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The devil made me do it!

Mogotsi MD Baloyi
THE IRREVERENT REVERENT

 
You do not have to be long amongst Pentecostal-Charismatic circles before you routinely hear shouts of, "Out!" "Come out of her!" "Fire!" "I command you demons to come out!" Fun times! If you are a newbie to such, you might be properly alarmed and perhaps even petrified! If not by the booming voices of microphones maxed out, then by the theatrical manifestations that customarily follow these commands.

It can get quite spooky! But, what exactly is going on here? Why would an otherwise seemingly cultured man or woman suddenly contort, twist, jerk, convulse, become aggressive, and generally act radically out of character? Are these things real or staged? Is it hypnotism? Hysteria? Mind control? Are there really some malevolent spirits out there that can take up residence in a person? How? Why? What are they?

What are demons? Where do they come from? Are there really instances when people are not responsible for their actions and the devil is the culprit? I will attempt to shed some light on this. It's a long and controversial subject, but I hope to do it justice.

Some people think that demons are fallen angels, but the Bible repeatedly demonstrates that there are clear differences between them. Fallen angels are called “sons of God, gods, powers, principalities, authorities, dominions, host of heaven”. Angels in general are repeatedly shown to cause dreams and visions by which they interact with people and deliver a message from God.

They also appear in a bodily form looking like men, and interact with people this way, being seen as having a body. Of the fallen angels, it is made clear that there is a certain way one should rebuke them, namely asking God to do so, and not doing so personally.

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 1:8-9. “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they,self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” 2 Pet 2:10-11. And Jesus himself gave us an example of resisting Satan, a fallen angel, by using scripture in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.

On the other hand, Demons are often called “wicked, unclean, evil spirits” and are usually mentioned in relation to someone who is demonized, and the demon speaks through that person. Demons do not appear in a bodily form themselves, but interactions with them always involve a body of a person or animal they are working through. In other words, demons need a body to get inhabit.

They cannot function without a body. Their preferred body is a human body, but if they can't get access to one, any will do. Jesus made clear that believers have been given authority by Jesus to cast demons out in His name. “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1. “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name…

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:17,20. “And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” Acts 16:18. There are essential practical differences in how we are told to spiritually battle against demons versus fallen angels, as Christians.

We are given different instructions for each. There is a practical importance involved in understanding that demons and fallen angels are not the same, and we have different instructions for how we are to practice spiritual warfare against each of them.

Between this and the different terms used to refer to each, and the different descriptions of how they each interact with or attack people, it becomes clear that demons are not the same creatures as fallen angels. We know by scriptural inference that all the angels were probably made on the first day of creation, and are called the "host of heaven," and by the end of the 6th day the Bible says God had finished creating the heaven and earth and all their hosts.

However, the demons are never called the host of heaven, a term which always refers to angels, so it cannot be assumed the demons were created along with the angels. To understand where demons came from, we have to understand a few things first about Jesus Christ, and about human reproduction. Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God, and the Bible teaches he was both fully man and fully God.

Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, who is God, and Jesus’ Father is God the Father; and Jesus Christ, while the son of God, is also Himself God. But Jesus Christ was also the son of Mary, a human woman, and Jesus Christ was also a human man. Was Jesus Christ half-man physically and half-God physically? God the Father is spirit, and the Holy Spirit is spirit.

“God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Luke 24:39. As God the Father is a Spirit, He does not have a body made of flesh and bones, by which Jesus could be half-God physically in His body. In fact Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

And so it can be argued Jesus Christ is the only person within the triune Godhead with a physical body. The Father does not have a physical body, nor does the Holy Spirit. But it is made clear that Jesus partook as much as any man in flesh and blood: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” Hebrews 2:14.

This means that Jesus had a body that was fully human, flesh and blood as much as any normal human man. And the Bible says that Jesus Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7) and was a man (1 Timothy 2:5). So, Jesus was not half-man, half-God.

He was fully man and fully God. Was Jesus Christ spiritually a man, or was He spiritually God? It would seem that spiritually Jesus Christ was God. Nor could Jesus be considered to be half-God spiritually and half-man spiritually, as this would make him out to be less than fully God spiritually. Jesus Christ is God, and came from above, existing eternally, creating all things (John 8:23, 8:58, John 1). And the Bible teaches that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, but bodily:

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9. In fact believing that Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man, also called “Hypostatic Union”, is an essential Christian Doctrine, basic to the Christian Faith. But it is important to understand that Jesus Christ had a fully human body, like any other human.

