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Thursday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>Nepal – Today the citizens of Nepal vote in their first election in nine years, the result of a peace deal with Maoist rebels who have ended their decade-long insurgency to transition to a legitimate political party. The campaign was plagued with violence and intimidation (the Maoists in particular were accused), leaving at least 12 people dead, including two candidates. The new 601-member parliament will write a new constitution and likely abolish Nepal’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, the last remaining. The tabulation process is complicated, as representatives are apportioned both nationwide and as a result of direct election and are bound by quotas for women and Nepal’s many ethnic and caste groups. UN election monitors don’t expect results until the end of April or early may. Maoists have agreed to accept the results of today’s election, but some fear that hardliners might take to the streets.

>>Zimbabwe – Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa has called for an emergengy meeting of southern African leaders to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe under the umbrella of the South African Development Community, chaired by Mwanawasa. The opposition party in Zimbabwe has repeatedly complained about the “deafening silence” from regional leaders.

>>Olympic – City officials in San Francisco went to extraordinary lengths to insure that the Olympic torch was unmolested in its only appearance in the United States. The torch relay was rerouted at the last second, as police along the original route donned riot gear to fool protestors into believing that the torch’s arrival was imminent. The relay was then accompanied by a phalanx of uniformed police officers on foot and motorcyle as it made its way towards Golden Gate Park with protestors and media in hot pursuit. The torch was then whisked away to the airport, leapfrogging the closing ceremony. In what some believe is an effort to distract attention from the protestors, China announced today that it had foiled a plot by Uighur separatists, a group that China has tried to lump in with President Bush’s “war on terror,” to kidnap athletes and journalists during the Olympics.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267570169/idUSL1037339420080410">South
    Africa
    – Shoot to kill, South African minister tells police
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7340009.stm">Uganda
    - Uganda rebels due to sign peace
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7339225.stm">Kenya
    - Kenya opposition urges restraint
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267415498/idUSL0745077120080410">Kenya
    - Kenya crisis strains human-animal balance in parks
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/terrorism.terrorism?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Libya
    - Appeal judges bar removal of ‘key al-Qaida deputy’

Americas

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/americas/10briefs-SECURITYFORC_BRF.html?ex=1365566400&en=92e446465873f17c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Security
    Forces Rocked by Shake-Up in Ecuador
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/09/usa2?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">U.S.
    - American Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267347747/idUSN0932761420080410">Haiti
    - Uneasy calm in Haiti after food price protests
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/business/worldbusiness/10pemex.html?ex=1365566400&en=cf056ce8925b6554&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Mexico
    - Mexico Proposes Limited Overhaul of State Oil Monopoly
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/washington/10trade.html?ex=1365566400&en=06e914b54ea9111d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Colombia
    - Partisan Tangle Over Trade Pact With Colombia
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7339743.stm">Ecuador
    - Ecuador’s military chiefs resign

Asia

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/asia/10afghan.html?ex=1365566400&en=30d86e30a586c830&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghanistan
    - Afghans Hold Secret Trials for Men That U.S. Detained
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7339423.stm">Sri
    Lanka
    – Attack on arms sale to Sri Lanka
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7340018.stm">China
    - China raises 2007 growth figure
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267599215/idUSISL9993520080410">Pakistan
    - Musharraf urges Pakistan lawyers against anarchy
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7340045.stm">India
    - India court approves quota plan
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267622754/idUSSEO17915920080410">Korea
    - N.Korea hurls insults, bars more South officials
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/thailand.burma?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Thailand
    - Thai police find dead Burmese workers in lorry
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267527685/idUSL107495920080410">Russia
    - Russia may boost PM’s powers in regions
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Afghanistan.html?ex=1365566400&en=45a7416e9d273b11&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghanistan
    - 8 Civilians Killed in Afghan Blast

Europe

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7339239.stm">Kosovo
    - Kosovo adopts a new constitution
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/abba0f5e-06dd-11dd-b41e-0000779fd2ac.html">Iceland
    - Iceland raises interest rate to 15.5%
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a0a297f6-068a-11dd-802c-0000779fd2ac.html">Italy
    - Outbursts turn up heat in Italy campaign
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/europe/10briefs-FINANCEMINIS_BRF.html?ex=1365566400&en=ed6e90bd5cc13d69&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Ireland
    - Finance Minister to Take Over as Prime Minister in Ireland
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464529/AR2008040904319.html">Sweden
    - Iraqi Refugees Find Sweden’s Doors Closing
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/bronwen_maddox/article3716812.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Bulgaria
    - One more chance — then turn off the Brussels money tap
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3716795.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Bulgaria
    - Organised crime link to Islamic terror exposed

