Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism

Sunday

The movie, Pleasantville is the story of the rise and fall of an Islamic state. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me for a moment. I've been immersed in studying about Islam, terrorism, and Islamic states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan (when the Taliban were running things). I didn't realize before that it is a Muslim's duty to create an Islamic state, wherever they live. And to kill and die for this purpose if that's what it takes. I recently watched Pleasantville. I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw it in a new light.

If the movie can be seen as a metaphor, let's look at the parallels. First, someone had a vision of a perfect world. In the movie, it was the creator of the Pleasantville TV show, and in Islam, it was Muhammad (or Allah speaking through Muhammad). They each had a vision of an ideal world. (Learn more about that here.)

Now, if everybody does what they're supposed to do, this vision can become a reality and people can enjoy a peaceful, orderly society. The key is getting everyone to do what they're supposed to do. The problem is, people love freedom. And of course freedom brings with it unwanted side-effects, as you see in the movie (and as you can see by looking around you).

But the lack of freedom also has side-effects. Which is better, living in a Pleasantville world but having to do what you're supposed to do all the time — or living a life where you choose your own destiny but also have to live in a society with others who are choosing their destiny too? I don't know who can answer that question for all of us, but I know which one I prefer. Give me liberty or give me death.

The movie is about the danger and the splendor of freedom.

When the movie begins, the teenager, David, is in a modern American high school, living in a free society complete with its dangers and side-effects. David is a fan of an old television show from the fifties. Everything was perfect in the show. It was an ideal world where people treated each other courteously, parents had loving, conflict-free marriages, and kids were wholesome and innocent. David yearns for a life like that instead of the messy, chaotic world he lives in. And he gets his wish. He is magically transported into the Pleasantville television show. It's in black and white. Every day is a perfectly sunny 72 degrees. It never rains.

But he discovers that there is a cost to living in paradise — a drastic lack of freedom. In the movie, when the teenagers started having sex and the world was beginning to go Technicolor, the leaders of the town were horrified. Things were getting out of control. And you can see they had good intentions when they tried to make it go back the way it was.

That's what the Taliban did in Afghanistan back in the 90's (you can see an accurate depiction of their perfect world in the movie, Osama). And that's what Iran tried to do with their revolution. And what Saudi Arabia is doing. They're trying to force it back in the box. They're trying to fulfill the vision written in the Qur'an of the perfect world. They are struggling against human beings' natural desire for freedom. They have to use force to get people to do what they're supposed to do all the time. They use extreme force and they still can't get everyone to conform.

And who hasn't had the same conflict in their own life? Haven't you? Haven't you gone through cycles of cracking down on yourself and then loosening up? Haven't you ever gotten a regime all worked out so you can get in shape or whatever and then after awhile you start feeling closed in by it and you want to break out of the restricting and regimented monotony?

When I was younger, I spent many fruitless hours trying to come up with the perfect system. A perfect week would have a certain amount of exercise, a certain amount of communication with loved ones, writing time, goofing off time, etc. A perfect life plan is not very difficult to come up with. But actually doing it turns into a nightmare of routine. Most people would never do something like that voluntarily for very long. I loved creating the perfect system, but I hated living in it. And it was my system. What if some else created the system? It would be nearly impossible to make me conform to it.

Our longing for freedom and change and adventure always makes us want to break out. The Qur'an has an idea: Enforce the system from the outside. People can't do it on their own. But if you could make everyone in a society follow the perfect system, you could have a perfect society.

In the movie Pleasantville, the men join together and try to restore order, under the banner of the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce. They try to enforce pleasant behavior. They create a code of conduct for everyone to live by and they punish the ones who rebel. And what you see is what happens in real life. People feel a conflict. Yes, they want a pleasant society, but not at the cost of their personal freedoms. Many wonderful and terrible things didn't exist in the perfect world of Pleasantville: Art, sex, women's rights, creativity, exciting music, novelty, love, passion, anger, awakening, self-discovery, self-expression, disagreement, conflict, change, violence, book-burning, discovery, exploration, experimentation, new experience, rebellion, defiance, personal growth, and the list goes on and on. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

What does it take to keep the ugly and bad stuff away? You have to get rid of a lot of the good stuff. That's what it takes. And you have to make it a crime to step out of line. You have to have punishments. So the perfect world has its own ugly side. Do you know about the punishments in Islamic law? If you steal something, they cut off your hand. If you have premarital sex or drink alcohol, you get flogged. For adultery, both the man and the woman are stoned to death.

