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December 18, 2002

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* College Farsi courses

I am a highschool student who will soon be applying to colleges. If you could send me information on the Farsi courses offered at colleges around the country I would greatly appreciate it; I would like certification when I apply to the governemt after college.

Also, if you have any info of scholarships for people wishing to specifically study Farsi, please send me info on that as well. I am very serious about finding a college where they have Farsi past Level One, because as you already know from my writings on your website, my knowledge exceeds basic conversation.

Thank you,
Christine Zahra Beyzaei

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* Isfahan from above

Fantastic aerial views of Isfahan [Nesf-e Jahan], congradulations!!! Reminded me of Disney's Alladin for which pictures of Isfahan were used as a model for the animated cartoon :o)


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* Maybe it's his mom

I was looking on the Today page in and noticed the "Featured Personal" ad posted there. I have a small but essential piece of advice for the gentlemen that post their photos on the personals site: DO NOT POST A PICTURE OF YOU WITH ANOTHER WOMAN! It's at the very least, thoughtless.

I'm sure you have a semi o.k. looking photo of yourself without a woman or a wad of long blonde hair in it. I know, I know, you cut off the head that the blonde hair belonged to but that ain't good enough! If you're going to take it seriously, then put some serious thought and effort into it. It won't kill you, I promise!

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* Bring back so many memories

Dear Azam,

I just wanted to thank you for taking your time and offering all this wonderful old music to us. They bring back so muany memories back to me that I just can't believe listening to one song can make such difference.

I really enjoy all the music that you choose and share them with us. I wanted to take this chance and write a thank you not to you. By the way I think you have a beautiful name. My sister's name is Azam.

Good luck with everything

Thanks again,
Marzyeh in Seattle

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* Research on flogging

I'm doing some research on flogging at detention centers in iran and wonder if you have a bulletin board of some sort or could pass on this question to anyone who knows of accounts of this practice and its particulars such as what instruments are used, the detainees posture during punishment, etc. Any personal accounts from people who have experienced this.

Much thanks for any help you can give me in researching this topic.


Shadi M.

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* Einstein #3

In regardsn to "Hey Einstein, let's see you solving this one":

Looking at the equation from "Hey Einstein, let's see you solving this one", I was of course stunned. But after observing it for a while, I found it's achilles-heal. Here lies the problem:


to be able to go to:
you would have to divide the two sides with (a-b).
But by defining a=b, you automatically make a-b=0
There is no definition for divisions of terms with 0,
so it is impossible to go from there to

Which in more normal terms mean.. the equation doesn't have a solution.

Ramin Sabet-Azad
Student of Civil-Engineering

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* Exactly what I always felt

I read your persian article, "Anjaa Tehran bood". I really really enjoyed it. Great job! It made me cry because you told exactly what i always felt in my heart. No matter where you are you are always searching for somthing more.

I loved your writing,

good luck


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* Kheyli ghashang

Man emruz baraye avalin bar neveshtehaye shoma ro khondam [Anjaa Tehran bood] va bayad begam ke kheyli ghashang minivesin. Inshallah ke bishtar benevisid va ma ham ba khondane neveshtehaye shoma khoshhal bashim.


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* Damavand, bazaare Tajrish will be missed

I read your writing about Tehran in [Anjaa Tehran bood]. I think it was really good. It has a very comfortable, friendly theme. I am a 18 year old girl just moved to united states 1.5 years ago.

I know Tehran has been changed even in this 1 year, but I think it doesn't matter how much everything changes, people still will miss damavand, bazaare Tajrish and all the tall trees in Valiasr. I am not saying I have something opposite from you. Not at all! I'm just saying my idea.

Your piece of writing took me right in front of my favorite coffee shop near my house in Zafaranieh.


Saman P.

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* Hamishe benevis

Sadafe aziz salam, [Anjaa Tehran bood]

Nemidoonam mano yadetoon miad ya na! 2 sale pish bah shoma dar tamsa boodam. Arian az englis. Ye card ghashang ham vasam ferestadi.

