New front in the culture wars

Europe becoming a battleground again -- to preserve its values

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Celebrating a culture is one thing. Overwhelming another culture -- or demanding its subjugation -- is something else entirely.

Perhaps decades too late, European leaders are waking up to that realization today.

Mass migrations of Muslims to Western Europe over the years have raised the threat of "homegrown" terrorism in European capitals and created "ghettoes" of isolated and sometimes hostile enclaves that, in some cases, have taken over entire sections of cities.

It's not a healthy situation for the immigrants, as they remain poor, detached and unassimilated. Nor is it healthy for the particular nations -- as they play host to increasingly angry and often costly multitudes who add nothing of substance to the larger community.

The sad irony of multiculturalism run amok is that it endangers cultures: The nations of Western Europe are threatened with having their own cultures and values diluted or worse.

The results are obvious and troubling. Muslims in England burning the nation's flag, eschewing the long and storied traditions and laws of Britain, and the host nation embarrassed by itself: the very flying of the Union Jack has become controversial in some quarters, and Scotland Yard even banned officers from wearing it in 2009, until the policy became widely known.

Belatedly, Europeans are beginning to fight for their own cultures.

In east London, residents have fought a land-use permit for a mosque because it doesn't allow women to worship. And in speeches from England's David Cameron and Germany's Angela Merkel, lines are being drawn in the sand.

One report says mass migrations have led to "a growing minority that lacks basic language skills, isn't able to find a job and overburdens national welfare systems."

Merkel told a German audience last October that multiculturalism there "has failed, utterly failed." She got a standing ovation. A news report noted a study that said "more than 30 percent of people believed Germany was 'overrun by foreigners' who had come to Germany chiefly for its social benefits."

In his recent warnings about the excesses of multiculturalism, Cameron argued that immigrants should learn the language of the host country and immerse themselves in "elements of a common culture and curriculum."

Cameron urged his large Muslim population not to tolerate Islamic extremism in its midst, and said greater Britain must "confront, and not consort with" even " the nonviolent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values such as equality between sexes, democracy and integration."

"He wants his country to be a melting pot and not descend further into a mosaic," as one newspaper put it.

He's absolutely right. Our wildly varying cultures should be celebrated; most of them are beautiful, and the world's diversity is one of life's richest flavors. But what a tragedy if we allowed rampant immigration to make us all the same.

"The truth," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said recently, "is that in all our democracies we have been too preoccupied with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that welcomed them."

Do we really want to live in a world in which being French or English or German is only a label on a passport?

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usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/16/11 - 02:26 am
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There's a lesson here, but I

There's a lesson here, but I just can't seem to put it together....

Oh well. American liberals know how to make things work that European socialists have failed at.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 02/16/11 - 02:33 am
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Isn't it great?! A McDonald's

Isn't it great?! A McDonald's on every Motobahn! A Starbucks on every Strasse! We're exporting America everywhere! Even by force in some cases!

omnomnom
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omnomnom 02/16/11 - 02:40 am
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culture war? was that one

culture war? was that one declared too?

Rhetor
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Rhetor 02/16/11 - 08:51 am
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Sorry, guys, but bigotry is

Sorry, guys, but bigotry is not an new front. It's as old as the hills. Immigrants have swarmed over Europe for its entire history. And over the US for its entire history, in case you haven't noticed. The whole time, the previous group of immigrants insists on being bigoted against the newest group.

Runner46
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Runner46 02/16/11 - 09:10 am
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"New front in the culture

"New front in the culture wars" Isn't this what the big push for Diversity is all about in this country, Diversity? By embracing the Diversity model, where one's own language and culture are held as one's main objective without regard for anyone else's language and culture, the politicians, educators, and the news media have put the U.S. as a country on the road to oblivion. With the Europeans at the forefront, we can see that embracing Diversity leads to the annihilation of the host country's culture and language. If we in the U.S. want to keep embracing Diversity as our way of life, then we can expect the same adversity as Europe. If we want our country to be united, then we must only tolerate diversity and embrace a uniting philosophy, such as: One country, the United States of America; under one flag, the Stars and Stripes; with one language, English, for our national unity. Join us and accept our ways, or leave us to follow your own way. It's only human to reject those who are different, as we have seen in the development of this country. Acceptance of the newly arrived comes from the newly arrived moving toward the established culture. Only by adaptation will the newcomers be accepted. History shows us that it's part of human nature to be this way.

afadel
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afadel 02/16/11 - 09:15 am
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What is the purpose of this

What is the purpose of this xenophobic editorial? Is it to support in some way the slew of anti-immigrant legislation being considered in the Georgia legislature?

