Rwanda Genocide | Hutu | Tutsi

Rwanda Genocide

The Rwandan genocide is argued to be one which stands out from all other genocides in the 20th century. Howard Adelman, a theorist and professor emeritus from York University argues that the Rwandan genocide stands out from any other genocide, because it could have been prevented (Adelman, 2005). The essay aims to critically evaluate the Rwanda genocide by asking ‘who and why’, to accurately point out the cause of the genocide. There have being many debates on the causes of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The 1994 Rwandan genocide was a

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picture of killing moderated by extremist Hutus against Tutsis. An estimated 800,000 people where killed (www. hrw.org). The essay will show that the causes of the Rwandan genocide were deliberate and premeditated. In order to understand the subject, we must not ignore the question of what made the people carry out this monstrous crime. Not forgetting the logic and the sense of morality which drove the people, and how the genocide was organised (African Right, 1995).The essay shows that the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide were not only ideologically driven, but indeed also by a drive to hold on to power. The essay examines the social, political and economic history of Rwanda before 1994. This is an attempt to specify the various conditions which assisted the perpetrator in orchestrating the genocide. One key issue which manifested the Rwandan genocide was the question of race and ethnicity (Adelman, 2005). This was the focal point of many debates during the 1994 Rwanda genocide (Adelman, 2005). Race and ethnicity was usually the argument of the rich western states and the media at that time (Adelman, 2005). Although this argument has being discredited by academia, we must appreciate at the time it was very significant (Adelman, 2005). African Rights argued that tension in pre-colonial Rwanda somehow contributed to earlier tension between Tutsis and Hutus (African Rights, 1995). They argue that Tutsis at that stage dominated the Hutus under a repressive monarchy. Pre-colonial Rwanda had such issues as Tutsi and Hutu; however there were never signs of tension between both clans (www.hrw.org). (www.hrw.org). African rights argues “ the claim made by an earlier generation of writers that Tutsi invaded and conquered Rwanda imposing a centralised monarchy is now universally rejected by historian” (African Rights, 1995). This argument has been the focus of pre- colonel Tutsi dominance. Tutsi and Hutus lived peacefully side-by-side

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The Tutsi were the political elite, but the Hutu formed part of the political elite; these Hutus were at the time recognised as Tutsi (African Rights, 1995). In addition to that there were known intermarriages between Tutsi and Hutu (African rights, 1995). The intermarriage between proved there were no significant tensions between the two clans (www.globalissues.org). In order to discredit the European argument regarding tribal and ethnic conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi, it calls for a highlight of the institution of Hutu and Tutsi identity. “Hutu and Tutsi identity were defined partly by politics, partly by occupational status, and partly by ancestry, they were not pure ethnic let alone racial” (African Right, 1995). African political structure before the arrival of Europeans was based on the ownership of cattle as a form of credit and status (Nkrumah, 1963). In the case of Rwanda the Tutsi were cattle herders, this gave them the power over the Hutu cultivators. Tutsi were seen as the wealthier clan. These institutions were seen in a form of Ukuhake and Umoheto. ( Africa rights, 1995) It was during the arrival of Europeans when Western historians translated the Ukuhake institution as symbolising dominance in Rwanda by the Tutsi (African Rights, 1995). Although this is a fact the history of Rwanda indicates there was some ethnic division before the arrival of the Europeans (Nkrumah, 1963). African Rights argue that ethnic divisions might have emerged during the late nineteenth century under King Rwabugiri (African Rights, 1995). The reality is that there is no evidence of any conflict or tension between the clans. The history of King Rwabugiri’s policy in Rwanda during the 19 th century helped the Rwanda elite in 1994 to demonstrate a Tutsi repressive dominance in their history (Adelman, 2005: African Rights, 1995). If there was no real evidence of Tutsi repressive dominance, Tutsi repressive dominance was at the period of colonisation (Adelman, 2005).