But Jesus was also fully God, so it can be understood that this was in the spiritual sense, and that spiritually Jesus was fully God. Jesus was not just like any other man when it came to His spirit, or half-man/half-God spiritually, but rather His spirit was that of God. This indicates that Jesus’ spirit was solely from God the Father, in regards to reproduction and the virgin conception by the Holy Spirit.

This is interesting as the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, and was “begat” by God. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1. But the same word for “begotten” is used many times relating to men and their children. Matthew 1:2 “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.”

In fact the Old Testament is full of examples in which fathers beget their children, but there are no cases of mothers begetting their children. The Bible therefore, taken at literal face-value, teaches that children are only begat by their fathers. In the case of Jesus, spiritually He was fully God, and begotten of God the Father by the Holy Spirit.

He did not have a half-human spirit, and so it seems his spirit was not a 50/50 mixture of God the Father and His mother Mary’s human spirit. Rather, Jesus as the son of God was God, and of the same spirit as God the Father. What does the Bible actually teach about the spiritual side of human reproduction?

Let’s go back to the beginning when God first made Adam, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Once Adam’s body had received the “breath of life”, then he became a living soul. So apparently a body, that then has the “breath of life” added to it, results in a new living soul.

The word here for “soul” is clarified in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15:45 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” The word here for “soul” is “psyche” and it means “life” and “soul”. It is also used in Matthew 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” But there is a different word that is used in 1 Corinthians 15 for “spirit”, and that is “pneuma”.

This is the “breath of life” in Genesis 2:7 which is the “spirit” which gives life. “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4. “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit (ruach) of God is in my nostrils” Job 27:3.

“And the LORD said, My spirit (ruach) shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”Genesis 6:3. The spirit of life in man was given by God to Adam in Genesis 2:7, and is the spirit of man. Without God striving with the spirit of man, he no longer has life, but the man dies. But as long as God strives with the spirit of man, the man lives.

The point being that a man being alive is tied to him having the spirit, the “breath of life” giving life, as God breathed into Adam. Job says the breath of the Almighty had given him life, but yet the only time when God is recorded to have breathed life into any man is when God made Adam.

The Bible only records God having done this one time, with Adam. Yet Job indicates he also has the breath of the Almighty. As such it would make sense that somehow the “breath of life” is inherited, and passed down through reproduction, and did pass down from Adam through his children, all the way to Job. How might the “breath of life” or spirit pass down through reproduction? The Bible does say that what causes life, giving life to the body, is in the blood.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11. And we know that what causes life is the “breath of life” or “spirit”.

And so the “spirit” or “breath of life” must be in the blood. As such there is a connection that the Bible makes between the “breath of life” or “spirit” and the blood of the physical body. It is understood that a child is formed from a bodily contribution from both parents in the process of reproduction.

Perhaps the “breath of life” is tied to the father’s contribution in reproduction. God specifies that people reproduce through multiplication, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). What is multiplication? God actually demonstrated multiplication for us, by how God made Eve from a little piece, a rib, taken from Adam. (The rib itself contains blood in the marrow, and the life of the body is in the blood.)

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Genesis 2:21-22. God is not recorded to have breathed the spirit, the breath of life, into Eve in order for her to become a living soul. Nor is God recorded to have repeated this process with Cain, Abel, Seth, or any of their children.

God breathed the spirit of life into Adam who became a living soul, and God is recorded to have done this only one time, with Adam. Then Adam had a spirit and a soul and was alive. Obviously Eve and Adam’s children were alive and had living souls also, even though no record is made of God having breathed the breath of life into them.

Yet Job states that the breath of the Almighty had given him life. All of this indicates that God put the breath of life – a spirit – into Adam, and somehow this spirit was multiplied to all other people from Adam. Whether by Adam’s rib in the case of Eve, or through reproduction with their children, which the Bible calls “multiplication”, it seems that all people were passed down the breath of life from Adam.

So it makes sense that when God made Eve, He not only multiplied her body from Adam’s body, but that also God multiplied her spirit from Adam’s spirit, like a seed that grows. And then she became an individual living soul as well, as she had a body and spirit (the breath of life) which is located in the blood.

