May 19, 2008

Good Advice for Bad Muslims

Filed under: Blogroll — mariahussain @ 3:51 pm

The traditional Muslim “all or nothing” approach to marriage is holding many men and women back from succeeding in life and having the self-confidence necessary to compete in today’s rat race. It is simply very draining to keep your virginity past the age of 20 and yet, a 20 year old man cannot support a wife and family unless he moves them in with his mother and father. It’s not only about money but someone being there for them on a regular basis. If this generation is going to succeed emotionally we will have to get over the American taboo of adults living with their parents. Obviously that means we need parents that are cool enough to live with, so we don’t have to run away from abuse.

One very concrete reason that Jewish Americans do better than non-Jews on many levels is because they don’t waste decades of their life feeling “uncomfortable” and emotionally frantic from lack of sex. Jewish parents actually push their children to become sexually active in a long term but not necessarily permanent relationship as soon as they reach puberty. This has historical reasons – Jewish law has a very strong taboo against masturbation and even considers wet dreams to be a sin. The behavior of Jews used to be early marriage, divorce, remarriage and sometimes more than two marriages. The idea was that the opposite sex is there to serve your needs so that you can then concentrate on more important things. Nowadays it is even more likely for a rich Jewish people concerned about lineage to marry young and then commit serial adultery, with adulterous relationships lasting for years and years. You may not like their lifestyle but the fact is that they are not walking around feeling uncomfortable.

Muslims should think about their options especially if they are Shiite. Shiites are the only religion in the world where the cultural practice is actually less permissive than what the religious scholars allow. God made it so easy for people to marry. All you have to do is make an oral contract and give her what she wants as a gift. “Save yourself from hellfire if only by half a date.” A man is allowed to contract a temporary marriage with a non-virgin woman such as a single mother or a widow. If they fall in love they can always get married forever. The imams are constantly advising the young people of Iran and in America to just make that contract before you fall into bed. Then you are not sinning. And yet, the Muslims are so “embarrassed” of sex that they would rather commit a sin than discuss intentions.

As someone who has had four children I recommend women marry young and get the baby part of your life over with before you are 30 because boy is it tiring. A 19 year old does much better on three hours of sleep than a 37 year old. Plus, women in their twenties don’t really enjoy sex as much as women in their 30s. So enjoy your thirties. Don’t save all the dirty diapers for your 30s because that is when you really need a good adult conversation and actually enjoy focusing and working on your goals. In your 20s it’s all about a woman trying to figure out where she belongs and who she can latch on to in order to get a position in society. I would say just let her get married at age 15 to a nice guy who is around 30 so she doesn’t have to waste the next 20 years trying to find herself in various pursuits.

And likewise, a young man who cannot afford to support a family should find himself an older woman who doesn’t “need” him to feel validated but would enjoy him and he could give her a little financial stability by giving her gifts on a regular basis. Only a woman who has her own friends and knows how to be independent can be safe with a man under the age of 30. But again, just be honest. Commit for one month, or six months, or one year. No broken hearts that way. You can still be friends forever. When a couple promises each other “forever” and it turns out temporary, that is where the anger comes in. Because the people feel let down and deceived and hate each other for the betrayal. The difference between fornication and temporary marriage is that fornication is based on misleading by implying future intentions that are sadly not realized, while temporary marriage allows you to come into the relationship blessed, and to exit the relationship blessed, always on good terms with each other.

The real question for most women though is how to attract a lifelong mate. Most of us would prefer a mate to a temporary lover. But nothing you learn in school or watch on TV gives you any instructions on how to get a guy to look at you and think, “She’s the one I want to marry.” And men don’t always realize that usually the nice girls are the ones that are too shy to approach. So how do women make themselves approachable to marriage minded men?

Basically you want to send out the message of “femme.” So wear a dress, earrings, whatever makes you feel pretty. If you wear a shawl either on your head or your shoulders it gives the appearance of “old fashioned traditional woman.” That is the key. Having soup simmering in the kitchen is always a plus (so you can invite him to taste it). Do not walk around in sportswear or anything androgynous. Pay attention to your posture. I’m totally serious – that is what makes guys think you are a lady. If a man looks at you, look down immediately but a tad too slow and deliberate. For some reason religious men never fail to fall for that one. And that is usually what you want if you are looking for a breadwinner for your future children. The next thing is to start working on your embroidery.

