#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Jai Ram Reddy story reflects what might have been for Fiji

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jai Ram Reddy story reflects what might have been for Fiji

REDDY AND RABUKA: File pic ex Fiji Times.


"The failed political ambitions of Reddy are a key piece in the puzzle of why Fiji has suffered so much in the last decade."-George Williams.



In the Eye of the Storm: Jai Ram Reddy and the politics of postcolonial Fiji’ was launched in Canberra  on 15 December by eminent constitutional lawyer George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales. He is highly respected in Fiji as one of the leading counsels in the famous Chandrika Prasad case which is internationally recognised as setting the benchmark for judging the success of coup.

Professor Brij Lal, in reply, spoke about the process and perils of writing history, historical amnesia among his people and the fading away of history from school curricula in Fiji.  He reiterated the conclusion of his book that if the Rabuka-Reddy project of political cooperation had succeeded, Fiji would have been spared the turmoil it was later to encounter.

When Professor Lal alluded to a recent attack on him saying that the reason why Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry comes out in the book the way he does is because FLP victory in 1999 prevented Lal from becoming the Vice President of Fiji,' the audience laughed at this blatant untruth. As Dr Lal writes in the book, the person in consideration was Sir Moti Tikaram, who confirmed it to Dr Lal.

The book has been widely praised a singular contribution to understanding the dynamics of postcolonial Fiji .

Herein is the speech of Professor Williams: “It is a pleasure to be here tonight to launch Brij Lal’s latest book. I am a relative newcomer to Fiji. Sadly, I have never been to the islands for pleasure, only business, and often for the wrong reasons.

"My first contact came in 2000 when, in the wake of the George Speight coup attempt, I received an unusual call at my office at the ANU law school. I was asked if I would travel to Fiji to argue that the George Speight coup, and the military takeover that followed, breached the 1997 constitution.

"After some thought, I accepted the brief, and spent much of the next year in and out of Fiji working on the case with a formidable team of local lawyers and others including prominent international QC Geoffrey Robertson.

"After hearings in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the case was won. It was the first such victory in a domestic court in overturning a coup in world history. Unfortunately, of course, the result proved only to be a temporary victory of the rule of law and democracy in Fiji, and more recent events have once again proved the vulnerable state of those principles.

"My interest has been so fixed on the last decade of events in Fiji that I have neglected my own understanding of Fijian political history. Given that, I was delighted when the opportunity came to launch this book.

"I was very happy to be asked to launch this book because of its author. I have never had any doubt about the authoritative work of Brij Lal in this field. Rarely has any one person been so intertwined with the telling of the story of a nation. It is, however, certainly the case here.

"Brij Lal has been prolific in telling the modern story of Fiji. His first book appeared in 1983 and, remarkably, the work I am launching tonight is his 37th. Two more are expected to follow next year.

"Even before I first visited Fiji in 2000, I was well aware of Brij Lal’s work. Then and since he has been rightly regarded as the leading writer of Fijian political history. As an academic, you would expect his books to be accurate and well researched. Indeed, there is no doubt that they are.

"In addition, what sets his work apart from others is that he writes with such honesty and insight into Fiji and its problems. He is able to the sympathetic yet open-minded, and writes with authority and courage. It is these qualities that make his works the best in the field.

"Given the way he writes, I was not surprised that he was deported last year from Fiji by the military regime. Brij Lal is willing to speak truth to power. His honesty and willingness to confront directly the problems of Fiji is fundamentally incompatible with the approach of the coup government.

"Brij Lal may have written 37 books, but this one is special. It is not only the product of a decade of research and writing, but it is subject, Jai Ram Reddy, is someone for whom Brij Lal has an undoubted sympathy.

"What impressed me most about this book is that Brij Lal was still able to write such a revealing, sometimes painful, account of this colossus of the late twentieth century Fijian political scene. It seems that sometimes you need to understand a person and their political philosophy to also fully appreciate their mistakes and failings.

"In many ways this book is a tragedy. The failed political ambitions of Reddy are a key piece in the puzzle of why Fiji has suffered so much in the last decade.

"As a lawyer myself, I can understand Reddy’s approach to Fiji’s problems. I am sympathetic to his approach of principled pragmatism. I also share his perspective of the need to reach out across all groups to build a society based upon common values and mutual prosperity.

"It is a disappointment to me that my own involvement with Fiji only began when Reddy’s political career ended do disastrously in 1999. I am proud, however, that my role involved a defence of what Brij Lal describes as Reddy’s greatest achievement, Fiji’s 1997 Constitution. I note also Brij Lal’s central role in the drafting of a document as a member of the Fiji constitution review commission, a body to which he was appointed after being nominated by Reddy.

