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The Global Village - Taking the D out of BDS

By Jordan Turner on August 29, 2014

turner_jordan.jpgWith universities worldwide about to begin the new semester we are about to see a surge, as never seen before, for the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) anti-Israel movement on university campuses.   The rhetoric, protests, demonstrations and intimidation of Jews, and of those whom believe in Israel’s right to exist, will be rampant.   Just this past week in Canada the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students representing over 300, 000 university students have unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israel.  This was preceded by Ryerson University’s student union voting last April to boycott Israel.  These boycotts are only the start of what will be a well-organized push to delegitimize Israel and its supporters.

La Patrie - U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: IT PIVOTS—BUT DOES IT STAND?

By David T. Jones on August 20, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington DC…U.S. foreign policy is (Select one of more of the following:  adrift; unfocused; contradictory; confused; disheartening; disconcerting; wrong-headed).
In a concerted issue to be anti-Bush, President Obama and his Administration have spent almost six years attempting to create a working, understandable, coherent foreign policy.  In so doing, they have:
-- Announced “reset” of policy toward Russia, without really saying what was wrong with the previous policy other than Dubya Bush pursued it.  And then they have found themselves confronting a bear whose aggression annexed Crimea and appears intent on destabilizing the rest of Ukraine;


La Patrie - Taxes surpass housing as main family expense

By Joel Ceausu on August 20, 2014

Ceausu_Joel.jpgIf you are an average Canadian family, you need not worry anymore about government picking your pocket: you now need to be concerned about your pockets.
“If you asked people to name their household’s biggest expense, many would likely say housing,” says Charles Lammam, co-author of the Fraser Institute’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index. “In reality the average Canadian family spends more on taxes than all basic necessities, including housing.”The study found that the average Canadian family earned $77,381 and paid almost 42 percent – $32,369 – in total taxes, compared to 36.1 percent for food, shelter and clothing combined.

Society - Robin, "we hardly knew ye..."

By Beryl Wajsman on August 13, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIf he couldn't make it, who could? If he couldn't conquer the demons, how are we to cope? As much as his art touched the millions that loved him, these questions also explain why Robin Williams' suicide touches us all so poignantly.
Williams' battles with depression and substance abuse are well-known. But one does not have to be clinically depressed to empathize with the everyday demons so magnified in illness that Robin succumbed to. We all have them, and constantly battle them.

Society - On appearances

By Father John Walsh on August 10, 2014

father_walsh.jpgDo clothes make the woman or the man?  There are shocking and staggering fashion industry statistics.  There are over 7 billion people on this planet. If you count one number a second without stopping until you reach a billion, you’d be counting for 31 years, 259 days, 1 hours, 46minutes, and 40 seconds. If each person owned only one pair of pants, one shirt, and one jacket, that would be 21 billion articles of clothing. If you were to count each of those, one per second, it would take nearly 672 years. We spend more than a few dollars to keep up our appearance. 

The Global Village - La diplomatie américaine est naïve et irréfléchie

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 30, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJérusalem, Israël.  Les images  en provenance de Gaza sont horribles et très dures à voir. Comment être indifférent à ce gigantesque enchevêtrement, à ce chantier de ruines humaines, au désastre, et à la tragédie des familles palestiniennes. Toutes les guerres sont terribles et sales et nous déplorons une fois encore les victimes et les dégâts. Cependant, les chancelleries et les médias doivent dire toute la vérité et reconnaître que la faute incombe essentiellement au Hamas qui a provoqué cette guerre.Les chefs du Hamas ont cru transformer Tel-Aviv et les villes israéliennes en champ de bataille et en ruine par un lancement massif de roquettes et de missiles, et par des méga-attentats terroristes contre des villages et kibboutzim israéliens situés le long de la frontière.

