versión On-line ISSN 2309-9003
versión impresa ISSN 2223-0386
Y&T no.11 Vanderbijlpark ene. 2014
Department of Development Studies, University of South Africa email@example.com
Never in the history of knowledge production in the age of Western-centred modernity has the idea of indigenous knowledges been as important to the imagination of the future of the world as in the 21st century. This is mainly because the 21st century is a period in which the current hegemonic Western ways of knowing, imagining and seeing the world have proved to be inefficient in providing solutions to many of the global challenges that they have caused. This failure by the Western knowledge production system to provide lasting solutions to the most pressing challenges of the 21st century that it has caused, such as the global financial crisis, conflict and climate change, has led to the emergence of the question of whether a different model of the world outside the Western-centred one can be imagined. This article is a decolonial critique of the popular but controversial subject of indigenous knowledges in the 21st century. The article argues that the idea of indigenous knowledges can serve as a basis on which another world outside the present Western-centric one can be imagined.
Keywords: Indigenous knowledges; Decolonial turn; Locus of enunciation; Epistemic disobedience; Pluriversality; Universality.
In spite of the controversies that surround the idea of indigenous knowledges, especially after Eurocentrism's usurpation of world history, this idea has remained as important as ever to the imagination of the future of the world outside a Western way of knowing, imagining and seeing the world. This is mainly because, when conceived in terms of privileging non-Western perspectives about the world, which have long been silenced or relegated to the periphery by the Euro-North American-centred world view, the idea of indigenous ways of knowing, seeing and imagining the world has the potential of enabling another imagination of the world beyond the now defunct Western-centric one. Thus, far from being a fantasy, the idea of indigenous knowledges has a realistic potential to influence the future of the world beyond the current Western fundamentalist world view which falsely pretends to be the only view capable of universality.
This article argues that the idea of indigenous knowledges needs to be rescued from the discourses that have rendered it obsolete in the face of hegemonic Western-centric world view, rather than being abandoned. This is important because the idea of indigenous knowledges could possibly become the basis on which knowledge production in the age where Eurocentric ways of knowing are no longer capable of solving the problems that they have created can be democratised. However, the process of genuine democratisation of knowledge can only take place when the peoples of the non-Western world continue with the struggle of decolonisation of knowledge while putting pressure on Europe and North America to engage in knowledge de-imperialisation. Thus, as Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2013:333) puts it: "Only when the two processes [decolonisation and de-imperialisation] are fully implemented and taken to their logical conclusion will another postcolonial world become possible that is informed by genuine global democracy". This article's point of departure is that the idea of indigenous knowledges needs to be rescued from the clutches of what Quijano (2007:168-178) refers to as the "colonial power matrix". This will entail adopting what Maldonado-Torres (2007:111-138) describes as a "de-colonial turn" - an about-turn not only from the provincial Western world view that pretends to universality, but also from the current discourses that project indigenous knowledges as fantasy. However, in order to rescue the idea of indigenous knowledges from what Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2013:37) refers to as "the snare of colonial matrices of power", there is a need to articulate how the present modern Western-centric world system came into being, how it operates, what problems it has created on the part of the non-Western subject and what distortions it has brought to the idea of indigenous knowledges.
The modern world system and the predicament of the non-Western subject
The objective of redeeming the idea of indigenous knowledges from the current controversies that surround its meaning, which render it obsolete in the face of imagining another possible world outside the Western-centric one, cannot be achieved without mapping out how the modern world system operates. This article's point of departure is that the modern world is hierarchically organised in such a way that the Western subject is at the apex of the system while the non-Western subject occupies the bottom of it. This modern world is both new and temporal, because its origins can be traced to a time as recent as the "voyages of discovery" by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
It was, indeed, after Christopher Columbus claimed to have "discovered" the New World (Blaut, 1993; Grosfoguel, 2007) that the foundation of the modern world system predicated on Eurocentrism was laid. What this means is that the dominance of European civilization is only about 500 years old, hence we can safely assume that it is temporal and most probably about to end since it has caused more problems than it can solve. As already mentioned, among the problems that the modern world system has caused and is currently struggling to solve are global climatic change, global conflicts and the global financial and economic crises. However, in order to understand how the modern world system became a source of the current global challenges, it is important to examine how its architecture usurped world history to privilege a Western imagination of the world as the only one capable of universality.