"The 1997 Constitution remains one of the best ever drafted in the world. It represents an unfulfilled vision for Fiji. It is indeed a melancholy task to speculate on ‘what might have been’.

"This book is dedicated to the people of Fiji, and does them a great service. It is only by understanding Reddy’s career and political philosophy that the last decade can be properly understood. This history, and Reddy’s contributions over the course of decades, must never be forgotten. This book will ensure that this is the case”.


Both the book and Reddy have been acclaimed. The following is a review by ANU PHd candidate Jone Baledrokadroka.

This book is a comprehensive and eloquent re-telling of the story of Fiji politics from independence in 1970 to 1999 through the perspective of possibly Fiji’s greatest living statesman, Jai Ram Reddy. 
 
As a student of Fiji’s post colonial politics the book brings back vivid memories of growing up with the political issues in a youthful nation full of promises and yet dashed hopes. This book is a must- read for all yearning for a better future for Fiji through understanding our past.  

 
It is a decade now that Reddy departed the political scene. I am one with political sociologist Steven Ratuva’s judgement: ‘Jai Ram Reddy was, and still is, the only Indo-Fijian leader capable of assuming the heights of multi-ethnic statesmanship’. 

 
He was the only Indo-Fijian leader ever trusted by the Fijians. He was genuine and humble and indigenous Fijian leaders saw these virtues clearly and related to them. However to quote Professor Lal, “Sadly what was virtue to one community, the indigenous Fijians, was vice to another, the Indo-Fijians”. 

 
Richard Naidu’s broad assessment is enduring of the man: “Jai Ram Reddy, who survived the rough and tumble of politics for more than 20 years with his reputation for integrity intact, without succumbing to the compromises of politics in a coup-ridden country, surely ranks heads and shoulders above any other politician of his generation.”

 
The final assessment of the Indo-Fijian community by Professor Lal, however, is haunting: “The Indo- Fijian community which Jai Ram Reddy led for a generation now lies hobbled in a cul-de-sac after a brief moment of hope and opportunities in the late 1990s. Accusation fly about who supported and did not support the 2006 coup, which deposed a democratically elected government headed by an Indigenous Fijian.”

 
And that ... “None of the problems facing it has been resolved… Jai Ram Reddy’s fate epitomizes the tragedy of modern Fiji: a country endowed with enviable human talent and natural resources.. but strangely prone to self-inflicted wounds that hobble its prospects and dent its future , a veritable Churchill’s Russia in the Pacific: a riddle, rapped in mystery, inside an enigma.”

 
Lal’s apt quote of Proverbs 29:18 in unraveling our present enigma for Fiji’s future befit today’s leaders, ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’ Jai Ram Reddy is indeed a truly distinguished son of Fiji who envisioned a peaceful multiracial Fiji - yet to come."

36 comments:

  1. Brij Lal like most Indian authors from Fiji who write about their experiences in Fiji, tend to paint themselves as do-gooders who become victims of the bad Fijians, yet these are the same Fijians who gave them the very opportunity they are now trying to highlight in this story of Reddy. Did Reddy do all this on his own or was he helped or worked together with a non-Indian called Rabuka who created the opportunity for Reddy to go and speak at the Great council of Chiefs?

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  2. Suggest if JB reads "Tuimacilai" he may gain insight into another less favourable slant on Indian intentions towards Viti?

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  3. Jai Ram, Brij Lal, George Williams, mpc, LQ, Rabuka are history. Let's not waste time reading their garbage. FIJi needs a leader born after independence without racial hangover.

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  4. Next Friday, 7th of Jan 2011, a Writ will be filed in High Court Suva against a prominent Businessman who happens to be associated with Jai Ram Reddy.

    The Writ will expose two high profile south indians and their sordid past dating back 1990s... so keep a look out.

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  5. You've Gotta Be Joking?December 29, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Lal's nothing more than a self promoting hypocrite.
    How he expects others too take him seriously is merely a reflection of his inflated ego - beyond belief?
    Every time the heat came - he ran away?
    Loves Viti so much he became an AUS citizen...

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  6. Its so sad that we miss such a great statesman,but the biggest culprit of all is this MR MAHEN CHODO (CHAUDARY)

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  7. As an indigenous Fijian I would vote for Jai Ram Reddy, Brij Lal, Wadan Narsey, Richard Naidu, Shamima Ali IN A HEARTBEAT.

    They continue to show us what courage under fire is all about.

    THAT to me, is exemplary leadership.

