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Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis at the crossroad

The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral grievances morphed into political demands, leading to strikes and riots.

The movement grew to the point where the government’s repressive approach was no longer sufficient to calm the situation, forcing it to negotiate with Anglophone trade unions and make some concessions. Popular mobilisation is now weakening, but the majority of Anglophones are far from happy. Having lived through three months with no internet, six months of general strikes and one school year lost, many are now demanding federalism or secession. Ahead of presidential elections next year, the resurgence of the Anglophone problem could bring instability. The government, with the support of the international community, should quickly take measures to calm the situation, with the aim of rebuilding trust and getting back to dialogue.

Generally little understood by Francophones, the Anglophone problem dates back to the independence period. A poorly conducted re-unification, based on centralisation and assimilation, has led the Anglophone minority to feel politically and economically marginalised, and that their cultural difference are ignored.

The current crisis is a particularly worrying resurgence of an old problem. Never before has tension around the Anglophone issue been so acute. The mobilisation of lawyers, teachers and students starting in October 2016, ignored then put down by the government, has revived identity-based movements which date back to the 1970s. These movements are demanding a return to the federal model that existed from 1961 to 1972. Trust between Anglophone activists and the government has been undermined by the arrest of the movement’s leading figures and the cutting of the internet, both in January. Since then, the two Anglophone regions have lived through general strikes, school boycotts and sporadic violence.

Small secessionist groups have emerged since January. They are taking advantage of the situation to radicalise the population with support from part of the Anglophone diaspora. While the risk of partition of the country is low, the risk of a resurgence of the problem in the form of armed violence is high, as some groups are now advocating that approach.

The government has taken several measures since March – creating a National Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism; creating new benches for Common Law at the Supreme Court and new departments at the National School of Administration and Magistracy; recruiting Anglophone magistrates and 1,000 bilingual teachers; and turning the internet back on after a 92-day cut. But the leaders of the Anglophone movement have seen these measures as too little too late.

International reaction has been muted, but has nevertheless pushed the government to adopt the measures described above. The regime in Yaoundé seems more sensitive to international than to national pressure. Without firm, persistent and coordinated pressure from its international partners, it is unlikely that the government will seek lasting solutions.

The Anglophone crisis is in part a classic problem of a minority, which has swung between a desire for integration and a desire for autonomy, and in part a more structural governance problem. It shows the limits of centralised national power and the ineffectiveness of the decentralisation program started in 1996. The weak legitimacy of most of the Anglophone elites in their region, under-development, tensions between generations, and patrimonialism are ills common to the whole country. But the combination of bad governance and an identity issue could be particularly tough to resolve.

Dealing with the Anglophone problem requires a firmer international reaction and to rebuild trust through coherent measures that respond to the sectoral demands of striking teachers and lawyers. There is some urgency: the crisis risks undermining the approaching elections. In that context, several steps should be taken without delay:

The president of the republic should publicly recognise the problem and speak out to calm tensions.
The leaders of the Anglophone movement should be provisionally released.

Members of the security forces who have committed abuses should be sanctioned.

The government should quickly put in place the measures announced in March 2017, and the 21 points agreed on with unions in January.

The government and senior administration should be re-organised to better reflect the demographic, political and historical importance of the Anglophones, and to include younger and more legitimate members of the Anglophones community.

The National Commission on Bilingualism and multiculturalism should be restructured to include an equal number of Anglophones as Francophones, to guarantee the independence of its members and to give it powers to impose sanctions.

The government should desist from criminalising the political debate on Anglophone Cameroon, including on federalism, in particular by ceasing to use the anti-terrorism law for political ends and by considering recourse to a third party (the church or international partner) as a mediator between the government and Anglophone organisations.

In the longer term, Cameroon must undertake institutional reforms to remedy the deeper problems of which the Anglophone issue is the symptom. In particular, decentralisation laws should be rigorously applied, and improved, to reduce the powers of officials nominated by Yaoundé, create regional councils, and better distribute financial resources and powers.

Finally, it is important to take legal measures specific to Anglophone regions in the areas of education, justice and culture.Cameroon, facing Boko Haram in the Far North and militia from the Central African Republic in the East, needs to avoid another potentially destabilising front opening up. If the Anglophone problem got worse it would disrupt the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2018.