By and large, the constitution ofthe modern world system, whose construction and architecture were achieved mainly by conquest and subjugation of one part ofthe world by the other, has culminated in a situation that is characterised by a relation of political, economic, social, cultural and epistemic domination and subordination of non-Western societies by "Western" European dominators and their Euro-North American descendants. Thus, ever since 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and the non-Western subject whose socio-historical experience in general was different from that of the peoples of Europe, the whole humanity of the non-Western peoples has been subjected to doubt by the Western subject. The Western subject's view of the non-Western subject as characterised by lacking human attributes, including lacking "soul", has culminated in the oppression of the latter through inhumane activities such as slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and the present neocolonialism. Thus, as Grofoguel (2007:214) puts it:
We went from the sixteenth century characterisation of'people without writing' to the eighteenth and nineteenth century characterisation of'people without history' to the twentieth century characterisation of'people without development'and more recently, to the early twenty-first century of'people without democracy'.
What Grosfoguel means is that ever since the advent of Western-centric modernity, the humanity of the non-Western subject has been a subject of doubt in the West, not only because of a different socio-historical experience but also on the basis of physical differences which have been equated with degeneration. Thus, racism as culture and a referent to appearance or skin colour became the primary organising principle of colonial oppression and domination.
In general, the architecture of the modern world system resembles what Grosfoguel (2007: 217) views as an:
entanglement... of multiple and heterogeneous global hierarchies (heterarchies) of sexual, political, epistemic, economic, spiritual, linguistic and racial forms of domination and exploitation where the racial/ethnic hierarchy of European/non-European divide transversally reconfigures the other global power structures.
What the above means is that the modern world system is a historical-structural heterogeneous totality that can be understood as a "colonial power matrix" (Quijano, 2000: 533-580) - a power structure within which the social, political, economic, epistemic, psychological and physical experiences of the non-Western subject, among other aspects, are marginalised as they lie at the bottom of the hierarchically-organised modern world system.
The hierarchical arrangement of the modern world system, predicated on the dominance of Western imagination of the world over that of the non-Western subject, created a brighter side where the Western subject lives and a darker side where the peoples of the Third World are found. Thus, according to scholars such as Mignolo (2011), ever since the advent of Western-centred modernity the peoples ofthe non-Western world have been forced by European conquerors to occupy the darker side of modernity while the Western subject occupied the brighter side. In the context of knowledge production, the power dynamics dictate that the Western subject on the brighter side of modernity enjoys more privilege in the sphere of knowledge production than the non-Western subject on the darker side of Western-centred modernity.
Indeed, what typically defines the relationship between the zone of being and the zone of non-being is not only the vertical social hierarchisation of identities informed by race, but also that the zone of non-being perpetually produces subjects who are deceived and crushed by the power of the zone of being. Thus, according to Fanon (1961:29):
The colonial world is a world cut into two. The dividing line, the frontiers are shown by barracks and police stations. In the colonies it is the policemen and the soldiers who are the official, instituted go-betweens, the spokesmen of the settler and his rule of oppression... the policemen and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle buts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force. The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide domination; he shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder ofthe peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native.
The centrality ofviolence and appropriation is amplified by Santos (2007:51) when he argues that the two constitute the order of life in colonial zones. In the sphere of knowledge production, what we can understand to be the basis of the relationship between the zone of being and the zone of non-being is the centrality of "epistemic violence" on the part of the non-Western subject. Thus the Western world view has, since the advent of Western-centred modernity, committed "epistemicides" on non-Western ways of knowing as they are denied the status of universality by the totalising Western way of knowing.