And this was all through the process of “multiplication”. As such, Eve was multiplied from Adam, in body and spirit, and then herself became a living soul. God did this with Eve Himself, but from that point on the same thing would occur with Adam and Eve multiplying to have children, through the natural process God set in place.

This means that during reproduction, the new spirit, breath of life, that each child has, is multiplied and grown from a little seed of the spirit or “breath of life” of the prior generation. This does not negate that that God forms each person in the womb (Isaiah 44:2,24) but the point is that the building materials, a seed, are already in place for God to build from, not just in regards to multiplying a new body, but to multiplying a new spirit as well.

All children are multiplied from what already exists in the father or mother. That the body and soul (mind, emotions, will) of the mother are inherited traits of a child is obvious. Children look like their mothers, have psychological traits like their mothers, the intelligence of their mother, etc.

And so we know that both the body and soul of the mother contribute to the body and soul (mind/will/emotions) of the child. Both the mother and father’s soul and body contribute in the multiplying process to form a child, and this is obvious as the child looks like both parents. Each contributes an equal number of chromosomes, to combine in conception, for the physical body, and the same sort of thing would make sense of the soul (mind/will/emotions) as well.

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Opinions

Internal party-democracy under pressure

21st June 2022

British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham once opined: “If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.”

The truism in these words cannot be underestimated, especially when contextualizing against the political developments in Botswana. We have become a nation that does not value democracy, yet nothing represent freedom more than democracy. In fact, we desire, and value winning power or clinging to power more than anything else, even if it harms the democratic credentials of our political institutions. This is happening across political parties — ruling and opposition.

As far as democracy is concerned, we are regressing. We are becoming worse-off than we were in the past. If not arrested, Botswana will lose its status as among few democratic nations in the Africa. Ironically, Botswana was the first country in Africa to embrace democracy, and has held elections every five years without fail since independence.

We were once viewed as the shining example of Africa. Those accolades are not worth it any more. Young democracies such as South Africa, with strong institutions, deserves to be exalted. Botswana has lost faith in democracy, and we will pay a price for it. It is a slippery slope to dictatorship, which will bring among other excess, assault on civil liberties and human rights violations.

Former President, Festus Mogae once stated that Botswana’s democracy will only become authentic, when a different party, other than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wins elections, and when the President of such party is not from Serowe.

Although many may not publicly care to admit, Mogae’s assertion is true. BDP has over the years projected itself as a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of democracy, but the moment its stay in power became threatened and uncertain, it started behaving in a manner that is at variance with democratic values.  This has been happening over the years now, and the situation is getting worse by the day.

Recently, the BDP party leadership has been preaching compromise and consensus candidates for 2024 general elections. Essentially, the leadership has lost faith in the Bulela Ditswe dispensation, which has been used to selected party candidates for council and parliament since 2003. The leadership is discouraging democracy because they believe primary elections threaten party unity. It is a strange assertion indeed.

Bulela Ditswe was an enrichment of internal party democracy in the sense that it replaced the previous method of selection of candidates known as Committee of 18, in which a branch committee made of 18 people endorsed the representatives. While it is true that political contest can divide, the ruling party should be investing in political education and strengthening in its primary elections processes. Democracy does not come cheap or easy, but it is valuable.

Any unity that we desire so much at the expense of democracy is not true unity. Like W. Somerset Maugham said, democracy would be lost in the process, and ultimately, even the unity that was desired would eventually be lost too. Any solution that sacrifice democracy would not bring any results in the long run, except misery.

We have seen that also in opposition ranks. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) recently indicated that its incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be challenged for their seats. While BDP is sacrificing democracy to stay in power, UDC is sacrificing democracy to win power. It is a scary reality given the fact that both parties – ruling and opposition — have embraced this position and believe democracy is the hindrance to their political ambitions.

These current reality points to one thing; our political parties have lost faith in democracy. They desire power more than, the purpose of power itself. It is also a crisis of leadership across the political divide, where we have seen dissenting views being met with persecution. We have seen perverting of political process endorsed by those in echelons of power to manipulate political outcomes in their favour.

Democracy should not be optional, it should be mandatory. Any leader proposing curtailing of democracy should be viewed with suspicion, and his adventures should be rejected before it is too late. Members of political parties, as subscribers of democracy, should collectively rise to the occasion to save their democracy from self-interest that is becoming prevalent among Botswana political parties.