The punishments are intentionally extreme so they are a strong deterrent. They don't cut very many hands off because that law really discourages theft, and after getting caught twice, you don't have any hands left to steal anything with. I'm not advocating this by any means. You already know how I feel. I believe in freedom. But that doesn't mean people who try to come up with the perfect systems are necessarily evil.

I think the movie could help freedom-lovers sympathize with the perfect-world-lovers because after all, we in the audience are also attracted to the perfect world of Pleasantville at first. We sympathize with David, who wants to get away from his ugly, sometimes painful life, and doesn't realize or appreciate how much freedom he enjoys until it is taken away from him.

And the movie could also help the perfect-world-lovers see the beauty and magnificence of freedom — and the joy of not knowing what's going to happen next. And the satisfaction of choosing your own destiny.

In the book, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, Robert Pirsig wrote about the difference between static quality (the perfect world) and dynamic quality (a free society), and how these two forces are always and necessarily in conflict, and in a way the tension between the two is a good thing in the long run, or at least could be a good thing.

In one of the scenes in the movie, David and his girlfriend are out by the lake. She has just found out that David has seen the world outside of Pleasantville. She never has, and until recently, didn't even know it existed. She asks him, "So what's it like out there?"

He says, "Well...it's louder. And scarier, I guess. And it's a lot more dangerous."

"It sounds fantastic!" she says enthusiastically. Sure. For someone whose life has been ordered and perfect, a little dynamic quality would be like cool water to someone dying of thirst. That's the glory and the downside of human nature living in a free society.

With freedom, you have to learn to live with the fact that things aren't the same any more and never will be. That's both tragic and wonderful.

Learn more about the teachings of Islam.

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Multiculturalism and the Defense of Liberty

Thursday

Multiculturalism says we should have no arrogance about our own culture and we should be open to the teachings and practices of other cultures. We should at least look at cultures to see if they have something to teach us.

But given the way the human mind tends to streamline and simplify, multiculturalism has been streamlined in many minds into "my own culture is evil."

The original purpose of multiculturalism was to prevent the self-righteous arrogance of European and American Judeo-Christian cultures. There was a time when they encountered people from other cultures and they judged them to be barbaric, savage, or simplistic. In many cases Europeans and Americans used force to impose their own "superior" culture on the native cultures they came across.

This kind of blind arrogance is ugly and it is right and good that it has been discredited. It other words, multiculturalism is a good thing.

But in our passionate commitment to multiculturalism, we tossed out a very important item: Our own culture. We should look our own culture to find what's good about it, and we should do it just as impartially and as appreciatively as we look at other cultures.

One of the things we will find is that the basic principles of liberty and equality are so pervasive in our culture, we take them for granted. They are like water to a fish. They go into the background and we stop noticing them. Some Americans have told me "we don't really have a culture."

But if our pervasive right to liberty and equality were suddenly taken away and we were dropped into some exotic and seemingly attractive culture in say, Somalia or China or Saudi Arabia or the Maldives, the lack of natural freedom and equality would be shockingly noticeable.

But we don't live in those cultures. We enjoy all the protections of liberty and equality we have enjoyed our whole lives. In fact, many of those liberties and equalities have improved over our lifetimes. This all seems right and proper to us.

But it is not natural. It is not inevitable. It is not "self-evident." In fact, if you look at the history of civilization, what you see is a glaring lack of liberty and equality all over the world and as far back as we have historical records. And unless those liberties and equalities are protected and defended, they will be lost. Really.

