month chosen by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in Zimbabwe with a specific mandate to ensure next year's elections are free and fair. But he has maintained a deafening silence despite an outcry over electoral measures by Mr Mugabe.

Delivering a lecture at the University of Pretoria's Centre for International Political Studies' Africa Dialogue series on Thursday, Moeletsi Mbeki described "South Africa's political elite" as the main "obstacle" to any efforts to save Zimbabwe from collapse. He said the South African government was doing so little to save Zimbabwe because the narrow interests of its ruling elite were not affected.

It was the poor masses in South Africa who were bearing the brunt of Zimbabwe's collapse as they competed with millions of illegal immigrants for jobs and services.

A quarter of Zimbabwe's population has fled to South Africa to escape poverty and deprivation at home, and illegal immigration is said to have increased dramatically since 11 March, when Zimbabwean police assaulted opposition leaders and kick-started a state sponsored orgy of violence against opposition officials.

The President's brother said the national interest of ordinary South Africans was to see the restoration of Zimbabwe's economy to stop the influx of immigrants. He said that South Africa's ruling elite was propping up the Zimbabwean regime by calling it a democratic government when it was clearly a dictatorship.

He even suggested that use of force by South Africa to save Zimbabwe from collapse was an option because of the dangers that a collapsed Zimbabwe posed to its neighbour.

Mr Mbeki also partly attributed the Zimbabwe crisis to the "neo-states" left behind by the Western colonial powers after they were granted independence.

He said: "The South African government needs to show a lot more energy in dissuading Zanu PF [Zimbabwe's ruling party] from brutalising the opposition. We need to send a message across that an opposition in a democratic country has a right to exist and has the right to participate in activities."

It is unlikely that President Mbeki, who has repeatedly vowed to maintain quiet diplomacy instead of counterproductive "megaphone diplomacy" will take his brother's advice.

Tayong

Hello Dibussi

My due respect to your person and the job you are doing. But one doesnt need to be a citizen journalist talk less of being mature to see the complacency and double standardnesss exhibited by Western powers and its media vis-a-vis Mugabe and the rest of the African and World dictators.

I would have expected you to frown on this vehemently to balance your views which you didnt. That leaves your critics with the impression that some stakes are involved.
Come to think of it. You rightly cited the shoulder rubbing between Mugabe and the West when the later was the "enfant Cherie" of the former. Why didnt these same powers condemn him back then?

Paul Biya, Obiam Nguemba, Idris Derby ,Bongo etc etc which you said would have your vote should they be pitted against Mugabe , arent they worth dictators as Mugabe? Have you got statistics of the attrocities committed by these Western puppets if your bait was based only on man slaughter?

Mandela and Mbeki aren't idiots to pursue the kind of diplomacy they're are currently using in this Mugabe crisis. They obviously dont want to play easy into frolics of western propaganda having gone through a similar situation where blacks were used against blacks in their own country.

Dibussi, I want to say again that I admire your blog but this particular write-up begs some objectivity.More grease to your already greasy elbows

Tayong


Ambe Johnson

You guys are really funny:-) So these days condemnation (or support) of Mugabe must mirror (or be contrary) to the West's support or condemnation of Mugabe? So if we condemn Hitler's holocaust, we MUST balance that with a justification of why the Holocaust took place or else we a biased? If we condemn corruption in Cameroon, then we MUST justify why the Biya regime thrives on corruption - or we would be labeled as biased...

I don't know why Dibussi is bothering to respond to all these critics (most of them Cameroonians) who have never bothered to applying the standards they are using to judge Mugabe on Biya. If Mugabe gets a free pass in your book, then BIYA deserves the same. A dictator is a dictator is a dictator is a dictator whether he is the darling of the West or the enemy of the West. Would any of the critics have raised a single sound if this had been a piece against Western actions -real or imagined - in Zimbabwe? Would they have asked for "balance"? Of course not.

BTW, the blog is described by the author as his "personal views on people, places, issues and events". I don't know about you guys, but personal views can only be SUBJECTIVE because they are not based on consensus, public opinion or even statistics. So asking for "objectivity" rings quite hollow. You don't expect a man who thinks Mugabe is a bad leader to say otherwise, just as you don't expect a man who believes that the Biya regime has failed Cameroonians to start writing about the regime's great achievements in the name of objectivity....

alpha2omega

Mr Tande, thanks for keeping me and my colleagues entertained. Been visiting your blog for a couple of weeks now... Keep it up. Anyone interested can Check out this URL for comments relating to this topic: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2007-04-16a.73.3

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