Dar soorat mikhastam begam hanooz ham neveshtaye shoma ro ba yek vala'e donbal mikonam va mikhoonam! rastesh khodam ro toosh peyda mikonam. be khosoos "Sepehr" ke vaghean man boodam. Dargire yek eshghe nafarjam ba mihanam va yek aghli ke mige dige nemishe be iroonam bargardam. Kheili dargiriye sakhtiye.

Sareto dard nemiaram faghat mikhastam begam hamishe ertebate amighi ba neveshtehat peyda mikonam. Hamishe benevis.



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* Laughter, tears, regret

"Tintin in Tehran" is with no doubt another stunning cartoon by Zartosht Soltani-whom I personally know and admire and whose unique talent is quite obvious from each and every piece of his work.

This latest magnum opus of his, for sure makes you laugh and laugh till you burst into tears; but as you look more in depth, these teardrops of joy give their place to tears of pain, pity and regret.

Yes, This is Tehran the way it really is. No living soul can deny the great chaos in our beloved homeland; a harsh reality. We are all in a "take it OR leave it" situation, and most of us decided to leave it! But let's give it a second thought: How many nations do we know that find pleasure in making fun of their own roots, their own country, their own common pain?

These "chador- siah", "tah-rish" and "tasbih" elements are real funny at the first glance, but these are not post-chaophenomenanons,are they? They belong to years and years of Iranian culture. So, what are we doing to ourselves? This is a real "tof-e-sarbala"!

As long as Iraniansians don't show any respect to background, how on earth do we expect others to be respectful to our native soil, regardless of all this turmoil?

Bahareh Vali

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* Tintin, "akhoondi" style

I just found time to look closely at this incredibly funny picture [Tintin in Tehran]. Perhaps the funniest part is Tin-Tin's chest hair and the fact that his shoes are "akhoondi" style -- without back. LOL.

Moji Agha

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* Why are we so sensitive?

I just read, "My husband claims she was the perfect wife", after seeing all the negative comments on the story. Why are we Iranians so sensitive on anything that an American has to say about us? This lady didn't even say anything negative, I actually enjoyed reading her impressions of an older Iranian woman.

It is not easy to be perfect, some people are but most people are not. To be able to raise good children, take care of their needs, work outside the home, take care of your husband, keep a clean house and cook great food all the time....., in my opinion, this is a super woman.

And why do you automatically assume that this woman is a bimbo "You talkin' to me?", just because dancing is her profession or because she is not Iranian?

Most of us Iranians have come to America, are enjoying what they have to offer and keep criticizing whatever they say or do. There are many things that need criticizing in this country and elsewhere but please don't over do it.


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* So many innuendoes

I don't understand why Ms. Yasaman Rohani has to make so many innuendoes, or apologies, to get her point across [What do you want?]. Most of her writing is about avoiding the readers from being offended for something that's not even related to them -- not personally.

It's this very wall of pointless gestures that mislead the readers ( in our Farsi writings psyche) or bore them to death. I think you could've cut the letter in half if you kept from constantly protecting your family.

Either way, I understand you completely and I agree with making peace
with family.



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* People who forget where they came from

Thank you and thank you again for the comment regarding that Big A Hole and his lateness and being so stuck up nose attitude [Not worth it]. What the hell and who the hell does he think he is. Just a another want to be some one. I cannot stand people which as soon as they get to be some one they forget where they came from and why and whom made them to be there.

Thank you again.

Sharifeh S.

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* Brilliant

Did you create these drawings yourself? [Some things are sacred] I think they are brilliant!

Best regards,

Shahla Samii

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* Tehran's mystique

You remember details that many of us have forgotten, but the diversity you describe of the Tehran of that time is so very real that I seem to find them come alive in my own mind. [Tales from the zirzameen]

I also remember the woman clad all in red - I was always fascinated by her and sad for her.

It is a pleasure to read your articles, and I am glad you have such lovely memories. I wonder how much of that mystique is left to enjoy, since Tehran has grown threefold and much has been destroyed to accommodate this increase in population.

Not to mention everything else...


Shahla Samii

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* You're joking!