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Colonial rule was a good example of Hutu repression in Rwanda’s history (Nkrumah, 1986). Colonial repression was significant in the Hutu propaganda for the mass killing of Tutsi in 1994 (www.hrw.org). Although this period in Rwanda’s history showed a Tutsi repression of Hutu, it did not create the tension which will lead to genocide. But by manipulating the fact it was easy for the perpetrators to accomplish their ideological goal (African rights.1995). By the nineteenth century colonial rule had entered into Africa (Harman, 1999). Europeans enforced their rule in their The problem which colonies usually through local chiefs (Nkrumah, 1963). This system of rule is known as indirect rule (www.globalissues.org). arose from indirect rule was that it eradicated the old tradition process in Rwanda (Nkrumah, 1963). “The German military expedition followed on their heel; they found a society in which most of the rich and powerful were Tutsi. They transformed this into an oppressive system of raciallabelled castes; something very different” (African rights, 1995). By the 1920s the system of “land chief” which gave the Hutu a position was abolished (Africa rights, 1995). The intention many argue was to give ultimate power to the Tutsi (www.globalissues.org). This meant that Hutu had to be removed from the political process (African rights, 1995). The traditional structure was replaced with an authoritarian structure which oppressed the Hutus (Nkrumah, 1963). The effect of the oppression led to a revolt by the Hutu, which was later contained by the Europeans. Although this was the case the hate was left in the heart of the Hutu. The introduction of identity cards which distinguished the Hutu from the Tutsi, marked a strong ethnic division in Rwanda. This proves Hutu propaganda of historic repression by the Tutsi (www.globalissues.org). In order for the Germans to legitimate Tutsi oppression, they argued that the Tutsi were from an Aryan race. (www.globalissues.org) Historians at the time claimed Tutsi were the descendents of a lost migration of

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Europeans who got to Rwanda through Ethiopia. This claim was justified on the bases that the Aryan race was more intelligent and sophisticated (Miblarsky, M. 2005). In support of these claims the Catholic Church was able to create a historic link to the Tutsi (www.globalissues.org). The church claimed the long lost migrants of the Tutsi descendent were catholic (www.globalissues.org). “The Hamitic hypothesis even allowed the white father - the roman catholic missionaries who dominated institutional Christianity in Rwanda to invent a Christian origin for the Tutsi”(African Rghts, 1995). The issue of religion and race will lead to the revolution of 1959(Nkrumah, 1963). Harman argue the Tutsi revolution of 1959 came as a consequence of purist for independence elsewhere in Africa (Harman, 1999). Although this might well be the case, it is also possible to argue that Hamitic theory played to the disadvantage of the Tutsi (www.globalissues.org). The Hamitic theory for the Hutu meant the Tutsi where foreign invaders (African Rights, 1995)). The effect of colonial rule assisted a Hutu revolution later in 1959 (www.globalissues.org). This was a major turning point in Rwanda’s history; for once the Hutu ruled the country (Harman, 1999). With the Tutsi out of power, the effect of colonial rule saw Hutus adopting Tutsi policy of oppression. The Hutu’s long wait for revenge on Tutsi repression under Belgium had come (Tomas 1997 cited in Mirzoeff, 2005). Tutsi were excluded from education and rejected from administration position. African rights argue “for the Hutu peasant who rebelled, independence and a Hutu president were rewarding enough” (African Rights, 1995). A Hutu president meant the Hutu could enjoy the wealth which once belonged to the Tutsi. The result of the revolution saw a large number of Tutsi fleeing to other countries (Africa Rights, 1995). By 1968 many refugees had return as guerrilla bands known as Inyenzi (Cockroaches) to attempt to retain power