In the U.S., the largest number of immigrants are Christians from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America? Does the ACES view that as a threat in some kind of "culture war?"

Echo omnomnom Wednesday, Feb. 16 1:33 AM
culture war? was that one declared too?

The fanatic, xenophobic culture war proposed by the ACES will go as well as the war on drugs, the war on immigrants, the war on the poor and the war on terrorism.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/16/11 - 09:41 am
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afadel wrote: In the U.S.,

afadel wrote:

In the U.S., the largest number of immigrants are Christians from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America? Does the ACES view that as a threat in some kind of "culture war?"

I cannot speak for ACES. But as for myself, I do indeed view illegal immigration of Christians from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America as a culture war — and indeed another war the United States is losing.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/16/11 - 09:54 am
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I have nothing against

I have nothing against keeping extremist Muslims out of this country. I'd also get rid of some of the Holy Rollers including those people who knock on your door on Saturday mornings.

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 02/16/11 - 10:12 am
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Aren't you also in support of

Aren't you also in support of the austerity measures taken by some of these same governments? How do you expect these impoverished immigrants to react to that?

Chillen
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Chillen 02/16/11 - 11:31 am
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America is a melting pot.

America is a melting pot. People came here for years and assimilated into our culture, learned our language (ENGLISH!) & not only followed but agreed with our laws.

For the last several decades that has not been happening. We need to return to the melting pot concept and stop being so politically correct all the time. It's not racist, it's the way it needs to be. This is America. Not America with mini islam nations, mini hispanic nations, etc. inside our country.

We cannot have these mini-societies within our overall society. It will always lead to conflict. Additionally it leads to certain groups thinking its OK to do honor killings or to get a free pass on airport screening due to religious beliefs. This is America. It's not OK.

Melt in or go home.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 11:33 am
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The irony is that these

The irony is that these European nations embraced the immigration for selfish reasons: native populations are aging, and they need an influx of young workers to keep their economies and end-of-life care programs solvent.

Sorry, but if you want an army of Mini-Me's to supplement a standard of living you are no longer willing/able to work for, you better get to that cloning laboratory. Otherwise, deal with the fact that not everyone on the earth is you.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/16/11 - 11:34 am
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Thank you chillen for telling

Thank you chillen for telling the truth!!

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 11:42 am
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Chillen, do you seriously

Chillen, do you seriously believe the melting pot metaphor was a literal reality for all but the past few decades? Immigrants to the U.S. clumped up into enclaves and continued to practice their home cultures. Many of them never learned to speak English, but relied on their children to translate for them. Different regions of the U.S. had (and still have) dramatically different cultures as a result of this self-segregation. Conflicts between different ethnic groups within the U.S. were frequent. PC and attention to diversity haven't suddenly created these differences. They have always existed, and people have always self-segregated to be with those with shared values and cultural traditions. America as a literal melting pot in some glorious golden past is pure myth.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/16/11 - 12:11 pm
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Burn, maybe true, but IMO,

Burn, maybe true, but IMO, they were more like sub cultures. They were respecting the past but embracing the future and assimilating. I don't see that happening. Europe is evidence of what can happen.

Michael Ryan
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Michael Ryan 02/16/11 - 12:25 pm
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To answer Mr. Fadel, the

To answer Mr. Fadel, the American culture is not currently being overwhelmed as European nations are -- but yes, we are indeed concerned about rampant illegal immigration in the U.S. Immigration is problematic unless new immigrants immerse themselves and assimilate into the new culture. That cannot happen with illegal immigration. I've been the keynote speaker at several naturalization ceremonies, and it's the most beautiful thing you'll ever see: people of all ethnicities and religions choosing to become American, not simply moving here and remaining ensconced in their culture. It's also a rich part of America that all those cultures can be celebrated and shared here without subjugating the host culture. It's a beautiful tapestry, particularly celebrated each year in Augusta at Arts in the Heart.
But if another culture begins to demand that it be on an equal footing with the host culture -- such as implementation of sharia law -- then, you bet, we've got a European-style problem.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 12:32 pm
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"The very flying of the Union

"The very flying of the Union Jack has become controversial in some quarters, and Scotland Yard even banned officers from wearing it in 2009, until the policy became widely known.

Belatedly, Europeans are beginning to fight for their own cultures."
--------------------

Why do "pundits" feel they need to mislead people to engage in serious discussion of serious issues? I just don't get it. Here's the real story:

"The £1 badges, sold to raise cash for the British Legion and the Help for Heroes charity, fell foul of a blanket ban on non-regulation clothing."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1202882/Banned-police-Union-Flag...

They weren't banned as some sort of PC capitulation to diversity. They were banned because they weren't police issue. It would be the same thing if U.S. military members started to wear non-regulation fund-raising flag pins on their uniforms.