Whatever skill you have in textiles – knitting, crocheting, patchwork, or even just mending: do it in public. Just sit there in the cafe working on your sweater or lay out a nice blanket under a tree and start working on your needlepoint. Do not pay attention to anyone else. Trust me, a man will approach. If you can play a musical instrument, go to a wooded area like a park and just play your song – again, ignoring everyone. You will inspire devotion in the onlooker. The key is to be looking down and not at them. That is what makes women seem less scary to men.

So that is my advice of the day. Go forth and be fruitful now!


May 18, 2008

Family Planning in Islam

Filed under: Blogroll, Interfaith, Islam, Uncategorized — mariahussain @ 6:46 pm

“In every bed, there is a promise.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Yesterday I was reading a commentary in Tariq Nelson’s blog talking about Fatherhood that just boggled my mind. Mind you, these were mostly Muslims participating in this discussion. One brother was talking about women who are looking for baby daddies to get them pregnant so they can force him to send them a check for child support for the rest of his life, and he complained about these women using the money to get their hair done or to finance their future lung cancer. He was trying to imply that bad women didn’t deserve child support. It was like no one ever told him how babies are made.

The politicians like to talk about “freedom of choice.” They are talking about abortion. The assumption is that if a woman chooses not to have an abortion, then the blame, and thus, the financial and emotional responsibility for the child, rests squarely on her shoulders. I’ll never forget my Italian teacher in college giving us undergrads a lecture on morals. She said something I’ve never heard anyone say out loud. “When you choose to have sex, you have made that choice.” God bless her for her bravery to speak out in the face of the victimization and oppression of women and children!

In Europe it has been the norm for at least a century for a marriage to occur after “accidental” pregnancy. Marrying the woman who served as the incubator for your sperm is the normal biological way that moderately decent men have sustained the future of the human race. And just because it was an accident doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. In Islam we believe that life begins before eternity. There is nothing that happens that was not written by Allah. If that soul came into being, there is no shifting blame because you didn’t want to be a father or because that was not the ideal woman you wanted to be stuck with. There isn’t even the question of whether or not you love her. You just marry her. My great-uncle married his wife after impregnating her in East Germany. They were married for decades and after she died, the deaf and nearly blind old man slowly made his way every day to her grave to keep it tidy. When I told him I had converted to Islam, all he wanted to know was if the Quran says you will be with the one you loved, after you die. I said of course. So if you look at European society it is clear that feeling a little rushed into marriage does not negate the possibility of eternal rewards.

Do these American men have any idea how many poor yet honest men in Asia, Africa, South America, even North America, are living without sex for months and years at a time, often going to another city for work so they can send money home to their families? Can you imagine the terrified lifestyle of a typical Afghani woman existing on a couple bags of rice and lentils, taking care of her children alone, in the middle of a violent war, waiting for her husband to come back with some groceries in a few months? Many families who are blessed to be together are very much together. As in, living in one room. Sharing a house with their siblings and their spouses and their children. Many families, even in Europe, live in a one room apartment. During the night, the living room becomes the bedroom.

If you have never witnessed childbirth, let me explain something to you. It really hurts. It turns your body inside out. For a woman to choose to let a man put his “gushing fluid” inside her is the voluntary personal choice to go through an experience that feels about as pleasant as having a bus roll over your body very very slowly. Pregnancy is a time of daily nausea to the extent that if she were a man, she would choose not to work that day, and needing to take constant care to get enough protein to prevent oneself from fainting. If there is no food immediately available there is agony. Childbirth can last for three days. So any man that wants to complain about sending an ex-lover $300 or even $3000 a month should think about for whom he would willingly take that kind of pain and hardship. It takes a woman three years to get back the full use of her body after having a baby, and she actually loses the strength of her eyesight and teeth. So what a man might have thought was simply a romp in the hay for her is a life investment. There is no such thing as “accidentally” getting someone pregnant.