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(www. hrw.org). But their effort was unsuccessful against the Rwandan army and its foreign supporters Belgium (www.globalissues.org). African rights states “the biggest killing followed a large Inyenzi attack from Burundi on December 21st 1968. Hutu gangs killed an estimated 10 thousand Tutsi while the government executed 20 prominent Tutsi” (African Rights, 1995). The effect of this was the reintroduction of identity cards to distinguish between the Tutsi rebels and the Hutu. By 1973 the Parmehuhu government was bankrupt (African Rights, 1995). Although at the time the Tutsi were blamed, pathology indicates mismanagement of the economy by the Parmehuhu regime was to be blamed. The crises were contributed to by clientship and increased corruption. The same year 1973 Habyarimana staged a coup and brought in new policy. The reality was that his policies were a continuation of Hutu dominance. African rights argues that the killing at the seminar was promoted by Habyarimana in his attempt to stage his coup. The economic crises and Habyarimana in power would later lead to a more serious crisis, which in turn led to the orchestration of the genocide from 1990 to1994. (African rights, 1995)
By 1973 Habyarimana was in power; his revolution for many Rwandans was to bring about the long awaited change (Millwood, 1996). The reality was that the regime was not that different from his predecessor. African rights argue “at the outset his policies appeared more vigorous than those of his predecessor, a focus on the need for economic development and a rejection of the divisive policies of the past” (African right, 1995). Habyarimana's policy was to bring new hope for the people of Rwanda, but by 1975 Habyarimana had formed a single party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND). By 1975 Rwanda looked stable, the need for uprising for many Tutsis was minimal. (Millwood, 1996) This is not rejecting the fact that there was still resentment fuelled by the continuance of discrimination. reduce tension a new policy of “balance” was introduced. In an attempt to

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The policy was to equally distribute resources between the various groups

(African rights, 1995). The fact was that equal distribution was not necessarily
the intention of the Habyarimana government. The wealth was rewarded to the North-West of the country where the president came from. The effect of the Habyarimana policy was an economic upset (Millwood, 1996). The Hutu extremists argued before and during the genocide that the Tutsi were to be blamed for the economic crises. The Tutsi were blamed for over-population, poverty and environmental crises (Millwood, 1996). The fact was there was no indication that economic issues were directly responsible for the genocide, but yet again manipulation of the facts contributed to the genocide. (Jeroen, 2005) Some economists argue that economic crises can lead to social unrest (African rights, 1994). But this was not the case in Rwanda; analysis shows that the people in the rural areas were at peace with themselves, although they suffered from poverty and resentment (African rights, 1995). It is a fact that Rwanda experienced significant amounts of famine in its history. Rwanda’s history shows that there were famines in 1916-17, 1943-4 and recently before the genocide in the early part of 1994 (www.hrw.org). Although some argument focuses on this issue as promoting the genocide, on the contrary it is far from the truth. The role played by famine did not cause the genocides; famine was used by the Hutu extremists to mobilise for the genocide (Millwood,

1996).
Research indicates poor government management, exploitation of the land, the history of military stress on the land and constant irrigation projects (African Rights, 1995) are to blame for famine in Rwanda. The argument of overpopulation being the cause of famine is false in the case of Rwanda, although it has been argued as a cause (Millwood, 1996). A member of UNHCR cited “the recent strife in Rwanda is a striking example of ethnic conflict ignored by population pressure and demisting land resources” (Jeroen, (2005); UNHCR

1994 cited in Berry and Polts-Berry 1999)
In the government’s effort to rid themselves of the responsibility of the economic crises, they claimed the country was over-populated and the Tutsi were to blame

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(Millwood, 1996) President Habyarimana argued that there were too many
people to feed with less available food (Jeroen, 2005). He argued the country could not take in any more Tutsi refugees