Middle East

  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3671530.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093"> style="font-weight: bold;">Iraq – Iraq snubbed
    Britain and calls US into Basra battle
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/middleeast/10gaza.html?ex=1365566400&en=6ad675421dcb62ef&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - Militants Kill 2 Israeli Civilians in Gaza Attack
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7339152.stm">Israel
    - Israel to bar UN rights official
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/business/media/10photog.html?ex=1365566400&en=4a34278fead17af1&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Iraq
    - Iraq Orders U.S. Military to Free Jailed Photographer
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464526/AR2008040902225.html">Iraq
    - Bush to Cut Army Tours to 12 Months
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464528/AR2008040903531.html">Iraq
    - Petraeus and Crocker Testimony Off the Radar of Most in Baghdad
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/10/military.iraq?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Iraq
    - RAF pilot warned of vulnerability of Hercules aircraft, inquest told
Leave a comment

Thursday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>Nepal – Today the citizens of Nepal vote in their first election in nine years, the result of a peace deal with Maoist rebels who have ended their decade-long insurgency to transition to a legitimate political party. The campaign was plagued with violence and intimidation (the Maoists in particular were accused), leaving at least 12 people dead, including two candidates. The new 601-member parliament will write a new constitution and likely abolish Nepal’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, the last remaining. The tabulation process is complicated, as representatives are apportioned both nationwide and as a result of direct election and are bound by quotas for women and Nepal’s many ethnic and caste groups. UN election monitors don’t expect results until the end of April or early may. Maoists have agreed to accept the results of today’s election, but some fear that hardliners might take to the streets.

>>Zimbabwe – Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa has called for an emergengy meeting of southern African leaders to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe under the umbrella of the South African Development Community, chaired by Mwanawasa. The opposition party in Zimbabwe has repeatedly complained about the “deafening silence” from regional leaders.

>>Olympic – City officials in San Francisco went to extraordinary lengths to insure that the Olympic torch was unmolested in its only appearance in the United States. The torch relay was rerouted at the last second, as police along the original route donned riot gear to fool protestors into believing that the torch’s arrival was imminent. The relay was then accompanied by a phalanx of uniformed police officers on foot and motorcyle as it made its way towards Golden Gate Park with protestors and media in hot pursuit. The torch was then whisked away to the airport, leapfrogging the closing ceremony. In what some believe is an effort to distract attention from the protestors, China announced today that it had foiled a plot by Uighur separatists, a group that China has tried to lump in with President Bush’s “war on terror,” to kidnap athletes and journalists during the Olympics.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267570169/idUSL1037339420080410">South
    Africa
    – Shoot to kill, South African minister tells police
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7340009.stm">Uganda
    - Uganda rebels due to sign peace
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7339225.stm">Kenya
    - Kenya opposition urges restraint
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267415498/idUSL0745077120080410">Kenya
    - Kenya crisis strains human-animal balance in parks
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/terrorism.terrorism?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Libya
    - Appeal judges bar removal of ‘key al-Qaida deputy’

Americas

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/americas/10briefs-SECURITYFORC_BRF.html?ex=1365566400&en=92e446465873f17c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Security
    Forces Rocked by Shake-Up in Ecuador
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/09/usa2?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">U.S.
    - American Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267347747/idUSN0932761420080410">Haiti
    - Uneasy calm in Haiti after food price protests
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/business/worldbusiness/10pemex.html?ex=1365566400&en=cf056ce8925b6554&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Mexico
    - Mexico Proposes Limited Overhaul of State Oil Monopoly
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/washington/10trade.html?ex=1365566400&en=06e914b54ea9111d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Colombia
    - Partisan Tangle Over Trade Pact With Colombia
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7339743.stm">Ecuador
    - Ecuador’s military chiefs resign

Asia

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/asia/10afghan.html?ex=1365566400&en=30d86e30a586c830&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghanistan
    - Afghans Hold Secret Trials for Men That U.S. Detained
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7339423.stm">Sri
    Lanka
    – Attack on arms sale to Sri Lanka
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7340018.stm">China
    - China raises 2007 growth figure
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267599215/idUSISL9993520080410">Pakistan
    - Musharraf urges Pakistan lawyers against anarchy
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7340045.stm">India
    - India court approves quota plan
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267622754/idUSSEO17915920080410">Korea
    - N.Korea hurls insults, bars more South officials
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/thailand.burma?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Thailand
    - Thai police find dead Burmese workers in lorry
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267527685/idUSL107495920080410">Russia
    - Russia may boost PM’s powers in regions
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Afghanistan.html?ex=1365566400&en=45a7416e9d273b11&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghanistan
    - 8 Civilians Killed in Afghan Blast