In Islam, men are the maintainers of women. There is none of this weird American marital squabbling about who pays what. Motherhood is a full time job. She carries the child in her womb for 9 months and then nurses the child for two years, sacrificing her calories, her strength, and her free time. A mother cannot come and go as she pleases. She cannot fall asleep whenever she wants. And it’s not a question of whether she wants to do it or not. Women are biologically programmed to suddenly wake up on emergency alert if her baby so much as coughs in his sleep. Men crash out and just sleep like logs. There is a real danger in letting a man have full responsibility for a baby because babies deprive the caretaker of REM sleep. People who are deprived of sleep for a prolonged period of time spend a lot of energy merely “coping.” Somebody has to get the bills paid while the other person maintains the living standard of the home. That is why parenting is a shared responsibility. There is no burden on the woman to work outside the home in addition to the full time job of raising a child in a clean and safe environment. The least a man can do is pay all her expenses. If he cannot afford to buy his family a house, his wife and the kids can share one mattress like the majority of people in the world. Even if a man is sleeping outside, he can put a tarp over his family’s head. Because every soul born is someone that God commanded to be born and a man must take full responsibility for his family. Anything a woman spends on household expenses is rewarded by God the same as donating to charity, while anything a man does to help clean the house is rewarded by God as a charity.

In Islam, if the marriage does not work out, the children are the man’s full financial responsibility. He has to keep them alive – not just send their mother a $300 “donation” per month. Someone has to keep the utilities on and a father must do everything he can to find a way to make sure his kids’ mother is home for her children. If you don’t think you are ready for the financial and emotional responsibilities of parenting, don’t have sex. Or if you must do it, then use a condom. And always marry the woman first. Be clear before you touch her if you consider this to be a permanent commitment or a temporary relationship. If it’s the latter, tell her how long you are willing to commit: in advance. Whatever you do with her, do it in God’s name. And take ownership of your own sperm. The benefit of a prenuptial marriage contract, even just handwritten, is that it will have a date on it and the courts will honor it in case of a dispute.

Women have to start taking themselves more seriously. You can tell within ten minutes if a guy wants to get married someday or not. If he does, then the question is if it’s you he wants to marry and if you would want to marry him. If he doesn’t want to marry you in God’s name then it means he doesn’t want to take responsibility for your children. So don’t be a dimwit. You can figure this out in advance. If all hints fail, just ask, “So, how many kids do you want?” on the first date. Motherhood is a full time career worthy of a six digit income. Make it worth your while. Find a man who will do everything he can to find a way to love the mother of his children, provide them with food and a roof over their heads, and if they cannot work things out he would be aware of what it costs to raise a child. This is what you need to be thinking about on your first date. Does the man value his offspring? Does he have a sense of personal honor?

There are two things that will tell you if a man is going to put his money where his you-know-what is. Those things are religious accountability and racial pride. While neither of these things are guarantees of marital bliss, they do imply the idea that a man must provide for his children, not only out of some ambiguous and fluctuating emotional attachment but because they are his flesh and blood, part of his lineage. Such a man is looking for a woman who has the qualities he wants in his descendants. He is always thinking long term about how to put his DNA to proper use. The sure sign of a no good man is a man who just lets things happen. Some men think that a crime is less criminal if it’s done in the heat of passion. He will try to act like he didn’t realize that he put his sperm into another human being. The act of taking off your clothes is a deliberate act. Don’t do it without getting married first.

May 14, 2008

Ballad of Joseph Cohn

Filed under: Blogroll, Zionism — mariahussain @ 8:06 pm


From behind the veil,
she avoided my eyes
but she was precious
in my sight.

I stood close to her
and I feared her
when she didn’t
run away.

She entered my dreams,
and she told me all her secrets,
which I pretended to understand.

She locked herself into
a room in my heart
She hijacked my world
and tore it apart
She was the only one
I ever wanted to love
and I know I will never
see her again.

She begged me to love her
from the bottom of her heart
and from the bottom of my heart
I loved her.

But I had to build a wall,
it was second nature to me.
I let her die on the
other side.

She locked herself into
a room in my heart
She hijacked my world
and tore it apart
She was the only one
I ever wanted to love
And I fear I will never
see her again.

Created for me
since the day that she was born,
she couldn’t help but love me
more than my own mother.

She wanted me to see
that we were just the same,
for she would never
love another.

She wished I would believe
in heaven above
She brought me an olive branch
from a precious white dove
I was the only one
she ever wanted to love
and I guess I’ll never
see her again.

She wanted to relieve me
from the curse upon my forehead
and the burden that was
weighing on my soul.