Above all, it could spark off further demands throughout the country and lead to a wider political crisis.

Journal du Cameroun

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96 comments

  1. The Chronicle

    “The regime in Yaoundé seems more sensitive to international than to national pressure.”
    Is that the reason why they are wasting my money on a tactless mission to the US and EU.We need just one more thing: francophone uprising and only group of people can emulate the anglophones: The Bamilekes

    • We just need another uprising? in order for what to happen brother? in your opinion why would the bamileke rise up?

      • Good question Furious …
        The chronicle, know that unlike those foolish ‘ambazonians’, the Bamilekes will never temper with Cameroon’s integrity. Never!

        • Mbappe-USA-Mariah B- pinguiss Killer

          It’s because of I’d!ots like you that LRC is in this mess. Ho! In your stinky harlot mind Biya and his approaches is correct and there is no anglophone problem. Why the fuk are you dispatching lie spinners all over the world while planting wanting evidences of terrorism on innocent people? Does it bother your primitive kind at all in ruining lives? All you care about is stealing from where y’all never sowed. Primitive gorillas. Animal monkeys must be left to destroy their corrupt selves without us. Monkey.

        • If I were you, I would hesitate to tag those people “foolish ambazonians”. For one thing you are not quite wearing their shoes. Of course Bamilekes will never ever temper with the integrity of their country. Does that rule out the distress of others? If you can’t help, please don’t hurt.

        • That is why ahidjo. biya and his la republic dogs, the stinking french hung the heads of the bamilike people like sawyer on stakes and made them to shut up since them. Who the hell are the bamilike people? Go watch it on youtube. Idiot.

        • Maria B, I looked for words to address you but they were lacking. So rather I feel sorry for you because you have expressed your ignorance and short-sightedness in public.

        • Maria B, wish you know the bami history, how will they temper when they bami are those who have destroyed our economy, made barely all goods importation to be contraband goods. Abazonians need a nation where there is equity and fairness in all, we will go and nothing will change it, i mean nothing, the storm will be over no matter how long and we shall sing songs of praises and jubilation in buea while bamenda will be our economic capital hahahahhah

        • Sparrow Hawk

          @Maria B, What integrity does Cameroon have?
          Are you kidding me? Face the truth please. Cameroon has absolutely no integrity.

        • Moh Manyu,

          1. You don’t talk equity with Ngraffi. You eat with a long spoon with Ngraffi. We know them quite well.

          2. Jubilate in Buea?!!! This is not the sixties, my friend. The Bakweri will have to grant you some type of permission which, am afraid you will never get. You could take your jubilations to Bamenda and drink mbuh, only to wake up in jail.

          3. Bamenda, the economic capital?!!! Well, this tells the universe the type of misled elements we are dealing with! You know what an economic capital is? Bamenda has nothing; just a barren town with no natural endowment. You are lost, man!

        • More is revielled of the person who insulted than the one who is being addressed

        • if did not know Ras Tuge , i would be killing myself to fight. This guy is half lrc and half amba. i know him so well.

        • You @ Maria B, called Amazonians foolish? what a joke! In fact you’re a dog.

        • together Cameroon

          my brothers i think we know the history of Cameroon,before the Portuguese came,cameroon was one,before the German came,Cameroon was still one,there two good friends Britain and France came and divided our nation,when they leaved,Cameroon become one again,

          we bless to be Cameroonians,the only bilingual country in Africa and one of the two in the world.
          both Francophones and Anglophones and not happy with the regime in Yaounde,but we have to be together try to solve the problem,

          separation that we shall never have is not the best solution,the regime will one day go,

          let’s us fight again bad g

    • The Bamis are hungry people. They are the one sabotaging everything.

  2. #1. Solidarity is a characteristic that distinguishes people who share a common value system, such as upbringing or parenting. In education, children are taught to be inquisitive and ask, challenge and seek to know more. Words like “why”, “how”, “when”, are common currency. A system can not evolve if its people worship what exists and are unwilling to challenge its features.

    #2. On the other hand, once an educational system takes place under a sky where someone is deified (made to “play Almighty God”), asking questions or challenging what exists becomes taboo.