(Jeroen, 2005). President

Habyarimana called for the need to reduce the Tutsi population (Jeroen, 2005). President Habyarimana’s claim was false in many ways; it was well-known that between the 1970s and 1980s, the Rwandan government successfully received aid from Western donors (Millwood, 1996). United Nations records indicate the country received about 2 million dollars annually (www.un.org). In addition the finding shows that there is no link between overpopulation and hunger (Sen. A, 1994). So the argument on overpopulation in this case was not relevant, but it was relevant in dividing the population which helped in the orchestration of the genocide (Jeroen, 2005). As indicated in the history of Rwanda, Habyarimana’s revolution was to bring about a balance of economic distribution (Jeroen, 2005). An examination has shown that between 1975 to 1980 Hutus were the elite under a one party system, this meant they controlled the armed forces (Millwood, 1996). Tutsis were rejected from office and public services. This marked the supremacy of the Hutu government. Control of armed forces, government positions and other elite positions in the country, was a plus for the Hutu extremists as it made it easy and efficient to organise the genocide. Information indicates that during the economic crisis the government was receiving 2 million dollars annually from donor aid (www.un.org). These findings provoke the question that if the government was receiving aid why did Rwanda face an economic crisis? (www.un.org). An examination shows that much of the aid given to the country at the time went to the Hutu elite. (Millwood, 1996)African rights argue that the government was able to hide the real economic data from Western donors until cracks began to appear in Rwanda’s economy (African rights, 1995). The economic crisis meant the IMF and the World Trade Organisation imposed a structural adjustment programme (www.globalissues.org). The introduction of a structural adjustment programme meant there were to be cut in the elite’s spending and it also included devaluation of the currency and the introduction of liberalized prices (African rights, 1995). The collapse of the Rwandan economy

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was also due to the collapse in coffee prices. Coffee is one of Rwanda’s major exports. (Ally and Bacon, 2002) Millwood argues “by the mid to late 1980s, the collapse of world coffee prices and continuing high expenditure led to an economic crises” (Millwood, p24, 1996). The above indicates that the collapse of the Rwandan economy was no fault of the Tutsis (Millwood, 1996). The economic crises were due to a collapse in coffee prices, government mismanagement and a harsh structural adjustment programme (Millwood, 1996). The government claimed “Tutsi Rebels were coming for the Hutu land, and if they killed their neighbour Tutsi the land will be available” (African right, 1994). These statements provoke the question of a further division and an open door for a possible genocide. In addition the government encouraged Hutus to loot Tutsi business (African rights, 1995). Tutsis were driving from their work place as their assets were possessed and given to the Hutu. The extremists capitalised on the frustration that came with the crises and manipulated attacks on Tutsis, this in turn assisted the plotting of the genocide. This was also an attempt to divert attention away from bad governance and horrors (African rights, 1995). The 20 years of Tutsi repression and killing led to a mass migration of Tutsi into neighbouring countries. (Rebuilding Post- war Rwanda, 1996) Figures indicate that an estimated 100,000 people fled. The result of the mass refugee exodus was the formation of a RDF (Millwood, 1996). Based on the above the RDF invaded Rwanda with the intention to take power. African rights argue “ the out break of the war was a pretext for the government by engaging in a range of human rights abuse, including the mass detention of suspected political opponent,” (African rights, 1994) Although there were attempts to stop the war, president Habyarimana was keen on prolonging the war. The invasion of 1990 marked the beginning of the orchestration of the genocide (Millwood, 1996). Historians argue that the RDF invasion brought about the need for democracy, which threatened the government; this meant the war had to be prolonged to justify the government’s actions (Allyn and Bacon, 2002). On the other hand it is argued that international pressure and the structural adjustment programme led to the need for democracy (Millwood, 1996). Millwood argues “under pressure

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from the international community, the president had been obligated to allow formation of political parties of complete for power a new multi- party democracy”

(Millwood,

p26,1996)