    THEY have showed me that they will speak out and say what I cannot despite oppression and they will therefore represent my best interests.

    THAT to me, is worthy of my vote.

    I am bewildered to observe that I have not seen ONE indigenous Fijian consistently stare down the military and show this much courage despite the threats of "re-education" up @ QEB.

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  8. RATU SAID.
    THANK YOU MR REDDY/RABUKA.GOOD ON YOU .
    I HOPE THE PEOPLE OF FIJI WILL LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.
    IF REDDY AND RABUKA CAN GIVE FIJI PEOPLE 1997 CONSTITUTION.THE BEST IN THE WOLRD.
    I CANT UNDERSTAND WHY BANI/AG WANTS THIS CONSTITUTION OUT.
    JUST TO PROTECT THEM SELVES.
    WE NEED LEADERS WHO CAN COME AND SERVE FIJI FOR UNSELFISH GAIN.
    WE URGE THE PEOPLE /CHIEFS/LEADERS TO COME TO A SOLUTION AND MAKE FIJI A TRUE PARADISE .WHEN WE HAD LEADERS LIKE RATU SIR MARA/KOYA/BAVANDRA/HARISH SHARMA .
    NOT LEADERS WHO ARE RACIST.QARASE/M P CHAUDARY AND OTHERS.
    WE NEED LEADERS WITH VISION.
    NO RACE CARD POLITICIAN. UNITED LEADERS..

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  9. @ MM yes it is, now ur learning.

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  10. WE WILL SEE WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING EXPOSED IN JAN.LOOKING FORWARD TO READ THAT STORY.
    I HOPE BANI/AG DOESNT STOP THIS.
    THIS GUY IS A BIG BUSINESS CONMAN TYCOON.I EVEN HEARD HE INSURED HIS STAFFS AND WHEN THEY DIE.HE COLLECTS THE INSURANCE.
    HE ALSO FILED BOGUS TAX RETURNS TO FRICA.WELL GOD HELP FIJI.

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  11. @ Keep the Faith: the indigenous Methodist Ministers did stare him down and ended up in Jail.
    There are brave Fijians too you know.

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  12. Do these indo Fijians actually believe their own bullshit?

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  13. Oh paaleeaasse! Anon @ 6.19pm, those indigenous Methodist Ministers ended up in jail because their 'clutch of the last straws' to the pockets of many indigenous Methodist Fijians were loosened along with their free ride on the back of the Government since Rabuka's time. Their so-called fight is selective and NOT comparable with the likes of the Indo-Fijians referred to by Keep the Faith who have always been consistent with their battle for truth.

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  14. @Keep the faith

    Have you not heard of Dr. Mere Samisoni, the hardworking business woman and Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Roko Tui Dreketi and many others who have made statements and Voreqe and the army know who they are and have been dealt with by being dismissed from their jobs or victimised in other ways.
    FYI, most Fijians are quiet as above but they pray to their God and the rest will be history.
    "Vengeance is Mine", He said.

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  15. At least JRR knew te hirarchial power order in Fiji in that the country belonged to the i taukei and should always be governed by the i taukei.This is something that the current crop of Kaidia who are supporting this coup in Fiji does not understand are making a grave mistake.Fijians have been dominated by colonial Britain for over a century and will not allow another foreign race to do the same in the future.

    JRR made one mistake in siding with Chaudary to approve the previous 1997 Constitution to consolidate Indian political rights in Fiji. Consolidate means that the 1997 Constitution gave Indians and other foreigners the right to be able to rule over Fijians which Chaudary eventually did in 1999.This power grab turned out to be a major catastrophe and something the i taukei never accepted.

    To put it bluntly,Fijians will never allow a diaspora from country like India with a population of over one billion to politically usurp political power from them.If we allow this to happen then our right to self determination,sovereignty,resources cultures,languages and traditions will be withered away into the annals of history's museums.

    JRR and many other Indians in Fiji can be classed as proud sons of India but please let only Fijians be proud sons of Fiji.This is our universal right.

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  16. Anon 6:19

    Yeah but they backed down after that and are now towing the line...lost their balls so to speak.

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  17. RATU SAID.
    FIJI NEED YOUNG MULTIRACIAL PARTY/LEADERS .
    NO RACE/NO CREED/NO COLOUR.
    WE HAD ENOUGH OF THE LOD FARTS.
    TIME FOR A CHANGE.YES WE CAN DO IT.
    WE HAVE MORE YOUNGER VOTERS IN FIJI.GOOD YOUNG FIJIAN AND INDO FIJIAN LEADERS CAN RUN THE COUNTRY .
    WE SAY THANK YOU TO ALL PAST LEADERS BUT THEY ALL FAILED FIJI.
    WE HAD ONLY ONE GOOD LEADER LIKE RATU MARA.THE REST OF THE LEADERS WERE HYPOCRITE.