In the so-called "post-colonial world", the continuing existence of the zone of non-being vis-a-vis the zone of being cannot be understood without grappling with coloniality - a term that is used in the place of the "darker side of modernity" and that denotes a power structure that survives the end of direct and visible forms of colonialism. Thus, through the conceptual lens of coloniality, it is possible to argue that the idea of a "postcolonial world" is itself a myth. As Grosfoguel (2007:219) puts it:
The heterogeneous and multiple global structures put in place over a period of 450 years did not evaporate with the juridical-political decolonisation of the periphery over past 50 years. We continue to live under the same 'colonial power matrix'. With juridical administrative decolonisation we moved from a period of 'global colonialism to the current period of 'global coloniality'. Although 'colonialism administrations' have been entirely eradicated and the majority ofthe periphery is politically organised into independent states, non-European people are still living under crude European exploitation and domination. The old colonial hierarchies of European versus non-Europeans remain in place and are entangled with the 'international division of labour' and accumulation of capital at a world scale.
The above articulation of coloniality simply means that the celebration of the removal of juridical administrative colonialism can hide the continuity between the colonial past and other vast invisible "colonialisms" in the present. This is quite important to note because coloniality survives by hiding, which means that with the demise of juridical administrative colonialism, many of the victims of coloniality cannot understand its presence as it is no longer visible in physical terms.
It is quite important to understand that coloniality is an umbrella term for multiple "colonial situations", because it means there are many "colonialisms" that have survived the demise of juridical-administrative colonialism and/ or apartheid, including those which are found in the sphere of knowledge production. Thus, according to scholars such as Maldonado-Torres (2007:243):
Coloniality, instead, refers to long-standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that define culture, labour, intersubjectivity relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations. Thus, coloniality survives colonialism. It is maintained alive in books, in the criteria for academic performance, in cultural patterns, in common sense, in the self-image of peoples, in aspirations of self, and so many other aspects of our modern experience. In a way, as modern subjects we breathe coloniality all the time and every day.
What the above means is that the concept of coloniality, unlike that of "classical colonialism", unveils the mystery of why, after the end of colonial administrations in the juridical-political spheres of state administration, there is still continuity of colonial forms of domination. This is mainly because the concept of coloniality addresses the issue of colonial domination not from an isolated and singular point of departure such as the juridical-political administrative point of view, but from the vantage point of a variety of colonial situations that include cultural, political, sexual, spiritual, epistemic and economic oppression of subordinate racialised/ethnic groups by dominant racialised/ethnic groups with or without the existence of colonial administrations (Grosfoguel, 2007:220). This holistic approach to the problem of colonial domination allows us to visualise other dynamics of the colonial process, which include "colonization of imagination" (Quijano, 2007:168178), "colonization of the mind" (Dascal, 2009:308) and colonisation of knowledge and power.
The idea of colonisation of knowledge and power enables us to understand the relationship between the power structure of colonial domination and knowledge production. Thus, the process of the colonisation of power is inseparably intertwined with that of knowledge within the global imperial designs because the idea of coloniality in knowledge production speaks directly to epistemological colonisation of the non-Western subject. Thus, the epistemological colonisation of the non-Western peoples happens through processes such as the displacement, discipline and destruction of their knowledges. This means that among a number of colonialisms or colonial situations that characterise the world order today, there is that which manifests itself as epistemic racism. As Maldonado-Torres puts it (Nelson Maldonado-Torres, 2004:34):
As all forms of racism, epistemic racism is linked with politics and sociality. Epistemic racism disregards the epistemic capacity of certain groups of people. It may be based on metaphysics or ontology but its results are nonetheless the same: the evasion ofthe recognition of others as fully human beings.
What the above means is that epistemic racism within the global structure of modernity/coloniality is designed in such a manner that there is a persuasive assumption that the world cannot get by without the thinking of the Western subject. This means that a Western world view is projected as the only one capable of charting the future of the world, including determining the destiny of those who do not share the same world view or are disadvantaged by it.
With the advent of Western-centred modernity and coloniality as its underside, Europe has privileged itself as the only space and site of authentic thinking. Thus, in his articulation of how epistemic racism constituted the privileging of Europe as site and space of "authentic root of thinking", Maldonado-Torres (2004:32) argues that "the idea of people not being able to get by without Europe's theoretical or cultural achievements is one of the most definitive tenets of modernity. This logic has been applied for centuries to the colonial world."