Democracy

also

meant

a

possible

investigation into the atrocity in Rwanda; this created a fear within the government (Allyn and Bacon, 2002). The fear of democracy brought about the genocide since democracy meant loss of power (African rights, 1995). This essay argues that the main factor which contributed to the genocide was the need for Habyarimana’s government to maintain power. The invasion served the purpose of the Habyarimana government in orchestrating genocide. The invasion, history of atrocities and economic crises provoked the question of democracy (www.globalissue.org). Pressure from the international community caused the formation of a multi-party system (Millwood, 1996). “These parties included the social democratic party, Christian democratic party, liberal party and democratic republic movement, of all these party the democratic republic movement was a major threat to the ruling elite” (African rights, 1995). By 27th January 1993 it appeared that the political crises was over, but later that year the president “lunched a crackdown on political opposition and made a number of inflammatory statements indicating that he had no genuine commitment to the power sharing” (African rights, 1995). Some historians argue that at this point the government was in a desperate position and was ready to take advantage of an opportunity to create a crisis. The economic crises, the invasion of Rwanda and the call for democracy pressured the government, later leading to the genocide in 1994. (African rights, 1995) African rights argue that the possibility for a democratic prospect for many Rwandans was a dream (African Rights, 1995). They went further to say a democratic process would have brought the government to trial for the murder of the Tutsis (Michael, Mann, 2005). The issues of massacre and murder later become apparent; as investigations conducted by the Rwandese association for the defence of human rights published in December 1992 indicated (African Rights, 1995). The commission reported mass killings and massacres in Rwanda. Not only that, the level of corruption in the country put the government on the edge (www.hrw.org). Although Rwandan corruption was not equivalent to that of Zaire, it exposed the elite to corruption charges. The fear of facing charges of mass

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murder and corruption led to the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide. (African rights, 1995)

So far the essay has concentrated on the question of ‘why and what’ made the perpetrator commit the crime of genocide. In this part of the essay the focus is on who the perpetrators were and their core ideology. More importantly apart from other issues which assisted their intentions, what tools helped in their plans to commit the genocide? The ideology of the extremist developed from the 1959 revolution. As the essay indicates 1959 did not only overthrow Tutsi leadership, the revolution also introduced a set of new ideas and principles (African right 1995). The ideology of Leon Mugesera, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Basco Barayagwiza which took effect in 1959, underpinned the grievances of the masses. The radio played a key part in the orchestration of the genocide (www.lse.ac.uk); this will be looked at later on in the essay. By not deviating from the point it is quite clear the Hutu leadership were from the north of Rwanda (African right 1995). History has shown there were severe grievances by the north against the treatment from the southern Tutsi dominance. Hutu power in the 1959 meant the oppression of the Tutsi. This oppression caused the trepidation of a possible Tutsi revolution (www.globalissues.org). We most not neglect the fact that the Hutu extremists were able to attack the masses (www.hrw.org). In other words, for the genocide to succeed, the Hutu extremist tapped into the heart and feelings of the Rwandan population (African rights, 1995). The Hutu extremists were made up from bottom-up, this being from the highest level of government to the civilian population. (Pine, 2008) This gave the Hutu extremists the absolute power and flexibility in orchestrating the genocide (www.hrw.org). The Hutu defined the Tutsi as an “enemy”; they defined “the enemy as Tutsi inside or outside the country, who are extremist or nostalgic for

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power, who have never recognised the realities of the social revolution of 1957 and who want to take power in Rwanda by any means including by force” (African rights, 1995). This extremist hatred idea was able to create a panic of another Tutsi rule; this was connecting to the historic ideology of the Hutu extremist (www.hrw.org). The Hutu manifesto of hatred sparks the people of Rwanda in participating in the genocide. The manifesto stated “the Bahutu should stop having mercy on the Batutsi” (published by Kangura, 1990) by this statement we could argue the intention of the idea was to remove moral decency from Rwandan society (African rights, 1995). The manifesto also states “the social revolution of 1959, the referendum of 1961, and the Hutu ideology, must be taught to every Hutu at every level. Every Hutu must spread the ideology widely. Any Muhutu who persecutes his brother Muhutu for having read, spread and taught this ideology, is a traitor” (published by Kangura, 10 Dec 1990). This statement suggested the Hutu intended to speed their ideology of hatred in any way possible, it also indicates that not only Tutsi were at risk but the Hutu who where against the Tutsi were also at risk. (African rights, 1995) The effect of the manifesto was seen as it results to the “final solution”. (African rights, 1995) As argued before the media was also a tool in the contraction of the genocide (www.hrw.org). The Hutu extremists were in control of every aspect of Rwandan society including the media (www.lse.ac.uk). Hutu extremists were able to use propaganda as a tool in orchestrating the genocide (www.globalissus.org). With the radio the Hutu extremists were able to spread their ideology, significant after the death of president Habyarimana (www.fahamu.org). Africa rights argues “zeroing in on a litany of historical grievances helped to keep alive chauvinist emotions though the powerful use of historical and political myths, fiery speeches and relentless propaganda on the radio” (African right 1995). The radio broadcasted messages like the “RDF is the enemy of as long as they fight.