She wanted me to keep her,
she wanted my protection.
She wanted to make a deal.

I wish I could believe in heaven above,
for she was the one I wanted to love.
I turned down a gift from a precious white dove
and I know I will never see her again.

She wanted me to believe
in our common destiny
but I guess I just must have
lost the dream.

I made believe I owed her nothing
while she washed my feet
with her tears, and I
continued to deny Jesus was real.

Still, she made herself into a slavegirl for me
She promised to make me the father of a tribe
A generous queen, she gave me everything,
for she dreamed I was her only one.

She told me that all of mankind
came from just one soul,
she said the Father chooseth
whom He willeth.

So I set her free
I just could not agree
I told her, “I’ll never
see you again.”

So hang me from the
blue and white ribbons on my tree
Because I died with her
when she died for me
and I should bulldoze my own house
for that I will never see her again.

So bulldoze my house upon my
Chosen family, then hang me
from the blue and white
ribbons on my daughter’s tree
Because I’d die for her
like she died for me
Knowing I would never see her again.

I regret I will never see her again.

May 6, 2008

78 drops of olive oil

Filed under: Anti-Zionism, Blogroll, Uncategorized — Tags: — mariahussain @ 9:07 pm

I finally took the Palestinian embroidered tablecloth to the drycleaners today. I was going to give it to my mother-in-law for Christmas. Every year I grudgingly drop a couple hundred dollars to buy presents for a holiday I don’t even celebrate. Last year I decided to order my gifts from the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund instead of squandering my money at Pottery Barn. I got a great shawl for my sister-in-law and a beautiful mother-of-pearl Bethlehem souvenir jewelry box featuring the Nativity Scene. I also got a pile of stuff I never even ordered, like a bottle of organic Palestinian olive oil, a handful of little wooden peace-dove pins, and a keychain reading “Bethlehem 2000,” which I recall they were hoping would be a big tourist event but the Israeli troops canceled Christmas that year. Hence, the leftover keychains, I suppose. There was also a stack of about 30 flyers about the Wall.

I was rather astonished when I received the package because the stamps were stuck all over the box in such a disorganized fashion that the post office was not able to stamp them. Later, I soaked the cardboard in water to get the stamps off so I could reuse them. They were the pretty blue and gold Eid Mubarak 41 cent stamps.

Furthermore, there was a strangely long handwritten message written on the packing slip signed “Riad Hamad.” I looked for it after I learned of his untimely demise but unfortunately I could not find it and I have no clear memory of what it said. I remember feeling strangely disturbed because of the tone of urgency with which the note asked me to let the world know what was happening to Bethlehem. A certain part of my brain asked, “What is wrong with him?” because most Islamic or Arabic relief agencies stick to glossy professional mailings free of personality. This charity worker seemed to really want me to know that it was Riad Hamad sending me these gifts from Palestine. I appreciated the gift items but was not sure why he seemed so urgently to feel that I should know his name.

I was even more astonished when I looked at the embroidered table cloth and saw that it had a faint round stain on it, as from a mug of tea.

The JCRC of Boston has hosted a website for years, entitled “MARRIAGE,” which ponders the question of what my husband and I discuss over dinner. So for all you silly Zionists out there here is your answer! I asked my husband if he knew Riad Hamad and he told me, “Sure, you met him too, at the Al-Awda conference.” It was one of our first dates when we were newly married. It was the day that Shaykh Yassin, Mufti of Jerusalem was murdered in his wheelchair by Israeli assassins in a helicopter. I heard him speak once, outdoors in downtown Cleveland during a rally for the release of our beloved brother Imam Jamil Al-Amin. I couldn’t understand anything he was saying since it was in Arabic but his voice kept cracking. He reminded me of an old Native American Indian chief begging us to save his people, who were being massacred.

I told Joachim, my husband, “Your friend at PCWF sent us a stained tablecloth. I paid $100 for that tablecloth.” He started laughing. “He sent you a used tablecloth?” We both cracked up. We decided not to ask for a refund since it was for charity but Joachim told me he’d email Riad to tease him about it. He never got around to emailing him though. (Men!)