Orthodox Muslims are actively working to take them away and replace our guaranteed rights with the law of Allah (Shari'a). Luckily for the blind multiculturalists who think their own culture is evil, others are busy protecting their liberty and equality for them at the moment.

You probably know all this already. But when you encounter someone who has this my-own-culture-is-evil attitude, speak up and explain this concept. We need every ally in this fight we can get. Our culture of liberty and equality needs to be defended. As Robert Spencer said, "People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it."

Explain to them what the world is like in other parts of the world. Explain to them how women in Saudi Arabia cannot go outside their home unless they are accompanied by their husband or a male relative. Explain to them that in Iran they have "clothing police" that go around beating and arresting women if their ankles show. Explain to them that in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, if a woman is raped, she is usually jailed and sometimes stoned to death for "fornication." Encourage them to watch Osama the movie and Not Without My Daughter.

You can do all this with the attitude that you are on their side. They want to be multicultural. You can wholeheartedly agree: Multiculturalism is great. Studying other cultures is illuminating. And then educate them on how some other cultures live today. Compare and contrast those cultures with the freedoms and equality we enjoy in this culture.

Explain to them also that there are billionaires, and tens of thousands of skilled orthodox Muslims, and well-funded groups of politically-savvy lawyers, all working actively to overthrow our own government and establish those same restrictive laws on everybody here. They are successfully intimidating with violence and also waging jihad by gaining concessions.

Liberty and equality are not ours alone. They are features of many cultures. But they are salient and foundational features of our own culture, and in the interest of appreciating all cultures, these features should be seen for what they are: Precious and worth protecting. Handled the right way, even a young, passionate multiculturalist should be able to see that.


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How a Tolerant Country Can Avoid Being a Doormat for Intolerant Countries

Tuesday

Tolerance and mutual respect for different cultures and religions is great — as long as it is mutual. When it's not mutual, then tolerance becomes a self-destructive doctrine. When it is not mutual, one side gives and the other side takes. In normal parlance, it is called being a doormat.

Islamic supremacism is religiously-sanctioned intolerance, and many in the West tolerate the intolerance out of a blind multiculturalism. But multiculturalism (respect for other cultures) need not be blind. The addition of one simple distinction is all that is needed.

When I was younger, I lacked the same distinction in my own personal life. I had read the book, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, when I was very young, and it had a profound effect on the way I treated people. And for the most part, the effect was good.

The basic approach to Carnegie's book is to give to people, to trust them, to see the best in them, etc. When you do this, people will respond positively, and they'll give back to you and trust you and they'll want to fulfill your trust, etc. This approach has worked great for almost everybody I've ever met, because most people reciprocate. It becomes a mutual thing.

But several times in my life I ran into people who only took advantage of my kindness or generosity. They took, and sometimes not only did they not reciprocate, but sometimes they've even responded to my kindness by stabbing me in the back. They weren't interested in cooperating. They didn't care about good long-term relations.

With those people, I had to figure out a different way of dealing with them. I had to make an extra distinction. My tolerance and goodwill were blind. I did it with everyone indiscriminately, and that's just stupid.

A few years ago, a biography of Dale Carnegie came out, and I found out that Carnegie left out a chapter in his book. He didn't get the chapter to the publisher on time so the book was published without it.

The missing chapter was about what to do with uncooperative, selfish, self-serving people. A small percentage of the population doesn't have normal human empathy. The way you deal with these people must be different or you're just being foolish.

A very similar thing is happening with orthodox Islam and multiculturalism. There is nothing wrong with the multicultural doctrine. Nothing at all. It's wonderful, in fact. One of the reasons democracies are so much more enjoyable countries to live in than non-democratic countries is because we are so tolerant of each other.

But the multiculturalism doctrine is incomplete. It is a great strategy for most people and most cultures and most religions. But it is disastrous when you stick with it blindly.

All that's missing is the added distinction of mutuality. We can simply amend the doctrine to something like this: We respect all religions and cultures who do us the honor of respecting ours as well. All others will be treated with less generosity.

