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Author Topic: I don't want to be chosen...
Richard Dey
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Oops. Wasn't finished.

The reason why The Country Club is emblematic of the question very much at hand is that the US is the 1st country I know where immigrants were allowd to write their own social contracts. Take the Amish. Take Watts and the Transmission and Little Havana. Take the Mafia for cripes' sake. As long as the invaders don't continue to disturb their landing fields, they can run their own lives in their own ways and never integrate at all if that's what they prefer.

But one doesn't immigrate from Patagonia to the Back Bay and expect to be invited to The Harvard Club the following day.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I think many minorities sort of panic at the point of assimulation. They're afraid of losing themselves."

We've yet to devise an 'Esperanto culture' into which one can transcend without feeling one has lost one's roots. (It's not hard to see why Jews are especially attached to their cultural foundation when for so long the cultures into which they were assimilating themselves would regularly turn on them and exile or execute them.)

A de facto esperanto culture is brewing -- Chinese Coca-Cola, et cetera -- but in a time when everywhere and everyplace is in transformative flux, when urban sprawl is the landscape du jour, when indigienous cultures are reduced to formaldehyde specimens, when the most memorable indigienous people of my generation were a phony Philippino tribe called the Tasaday, who proved to be a mock-up neolithic tableau vivant evoking paradise lost in order to protect their land from development and, it would seem, to tangentially further certain interests of one Ferdinand Marcos (although this is a vague recollection on my part).

In such incessant and increasing transformation as the blade of the bulldozer grows wider and taller, cultural roots pull strongly. Or is it just that we feel the strain of pulling ourselves up by our roots?

"(1) The Irish of Boston were still complaining loudly in 1978 about how Yankees were keeping the Irish downtrodden and oppressed. The Irish took Boston in 1878. They'd controlled the city for a century. It's not real suffering but a kind of ersatz pain; it's a comforting self-delusion."

Funny. Being raised under a south side Chicago Irish Catholic stepfather whose parents had emigrated from Ireland in the nine-teens, in a city whose most famous mayor, Richard Daley was also Irish Catholic, and whose famous airport -- O'Hare -- was named after the son of an Irish gangster associate (it's an interesting tale ), it was obvious that the Micks were doing OK. But they sorely recalled a) abysmal treatment at home that ultimately derived from Brotish overlords) and b) being despised as 'white niggars' a century before.

"We should focus on why we rock than on why woe is (was) us."

Yea mon! George Gershwin and Oiveeng Berlin are way easier to get your groove on to than Victor Frankl (whom I admire very much, thank you kindly).

"BTw, you know who speals fluent Yiddish despite being of Jamaican descent?"

Belafonte?

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velcro
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Colin Powell.

It's all in the attitude. You can consider yourself "chosen" to be a good example without actually being superior. You can remember the centuries of persecution and redouble your efforts to be good to others, without constantly throwing it in people's faces.

It seems people are blaming "Jews" for the bad behavior. Obviously some Jews do it, some don't. Some try to get attention, some don't. Jews are people like everyone else.

But as someone already said, until Israel, there was no safe haven, and that made Jews's situation unusual, if not unique.

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Jesse
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Officially, not unique.

Plenty of other persecuted groups had "homelands" that were occupied by others and far less safe than the places they done run off too. It's difficult to call that "safe haven".

No people, unfortunately, ever get to have a safe haven. There's always someone with a large stick ready to bonk you on the head for the crops in your field or the shiney gold stuff underneath it.

Is suffering somehow more noble if you're doing it in someone else country?

Jews have done an excellent job of recording a history that helps to unify them and reinforce their cultural values. More impressively, they've been able to re-interpret their own narrative repeatedly, allowing them to survive and even prosper at times in vastly different societies while retaining a cultural identity.

The thing is, in dealing with the Maximum Suffering argument, few other peoples have maintained a 2,700 year history (and, uh, sorry folks, what comes earlier than that is at best legend, and lagely myth) of all the major events that have affected them.

Some folks managed to get subjegated and slaughtered by almost as many different groups without ever even leaving home! Ever take a good look at just how wonderful life has been for the Slavs since...oh...about...forever?

If you think being a Jew in Medieval "christian" Europe sucked...put yourself in the shoes of a Heretic. If you think being a Jew under the Caliphate sucked...imagine yourself an Idol Worshiper (now, that's a real short imaginative exercise).