In the context of non-Western indigenous knowledges, it is clear that this privileging of Europe as the only site of authentic thinking involves a process of delegitimising non-Western world views, not only from contributing to the future of the world that we live in but also from constituting knowledge. The question that emerges from this analysis, therefore, is whether it is fair for the non-Western subject to continue to perceive Europe as the only site of authentic thinking. It is important to examine this because what tends to be forgotten in the current Western ways of producing knowledge is that what is conceived as "knowledge" is just another "indigenous" and provincial view that reflects the perspective of a small percentage of world's population.
Indeed, the Eurocentrism in knowledge production is, in general, premised on scepticism about the humanity of the non-Western subject and his or her ability to think. This is an irony, because the Europeans embrace Descartes' proposition of "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am), but at the same time deny that the non-Western subject can also think or make history (Ndlovu- Gatsheni, 2013:335). This "imperial Manichean misanthropic skepticism" (Maldonado-Torres, 2007:245) is part of the forgetfulness of coloniality when it comes to the humanity of the damned, because archaeological evidence has confirmed that non-Western spaces such as Africa are the cradle of humankind. Thus, according to Maldonado-Torres (2004:36), "the forgetfulness of the damned is part of the veritable sickness of the West, a sickness that could be likened to a state of amnesia that leads to murder, destruction and epistemic will to power - with good conscience". What this means is that the forgetfulness of Western thinkers when it comes to the plight of the non-Western subject in general is a "self-centred will-to-ignorance" and a "forgetfulness of damnation" (Maldonado-Torres, 2004:40) that not only leads to ontological oppression of the non-Western peoples but also to the coloniality of knowledge, power and being.
In the context of rescuing the idea of indigenous knowledges from the clutches of global matrices of power, the problematic question is whether it is possible to decolonise knowledge to the extent that non-Western ways of knowing also inform the imagination of the future of the world that we live in. This question has already been addressed by decolonial scholars such as Grosfoguel (2007) and Maldonado-Torres (2007), who developed the concept of decoloniality not only to challenge global coloniality as a structure that survives direct colonialism but also to pluriversalise our thinking about the future of the world. Thus, according to Maldonado-Torres (2006:117):
By decoloniality it is meant here the dismantling of relations of power and conceptions of knowledge that foment the reproduction of racial, gender, and geopolitical hierarchies that came into being or found new and more powerful forms of expression in the modern/colonial world.
What this means is that decoloniality is a critical way of thinking from the ex-colonised epistemic sites that seek to make sense of the position of ex-colonised people within the current world system, which Mignolo (2000) describes as the Euro-America-centric, Christian-centric, patriarchal, capitalist, hetero-normative, racially-hierarchised, modern world system that came into being in the 15th century. It is this critical way of thinking by the colonised subject that must challenge the present world system and open space for what are widely viewed as "indigenous knowledges" of the non-Western world to also contribute to the imagination of the future of the world in which we all live.
This article is a decolonial perspective on redeeming the idea of indigenous knowledges, which is predicated on a deeper understanding of Western-centred modernity and its darker side which represents coloniality. The idea of indigenous knowledges needs to be redeemed from its current predicament in the modern world system, not only because it is generally portrayed as a fantasy but also because indigenous concepts are often hijacked and distorted by those who are at the apex of this hierarchically ordered modern world system. Thus, for instance, the popular indigenous concept of Ubuntu has often been hijacked by those at the apex of the modern world system to maintain the status quo of coloniality by privileging the rhetoric of "forgiveness" by the dominated subject while neglecting that of "compensation" by the oppressor. This happened in post-apartheid South Africa where forgiveness on the part of the subject who had been dominated and oppressed over a long period of time was emphasised and privileged by the famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the demise of apartheid, while the oppressor was not required to compensate the oppressed. This distortion of the concept of Ubuntu turned a noble indigenous idea into a strategy of silencing the victims of oppression, while reforming coloniality so as to continue the system of oppression beyond the demise of juridical-administrative apartheid system. Thus, the continuity of colonial-type relations of power in the "post-apartheid" era has seen the continuation of oppressive tendencies in South Africa that include the Marikana massacre of August 2013, in which 34 mineworkers were shot and killed by the South African police force. The Marikana massacre that took place in post-apartheid South Africa, like the Sharpeville massacre of the 1960s under the apartheid regime, was a violent exercise by the state apparatus and capital on the subject located in the zone of non-being (Ndlovu, 2013:46-58) - a development that showed clearly the continuity of coloniality in the absence ofjuridical administrative colonialism.