  3. You are the people provoking and encouraging the diabolic action on Southern Cameroon/Ambazonia by la republic. What do you mean, stupid editor, by ‘Small secessionist groups’. You just simply want to be knowingly blind to the fact that more than 98% of Southern Cameroonians/Ambazonians want nothing to do with your la republic experiment. You must have to respect the will of the people rather than dubiously spreading falsehood in your stinking editorial.

    • @S
      Amen.

    • “Finally, it is important to take legal measures specific to Anglophone regions in the areas of education, justice and culture.Cameroon,…”
      My friend, what are you talking about?

      First of all and FYI, the struggle is not decelerating. We are gathering steam to fight for what is ours.

      Secondly, you worry too much about the international community. Screw them and screw LRC. We must leave the union. Enough is enough.

      Thirdly you call for the provisional release of the anglophones arrested for advocating for their rights? Who the fuk do you think you are?

      • Fourth, a committee for the purpose of cultural diversity cannot be headed by an 80 year old boomer. Mafani is a despicable self glorified unpleasant old man in diapers whose bigotry will not allow him to reach out to the people of the nw to execute his “assignment”.

        Lastly, when next you want to blow a whistle (ref), blow a fair whistle cus this time, you did not and I want you to stand astride, squat a little, pull down your pants, pull the whistle out your mouth and shove it up your hairy behind.

        your article is heavily slanted and good only for cameroon tribune. Shame on you.

  4. Bami are intelligent and industrious. The strike is causing pain in their businesses. They will never join. There’s no reason to join a fight that some have decided to be burning their one local institutions.

    • They have no voice,i mean, nothing to say and nothing to offer.They will be the first to dance to our tune.I mean, the first to pave the way for submitting to Southern Cameroon rules and regulations.

    • Is it the same Bamilekes that are so much hated in Mbalmayo, Oballa, Ayos, Mbangasina and given all sort of names in Centre ville Yaoundé that are being worshipped now? Is it the same Lahkam people that Pinguiss and Confucius usually disparage and insulted as pigs in a pigsty as they accuse them of claiming to own all the properties in their area of built it with their money? Wandas! The enemy of an enemy is truly becoming a friend through that Beti Bulu Fang Ewondo lenses. We don’t care about who is who otherwise Zachary NKuo and Victor Ngoh won’t have been raised in West Cameroon. Aluta …

  5. “…..The Anglophone crisis is in part a classic problem of a minority, which has swung between a desire for integration and a desire for autonomy, and in part a more structural governance problem….”

    What a big fat lie! Only a referendum will determine if this false assertion has any basis. I however agree on the propose solutions including that tabled by the UN to the very stubborn power hungry regime. Biya getting sacked by the institutions is the beginning of a feasible solution to this crisis but how can they when it’s a very strange concept to the francophone majority? Pakistan???

  6. Rain onto others

    We don’t need the Bami in this fight. They are not part of Southern Cameroons. The pressure is on, LRC is going bankrupt already because of this crisis. Let them continue going out to beg for support. Laurent Esso is in Belgium, what will he tell the Belgian government. We shall meet him tomorrow in Brussels

    • You, the Ngraffi need the Bami in whatever fight you have… you are brothers! Counting on the Southwest with which you have absolutely no cultural ties is total delusion. The trouble is that the Bami are credited for their anti-imperialist sacrifice unlike like the impostors of the Northwest that are struggling to hang on to the Southwest like a bunch of ticks.

      • ‘unlike the impostors of the Northwest…’

        By the way, you the Ngraffi have announced on this forum that John Ngu Foncha was a Bamileke man that migrated to the Northwest! You think that the people of the Southwest are fools to create a nation with you on the basis of some insane imperialistic experiment? Lie dat, man! The Southwest will stand on its own… the opportunists from the Northwest must stand on their own for once. Hypocrites that deny their blood ties thanks to destitution… you deny your ties with the Bami but you embrace rasclaaat Foncha and his jamdong Southern whatever.

      • Ngongyama of Brooklyn

        Here comes the Bamileke half breed @Ras Tuge once again fanning flames of genocide. It could’ve been reasonable if you were talking this thrash from your Karabot hut in limbe but here you are, married to an old white Swedish tattooed granny twice your age and spending half of your days in perfecting your art of cunnilingus in between her overweight legs. You are nothing and will never be anything close to the fierce grass fielders that are now bent in sending Biya and his henchmen to an early grave. Help your passing mouth by learning from them you this welfare thug.