What I can't understand, and probably never will, is the idea of "owning" suffering by inheritance. I'm not in any way a better or more deserving person because my Great-Grandparents fled Budapest, or because my Grandmother was spit on in the streets of Philidelphia, or because some of her family died in the Holocaust.

There's a lot I don't get about that sort of thing, I suppose. I'm the guy who isn't proud to be an American...and wouldn't be proud of winning the Lottery.

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velcro
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Sorry, my statement was ambiguous. By "if not unique", I meant to say it is not unique. Like "Mount Everest is the tallest mountain, if not the most challenging", as opposed to "Mount Everest is one of the tallest, if not the tallest mountain, in the world."

I still think it is unusual to have a national group without a homeland. Heretics and idol worshippers don't have a national identity. They never had their own country.

Suffering is not more noble in someone else's country. It is more frightening and hopeless when you have no homeland to retreat to.

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Jesse
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I've got to stop agreeing with people.

Especially emphatically.

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Richard Dey
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This is all very interesting, having been party to the social revolutions of the 1960-1980s. In those explosive days, the ranking of the hierarchy of the oppressed was everything to the movements involved, within and without.

Sammy Davis Jr made a lot of money being a one-eyed-negro-jew despite that fact that he was really only a gangster.

Velcro brings up the issue of sovereignty; it is in that context specifically that at least some of us have agreed, no land belongs to anybody but to those who can hold it.

The Injuns bear sovereignty to America by descent of 1st settler, Europeans bear sovereignty to America by conquest. In that light, the Jews bear sovereignty to Israel by conquest -- but by divine right to Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, and much of Iraq. The present claim is by conquest ratinalized on divine right.

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RickyB
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velcro - the Roma.
Oh, and full points for Powell [Big Grin]

Richard - you're talking out of your ass again. And just after I agreed with you on another thread, too...

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Richard Dey
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Cripes, RB, and here I agree with you [Frown] !
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kenmeer livermaile
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So, these two talking asses walk into a bar...
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kenmeer livermaile
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"I still think it is unusual to have a national group without a homeland. "

That's how the refugee Tibetans feel (among other things): unusual. That's how Jews felt (among other things) for two millennia: unusual.

But not unique.

[ October 20, 2006, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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Richard Dey
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No, I don't think it's that unusual. The Romany haven't been home for millennia.
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kenmeer livermaile
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The unusualness I referred to, Richard, was based on the word 'nationality'. Although etymologically, it is srictly a genetic term, sharing the same root as 'natal', i.e., "born".

But since, oh, Napoleon, it has meant an hybridization of people/land.

Thus France is French, and Germany is German, while Romany is... wherever it can get by.

That's all.

Refugeeism is, sadly, increasingly usual in our time.

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RickyB
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Richard -
"The present claim is by conquest ratinalized on divine right."

How many times to I have do tell you that Zionism is not based on religion, but on history?

[ October 20, 2006, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Richard Dey
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RB: And the history isn't based on religion? [Confused] In short, RB, you have never demonstrated this claim to my satisfaction. My pal Chaim Brodsky, who is about as Jewish as you are, says that religion, specifically the Jewish religion, is the fons et origo of the Jewish claim to statehood.

Oz: I knew what you meant, and I wasn't disagreeing except insofar as Tortola calls itself "a nation", has a "national flag", a "national prayer", and a "national anthem". Since Napoleon, the term has seriously degenerated.

And cripes! Don't go telling the Basques, the Dauphinaise, and the Bretons that they're "French" [Eek!] . It would be like calling the Welsh and Scots "English", or Canadians "Americans".

Cripes, the term 'nation' has become so watered down it's become meaningless. Even the term 'nation of Israel' has been referred to anybody and everybody with Jewish 'blood' by Jews.

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Jesse
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"How many times to I have do tell you that Zionism is not based on religion, but on history?"

Yours is Ricky, but Zionism comes in more brands and flavors than ice cream.

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Everard
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Yeah, and most of em are a-religious brands. And most zionists aren't religious.
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RickyB
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No, Richard. No more than a Frenchman's right to France is dependent on the fact that religion was once so integral to France, that its king was known as "His Most Catholic Highness".

Jesse - not a question of flavors, but of sequence. Although the religious stream of Zionism was there from the very beginning, in practice the men and women who came to Israel before 1948 were overwhelmingly not religious and did not view their Zionism through religion. Zionism in its very essence was a rebellion against religion in favor of a temporal approach.

Since 1967, many religios have hopped on the bandwagon. But the original idea was defiantly non-religious.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Since Napoleon, the term has seriously degenerated."