Strangely, I was in such a rush to pack the family into the car to go to New Jersey for Christmas, that I actually forgot all the Christmas presents. It was totally embarrassing. But I remember thinking, there must be some reason that God didn’t want me to let go of those things, although I did send my sister-in-law the gorgeous black shawl with red embroidery.

When I saw the news report that Riad Hamad was brutally murdered, I immediately remembered his name. He was the weird guy who sent me the box of Christmas presents from Palestine. I saw his photo on the obituary and he did look familiar. He was someone with a strong and uninhibited personality. No wonder you could feel it just from the paper that he had touched. He was one of the few Muslims who could associate with secularists and leftist Jews and not compromise himself socially.

Last night, I engaged in an act of superstition. A dear friend of mine, aged 38, seems to be convinced that he will die at age 40 since his father died suddenly of heart failure at 40. He has spent most of his life praying and getting ready to pass on to the next world, in my opinion diminishing his joy in life. At one time I was committed to cheering him up. At this point I realized he is enjoying his symptoms.

I held the near empty bottle of Riad’s organic Palestinian olive oil upside down and said to God, “Tell me how many years he will live.” By the end of the 30s, I admit, it really did seem like time was running out. But it kept on slowly dripping until it reached 78. The last drop didn’t fall, it just hovered there until I got bored of standing there with my arm raised. I used my finger to wipe out the last bit. 78 years. It’s not forever, but it’s more than 40 years. Or, however old Riad Hamad was when he died.

This little event reminded me of when Ribhi Ramlawi, the owner of Jerusalem Garden in Ann Arbor, died. I used to work there. Upon hearing of his sudden death, one of the other waitresses, Amy, burst into the kitchen and brought out the vat of hommos that had been prepared for the coming day. She told us to eat, because this was the last hommos Mr. R. had ever made. His hommos was truly the best hommos I ever had in my life.

I was so relieved to hear Riad Hamad had an Islamic burial. Nothing feels quite as empty as a leftist funeral without prayers. The brother who washed his body said part of Riad’s brain was missing, as from a blow or a gunshot wound. I don’t know why someone would have wanted to do this to him. I do know that embroidery is a powerful force. I remember wearing my embroidered Palestinian shawl and playing “This Land is Your Land” on my fiddle in Highland Park, New Jersey. The older Zionists went sort of white and crossed to the other side of the street when they saw me, as if they had seen a ghost. The younger psychotic Zionists tried to interrupt me as I played my violin, and when that failed, they formed a circle discussing me. One of them asked me where I got my shawl. He demanded to know how I got into the Occupied Territories. I refused to tell him but in truth I got my shawl from the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund. As I continued to play old American and Klezmer songs on my violin on the street during that festival, even though they were too timid to approach me, some orthodox Jews sent their children to tell me how much they liked my violin playing. There was something so powerful, almost magical, about that Palestinian embroidery.

Now I know why God made me forget to bring the gifts from Bethlehem. He wanted me to have them. In the years to come, I may need them to remind me of why I am alive. What am I doing here. I am here to struggle for Allah. The owner of the drycleaners seemed to believe there was no doubt the tea stain could be removed. Maybe there is some hope for the life to come.

One thing I thought was so interesting about the JCRC commentary on my marriage was that Jonathon Haber compared me to Cleopatra. Many years ago an ex-fiance published a book of poetry in Italian, which includes a number of poems about me, one of which speaks of me swimming in the Mediterranean Sea at night, “naked as a Cleopatra.” And here I am, middle aged, and some Jew pens an apparently permanent online commentary about me, again referring to me as Cleopatra.

So I just wanted to mention something that I hope might mean something to Riad, if he can hear me out there, and all the Palestinians scattered in the world out there and beyond. I grew up in America, never feeling like I quite belonged here. My mother came here in search of feminism and my father came here in search of my mother. I always wanted to return to Europe. For most of my teenage years, that was what I planned to do. By the age of 20 I managed to charm a Swiss man into offering me his gold confirmation ring with his initial on it. His family owned land in Italy and I went to see it. Olive trees in a sandy orchard as far as the eye could see, and on the horizon, the speckled lights of the ancient city of Florence. The house was over 100 years old. He had been born there, as had his mother. It was beautiful. There was an oil painting of the Virgin Mary on the wall, and a terra cotta roof. Wine in barrels and olive oil and chickens running around in the yard. An ancient stone oven in the garden, where one could bake bread without overheating the house. The neighbors were old folks, drinking their grappa beneath the grapevines. Not too far away was his actual home in Switzerland, in the mountains, near crisp cold sparkling clean waterfalls and rivers that rushed through the dark green forests of the most beautiful region in the western world. His parents started fixing up the old house when they learned he had fallen in love with me, hoping for grandchildren, I suppose.