        • Trying to make it sound civilized, calling it ‘grass fielders’! No, homeless element, you are Ngraffi… langa, chop dorty, dig latrine, na take shower, talk slackness and run filthy mop like rabid maggadog. When di heat come Ngraffi is di first to run. Run go beg fo asylum. Awey you do fo Brooklyn dey? Go fo kontri and mek da rasclaaat noise! You want genocide, you, Ngraffi will get one.

        • Hmm! You people are the ones making this junkie to feel relevant here. I check all his posts, there’s nothing distinctive he’s conveying beside Tribalism. Not that I expect any ohh!
          Please lets show our Rasterman some luv by advising him to reconsider going back into the rehab institute where he was getting treatment for drug addiction? Trust me, there’s nothing anyone can say here that will make sense to him. Only a professional can help him.
          If u dey 4 water, crazeman come pick ur clothes di run, and u commot naked di follow he, pipol go think say na u di craze.
          Just let him be.
          One Luv

      • At this rate, Tuge Tuge will soon claim the indigenes of Ndian are not South West but Nigerians! Watch him.

      • Rain onto others

        Stop smoking whatever you are smoking for your own good

  7. WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK… FULL RESTORATION.. BIYA IS WINNER OF 2018 ELECTIONS.. WE WANT COMPLETE AND FULL RESTORATION

    • Which country? Restoration of what? If you are fighting for a better Cameroon with, or without Biya, then I-Man say: come with I. But if you choose the path of destruction, then you shall be destroyed. Remember, don’t kid yourself daydreaming that the Southwest is with you. If you do, then you will learn the hard way.

      • Northwest and Southwest were terms created by man(Ahidjo), and Ras take note, any thing created by man can be undone by man. Northwest and Southwest shear a common destiny.
        This fact is nonnegotiable

        • What common destiny?!!! Created by who? By some type of god? It wasn’t created by man?!!! Listen now man, the Southwest has absolutely no cultural ties with the Northwest. The Southwest has absolutely no common destiny with the Northwest. We are going to remove that madness from your head. The Northwest is hanging on the Southwest for validation but when the time comes, the entire nation shall rally to discipline the Northwest hypocrites, impostors, and opportunists once and for all. Your notion of common destiny is inspired by European fiction.

  8. My angry, diasporans brothers you folks say we are winning why then all the anger and bitterness, if we are indeed winning we are just supposed to be smiling and whistling, if we winning why do we need schools to be closed? if we are winning why is there so much antagonism amongst us? can someone clarify me? maybe these tax declarations that am doing every month is to the wrong authorities.

  9. I’m from West province but south west and north west are my brother

    • No, the Northwest is your brother and you must claim it. Ask yourself why the Northwest has totally rejected you from the West… and is pursuing an ill-advised illusion that they are a nation with the Southwest!

      • @Arata Tuge

        Shut ur stinky smelly trap! Try saying that again to Prrsident Seseku and u will personally make sure you are banished from Ambaland forever. Deranged estranged hard drug addict. At least the Ngraffis know who they are, what they want and where they are heading. Where does Rasta come from? Are you an Ethiopian or a descendant of Ras Tafari? Gobtard impostor! Take your dirty stinky smelling Mbo self and retreat into the recluse of your Stockholm basement.

    • YES AG one can only afford to explain thing with the effectiveness as far as it is humanly possible. Lots of people have fallen really low. Some just talk because they to should be heard, the Cameroon syndrome of me, me, me, me, me… .exposing ignorance and embecility at it’s peak

  10. Some Anglophones have decided not to use their common sense,rather they stuck on their foolishness,pushing it up to the level of appointing a fool calling himself their (président) at the time fontem and nkongho’s families are deeply worrying about their fate .Now you call on the wise Bamiléké to join you in Your idiocy you will see with Your eyes .Those cheating on you in the US etc… That you will destabilize cameroon should ready.