Preservation and protection of culture is a huge and difficult issue. No need to cheapen the debate with manipulative half-truths.

And as to the last question, "Do we really want to live in a world in which being French or English or German is only a label on a passport?" ... well, I wouldn't want cultural diversity to suffer for it, but WOW -- imagine how many families would have remained intact through the 20th century if French, English, and German were just labels, and not sufficiently antagonistic cultures to foment two World Wars ...

Michael Ryan
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Michael Ryan 02/16/11 - 12:37 pm
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By the way, folks, don't buy

By the way, folks, don't buy into the attempted diversion that this is about the Augusta Chronicle. These are three heads of state who are saying this.

Starvin Larry
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Starvin Larry 02/16/11 - 12:39 pm
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We do need immigrants in this

We do need immigrants in this country,what we do not need are illegal immigrants,who have already broken the laws of this country by sneaking accross our borders,demanding "civil rights" and free attorneys to represent them when they commit other crimes,free medical care,and to be considered the same as the legal immigrants who came here by following established procedures.
Legal immigration is needed in many fields,as there are zero US workers trained in some of them,and zero US workers willing to do the job duties in others.
The illegal immigrants,and those unwilling to assimilate into our culture/society are a problem,anyone who comes to this country,and expects to be treated the same as any US citizen needs to come here legally,learn to read,write,and speak English,and to follow the laws of THIS country,NOT Sharia law,NOT Mexican laws,NOT Afghani tribal laws,
if any immigrant,or class of immigrants can not do this-they need to GET OUT!

Starvin Larry
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Starvin Larry 02/16/11 - 12:43 pm
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"imagine how many families

"imagine how many families would have remained intact through the 20th century if French, English, and German were just labels, and not sufficiently antagonistic cultures to foment two World Wars ..."

The last time I checked the history books,niether world war was started by the French,or the English-the wars were fought due to one aggressor invading/declaring war on the others,and attempting to take over the respective countries.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 12:47 pm
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"It's also a rich part of

"It's also a rich part of America that all those cultures can be celebrated and shared here without subjugating the host culture."
---------------------
Okay, enlighten us on this one. I have lived all over this amazing country, and if you asked me to come up with a single "host culture", I'd be absolutely flummoxed. What is the "host culture"?

Again, I would argue that you are dealing with a myth. Do you mean a shared religion? Scores of religions are practiced in America. Do you mean a shared sense of history? How many American-born citizens are historically illiterate? Do you mean English as a common tongue? There are more English speakers outside of our borders than within our borders. Do you mean a shared natural heritage? America has so much regional and geographic diversity there is no such thing.

What we have is a shared Constitution and resultant Federal government. Immigration into America has not changed that Constitution, and there are no signs at present that any such thing would occur. The idea that Sharia will sneak into America, one of the world's most litigious countries, in direct contradiction to the Constitution, is patently absurd.

That a relentless lack of confidence and respect from certain quarters in the strength of the American Constitution is being sold as "patriotism" makes me think that in some circles, self-reflection is DOA.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 12:52 pm
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Starvin, I never said France

Starvin, I never said France and England started the war (although many historians view their contributions to the Treaty of Versailles as directly ANTAGONIZING Germany to a necessary war footing in round II). Who was the aggressor? Germany. Who were the aggressees? France and England (among others). Were the cultures in sufficient harmony to prevent war? Obviously not. Antagonistic cultures, World Wars, France, England, Germany. I stand by my comment.

afadel
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afadel 02/16/11 - 12:53 pm
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I recommend reading Outcasts

I recommend reading Outcasts United by Warren St. John to get beyond the limitations of the melting pot vs salad bowl idea of diversity. It's also a beautiful story, right out of Clarkston, GA, a small town outside of Atlanta.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/16/11 - 01:01 pm
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burninator. Justthefacts

burninator. Justthefacts answered for me. And yes, I do absolutely believe we were a melting pot. Sure immigrants clumped together but they respected America and America's customs, language and laws and they definitely did their best to assimilate into our culture - that's why they came here!

Not so with some of todays immigrants (legal or illegal).