The Global Village - Le vrai visage du Hamas et notre juste cause

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 22, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJérusalem, Israel - La guerre que nous menons ces jours-ci contre le Hamas a été lancée à contre cœur. Elle nous a été imposée. Il faut savoir que les Israéliens ont ras le bol des guerres et souhaitent ardemment vivre en paix et en coexistence avec nos voisins arabes. Nous sacrifions chaque jour nos propres soldats, nos propres enfants, pour défendre notre pays, nos maisons et nos foyers. Les faubourgs de Gaza ne sont pas des banlieues paisibles. Le quartier de Sajajjihé où se déroule des combats acharnés ne se trouve pas à Neuilly ni à Manhattan… C’est un bastion terroriste du Hamas ! C’est delà que partent les tunnels et d’ici sont lancées les roquettes et les missiles sur les villes et villages d’Israël.

La Patrie - OMAR KHADR: THE LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD

By David T. Jones on July 18, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Canadians are now being treated to the latest episode in the long-running Omar Khadr sob story.  An Alberta appeals court has ruled (but the federal government plans to appeal) that Khadr should be transferred from a federal penitentiary to a provincial prison. 
The technical argument is that the eight-year sentence imposed on Khadr after he pleaded guilty in U.S. court to five crimes, including murder, was a youth sentence in Canadian terms.  Of course, nothing of the like was indicated in the U.S. disposition of the sentence. Indeed, his repatriation to Canada was implicitly dependent on Khadr serving his full sentence under conditions equivalent to those in the United States—not in a county court house jail/motel equivalent with early release.  But Canadian disinterest in U.S. juridical practice is legendary.

The Global Village - No proportionality

By Beryl Wajsman on July 14, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWell, now that the only democracy in the Middle East is trying to defend itself, we have the usual calls from some quarters that Israel’s response in Gaza is not proportional. Well, the critics may be  right.

It is not proportional that Israel gives notice of targeted bombings while Hamas launches bombs without notice. Israel should perhaps adopt that policy.

The Global Village - No equivalency

By Beryl Wajsman on July 7, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOn its own, the murders of the three Israeli Jewish teenagers -  Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel - would call for special condemnation . But what makes this even more urgent, is the rush to moral equivalency in so many quarters in the public arena following the heinous killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair, the Palestinian teenager. If this is the last place, and even the only place, where one truth will be stated clearly and candidly then we must do so.  These murders are equally repugnant as individual acts. But there is no collective equivalency between the societies from which they arose.

The Global Village - La vengeance aveugle est contraire aux valeurs du judaïsme

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 7, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Le meurtre  horrible du jeune palestinien par des vengeurs juifs est injustifiable et impardonnable. Contrairement aux peuples qui nous entourent, nous savons condamner fermement et arrêter les coupables ! Nous sommes aussi capables d’être solidaires d’une famille palestinienne en deuil. La douleur de la mort d’un enfant n’a pas de frontière.
Cet acte insensé a bouleversé toutes les cartes. Il a apporté  de l’eau au moulin à nos détracteurs, a fait verser bêtement et sauvagement de l’huile sur le feu, et a réanimé la haine aveugle et raciste dans un contexte déjà explosif.

La Patrie - The fierce urgency for a guaranteed national income

By Beryl Wajsman on June 30, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe Basic Income Canada Network organized a conference over the weekend at McGill advocating for a guaranteed national income plan. The conference showed the practical path to getting it done. We need to, and can, do this.
The broad principles for a Guaranteed Annual Income were first proposed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, future UN Ambassador and New York Senator, when he served under President Nixon. They  came within a few votes in Congress of getting this done in the early 1970s. A GAI would replace other social security programs such as welfare.

The Global Village - The Normandy Spirit

By John Parisella on June 27, 2014

Parisella.pngLike so many in Canada, the U.S., and Western Europe, I was moved by the commemorative events surrounding the Normandy landing that took place 70 years ago on June 6, 1944. It was a moment to remember the ultimate sacrifice of what journalist Tom Brokaw labeled “the Greatest Generation,” who struggled in the defense of freedom and the elimination of Nazi barbarism. We owe so much to those who fought and to the few veterans remaining. It was a fitting memorial.
In stark contrast to the events surrounding the Normandy landing, a growing controversy in a prisoner-of-war swap soon became the news of the day.