Another characteristic of both selfish people and Islamic supremacists is the use of deception. They pretend to be thoughtful and kind. They pretend to be peaceful, tolerant, and cooperative. They try to fool their victims into keeping their guard down. They pretend in order to gain an advantage.

Over time, most of us have learned to pay attention to what people do and see if it matches what they say. Most of us who have lived long enough to see our 30s do not automatically trust everyone. We give people a chance to earn our trust. That's a sensible way to live.

Orthodox Muslims often try to fool non-Muslims in the same way selfish people do. They mimic peaceful religious people. They try to act as if they believe what we believe (see the principle of religious deception), and this makes it more difficult to determine whether or not these are cooperators or back-stabbers. But we can apply the same principles we use in our personal lives. We can watch what they do and see if it matches what they say. We don't have to automatically trust. Let them earn our trust.

On the DVD, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, you can literally watch what they do. You can see Muslim leaders saying one thing to the western media, appearing to be moderate, peaceful, reasonable Muslims, and then you see the same person saying another thing entirely to their own people in Arabic.

If we didn't automatically trust, we could see they are intolerant, uncooperative, and even bloodthirsty, and not the cooperative people they pretend to be.

If we pay attention, we will see some Muslims are not mutually respectful. In fact, they actively exploit our well-ingrained respect for other cultures, and use it against us, considering it a weakness they can exploit.

For years, the Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia have been spending their oil-enriched billions building mosques all over the western democracies. They then preach hatred of the West in those mosques, and we have been allowing this.

Within Saudi Arabia, no churches or synagogues are allowed to be built.

The western democracies, in other words, are being doormats. We are giving and allowing, respecting and tolerating, and the Islamic supremacists are taking, expressing intolerance, and stabbing us in the back. Being a doormat is not a successful long-term strategy.


TIT FOR TAT
In the 1970's the political scientist Robert Axelrod created a computer "world" using the famous Prisoner's Dilemma as a game computer programs could play against each other. He wanted to find out which computer program would succeed the best.

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a hypothetical situation used to test whether someone will cooperate or compete, and how well the strategies work in the long run.

The game is played by two people. If one cooperates and the other competes, the one who cooperated will lose and the competitive one (the selfish one) will win. If they both compete, they both lose, but not as badly.

If they both cooperate, they both win. That's how the game is set up.

If you were one of the prisoners, what would you do? That's the dilemma. How much can you count on the cooperative nature of the other person?

The game is often played repeatedly with the same two people, each of them choosing to cooperate or take advantage of the other through successive rounds of the game.

The Prisoner's Dilemma game is designed to parallel real life. If two people in real life cooperate with each other, it very often works to their mutual advantage. But if one person cooperates and the other takes advantage, it often works out very well for the selfish one and very poorly for the cooperative one.

On the other hand, if you go around preempting people — trying to take advantage of them before they take advantage of you — you will miss out on the advantages of cooperation, people will resent you, and you might get people working against you.

What is the best long-term strategy? This is the dilemma we are faced with every day, personally as well as culturally.

Robert Axelrod, the man who created the computer world, invited computer programmers to create a program to play the Prisoner's Dilemma with other programs. The question is, which program would succeed the best?

In a game that resembles the real dilemma we all face, what strategy is the most effective?

The program that proved the best was named TIT FOR TAT. It was designed by Anatol Rapoport and it was one of the simplest programs submitted. For the first interaction, it would cooperate. After that, it would repay in kind whatever the other did. That was the whole strategy.

If the other cooperated, TIT FOR TAT benefited. So did the other. If the other took advantage, TIT FOR TAT cut its losses immediately.

As the game went on, TIT FOR TAT gained more (and lost less) than any other program. In The Moral Animal, Robert Wright wrote, "More than the steadily mean, more than the steadily nice, and more than various 'clever' programs whose elaborate rules made them hard for other programs to read, the straightforwardly conditional TIT FOR TAT was, in the long run, self-serving."

And it's the most fair to everyone involved.

I suggest we in the West use the same program when dealing with other countries and other cultures. We should begin with tolerance and cooperation, and then be as tolerant and cooperative as the other is from that point on.