The so-called compromise candidates, only benefits the leadership because it creates comforts for them. But for members, and for the nation, it is causing damage by reversing the gains that have been made over the years. We should reject leaders who only preach democracy in word, but are hesitant to practice it.

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Opinions

The Big Deal About Piracy

21st June 2022
piracy

Piracy of all kinds continues to have a massive impact on the global creative industry and the economies of the countries where it thrives.

One of the biggest misconceptions around piracy is that an individual consumer’s piracy activities, especially in a market the size of Botswana’s, is only a drop in the pool of potential losses to the different sectors of the economy piracy affects.

When someone sitting in Gaborone, Botswana logs onto an illegal site to download King Richard online, they don’t imagine that their one download will do anything to the production house’s pocket or make a dent in the actors’ net worth. At best, the sensitivity towards this illegal pirating activity likely only exists when contemplating going about pirating a local musician’s music or a short film produced locally.

The ripple effects of piracy at whatever scale reach far beyond what the average consumer could ever imagine. Figures released by software security and media technology company, Irdeto, show that users in five major African territories made approximately 17,4 million total visits to the top 10 identified piracy sites on the internet.

The economic impact of this on the creative industry alone soars to between 40 and 97.1 billion dollars, according a 2022 Dataprot study. In addition, they estimate that “illegally streamed copyrighted content consumes 24% of global bandwidth”.

As Botswana’s creative industry remains relatively slight on the scale of comparison to industries such as Nollywood and Nilewood where the creative industry contributes a huge proportion to West and East Africa’s respective GDPs, that does not imply that piracy activities in Botswana do not have a similar impact on our economy and the ability of our creative industry to grow.

When individuals make decisions to illegally consume content via internet streaming sites they believe they are saving money for themselves in the name of enjoying content they desire to consume. Although this is a personal choice that remains the prerogative of the consumer, looking beyond the fact that streaming on illegal content sites is piracy, the ripple effect of this decision also has an endless trail of impact where funds which could be used to grow the local creative industry through increased consumption, and revenue which would otherwise be fed back into Botswana’s economy are being diverted.

“Why can’t our local creative industry grow?” “Why don’t we see more home-grown films and shows in Botswana?” are questions constantly posed by those who consume television content in Botswana. The answer to this lies largely in the fact that Botswana’s local content needs an audience in order for it to grow. It needs support from government and entities which are in a position to fund and help the industry scale greater heights.

Any organisational body willing to support and grow the local creative industry needs to exist and operate in an economy which can support its mandates. Content piracy is a cycle that can only be alleviated when consumers make wiser decisions around what they consume and how.

This goes beyond eradicating piracy activities in so far as television content is concerned. This extends to the importation and trade in counterfeit goods, resale of goods and services not intended for resale across the border, outside its jurisdiction, and more. All of these activities stunt the growth of an economy and make it nearly impossible for industries and sectors to propel themselves to places where they can positively impact society and reinvest into the country’s economy.

So what can be done to turn the tide here in Botswana in order to see our local production houses gain the momentum required to produce more, license more and expand their horizons? While those who enforce the law continue to work towards minimizing piracy activities, it’s imperative that as consumers we work to make their efforts easier by being mindful of how our individual actions play a role in preventing the success of our local creative networks and our economy’s growth.

Whether you are pirating a Hollywood Blockbuster, illegally streaming a popular Motswana artist’s music, or smuggling in an illegal decoder to view content restricted to South Africa only, your actions have an impact on how we as a nation will make our mark on the global landscape with local creative productions. Thembi Legwaila is Corporate Affairs Manager, MultiChoice Botswana

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Opinions

Our Strength is our Unity

18th March 2022
Craig-Cloud

Putin Chose War.  We Remain United with Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Craig L. Cloud

This is a dangerous moment for Europe and for freedom-loving people around the world.  By launching his brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has also committed an assault on the principles that uphold global peace and democracy.  But the people of Ukraine are resilient.

They’ve had a democracy for decades, and their bravery is inspiring the world.  The United States, together with our Allies and partners across the globe, will continue to support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country.  By choosing to pay for a war instead of investing in the needs of Russians, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure for the Kremlin and ravage the future of the Russian people.

When the history of this era is written, it will show that Putin’s choice to launch an unprovoked, unjust, and premeditated attack left the West more unified and Russia exponentially weaker.