I just couldn’t go through with it though. America was my home, and I had already fallen in love with Islam. Europe, as beautiful as it was, seemed to me to be a place whose time had come and gone. Now it was just old folks enjoying the scenery, waiting to die, essentially. The churches all empty, the women’s wombs all barren. I invited him to join Islam, but he said he was just a simple village boy. He didn’t think he could be something as exotic as a Muslim. So I left him. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I left him behind for the sake of Allah (not that I’m that great of a Muslim or anything). I accepted to live in this ridiculous country, the ugly and cheap United States of America.


Now I know why because Riad Hamad reminded me. He wanted me to have those gifts to remind me of why I am alive and why I am going to die. What am I doing here. I am here to struggle for the sake of Allah. I am here to remind you that there are more important things than olive trees as far as the eye can see. There is more to life than rings of gold and even fresh eggs from the chickens in the yard. That thing that makes life go forward is purpose. God wants every person to have a purpose, yours to unfold the true potential of your soul’s longing. I would have been bored to death there. I need struggle.

And so do you. Because struggle is the essence of the seed which grows, simply to affirm its own self worth, and pushes its way through the darkness of the soil until it explodes, so to say, above the soil and becomes a flower, and then a fruit. That is what life is. You don’t get the flower and the fruit unless you go through that struggle of sheer hope that what what you are doing is the right thing, pushing your way through the darkness, searching for the Light, knowing it must be there.

All plants are Muslims so we have to learn the lesson from the plants. The Land is not the goal, it is a means. We struggle through the land, through our lives, through our every effort, because we are reaching for the Light. And the Eternal Light is the Nur of Allah.

I would rather be a Muslim in America than to own every olive tree in the Mediterranean. Because on the day that I die, that is the only thing that is going to matter.

I am so happy Riad has found that Light and he is so lucky to have died as a Shaheed. I envy him.
Please make me worthy of a death as honorable as that of Riad Hamad and give me Paradise as well.

To Allah belongs the Kingdom, and the Glory, forever.


by Cosimo Pieracci
Vita: Madre di Parole

Ma ora il tuo sguardo brilla di vino e fatica, sorridi.
Sei solo un’ombra nell’aria densa
di questa discarica di sabbia.
Esercizi di yoga accanto alla striscia d’argento
generosa carezza che luna
stende qui come su altri mari.
Io scrivo con gli occhi pieni
di zanzare e di sonno.
Vorrei addormentarmi,
farlo possibilmente senza doverti baciare;
Tu non chiedi nulla e nemmeno saetti
all’improvviso la tua lingua attraverso le mie labbra
cosi mentre parlo o sbadiglio:
il sorprendente bacio del camaleonte!
Ti stendi leggera, aspetti il sonno, lo ottieni.
Dovro ancora lottare a lungo contro posto o poco distante da li.
La mattina e un paradiso:
sono venute le rondini, il sonno ha spento i motorini
e la giostra, un cono di silenzionsi gabbiani attraverssa
il latte dell’alba dove ti bagni
nuda come una Cleopatra.
Vedo la tua nuca andare verso l’acqua,
entrare nel rumore della risacca, sparire.
Il tuo pube torna al nostro giaciglio proprio
prima che l’oro cominci a colare sui passi lunghi
si muti magicamente in azzurro.
Le lingue del mare si srotolano sulla spiaggia,
tra le zampe di quattro bastardi ubbidienti e felici,
facendo una piccola schiuma nell’orgasmo di leccare il mondo.
Comprendo le’estasi di cui parlavi ieri alla mi mente
stanca nel momento in cui tornavi a sdraiarti sul ventre.
…Cosi le nere ombre della notte si sdraiano caute
sulla sabbia, copiando per non essere scorte, le forme del mondo…
Quanto poco possono sul tuo corpo le mie mani ora che sai
la dolcezza con cui ti carezza il tuo immenso amante di zaffiro.

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