We would be fools to tolerate intolerance — even if that intolerance is hiding behind a cloak of religion. An intolerant culture should be the exception to the principle of universal multicultural tolerance.

For example, if orthodox Islam does not tolerate other religions, it should not be tolerated itself.

Tolerance and cooperation are definitely the best way to go, but only if the other side is tolerant and cooperative also. If they prove to be otherwise, intolerance and competitively cutting our losses is a sane response.

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Is It Possible For Islam To Take Over The World?

Saturday

Sometimes I tell people Islam is a political doctrine and its purpose is to make every country on earth, including this one, follow Shari'a law.

Of course, most people think, "Yeah right. Good luck with that one."

In other words: Okay, so they want to take over the world. So what? It ain't gonna happen, not now, not ever. Completely impossible.

But the truth is, it doesn't matter whether it's possible or not. What matters is that a growing number of already-numerous people hold that as their most important goal. They consider it their holy duty. They consider it their ticket into heaven and the only assurance they can get that they will not burn in the fires of hell for eternity. They are motivated.

So we have one group that says, "Yeah, right," and goes on about their business, watching their sitcoms and buying stuff on eBay. And we have another group that feels strongly that the Almighty has given them a clear mission to take over the world by every means available to them, including recruiting new soldiers, having lots of children, protesting against any criticism of Islam, working to change laws, giving money to organizations that sue people for criticizing Islam, putting political pressure on politicians to alter laws, immigrating to infidel countries to help build an Islamic political presence there, going on web sites and arguing with people who try to criticize Islam, complaining to YouTube (and getting all their Islamic friends to complain to YouTube) about any video that criticizes Islam until YouTube removes the offending video, going to schools in democracies and speaking to the infidel children about how loving and peaceful and wonderful Islam is, reading about nothing else and thinking about nothing else.

Now over a period of time, who will gain more ground: A totally committed group, or the ones watching sitcoms and buying stuff on eBay?

And the more ground they gain politically, the more ground they can gain because they are gaining more political clout. Already in Europe, the politicians are very careful about not offending their Muslim constituents because the Muslims are very organized and politically active, and most of the rest of the voters are lackadaisical and not really paying attention. So Muslims are gaining power quickly in European countries. (Read more about the removal of freedom and Shariatization of Europe.)

The same has begun to happen elsewhere: Canada, the U.S., Australia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and of course India has been dealing with this issue for a very long time.

Remember this when you're talking to someone and you can see them thinking, "Impossible. There is no way the Muslims are going to take over the world."

It doesn't matter if it's impossible. With all that commitment they can make our times very troubled, they can make the fight more difficult, they can take away freedoms one by one, and in fact, they really can take over the world. It is not technically impossible. It doesn't seem likely, but only if you don't know much about what they're already doing, which most people don't (partly because of what they're already doing).

What this means is that if you'd like to do something about this, if you'd like to help preserve the freedoms we enjoy, then your most important task is to simply share this information with your fellow countrymen. Learn about jihad, and share what you're learning with others.

Here's what you can do about it: What Can a Civilian Really Do?

Here is an ongoing list of concessions Islam is pushing for and winning from democracies around the world: Concessions to Islam.

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Which Emotional Strategies Influence Orthodox Muslims?

Sunday

Al Siebert, author of Survivor Personality, said something interesting in his book, and I've been thinking about it for awhile now. The book is about what personality traits survivors hold in common. Siebert has studied survivors of POW camps, concentration camps, plane crashes, boats sinking, etc. He's made this study his life's work. Here's the quote, and then I'll tell you what I've been thinking:

"Bob Mitchell, a marine who fought first on Bataan and later on Corregidor, told me that many of the POWs who gave up were unable to cope with the cruelty and hostility directed toward them by the guards. He said that many prisoners tried to influence the guards by feeling upset, expressing pain, pleading, or trying to win them over. When this didn't work, they had nothing left. Many gave up and died."
Siebert's main quest with his research is to discover what survivors do that non-survivors do not do. In the case above, the non-survivors didn't change their strategy when they could see it wasn't working.