The decolonial turn and the idea of indigenous knowledges
The idea of indigenous knowledges needs to be rescued from the snare of global coloniality through a decolonial turn rather than abandonment. Thus, like many other noble ideas that have sought to falsify the universality of Western thought and/or expose its provinciality, the idea of indigenous knowledges is currently being hijacked and distorted by the same Western ways of knowing, imagining and seeing the world to the extent that the idea is fast becoming an empty signifier or an obsolete concept. This means that without making a shift in what Mignolo (2009:1-23) refers to as the "geography of reason", the idea of indigenous knowledges will remain a botched concept since Western modernity has always sought to undermine the "knowledges otherwise" (Escobar, 2007:179-210) in order to privilege a Western way of knowing and seeing as the only one capable of universality and therefore of defining the future of the world as a whole.
The attempt by the modern world system to suppress the idea of indigenous knowledges by any means possible has led to a situation where this idea is portrayed as a fantasy that is irrelevant to the imagination of the future. Thus, for instance, scholars such as Spivak (1994) have questioned whether the subaltern can speak while those such as Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983) have stressed the "invention of tradition". Rather than fall into the trap of dismissing the idea of indigenous knowledges as fantasy, this idea needs to be rescued from its Western misrepresentation. However, in order to draw up a formidable rescue plan for the idea of indigenous knowledge, there is a need to examine how this idea has been defined from different scholarly positions.
One of the challenges about the idea of an indigenous knowledge is that there is no single perspective on what it means. Thus, for instance, to scholars such as Kothari (2007:4) indigenous knowledge is traditional knowledge, while to the World Bank (1998) it is that knowledge which is unique to a particular culture and society. Indeed, while there are several definitions of the idea of an indigenous knowledge, what needs to be understood is that none of them is objective because the idea of objectivity is itself one of the most powerful myths of the 21st century.
By and large, the idea of objectivity as myth in knowledge production can serve as the first step towards rescuing the idea of an indigenous knowledge from the clutches of the global colonial matrices of power. Thus, by displacing the false notion of objectivity in knowledge production, the idea of the "locus of enunciation" (Grosfoguel, 2007) as opposed to the fundamentalist notions of a "Truthful Universal" in Western philosophy and scientific knowledge becomes our reference point in articulating what constitutes indigenous knowledges. The idea of the locus of enunciation in defining what indigenous knowledge constitutes is quite important, because it speaks about revealing one's epistemic and social location when articulating knowledge of social phenomena in general. This is important to articulate because what has become problematic with the advent of Western modernity is that the dominant Western world view has constituted itself as non-situated. This god's-eye-view position assumed by the Western world view in the field of knowledge production in general has led to a situation in which the provincial Western way of knowing, seeing and imagining the world privileges itself as the only one capable of universality, hence committing "epistemicides" against non-Western world views.
Indeed, it needs to be emphasised that the Western world view is nothing but a point of view that falsely pretends to be without a point of view by hiding the locus of enunciation of the subject that speaks. This concealment of the subject that speaks is a "zero-point" (Castro-Gomez, 2003:n.p) strategy, which is meant to hoodwink those who are socially located on the oppressed side of colonial difference into thinking, seeing and speaking from the oppressor's position, thereby partaking in perpetuating their own oppression. Thus, the most powerful achievement of the idea of "objectivity" propagated by Western philosophy and science is that of decoupling the epistemic location of the subject that speaks from its social location - a process that succeeds in turning the oppressed subject against him- or herself during the production of knowledge. According to Grosfoguel (2007:213):
By delinking the ethnic/racial/gender/sexual epistemic location from the subject that speaks, Western philosophy and sciences are able to produce a myth about a Truthful Universal knowledge that covers up, that is, conceals who is speaking as well as the geopolitical and body-political epistemic location in the structures of colonial power/knowledge from which the subject speaks.