Europe

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7339239.stm">Kosovo
    - Kosovo adopts a new constitution
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/abba0f5e-06dd-11dd-b41e-0000779fd2ac.html">Iceland
    - Iceland raises interest rate to 15.5%
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a0a297f6-068a-11dd-802c-0000779fd2ac.html">Italy
    - Outbursts turn up heat in Italy campaign
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/europe/10briefs-FINANCEMINIS_BRF.html?ex=1365566400&en=ed6e90bd5cc13d69&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Ireland
    - Finance Minister to Take Over as Prime Minister in Ireland
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464529/AR2008040904319.html">Sweden
    - Iraqi Refugees Find Sweden’s Doors Closing
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/bronwen_maddox/article3716812.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Bulgaria
    - One more chance — then turn off the Brussels money tap
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3716795.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Bulgaria
    - Organised crime link to Islamic terror exposed

Middle East

  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3671530.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093"> style="font-weight: bold;">Iraq – Iraq snubbed
    Britain and calls US into Basra battle
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/middleeast/10gaza.html?ex=1365566400&en=6ad675421dcb62ef&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - Militants Kill 2 Israeli Civilians in Gaza Attack
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7339152.stm">Israel
    - Israel to bar UN rights official
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/business/media/10photog.html?ex=1365566400&en=4a34278fead17af1&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Iraq
    - Iraq Orders U.S. Military to Free Jailed Photographer
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464526/AR2008040902225.html">Iraq
    - Bush to Cut Army Tours to 12 Months
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/267464528/AR2008040903531.html">Iraq
    - Petraeus and Crocker Testimony Off the Radar of Most in Baghdad
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/10/military.iraq?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Iraq
    - RAF pilot warned of vulnerability of Hercules aircraft, inquest told
Leave a comment

The Exigencies of Peacekeeping

Having brokered a ceasefire in late January between warring parties in eastern DR Congo, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known by its acronym, MONUC, now risks becoming overstretched, according to the Secretary-General’s latest report [pdf]. The danger stems from two interrelated developments:

First, having achieved the success of a peace deal, MONUC is responsible to help implement it. In this case, that requires pursuing three objectives: monitoring the ceasefire; supporting the process of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR); and securing the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). This latter task is particularly daunting, as more displaced persons are crowded into Congo’s eastern provinces than anywhere else in the country.

Second, to achieve these goals, MONUC has needed to relocate significant numbers of its personnel eastward. While this is an understandable and laudable move — particularly because of the persistent insecurity in IDP camps — it runs the risk of pulling much-needed peacekeepers from other volatile areas, which, as Ban notes in his report, “might jeopardize important progress towards peace and stability elsewhere in the country.”It is perhaps the lot of UN peacekeeping that, as soon as one fire seems close to being put out, another ignites, and the UN, in Kofi Annan’s memorable formulation, then needs to go around begging for the parts to build the firetruck. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, just as the need to consolidate peace in eastern Congo looms large on MONUC’s agenda, the western part of the country has experienced a disturbing uptick in violence.

As I’ve previously articulated, a peacekeeping mission’s success, in one sense, can be measured by its readiness to minimize its presence and eventually depart. Sometimes, though, en route to drawdowns, a mission must beef up its presence in the short-term. That appears to be what is happening in DR Congo, where Ban, in the report that preceded this one, had laid out benchmarks for a process of eventual withdrawal. Here, however, he has determined that “the Mission’s current force levels…do not reflect the critical role MONUC is expected to play” in securing peace in the east, while still maintaining stability in the rest of this enormous country.

Yes, MONUC is currently (at least until UNAMID fully deploys in Darfur) the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation in the UN’s history. But a rapid drawdown in the interests of financial expediency flies in the face of facts on the ground in Congo and would deeply unsettle the only thinly etched lines of peace that are developing in the country. For such a resource-rich behemoth in central Africa, whose post-independence history has been racked by over four decades of war, corruption, and disease, the prospect of a sustainable peace is in all respects worth the investment of continuing to support MONUC.

| Leave a comment

The Exigencies of Peacekeeping

Having brokered a ceasefire in late January between warring parties in eastern DR Congo, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known by its acronym, MONUC, now risks becoming overstretched, according to the Secretary-General’s latest report [pdf]. The danger stems from two interrelated developments:

First, having achieved the success of a peace deal, MONUC is responsible to help implement it. In this case, that requires pursuing three objectives: monitoring the ceasefire; supporting the process of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR); and securing the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). This latter task is particularly daunting, as more displaced persons are crowded into Congo’s eastern provinces than anywhere else in the country.