Dere goes duh nationhood...

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kenmeer livermaile
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RB's got a point. The traditional Jewish approach to the problem of diaspora and the concept of the Holy Land and return thereto were religiously treated. Then guys like Herzl et al started thinking POLITICALLY.
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Jesse
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Oh, I know darn well that the Zionist movement of 1880's through 1940s was mostly a seccular nationalist movement, no more religiously motivated than say the Basque movement. Sure, Basques are all Catholic and that's part of their national usness, but it sure ain't the basis of their claims.

Heck, plenty of them settlers were godless seccular communists, and a few were even Communists (I still like you Ev).

I tripped on Rickys "is" 'cause it wasn't a was.

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velcro
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Ricky,

Yup, Roma, and a few others (some Native Americans?) Unusual, but not unique. And if you care to come up with a few more examples, I may even cave on calling it unusual. [Smile]

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RickyB
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no, unusual it definitely was, in the total unwillingness to allow assimilation. There have been other examples, but few. The Cagots in the Pirineans.
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Jesse
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Ricky.....

Not total unwillingness everywhere, mostly in Europe. Plenty of Jews converted to Islam, and got as assimilated as any non-Arab Muslims.

The whole idea of assimilating while retaining a seperate identification and religion is kinda new for everybody, not just Jews.

That doesn't mean I think Jews should have bowed to the whole "adopt our religion or get taxed as Dhimmi and suffer all these other hardships" deal, but they did have the option.

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javelin
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quote:
Not total unwillingness everywhere, mostly in Europe. Plenty of Jews converted to Islam, and got as assimilated as any non-Arab Muslims.
That seems like a weird statement to me. Jews also had the choice to be assimilated in Europe by converting to Christianity. And many took it - some did so as a cover, and some did so quite seriously.

I'm not sure I'm understanding what you are saying here.

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Richard Dey
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RB:

I still don't get your 'logic' on this issue, RB. Are you suggesting that -- with a wave of your wand -- the Old Testament (which is so recent) can be dereligionized?

This is the dualism argument we've having, now, for years; Judaism is a religion but Jews are not religious. I still don't get it -- nor do any Jews I know.

Is this the it is what I want it to be when I want it be something else argument?

Until that is explained, I would state flatly that nobody has a claim to Palestine except the Palestinians who have always been there, apparently even before Europeans, Asians, and Americans trampled over them on the way to newer and better venues. Everybody but Africans have used the urinals in Palestine on their way to someplace else -- including the Jews.

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Jesse
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Not so much, Jav.

In Christian Europe, "Jewishness" was something seen as hereditary (at least by the time of Reconquista) and converts were constantly accused of secretly remaining Jews (some were, some weren't).

The mere fact of Jewish ancestory or suspected Jewish ancestory was enough to get you tortured during the inquisition.

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Richard Dey
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And ...?

The issue here is not what Christians thought (they still can't); the issue here is what the Jews thought and and what they did about it. Did they believe all those centuries that they had a god-given right to Palestine or not? Have I been misled into believing that no majority of Jews in history held any claim on the property -- until, of course, with the fall of the Turks and a window of opportunity, suddenly they remember that ancient promise?

Gah! People don't need land to a nation anymore. Landlordship is international and nationalism is in cyberspace. And that phrase "sacred dirt", used by somebody here, is bloody appropriate! Well, wild pigs contaminate the holiest of places and weediest of garden patches. None of that hocus-pocus mesmerizes me!

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Jesse
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Depends on what you mean by believing they had a god-given right to that land, Richard...

An awful lot of them (as ussual, anyone who thinks I'm talking out my butt feel free to join in) believed that at some point God would give them a messiah who would restore them to their Kingdom. An awful lot of them thought they ought to wait for that messiah to show up.

In a sense, Nationalism/Zionism flies in the face of a couple thousand years of religious tradition.

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RickyB
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Yes, Richard. That's exactly what I'm saying.

It's my history, not my present. Just like the Frenchman can relate to the exploits of Saint Louis or of Louis the 14th on a historical level (This is what my ancestors were up to) while sharing stunningly little of the same world-view.

Can you dig it?

Now I know you're partial to the kind of historical revisionism that seeks to disprove anything and everything in the good book. I'm not averse to a modicum of that myself. In fact I currently have a column on an Israeli website about Jewish history, in which I totally annoy all kinds of stupid nationalists who don't know shyt and believe school-dogma narratives with plot holes the size of Texas.

However, the old testament is broadly accurate, historically, insofar as we have been able to verify.