I had decided not to write anymore to and spare the intelligent readers from my unparalleled wisdom but Sen's comment [There must be a reason] changed that decision. This is one of the funniest pieces I have ever read. Listen:

1- Since half of the Europe has monarchy and the entire continent is advanced then there must be a reason.And since they are hardly stupid then we better get ourselves a monarch and become advanced .I have news for Sen. Since the entire Europe is Christian, we better not only get ourselves a monarch but convert to Christianity too.Kar az mohkami aib nemikneh. Better safe than sorry.

2- "Bahaulla, one of Iranian's great political thinkers said "although a republican form of government benefits all the people of the world,yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God.We do not wish that countries of the world should remain deprived of this.If the wise combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God" writes Sen.This is not funny.It is hilarious.Sen, I have a bridge to sell you.We already have combined the two in the form of Maghame Moazame V.F.and are greatly benefiting from your wisdom.

On the second thought I realized that I had been set up for this excellent satire.Isn't he kidding the whole Monarchists Bahais, Aayatolahis and the rest of us? Great work Sen.

Peerooz Azar

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* Filmgoers shrinking, even in Tehran

Dear Mr. Bagheri, [You have to wait]

Thank you for your kind words about my article, "Who you talkin' to?". A couple of points: I'm either wrong because I don't know what's going on in Iran or I'm wrong because nothing has happened yet and we must wait another decade or so. The explanation can't be changed depending on the years I have spent there.

Regardless, I was 6 when the revolution happened and of those 6 years, I only spent my first 4 in Iran. So I have no memory of it. On the other hand I spent my 9-16 years in Irann and since 1988 when I family immigrated, I have visited Iran every year. But more importantly, I have lived in Iran on and off for the past 2 years, having returned in August after living in Iran for 9 months.

During those 9 months I spent a good number of it in the company of filmmakers and Iranian film critics. I bring these up merely to say, I have a feel for Iranian pop culture, at least as much as anyone can have a feeling for anything as elusive. Iranian cinema, in particular the cinema consumed by Iranians inside Iran has over the past 10 years become more star driven than before.

So as you rightly say, films by Akbar Abdi (though he's of the older generation now) and specially Hehyeh Tehrani are popular but that doesn't really refute my point about cinema providing words and images that in a way become metaphors or cultural icons. You very rightly point out, as I did in passing, the influence of television now.

This is actually a very important phenomenon in Iran today which complicates this topic in that cinema and television today are at odds with each other. Filmmakers not seen as "revolutionary" rarely get to advertise their films on television (there was a huge debate on this in the newspapers last winter).

So the question of course is what is the place of cinema in a country where more and more movie theaters are closing down, the number of filmgoers is shrinking, even in Tehran, the industry is bankrupt, and those filmmakers with the money and prestige to make films are not that concerned with local consumption? anyway, all this to say that I appreciate your point that some of the failures are institutional ones and on some of the others, the jury is still out.

Naghmeh Sohrabi

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* You have to wait

I enjoyed your article "Who you talkin' to?" and commend you on some very good points you make. However, I would humbly offer some observations about your point of view.

Unless I'm totally wrong, you have lived outside of Iran for many years and don't have a first hand impression of what the impact of post-revolution Iranian cinema on the average Iranian citizen and their culture has been. It appears to me that, like most Iranians in Diaspora, your strongest impression and memories of Iran are from pre-revolution time and what you experienced.

Now, if I am wrong and you indeed have been living in Iran and your argument in this article comes from first hand experience then I must say that you have to wait a couple of decades! What I mean by that is the fact that the post-revolutionary Iranian cinema has really had the past 10-12 years of post-Iran-Iraq war to pump out the bulk of its productions that characterize it and amount to anything.

The impressions that Qeysar and Gav, et al created on Iran's popular culture have had 30-some years to get established and accepted. I think it's a bit early for post-revolution cinema's longer term impact to be assessed as you do Gavaznha or Gav or Qeysar's.

I travel to Iran every year and can tell you that some movies with Akbar Abdi and other popular stars have left an impression on common people and they talk about movies and especially television programs. TV series are very influential on people of Iran, even more so than they were during the 70's.

Keep up the good work.

Ben Bagheri
in Texas

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* Prostitution has become a formal occupation

Very interesting pictures [Shahreno] and I suggest DOCHESHMEH BINA make an effort and publishes the addresses and pictures of present prostitutes and brothels in Iran.