  11. From the situation on the ground I don’t see any destabilisation, an average person in SW NW is generally a very scared fanatic. “Anglophone leaders” in the USA are receiving contributions from diasporans, with which they fly first class, lodge in four seasons hotel, these dudes are be very smart, they will promise or say anything to keep the strike. that’s why they say we are winning but nobody ever see any victory. it’s just like s fake prophet using all sorts of “miracles” n juicy prophecies to retain his followers so he can extort them.

    • Point of correction:

      ‘Ngraffi conmen’ in the USA are receiving contributions even from the government of Cameroon, with which they fly first class… Koni, langa pippo. Criminals claim they are refugees in the US but they travel to Cameroon undisturbed, buying land in Buea and Limbe… and at same time, tricking the poor people not to send their children to school and all that nonsense!

      • I know of many Southwesterners who fit the stereotype that you describe those from the buetiful Grassfield.

        And now what’s your take on that?

  12. At a time like this with the nation facing a challenge to its existence, helpful ideas can hardly lie in tossing missiles at one another. War may be good but it needs careful preparation.

    Is it a win if the fallen victims result from friendly fire, the destroyed infrastructure is not the putative enemy’s? The old wisdom still holds that the best answer to a fool is to keep quiet/ignore him. Why spend useful brain energy on manifestly delusional persons out of touch with reality?

  13. Bamileke or not our train took off already and we will be home. ” At first they laugh at you, then fight you and you win”
    Paul Biya and his gang have no solution to this crisis.They thought it was Ni John Fru’s styled ghost town on the 90s.No Paul!! we mean business.

  14. There are three basic truths to every noble idea;
    1.It is ridiculed and thrown into the dust bin.
    2.It is violently attacked by those who don’T want it.
    3.It finally becomes a reality and those who attacked it crawl to support it at last.
    Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?The answer of course is yes.Think about this.

  15. “Finally, it is important to take legal measures specific to Anglophone regions in the areas of education, justice and culture.Cameroon,…”
    My friend, what are you talking about?

    First of all and FYI, the struggle is not decelerating. We are gathering steam to fight for what is ours.

    Secondly, you worry too much about the international community. Screw them and screw LRC. We must leave the union. Enough is enough.

    Thirdly you call for the provisional release of the anglophones arrested for advocating for their rights? Who the fuk do you think you are?

    • Fourth, a committee for the purpose of cultural diversity cannot be headed by an 80 year old boomer. Mafani is a despicable self glorified unpleasant old man in diapers whose bigotry will not allow him to reach out to the people of the nw to execute his “assignment”.

      Lastly, when next you want to blow a whistle (ref), blow a fair whistle cus this time, you did not and I want you to stand astride, squat a little, pull down your pants, pull the whistle out your mouth and shove it up your hairy behind.

      your article is heavily slanted and good only for cameroon tribune. Shame on you.

  16. For ever young

    Right on point @Ag dis hard drug addict isn’t even one of us to begin , he rejoiced when students in buea university was murdered/ rape by some military officers yet still want to associate his Mbo heritage with South-West what a scumbag , ass hole like dis clown from the littoral should be the once banished instead dis ungrateful bastards of la republic has infected our landscape like cancer with their hateful agenda against us& our brothers from the North-West has been together with us in the good& bad times shoulder to shoulder for centuries

    • You are Ngraffi, stop pretending to be from the Southwest. Alcoholics will always be delusional with the poorest sense of judgment.

      Listen to Ngraffi: ‘We have been with our brothers from the Northwest for centuries’!??? That’s because you are not from the Southwest. Behold, it is not even up to 100 years since the British undertook the misguided experiment to control the Ngraffi and the Southwest as a type of imperialist unit.

      You don’t even know what a century is; let alone your so-called history! What a pity. Element, you are a distraction to our legitimate struggle in the Southwest.