The question that emerges from the above analysis is that of whether the manner in which the non-Western subject conceives of the idea of an indigenous knowledge really assists the dominated subject of the non-Western world out of his or her subaltern position within the hierarchically-arranged modern world system. This question is quite important because, as Grosfoguel (2007:213) further argues:
The fact that one is socially located in the oppressed side of power relations does not automatically mean he/she is epistemically thinkingfrom a subaltern epistemic location. Precisely, the success of the modern/colonial world-system consists in making subjects that are socially located in the oppressed side of the colonial difference, to think epistemically like the ones in the dominant position.
What the above statement by Grosfoguel means that when the non-Western subject thinks about the idea of an indigenous knowledge, he or she must do so cognisant of his or her social location within a hierarchically-arranged world system, which is at the bottom. This means that the dominated subject cannot think of the idea of indigenous knowledges from a Western point of view, because that can make him or her partake in the subordination of his or her own ways of knowing, seeing and imagining the world. The question that emerges, therefore, is whether it is possible for a marginalised subject whose epistemic location has been decoupled from his or her social location to epistemically return to thinking from the vantage point of his or her social location.
By and large, it is crucial for the oppressed subject to think about the idea of indigenous knowledges from the position of his or her socio-historical experience; but this process requires a "decolonial turn" from Eurocentric forms of imagining, seeing and knowing the world within which we live. The decolonial turn, however, requires a shift in the biography and geography of reason by the subject, whose epistemic location is opposed to his or her socio-historical experience. This view is based on the understanding that the process of turning away from the colonial ways of knowing and imagining the world will lead the dominated subject in the world system to think "from" the subaltern position "with" the subaltern rather than "about" and "for" the subaltern.
The idea of indigenous knowledges and the education sector as the site of knowledge production
The education sector is currently one ofthe most important sites ofknowledge production in both the Western and the non-Western world. However, the question that is currently problematic within the education sector of the non-Western world is whether it is possible to decolonise knowledge. This is simply because, unlike in the Western world, the education sector of the non-Western world serves as conduit of coloniality of knowledge. Thus, in countries such as South Africa, it is not surprising that, currently, the big talk in the higher education sector is that of transforming the curriculum and research within the "Westernised" university so as to produce a decolonised knowledge system that is capable of serving the diverse needs of the population.
There are, indeed, many ways in which the idea of indigenous knowledges can transform and/or lead to the decolonisation of knowledge within the higher education sector of South Africa. Thus, among the many methods by which the idea of indigenous knowledges can transform curriculum and research in the South African university is the deliberate attempt to privilege the African archive over the Western one when conducting research and developing content of course materials for teaching purposes. This is not to suggest that all knowledge produced in Africa and/or by African scholars automatically constitutes an African archive, but it is to suggest the need to privilege those sources of knowledges that carry the subalternised views of the indigenous people of Africa. This will also require a practical step towards dealing with the politics of citation, where students and researchers can be encouraged to recognise those scholars who have privileged African ways of knowing and seeing above those who privilege a Western epistemic perspective.
In spite of the significance of the idea of recognising and/or privileging the African archive in research and curriculum development, the South African academy must be cautious of adopting a fundamentalist position that seeks to entirely reject the Western world view in knowledge production. This is not only because such a fundamentalist position cannot be practical, but also because what needs to be reversed in the Western knowledge production in the Westernised university in South Africa is its false pretence to universality and its negative effect of committing epistemicides on other knowledges. This, therefore, means that the idea of privileging the silenced African archive is not another form of coloniality over Western ways of knowing but a quest for ecologies of knowledges. It is, indeed, a rejection of the fundamentalist assumption that African indigenous ways of knowing have no value in shaping the future of the world that we all live in.
The idea of indigenous knowledges, like all realities, is a constructed reality that can only be realised from one's own locus of enunciation. In the non-Western world, it is important for the subject whose socio-historical experience is on the dominated side of colonial difference to align his or her epistemic location with his or her social location in order to speak from the position of indigeneity. From this point of departure, indigenous knowledges in the non-Western world are not a particular circumscribed body of knowledge frozen in time waiting to be recovered, but are the voice of the oppressed that is spoken from the subject's location. This voice of the oppressed must be privileged to the same level as the "indigenous knowledge" of the Western subject, to the extent that its pretence to be the only one capable of universality is falsified. Thus, the quest for the privileging of indigenous knowledges is the quest for a pluriversal world where all knowledges play an equal role in determining the direction and the future of the world.
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