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  18. Forgive me Anon @ 6:19 -- I concede that there are many brave Fijians doing what they can to resist Bainimarama's tyranny...and yes Kudos to the Methodist Minister as well but my issue is the lack of consistent, credible LEADERSHIP from the i-taukei that can inspire hope and a vision to get us out of Fiji's doldrums WITHOUT them having to their soul to the regime.

    None of these supposed political "leaders" from SVT, SDL, FAP, VLV are saying anything on the flatlined economy the hard life being faced by our people, increased taxes-poverty-crime --- at least some commonsense advice to help people make ends meet!!
    We get better advice from the Consumer Council these days and heck I might even vote for Premila Kumar if she decides to do politics.

    The fact that the media or they are gagged is no longer an excuse. In the throes of the social networking boom the technological opportunities are a key vehicle.

    I continue to be on the look-out for person/s who are worthy of my vote and if they are not prepared to prove their worth to me NOW they can forget about wasting my time during their campaign trail.

    As a voter I will also be monitoring who is unifying and fielding candidates across race, creed, gender, religion, age -- based on who can back it up vs the once common blood-alma mater-friendship-religious ties etc.

    The regime are going into their 5th year of illegal & treasonous rule and EVERY one of these i-taukei political leaders have folded to the whims of the regime.

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  19. HELLO HELLO,How does Richard Naidu give so much intergrity to this man Jai Ram Reddy?

    Is he the same Attorney General in Bavandra's Govt who did not visit Bavandra more then once when he was getting treatment in Auckland?

    Was he anywhere to be seen in the Auckland street march for protest against the 1987 Coup as he was indeed staying and working in Auckland?

    Is there any speech that can be taken out from those days that can show he is really a statesman.

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  20. What is being conveniently overlooked in this book on Reddy, and the reviews is that he is one of the most divisive politician in Fiji's history.

    Remember how he stabbed Koya in the back in 1977, and then initiating the NFP split between the dove faction (muslims), and flower faction (hindus)?

    Reddy hated Fijians and in one election campaign went as far as saying that Ratu Mara would go to any length to win an election, to even open toilets.

    Reddy only changed his tune towards the end of his political career when he realised that he never was going to be PM with NFP alone. He sought the coalition with the SVT with the hope of completing that career at least as a Minister.

    But alas Chaudhary put paid to that dream, and Reddy is left with trying to put a spin on his reputation as some kind of statesman.

    I am sorry some us will not just be fooled that easily.

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  21. Blah Blah Blah.
    Reddy himself does not have much to say.
    He took his election loss gracefully and left.
    Brij Lal, Richard Naidu and JB are pussies who can't stand up to anyone and instead bark from OZ or whimper like little pussy cats here.
    All theie praise for Reddy is just sour grapes for MPC making mincemeat of their beloved NFP 3 elections in a row.
    MPC is the Man!!

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  22. RATU SAID.
    FIJIAN AND INDIAN CAN WORK AND MAKE FIJI A TRUE PARADISE.WE DONT PEOPLE TO DIVIDE US.
    PAST LEADER AFTER 1987 COUP WERE PLAYING RACIAL LINE POLITICS.
    WE DONT NEED PEOPLE WHO HAVE PERSONAL AGENDA.
    WE HAVE GOOD YOUNG FIJIAN AND INDIANS.
    WHO CAN TAKE THE COUNTRY FOWARD.

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  23. Anon@2.08PM Well remember Dr Bavadra in Auckland when he was seeking mediacl treatment. Saw him at Auckland Hospital and he was a sad sight; facing death on top of being cheated out of running a government and leading the country thanks to Mara and Rabuka.-Edited at request, C4.5

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  24. 'he's possibly a journalist or someone who makes his money from words. I doubt he's been to Fiji in recent years but he obviously has some connections, perhaps through once living or working there, or through friendships in Auckland.' I am happy for these fascinating insights into someone Croz does not know to stand for themselves. I am glad he feels his standard of comment and assumption should not apply to others. It is only commentary after all.

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  25. @ Anon at 6:57pm

    MPC is a scurrilous scumbag. He deserves no more respect for deluding and stealing from his electorate than Frank does for all the "good" he has done our nation.

    They all need to be made examples of - in a court of law.