      • @ras tuge, Look at your emoji, it depicts who you are. A crazy psychopath full of anger and rage. What did the southwesterns tell peter last he tried the us against them crap?
        Blood clat you motha fucka. You filthy cunt and a bitch with a penis. A pussy, a dick of a hermaphrodite.
        I dare you fucking illiterate spewing idiocy, Who gave you the voice in that your dumpster of a basement in Stockholm A primitive caricature of the lowest esteem trying to fit into topics that are bigger than your grade school education. Pick a history book and make you whore-ish mama and sisters proud. Imbecile

        • Why are you so called “Ambozoonians” so aggressiv? You can’t fight a man like you virtualy without insults and you want to win in real life?
          That says alot about what you are: cowards

  17. For ever young

    Goes further to show u re not only strong weed head scumbag but real stupid idiotic clown as well with no knowledge with the cultural heritage of the people u are claiming to associate your self with, for your information idiotic vagabond read our history prior to colonialism with the grassland fields people& even the douala with them smelling bitch asshole

    • Ngraffi, you write so poor that one wonders how you managed to get past primary school! As if that is not enough, you compound your woes with alcohol and become even more disoriented and pitiful. Want to teach what??!!! No, rasclaaat, you sit down and learn! Your history prior tp colonialism is totally void of the so-called Southern Cameroons and the uprooted imperialistic meanings that have crippled your sense of judgment. The Ngraffi, unlike the Bantu Southwest people are semi-bantu. We are not related an inch. So, stick with your brothers, the Bamileke. You are lost, little alcoholic coon!

      • ‘prior to’

      • Raspberry, prior to colonialism, there was no Nigeria, no Chad, no Ghana, no Senegal, no Uganda, you name them. It difficult for to believe I have understood you, however if I do then pocket your hands and enter any of those without fulfilling thier entry requirements, and if you are questioned, tell them your obvious answer

  18. @ras tuge officially the dullest man on ?…
    why did you skip this by AG “Shut ur stinky smelly trap! Try saying that again to Prrsident Seseku and u will personally make sure you are banished from Ambaland forever. Deranged estranged hard drug addict. At least the Ngraffis know who they are, what they want and where they are heading. Where does Rasta come from? Are you an Ethiopian or a descendant of Ras Tafari? Gobtard impostor! Take your dirty stinky smelling Mbo self and retreat into the recluse of your Stockholm basement.”

    Ha ya mami, ha ya sister? Last time I saw them was on my bed..

  19. @ras tuge is just half southern cameroonian. Dont waste your time on him. i know him personally.

  20. @ras tuge is not even for federation, he benefits from the status quo. His parents are part of those drowning lrc . when someone like this guy spews nonsense here, he is only trying to distract everyone whether supporting lrc or amba, if you want to believe what i am saying, come and give a good lecture here about a centralized republic and see the praises u will receive from him all because of egoism. Mr man , your parents from both sides of the mongo should stop using the pipo and stealing from the govt coffers. your education is sinking to nothing was financed with stolen money.

    • Hmm! You people are the ones making this junkie to feel relevant here. I check all his posts, there’s nothing distinctive he’s conveying beside Tribalism. Not that I expect any ohh!
      Please lets show our Rasterman some luv by advising him to reconsider going back into the rehab institute where he was getting treatment for drug addiction? Trust me, there’s nothing anyone can say here that will make sense to him. Only a professional can help him.
      If u dey 4 water, crazeman come pick ur clothes di run, and u commot naked di follow he, pipol go think say na u di craze.
      Just let him be.
      One Luv

    • At least @Ras Tuge knows where he is comming from! What about you? Do you know your history?
      Where are your parents from? I ‘m sure that if you really do some research about your sorry self, you will find out you are not even Cameroonian nor “Ambazoonian” or whatever.
      Leave people’s parents out of your nonsens!

      You guys don’t have the monopoly of insolens.

    • Rooftop, talk is very cheap, online talk is just free, lemme tell y’all sth, what we want and what we can possibly get are two different things, I’m in the NW now, what we want is independence but evidents on the ground indicate that we won’t get even decentralization soon, if it’s online I know we are already are a thriving virtual republic, bitter truth

      • Tell them that again and again! They don’t seem to get it!
        The Virtual Republic of Ambazoonia has a president! Hihihi

        • Palestinians started fighting before Ghana (first African country) could have independence. Every generation comes and understands the vision and keeps on pushing(attributes) of maturity. But with Africans mostly, you act in the morning and if there is no results in the evening then it’s nonsense, and the consequences? Every generation has to fetch for itself by always stating over again after all the previous was only interested in what could materialise in thier life time, instant gratification attitudes. Ask Biya, $2m loan now or 10yrs worth $500m industrialization?