If we had one Shahreno in Tehran and red light district in other cities of Iran, prostitution has become a formal occupation and means of an additional income to fight the ever increasing inflation and support of the family.

Prostitutes are scattered all over the cities and KHANEH EFFAF established by mullahs.

F Rafat

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* I don't know about bahoosh

Salam aghae Jahanshah Javid,

Yadam miyad vaghtee ma dar Abadan boodeem shoma yek pesar koochaki boodeen va bahoosh. Hamintor Iran koochooloo (khahar) keh ba dokhtaram Golbarg, hambazee bood. Shoharam, Masoud Barzin, hamisheh beyad pedar fagheed shoma va doost azizash, Manouchehr, hast.

Az mohabat shoma barayeh namayesh karhayeh man [Giving depth] beseeyar sepas gozar hastam.

Mahin Azima

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* Pop music in Abadan

From a reader who did not send the photos and article mentioned (as far as I remember!):

This is a short history of Abadan music, bands, music competitions, clubs and related photo galleries.The above picture shows the 1976 preliminarily national music compition arranged by Sazeman Javanan which took place at Shahrood (Gorgan).

Abadan frequently would capture first place in the nation. Players are: Ebi Bass, Essa Drums, Behnam Shamsaie Trumpet, Ali Afshar Tenor Sax, Shahriar Tashnizi Trumpet , Maddah Keyboard, can anyone name the Guitar player?

Pop music in Abadan started in 50s. It was 1957 when National Iranian Oil Company decided to hire Mr. Alexander Shoora Michailian as a music teacher to teach some of the N.I.O.C worker 3 times a week in Bashgah Abadan.

This was the beginning of Pop era in Abadan which continued until the revolution.Under Mr. Michailian direction his students started a band in Abadan Club.This band frequently toured Khouzestan Cities for performances. I have more pictures if you could use in your site.

Previously I have sent you a few e-mails regarding the history of pop music in Abadan. I believe it would be most interesting for your viewers to see and read it. I have several nostalgic photos and documentaries which I want to sent you.

Best regards

Shahriar Tashnizi

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* It is not Islam, it is you

Well then I did not think that my words would even matter to you. But it seems that you have an interest and that is good enough for me. If you are truly interested to know your flaw, then read on. If not then delet this e-mail and go on with your lies! You see, the Iranian culture may be at
unrest, but so is a lot of the world. Open your eyes, the artist you support is a liar! It is not Islam that advocates the silence of woman... it is you and your lies!!!

According to your article "The Gun and the Gaze": "That she manages to do this without violating the bodily codes of an 'Islamic woman' marks the site of her creative imagination." and "Her photographs show and tell what has been forbidden to show and tell."

WELL THEN you do not know what follows!!!

4. And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, Take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.

19. O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.

Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband's.

The Messenger of God said: 'The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife." Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.

A Muslim marriage is not a 'sacrament', but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will.

In the Islamic world there are no old people's homes. The strain of caring for one's parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honor and blessing, and an opportunity for great spiritual growth. God asks that we not only pray for our parents, but act with limitless compassion, remembering that when we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves. Mothers are particularly honored: the Prophet taught that 'Paradise lies at the feet of mothers'. When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness. In Islam, serving one's parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult. The Quran says: Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say 'uff to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, 'My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care for me when I was little'. (17:23-4)

Comelion Comelion

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* Can we get ourselves out of this dead-end?

I'd like to congratulate Bijan Khazai for his touching article Baba velesh kon. It's really amazing how much we, the third generation, have in common.

When I recently talked to my once idealist father, he too told me to Baba velesh kon adding "they are riding the horse of power and wealth and would not step down so easily". The very next day, my once revolutionary aunt preached on the phone using the same term velesh kon adding "Saiasat akhar aghabat nadareh" and that I should read Oriana Fallaci's A Man to comprehend the consequences of politics.

It's this Velesh kon attitude that makes me wonder: Are we, as a nation , capable enough to do the job ourselves and get ourselves out of this dead-end we have been in forever (the same Bonbast, Dariush sang about 25 years ago). Are we? ( )

Mani Farhoomand

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* It's the Shah's fault?