They are using us for a wage (that they mostly remove from our economy and send home to their family) or they are using us as a way to spread their religion. I've got family in Europe. All I can say is that their immigrants (you know who they are) are causing all sorts of problems. This is my opinion sprinkled with facts.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 01:13 pm
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I think the reason this gets

I think the reason this gets me heated up is that, in essence, we are discussing government-mandated thought and behavior. If you don't want any influx of individuals from outside of your nation's borders, fine, seal them up. If you do allow that influx, ENFORCE YOUR LAWS. England has allowed arbitration committees to settle points of law in Muslim communities based on Sharia, not UK law. Huh? It's the UK. Obey UK laws. If they are not obeyed, enforce them. Make it abundantly clear upon entry to the country that religious law WILL NOT trump state law, and that attempts to abide by religious law over state law will lead to deportation. But immersion, and assimilation? Government has NO business telling ANY of us how we should behave, or what we should believe. Period. This is the essence of Americanism! We so boldly defend our freedom of thought and action, and then in the next breath boldly exclaim that those who are insufficiently similar must be assimilated? Ridiculous.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/16/11 - 01:31 pm
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Chillen you are right AGAIN!!

Chillen you are right AGAIN!! My hairdresser is French, she goes back home each year for a month or so, she says many problems are caused by the immigrants......not pretty for the big cities.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/16/11 - 01:56 pm
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Thank you seenitb4.

Thank you seenitb4. Burninator, I do understand what you are saying. Lord knows we certainly don't want our govt telling everyone what do do. Less = Better. I definitely get that concept.

Enforce the law is correct, but of course the law can be changed to whatever you want it to be (France banning head scarves for women). And you must have the govt actually enforcing it instead of ignoring it or worse, embracing the illegal activity (illegal immigration for example or not demanding curriculum from some of these muslim schools that have turned out terrorists because of political correctness).

If I moved to France or Japan for example, I would learn the language and the customs and try to blend in with them. Why else would you want to move there? What would be the motive to move there otherwise (unless it was just a 1-2 year move with a company or something)? Would you move to that country and refuse to remove your head scarf in court even though the law says no hats? No, no reasonable person would do that. Not if they were moving to that country to become.....American.

What is happening right now with immigration doesn't make sense. It's almost like they were sent here to spread their religion out around the globe or something. We know why the illegal immigrants are here - for a paycheck or a handout from our government (i.e. you and I).

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 02:17 pm
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"What is happening right now

"What is happening right now with immigration doesn't make sense. It's almost like they were sent here to spread their religion out around the globe or something."
------------
Chillen, we've all seen the level of social and economic unrest in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and central Asia over the last months and years. These types of situations are direct triggers of immigration, and it is far more believable that local and distributed forces are fueling this immigration increase rather than some secret, multi-tentacled global conspiracy. Also, the European influx has been so strong, so fast, because they are desperate for young workers. Regardless of cultural background, human motivation is, on the whole, survival and prosperity. Don't buy the narrative that the minority extremists are an accurate representation of the whole.

That said, the only way to deal with extreme cultural differences is clear communication and clear expectations. If you want to preserve a culture, make it clear to those seeking admission to that culture that if specific cultural norms -- embodied in laws -- are not abided by, then deportation is the result. Let the person seeking admission decide if this is acceptable, and enforce this agreement when someone enters under false pretenses. I agree that laws can change, as you say ... but that would be part of the deal, unfortunately. If they are entering a democracy, then they need to understand that a majority decision won't necessarily go their way, or that an existing law that is in violation of the Constitution (as the Georgia "no headcoverings in court" was a violation of the separation of church and state, and rewritten to make religious allowances) will have to go through the proper legal processes to be changed.

I think Europe's problem is they wanted a quick fix to their aging workforce dilemma. They are learning the hard way the danger of unintended consequences.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 02/16/11 - 03:05 pm
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burninator... i thought there

burninator... i thought there was very high unemployment among youth in many european countries (france and greece in particular) would you say this immigration influx a result of the EU leaders 'jumping the gun'? i do agree that political instability is a driving force for many to move to another country though.

socks99
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socks99 02/16/11 - 03:38 pm
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It's important to remember

It's important to remember that Muslim immigrants, in particular, are moving away from countries and states that embrace radical Islam. And while some new immigrants may plot and plan to reintroduce a local Theocracy, the larger body of feeling opposes such a thing.

Still, host nations ought not to confuse 'multiculturalism' with tolerating state or community sponsored religion. For the vast majority of immigrants, there will be no problems. The small minority wishing to make trouble should be quickly identified, exported and/or imprisoned if they attempt to come back.

burninater
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burninater 02/16/11 - 03:54 pm
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omnomnom, good point, some

omnomnom, good point, some quick wiki-ing suggests that the European ramp-up of Muslim immigration started earlier than "recent", as much as 50 years ago ...

Apparently many of the unemployed youth are likely native-born, suggesting the problem isn't assimilation per se, but economic and/or structural.

However, legal immigration is not the only problem --

Here's a wikileaks link, apparently Greece feels they have a serious illegal immigration problem of Muslim youth through Turkey ...

http://www.crethiplethi.com/wikileaks-greece-fears-islamic-radicalizatio...

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