United in Our Response

This will not end well for Vladimir Putin.  Together, the United States and our Allies and partners are taking action to hold Russia accountable.  As a result of unprecedented global sanctions coordination, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, and Canada have removed selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system and imposed restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank.

President Biden announced sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls that will damage Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology.  After Putin began his invasion, the ruble hit its weakest point in history, and the Russian stock market plunged.

Along with the United Kingdom and European Union, the United States imposed sanctions on the architects of this war, including Putin himself.

By moving in close coordination with a powerful coalition of Allies and partners representing more than half of the global economy, we have magnified the impact of our actions to impose maximum costs on Putin and his regime.  In response to Putin’s war of choice, we will limit Russia’s ability to do business in U.S. dollars.

We will stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military.  We will impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy.  And we are prepared to do more.

In addition to economic penalties, this week President Biden authorized an additional $1 billion over the $350 million of security assistance he recently approved, and a $650 million in 2021, to immediately help Ukraine defend itself, bringing America’s total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year to $2 billion.

We also stand ready to defend our NATO Allies.  President Biden has coordinated with Allied governments to position thousands of additional forces in Germany and Poland as part of our commitment to NATO’s collective defense.

He authorized the deployment of ground and air forces already stationed in Europe to NATO’s eastern and southeastern flanks:  Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.  Our Allies have also added their own forces and capabilities to ensure our collective defense.  There should be no doubt about the readiness of the greatest military Alliance in the history of the world:  NATO is more united than ever.

The United States has also coordinated with major oil-producing and consuming countries to underscore our common interest in securing global energy supplies.  We are working with energy companies to surge their capacity to supply energy to the market, particularly as prices increase.

Putin’s Unprovoked and Premeditated War

This was an attack that Vladimir Putin has planned for a long time.  He methodically moved more than 150,000 troops and military equipment to Ukraine’s border.  He moved blood supplies into position and built field hospitals, demonstrating his intentions all along.

He rejected every good-faith effort by the United States and our Allies and partners to address his fabricated security concerns and to avoid needless conflict and human suffering by engaging in diplomacy and dialogue.

Putin executed his playbook exactly as we had warned he would do.  We saw Russia’s proxies increase their shelling in the Donbas.  We saw the Russian government launch cyber-operations against Ukraine.  We saw staged political theater in Moscow and heard outlandish and baseless claims made about Ukraine in an attempt to justify Russia’s aggression.

Russia continues to justify its military aggression by falsely claiming the need to stop “genocide” in Ukraine – despite there being no evidence that genocide was occurring there.  We saw Russia use these tactics before when they invaded Ukraine in 2014 and Georgia in 2008.

And then, at almost the very same moment the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and forestall disaster, Putin launched his invasion in violation of international law.  Missiles began to rain down, striking historic cities across Ukraine.  Then came air raids, columns of tanks, and battalions of troops, all riding a renewed wave of disinformation and outright lies.

We have been transparent with the world.  We declassified our intelligence about Russia’s plans so there could be no confusion and no cover up.  Putin is the aggressor.  Putin chose this war.  And now his people will bear the consequences of his decision to invest in war rather than in them.

Transatlantic Unity and Resolve Stronger Than Ever

Putin’s goal of dividing the West has failed.  In the face of one of the most significant challenges to European security and democratic ideals since World War II, the United States and our Allies and partners have joined together in solidarity.  We have united, coordinating intensively to engage as one with Russia and Ukraine, provided assistance to Ukraine, developed a broad response, and reaffirmed our commitment to NATO.

Putin has failed to divide us.  Putin has failed to undermine our shared belief in the fundamental right of sovereign nations to choose their destiny and their allies.  And Putin will fail to erase the proud nation of Ukraine.

The next few days, weeks, and months will be incredibly difficult for the people of Ukraine.  Putin has unleashed great suffering on them.  But the Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence, and they have repeatedly shown they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.

The world is watching this conflict closely, and if Russian forces commit atrocities, we will explore all international mechanisms that could be used to bring those responsible – whether members of the military or their civilian leadership – to account.

Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will cost Russia profoundly, both economically and strategically.  The Russian people deserve better from their government than the immense cost to their future that this invasion has precipitated.

Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression.  In the contest between democracy and autocracy, between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake:  Freedom will prevail.

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