Second, to achieve these goals, MONUC has needed to relocate significant numbers of its personnel eastward. While this is an understandable and laudable move — particularly because of the persistent insecurity in IDP camps — it runs the risk of pulling much-needed peacekeepers from other volatile areas, which, as Ban notes in his report, “might jeopardize important progress towards peace and stability elsewhere in the country.”It is perhaps the lot of UN peacekeeping that, as soon as one fire seems close to being put out, another ignites, and the UN, in Kofi Annan’s memorable formulation, then needs to go around begging for the parts to build the firetruck. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, just as the need to consolidate peace in eastern Congo looms large on MONUC’s agenda, the western part of the country has experienced a disturbing uptick in violence.

As I’ve previously articulated, a peacekeeping mission’s success, in one sense, can be measured by its readiness to minimize its presence and eventually depart. Sometimes, though, en route to drawdowns, a mission must beef up its presence in the short-term. That appears to be what is happening in DR Congo, where Ban, in the report that preceded this one, had laid out benchmarks for a process of eventual withdrawal. Here, however, he has determined that “the Mission’s current force levels…do not reflect the critical role MONUC is expected to play” in securing peace in the east, while still maintaining stability in the rest of this enormous country.

Yes, MONUC is currently (at least until UNAMID fully deploys in Darfur) the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation in the UN’s history. But a rapid drawdown in the interests of financial expediency flies in the face of facts on the ground in Congo and would deeply unsettle the only thinly etched lines of peace that are developing in the country. For such a resource-rich behemoth in central Africa, whose post-independence history has been racked by over four decades of war, corruption, and disease, the prospect of a sustainable peace is in all respects worth the investment of continuing to support MONUC.

| Leave a comment

Will Kony Sign?

joseph-kony.jpg

Continuing the saga of the seemingly perpetually impending peace deal between the Ugandan government and notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony, it appears that Kony is finally going to emerge from the bush to sign a deal tomorrow. Last week, Kony claimed a variety of reasons — including a lack of toilets — for delaying his appearance at the remote outpost on the Congo-Sudan border for the signing ceremony. Whether he shows tomorrow or not, one very important question remains unanswered: will the peace last? Reuters hits the nail on the head:

The LRA chief’s final intentions remain far from clear.

No outsiders have seen him in months, and even if he breaks cover to sign the final agreement, his fighters have refused to lay down their arms until the ICC warrants are scrapped.

Uganda’s government has said it will ask for the indictments to be lifted only after a final deal is reached. It was not clear whether that meant the rebels had to disarm first too.

Disarmament, of course, is always easier said that done, yet it remains the crux of any responsible peace plan. Justice and accountability are important attendant issues as well, as both we and Opinio Juris have emphasized, but the key — in the immediate term, at least — is a cessation of violence. Kony and the LRA seem committed enough to combating their ICC indictments — even acquiring visas to lobby the UN in New York — to engage in the peace process, but this is a rather tenuous — not to mention somewhat ironic — basis for a robust and long-standing accord.

For now, we’re waiting for Kony.

| Leave a comment

Will Kony Sign?

joseph-kony.jpg

Continuing the saga of the seemingly perpetually impending peace deal between the Ugandan government and notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony, it appears that Kony is finally going to emerge from the bush to sign a deal tomorrow. Last week, Kony claimed a variety of reasons — including a lack of toilets — for delaying his appearance at the remote outpost on the Congo-Sudan border for the signing ceremony. Whether he shows tomorrow or not, one very important question remains unanswered: will the peace last? Reuters hits the nail on the head:

The LRA chief’s final intentions remain far from clear.

No outsiders have seen him in months, and even if he breaks cover to sign the final agreement, his fighters have refused to lay down their arms until the ICC warrants are scrapped.

Uganda’s government has said it will ask for the indictments to be lifted only after a final deal is reached. It was not clear whether that meant the rebels had to disarm first too.

Disarmament, of course, is always easier said that done, yet it remains the crux of any responsible peace plan. Justice and accountability are important attendant issues as well, as both we and Opinio Juris have emphasized, but the key — in the immediate term, at least — is a cessation of violence. Kony and the LRA seem committed enough to combating their ICC indictments — even acquiring visas to lobby the UN in New York — to engage in the peace process, but this is a rather tenuous — not to mention somewhat ironic — basis for a robust and long-standing accord.

For now, we’re waiting for Kony.

| Leave a comment

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