Now here's what I was thinking: Most people I know who don't want to believe Islam is a political and supremacist ideology are good-hearted people. They believe we should all just get along, that killing is a bad thing, and that even hurting someone is bad and it should never be done. They are kind to dogs. They recycle their trash so as not to make things harder for future generations, etc.

I am overgeneralizing here, but I'm not too far off with this characterization. These good-hearted people don't want to believe there are millions of fundamentalist Muslims in the world who would like nothing better than to cut off their heads. It's unthinkable. Maybe these fundamentalists just need some clean water and enough to eat. Maybe they've been abused in the past. Maybe they just need to be understood.

These are all perfectly good strategies for normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens.

When you want to work out your differences with someone, and you have a disagreement or anger between you, it's a pretty good strategy to talk and try to come to some kind of mutually-acceptable compromise. That's one kind of strategy and it works very well in a particular context. The problem is, it doesn't work in every context, nor with every person.

One of the traits Siebert found common among survivors is the ability and willingness to change strategies. Siebert discovered it is one of the most universal traits survivors have that non-survivors do not have: They are flexible enough to see the strategy they're using isn't working in a particular situation, and they're able to come up with something else.

Those who can't do that in some situations die.

Flexibility means being able to be kind in some circumstances, and cold-blooded in others if it is necessary. It means being able to be cooperative with some people, and more competitive or even hard-nosed with others if it seems necessary.

A lack of flexibility means you'll run out of options for some situations.

I think that's what is happening with at least some blind multiculturalists. They don't realize that the strategies they might normally employ do not work with someone who is hell-bent on murdering us all for no other reason than we're not Muslims.

That kind of ruthlessness is hard to fathom for most people, I think, and multiculturalists seem even less willing to even entertain the possibility. They think there must be some other explanation. And because they think people can't really be that way, or that a large group of people or a religion can't be that way, they don't understand why anyone would criticize Muslims.

If you can't understand the strength and intensity of the ruthlessness arrayed against western democracies, then you can't understand the need to defend against it.

Those who can fully grasp the ruthless intentions of orthodox Muslims will recognize how profoundly indifferent they are to pleading, expressing pain, feeling upset, or trying to win them over with appeasements.

We need to use some other strategy if we are to survive. My guess is that in a serious situation such as a concentration camp, the people who are now multiculturalists would be the kind of people who would die first. Peaceful, cooperative strategies don't work against ruthlessness, and those who aren't flexible enough to change their strategies are less likely to survive.

Even with ample flexibility, ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully. I squirmed while I watched a Frontline program called Target America. It showed the clumsy, incompetent attempts of one American president after another trying to deal with Islamic terrorism.

I said ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully, but that's not really true. Ruthless terrorists would be easy to deal with if you were willing to be equally ruthless yourself. But it is very difficult to deal with within the parameters of humanity and human rights.

The jihadis, of course, are aware of the West's ethical restraints and so they tailor their strategies for us. Their strategies are carefully designed to put us in double-binds where we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. And where we make a horrible mistake no matter what we do. Orthodox Muslims constantly do their best to give us Sophie's choice.

The most obvious response is against our code of ethics, and any other response is inadequate.

You can watch the Frontline program online. It is painful to watch the presidents try (and fail) to deal with the jihadis' double-binds. The presidents just wanted the problem to go away. They were all seeking a short-term, quick-fix solutions, and refused to see this for what it is: A global, long-term strategy of millions of orthodox Muslims who will do anything to gain a political advantage, with the ultimate aim being something that to most westerners is unthinkable: An Islamic world.

I like Western civilization. I like normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens. I like not having to settle differences with my fellow citizens with violence. But I hope the island of civilization within which we live our lives doesn't blind too many of us to the fact that there are still people in this world who think differently and that different strategies than we're used to may sometimes be required.

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All writing on CitizenWarrior.com is copyright © CitizenWarrior.com 2001-2099, all rights reserved.

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on CitizenWarrior.com is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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