Society - Change In Scriptural Interpretation Is Inevitable

By Father John Walsh on June 26, 2014

father_walsh.jpgAll religious traditions are facing the same reality; we are struggling to emerge in a new way from a re-interpretation of our sacred texts.  Brian McLaren in his book "Everything must change" states the matter succinctly as "when the world’s biggest problems and the teachings of Jesus collide."
Have we experienced enough of the dog- eat-dog-world to know its futility?  Will we be content with a callous and cold world?  Hope may erupt when all our faith traditions are in compliment with each other and together we refuse to accept conflict and confrontation to resolve whatever differences we may face together.  

The Global Village - Le combat contre la terreur des djihadistes et du Hamas

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 26, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Les yeux de toute la planète sont braqués sur la Coupe du Monde, sur cette formidable bataille sportive entre des équipes venues de tous les continents au Brésil. Ils viennent dans le pays de la Samba pour danser, jouer, gagner,perdre et puis repartir, chacun vers sa propre destination. Tandis que là bas on s’amuse avec le ballon rond et les pronostics, ici, loin des projecteurs, des milliers de soldats israéliens recherchent trois adolescents innocents pris en otage par des terroristes. A proximité, et sur un autre terrain, d’autres combats font rage provoquant des centaines de milliers de victimes, des millions de réfugiés et des drames quotidiens et terrifiants.

The Global Village - Living with the aftermath of the First World War in Iraq

By Robert Presser on June 26, 2014

Presser_Robert_new.jpgBack in 2003 when the US was busy creating a post-invasion democracy in Iraq, Joe Biden, then a US senator, looked at the prospective constitution and had an alternative idea.  He proposed that Iraq be divided into three largely autonomous regions, the Kurds in the north and the Shiites and Sunnis along roughly an east-west axis.  Joe was a decent student of the regional history and came to the conclusion that these sects were unlikely to share power for long.  Biden said that Iraq required a political solution that simplygave each party “a seat at the table and a piece of the pie,” referring specifically to a share of the wealth expected to be created by future oil revenues.

Society - Supreme Court reaffirms our "most comprehensive" of rights

By Beryl Wajsman on June 20, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSupreme Court reaffirms our "most comprehensive"of rights Internet privacy and due process protections strengthened.
Friday's unanimous Supreme Court decision in the Spencer case is not only a watershed in privacy rights but also reaffirms that due process is our paramount protection of liberty. The Court ruled that security authorities could not demand of internet service providers the identities and addresses of people unless a warrant was obtained first. It said that warrantless internet searches were "presumptively unreasonable." The Court stated that internet users have a right to,privacy pending a warrant. Yet violations of this basic civil right has been going on for years.

Society - Coderre's right, QLB's wrong

By Beryl Wajsman on June 19, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt's as simple as that. On multiple levels.

The Quebec Liquor Board has rejected a pilot project by the City of Montreal to extend bar hours until 6 a.m. It said the pilot project was   "likely to disturb public tranquility." The Agency further stated that, "A project such as this merits taking the time to reflect and to document its feasibility in light of similar experiences elsewhere in the world." 

Society - A Pilgrimage Of Peace

By Father John Walsh on June 15, 2014

father_walsh.jpgThe road to peace in the Middle East has a new roadmap.  Pope Francis walked a road less travelled with his two friends from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, former rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, and Sheik Omar Abboud, a former secretary-general of the Islamic Center of Argentina. Francis was telling the world that he had been on the inter-faith road for a long time. What we have learned is that Pope Francis cannot be orchestrated.


Economics - Time for an economic «risque de tonnerre!»

By Beryl Wajsman on June 10, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt was a start. It is important that Premier Couillard and Finance Minister Leitao took the first steps. No tax increases. Hiring freezes in the civil service. At least some symbolic cuts to state engineering agencies like the OQLF that are now eating up about a fifth of our expenditures. Tax cuts for small businesses. Mr. Leitao called this an interim budget pointing out that there are only six months left in the calendar year. It is generally expected that more progress will come in next March’s full budget. Here is what we need to see.