In reply to "My fight is not over",

Your letter is relevant of the mindset of those that still desperately cling to blaming the Shah for everything wrong with Iran, even 22 years after his death, and despite the fact that EVERY country faces the problem of prostitution [Shahreno], from France to Togo, no matter how high their standard of living.

You're the one still living in a bloody fantasy world. There are currently over 200 000 prostitutes in Iran and countless girls smuggled out of the country into slavery in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and you have the nerve to complain about the situation over two decades ago? When will you learn to see the current state of things? It isn't as easy a target, is it?

Azam jaan, I hope you're still in the wonderful Disneyland your types made out of our country when you toppled the Shah, and that you'll go tell today's 200 000 prostitutes and 2 million drug addicts that "hey, it's the Shah's fault!" that their living conditions have dramatically worsened since


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* Taraneh Kaysar

My Name is Manoucher Mirfakhrai. I was searching for old friends, and I thought that the best way is to ask you. Can you help me?

I studied at Fardaye Kodak school in Tehran and Taraneh Kaysar was my class mate. Can you tell me where she is, or if you can get in touch let her have my e-Mail address to get in touch.

Best regards,

M. Mirfakhrai

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* Incensed in India

Salams from Bombay, India.

I am incensed at the death sentence given to this great Islamic thinker and scholar [From monkey to man]. I completely support and agree with his views. There is absolutely no concept of Taqlid in Shia Islam, which developed in the 16th and 17th centuries during the reign of Nasir Khan.

There is also dire need of new ijtehad for Islam to keep pace with modern times or be doomed to irrelevance.

On a personal basis I am trying to arrange an organized protest to the Iranian Embassy in Bombay in show of solidarity with the student demonstrators and the beleaguered scholar.

Shakir Ebrahim
Bombay, India

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* A tree didn't die for this pseudo-logic

Reading Evverett E Allie's piece [The ultimate question] made me realize what a blessing the internet can be. In cases like this at least we know that a tree didn't have to die in order to publish this piece of arbitrary pseudo-logic.

Paul J MacKinnon

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* Chaaee bedam khedmatetoon?

From: (Farzad F. )
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 11:22:55 -0800
Subject: Update your site man


Wake up it's 11:20. Update your site man. I am getting bored at work...

Signature withheld

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* Plastic surgeons

I am a plastic surgeon based in Cairo, Egypt. Our department at Ain Shams University is organizing an international instructional course about plastic surgery procedures of the face and breast and would like to inform Iranian plastic surgeons in case they would like to attend. The problem is we don't know any Iranian plastic surgeons. Could you help us with that?


Mohammed S. El Helaly

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* Drastic need of bone marrow

Maha Khalaf is a 28 year old Iranian girl who is sufferring from an agressive form of lymphoma for the past 19 months. She is in drastic need of a bone marrow transplant. From what i understand, it is quite difficult to find the correct match in these cases. However there is an exceedingly higher chance to find a donor that is also a young Iranian woman.

I'm going to attach a Word document with Maha's picture on it and all of the information regarding where people need to go to donate.

Thank you,


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* Wicked

Siamack's piece was wicked, as usual [Hell of a day]. I'm going to hell for reading it but what a way to go. :)


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Nazila Alasti: MIP

After Cornell, Nazila Alasti went to work for me at AMD as a product engineer working on Static RAMS. She was very smart and asked a lot of questions, which told me she was thinking.

She told me she was a "MIP" or Muslin Iranian Princess, making a joke on the "JAP" or Jewish American Princess. Little did I know she was an finalist for
Miss Iran 1978!

I don't speak or understand Farsi, but she invited me to a Farsi movie at the Homestead theater in Sunnyvale. I have no idea what they were saying, but I got the idea of the movie, sort of. She left my group to go to marketing, and based on her Google search it looks like she has been in jobs at Apple, Docent, and e-Circles.

I don't know where she is now, as e-circles looks like it is history, but if you are reading this Nazila, I would love to here from you. I can be reached at Intel in Santa Clara.

Brad Houser

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