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  26. Some of you idiots will never accept MPC for what he really is. He is now and always was a wolf in sheep’s skin. For better or for worse at least JRR tried to unite us as one people. All Mahen Chodo did was divide divide divide. In fact i credit him 60% and Qarase 40% for the state Fiji is in today. Had these 2 self serving morons really cared about this country they would have put there differences aside and worked for the betterment of Fiji and the 2006 coup would have never happened. I also find funny how some of my Taukei brothers have so much ill will towards others particularly the Fiji Indian community. The funny thing is most of these hypocrites will go to church on Sunday and read the Holy book which champions the love for all humanity, equality fairness etc etc. It just goes to show that most go to Church for show only and have no intention of following the Bible's teachings. As i see it Fiji will always be the tin pot of the Pacific unless we accept each other as fellow human beings and start looking at each others strengths instead of our weakness and harnessing that strength to better our nation. The day we have a multiracial party that is elected with a landslide victory with majority votes coming from all races that is the day is will celebrate the birth of a new nation. Until then we are doomed to live under the governance of one idiot after another and ultimately the people will deserve the government they get.

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  27. Anon@4.59pm share your hope; let us work to find the people who can lead viti with fairness and justice. is it time for us to look at a woman or women/wimmin to lead

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  28. Interesting how Qarase group share similar trait of smooth talk and thieving. I refer to the FRU bunch who broke every rule in the book with their infamous Raffle fiasco. Dumb salesman Gavoka, smooth, deceptive Keni and loud & dumb Kenneth Zinck, who by the way will be charged for stealing from the United Club.

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  29. Anon @4.59
    Evil in your words straight from the evil pits of hell.
    Your words say it all. Evil, filth, sewer, shit. Your parents must be very proud of their seed.

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  30. Anon @ 8.57am, Dr Mere Samisoni and Ro Teimumu/Roko Tui Dreketi do not belong to the same league. Dr Samisoni has genuinely worked hard to get where she is while Ro Teimumu did so by virtue of birth and connection to the ruling establishment. Ro Teimumu needs a dose of wisdom to learn that a paramount chief is never divisive as she has been for Rewa. Pity though, the people aren't taking notice and continuing to fratenize with the Bainimarama Government regardless. Meanwhile, she continues to live in idol-land supported by a bunch of liumuri who make fun of her to the people, behind her back!

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  31. BUT it was not Jai Ram Reddy but it was the Great Council of Chiefs who gave peaceful multiracial Fiji when they extended the reservation of political parties above 10% to be in cabinet making it winner does not take it all!

    Where then does JRR become the statesman - rather the GCC but Qarase failed to follow it when he came to power through agriculture scam and was controlled by handful of some powerful lords from GCC.

    This coup is not about us and them or Indians & Fijians. BUT one that is probably to sort those undercover few that were controlling SDL from outside.

    The outside forces.

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  32. @anon 11.45am

    suggest you read anon 8:57am again. Comment was reply to Keep the faith 10:13am, not a comparison of Dr and Roko.

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  33. Sorry Anon @ 5.52pm. Good night.

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  34. mươi chín đạo kim sắc thân ảnh ra khỏi hàng, xếp ở trước Nhạc Hạo, cùng với Nhạc Hạo là một trăm người.

    Lúc này khí tức của bọn họ liền trở nên tràn ngập, bốn trăm người còn lại và các vị trưởng lão đều cảm thấy khác thường và kỳ quái.

    - Hôm nay, đội hộ vệ Kim Long sẽ cho các ngươi biết, phạm vào Nhạc gia, bất luận là ai cũng giết không tha.
    dongtam
    mu private
    tim phong tro
    http://nhatroso.com/
    nhac san cuc manh
    tổng đài tư vấn luật
    http://dichvu.tuvanphapluattructuyen.com/
    văn phòng luật
    tổng đài tư vấn luật
    dịch vụ thành lập công ty
    http://we-cooking.com/
    chém gió
    trung tâm ngoại ngữ
    Nhạc Hạo xoay người ở trên không trung rồi tiếp tục nói.

    Ngay sau đó chín mươi chín đạo thân ảnh còn lại cũng hét lên, toàn thân bọn họ đều tràn ngập sát khí, đội hộ vệ Kim Long chính là thực lực trung thành nhất của Nhạc gia, một trăm người này chính là một trăm người mạnh nhất của đội hộ vệ Kim Long, thực lực yếu nhất cũng đạt tới cửu tinh Đấu Tôn.

    Cảm thấy khí tức trên người của một trăm người này, Hắc Ám Thần Điện cùng với Tam Đại thú

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