Judaism is a nation, which for 1800 years or so had been defined by its religion, due to the fact that it was denied political expression (save for short episodes here and there).

That many Jews are not religious is a bit bleedin obvious, innit guv?

Now, the Palestinians have NOT always been there, and Jews weren't just passing through. They didn't rule here while maintaining a main base elsewhere. Not 3200 years ago, not 2500 years ago and not now.

To be continued in a sec.

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RickyB
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quote:
An awful lot of them (as ussual, anyone who thinks I'm talking out my butt feel free to join in) believed that at some point God would give them a messiah who would restore them to their Kingdom. An awful lot of them thought they ought to wait for that messiah to show up.

In a sense, Nationalism/Zionism flies in the face of a couple thousand years of religious tradition.

Yes! This is what I've been explaining. That was precisely the revolution of Zionism. Zionism was the classic "fock you, Jo-bu, I do it myself!" movement.

** ED to change the penultimate "Zionism" from the erroneous "Judaism"

[ October 28, 2006, 02:39 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Jesse
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Erm.....

Depends Ricky...some of them Palestinians are most likely descended from folks that have, for all intents and purposes, always been there. Of course, some of them Jews are too.

As far as the old testemant being history, it depends on which books you're talking about. There never was any large scale captivity in Egypt, for instance. At least, there's no seperate confirmation of it, and no record of Egypt much doing that sort of thing.

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RickyB
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Some, but not most.

As for the old testament - I didn't say there's independent confirmation of everything. But there is for a quite lot and for enough that you get the idea it wasn't made of whole cloth way after the fact.

Besides, the exodus story is what they call "credible due to going against interest". Who *invents* a national ethos of having been enslaved?

I mean, before they found the Shiloah (Silwan) water duct, people didn't believe the mention of that either.

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Jesse
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Some folks have been known to exagerate from time to time.

Egypt used to hire what we would call "contract labor" from neighboring people, ussually for a set period of time. Perhaps some early Hebrews *DID* toil in Egypt (shard of pottery found in Egypt, in a workmans camp, with an inscription of part of a psalm on it, around 1,000 bc if memory serves) and did go to Caanan when they left. Perhaps they even were led by some apostate former egyptian priest or scribe.

A million people sure didn't roam the sinai for 40 years [Smile] The egyptians sure didn't lose a million slaves or suffer the death of all their first born without leaving a trace of a record.

Depending on how much of that story was written or re-written during babylonian captivity, and became an alagory for it, a tale of resistance claiming that "We've suffered worse before, and God has delivered us before, so keep faith" well...it's pretty easy to understand.

The Philistines/Filistin/Palestinians of Gaza have a pretty darn good case that at least some of their ancestory stretches back before anyone ever heard of old Moses, but who can really say how much of it?

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Besides, the exodus story is what they call "credible due to going against interest". Who *invents* a national ethos of having been enslaved?"

Mythotheological historians don't think, like normal folks do, in terms of racial or national prestige. Who invents tales of being smote by the One Almighty God for being unredeemably wicked?

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RickyB
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And indeed, Gaza has never been a Jewish town. It's within the "promised borders", but we never ever ran that town, even when we ruled it. It was always a foreign place [Smile]

Ken - then how come other peoples from the same period didn't do it? [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Ken - then how come other peoples from the same period didn't do it?"

Don't know but I note that Judaism was a unique and revolutionary religion at the time, yes? Monotheism, prophets invoking the will of Yahweh to make moral points.

I don't have a horse in the race of Egyptian captivity verification. I just note that religious codices as history don't act like other forms of history. It's an issue of apochrypacy (is such a void pawsubble?) but of style. Poetic license takes on an entirely new scope when one is invoking the intrusion of an Almighty Being from the Beyond into historical records.

One could also point to this as part of the reason why Yahweh is still around as the Being meant by the Tertragrammton, and Jehovah, and Allah, while Moloch is no more than a bad taste in the furnace mouths of long lost brass idols...

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Jesse
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Not a whole lot of other literate peoples had a huge percentage of their population-and more importantly, nearly all of their educated and literate population-carted off into captivity in a foriegn land, Ricky.

The "This happened before and this is how we got through it" myth doesn't have much of a reason to come to be without that rather rare event.

If you're starting off with tales about how a group of your people came bearing a monothiestic revelation out of Egypt a few hundred years ago, and the hardships they suffered along the way, why would you not alter that story to make it more similar to current hardships?

It seems to me almost unavoidable.

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