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We know where their supporters are in every commune” (African rights, 1995).

Conclusion
An examination of the causes of the Rwandan genocide, has shown the genocide was perpetrated by the government in an attempt to maintain their power. The findings of the essay have also shown that the genocide was deliberate and pre-meditated by the Hutu extremist government. We have also established that pre-colonial rule did not contribute to the genocide, but the effect of colonial rule created the possibility of genocide. Belgian interference in Rwandan politics in 1973 and 1990 was significant in leading to the genocide. With the above composed and manipulated, the effort of the radio helped cause the Rwandan genocide. In addition the essay has demonstrated that ideology was the moving force of the Rwanda genocide. The findings also show other factors contributing to the genocide. Factors such as the fear of democracy, economic crises of 1973 and the 1990s, harsh structural adjustment programmes, fear of persecution, myths of over-population and most significantly the effect of European colonisation in Rwanda. Hutu extremist ideology was a main cause of the Rwandan genocide. Reflecting back on the essay we can conclude that a combination of the historic events and ideology of hatred contributed to the genocide. The media was a significant tool which assisted the Hutus in speeding their ideology. In effect the combination of both the ideology and the media resulted in the genocide. There are no solutions to the prevention of genocide, but the Organisation of the African Union, argues that an investigation of the causes of the Rwandan genocide will assist in future prevention of genocide (www.Africarecovery.org).

Bibliography
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Books
• African rights, Rwanda death, despite and defiance, published by African rights, pp1-66 (1995) • Harman. C, A people’s history of the world; published by Bookmarks, London (1999) • Mialarsky, M. The killing trap, Cambridge; Cambridge University Press(2005) • Michael M. The dark side of democracy explaining ethnic cleansing Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2005) • Millwood. D, The international response to conflict and genocide: lessons from the Rwanda experience, published by the Steering Committee of the joint evaluation of emergency assistance to Rwanda, pp 1-27 (1996) • Mirzoeff, N. Rwanda and representation after genocide, African arts, 38, (3), pp.36-47(2005). • • Nkrumah. K, Africa must unite; published by Panaf books, (1963) Rebuilding post-war Rwanda; the international response to conflict and genocide, lessons from the Rwanda experience; Published by steering committee of the joint evaluation of emergency assistance to Rwanda, (1996). • Richard H. Robbins, Global problems and the culture of capitalism, (1999) • Sen. A, development as freedom, (1994)

Journals
• Adelman. H, The theories of genocide; the case of Rwanda (2005)

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Jeroen. K, Various causes of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda with emphasis on the role of population pressure (2005)

• •

Pine, L. Genocide 20 century warning for the 21 century (2008) UNHCR. May 1995. Update on the activities of the human rights field operation in Rwanda 7 April 19995-5 May 1995. photocopy

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• • http://www.aegistrust.org/index. www.africarecovery.org:2/11/2008

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• • •

http://www.canadiancontent.net/profiles/Rwanda.html: 2/11/2008 www. hrw.org/reports/1999/Rwanda/geno1-3-09.htm: 2/11/2008 http://www.foreignaffairs.org:2/11/2008 http://www.fahamu.org/rwanda.php http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/Rwanda.asp:2/11/200 8 www.historyandpolicy.org www.hrm.org/reports/1999/rwanda/Geno15-8-03.htm: 2/11/2008 http://lse.ac.uk/collections/polis/rwandatranscript.htm www.un.org:2/11/2008

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