Economics - Quebec’s 2014 Budget is aimed at the ROC

By Robert Presser on June 9, 2014

Presser_Robert_new.jpgPut aside all the noise generated by the political chattering classes over the figures released in Quebec’s budget last Thursday, since this year’s figures don’t matter.  The only message you need to retain is that this is just the beginning – the re-imagining of the role of the state in Quebecker’s lives will wait until next year.  When we have a total provincial debt approaching $200 billion, having the deficit for 2013-14 come in $600 million higher than previously estimated is not that important since no one believed the figures that the former PQ government had tabled in any case, both for their first budget and the one that died when they were defeated.

The Global Village - First person: D-Day + 15 on Omaha Beach by Sid Birns

By Sid Birns on June 3, 2014

Birns_DD.jpgThe port of embarkation in the south of England was wet and mudddy.  No matter where you looked, all you could see were soldiers going in and out of tents surrounded by all kinds of equipment that would be used once we landed in Normandy.

The invasion force was in front of us having landed on June 6th, 1944, D-Day. The invasion of Fortress Europe was on and we were waiting our turn to board the landing craft.

Society - Cop rage: police ticket 87 year-old $494 for crossing the street

By P.A. Sévigny on June 3, 2014

Sevigny_PA_bw.jpgLate last week, while on his way to an afternoon medical appointment, 87 year-old Sam Ferstman was given two tickets totalling $494 because he failed to see the pedestrian crosswalk on Ste. Catherine near the Stanley Street intersection.
“I could see that the light had changed so I (along with two or three other seniors) tried to move a little faster but just as I got to the edge of the sidewalk, this policeman grabbed me by the arm and pulled me aside ,” said Ferstman. “He was very rough and very rude and after he called me an old man (for the first time), he told me that this was going to cost me a lot of money.”

The Global Village - D-Day: 70 Years After. What we owe.

By Beryl Wajsman on June 3, 2014

D_Day2.jpgFriday we will remember. We should remember every day. And everyday act with the character and valor of those heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy. 

Friday, June 6th, will be the seventieth anniversary of D-Day. We commemorate the unparalleled heroism of human beings facing inhuman elements to begin the destruction  of the most devastating evil in human history and the vanquishing of civilization’s most obscene enemy. But the remembrance must also be personal. 

The Global Village - Les partis de l’extrême droite et la haine du Juif en Europe

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 3, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGAprès l’assassinat à Paris du jeune Ilan Halimi en 2006, après la tuerie de Toulouse en 2012, voilà un nouvel attentat monstrueux au Musée Juif de Bruxelles.  La haine antisémite, la bête immonde relève la tête et assassine lâchement des Juifs au cœur de l’Europe !  Ce dernier acte de violence se déroule au moment même où des millions d’Européens de 28 pays sont partis aux urnes pour élire un nouveau Parlement plus xénophobe, et le même jour où le Pape a foulé la Terre Sainte et a prononcé la Bonne Parole en souhaitant un dialogue franc et sincère entre les trois religions monothéistes.

Economics - TMR Mall: Time To Protect Small Merchants From Rogue Landlords. Let's End The "Race To The Bottom"

By Beryl Wajsman on May 26, 2014

TMR_merchant.jpgEighty per cent of our new jobs are created by small business.
Yet it is small business-people who have the most trouble getting credit; the most put upon by government compliance and revenue agents and the most abused by landlords. Most have poured everything they have into their businesses.
They like the independence of being their own bosses.
But there is little money available for big law to protect them from big power. But they are our neighbours. They are the bedrock of our communities.
And it’s time we awoke to that fact and band together to protect them and each other. 

La Patrie - Côté

By Beryl Wajsman on May 26, 2014

Cote.jpgWe had met before, but my first meeting with Marcel Côté during the Mayoralty campaign took place on one of those perfect late summer Montreal afternoons that makes us all forget the city's problems and remember why we stay Montrealers. We sat in the window of the café near his office that looked out onto Place Frère-André. The biggest tree was lush and green, with birds and pigeons swooping around having their way with the branches and with the statue of Frère André. The air was sweet with the perfumed scent of some bud gently blown our way by a soft wind. 

Society - Bill 52: How about “living” with dignity? The dying is hard enough.

By Beryl Wajsman on May 26, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe problem with prohibitionary law, is that when the prohibitions are lifted, a new set of problems can arise.  Government intervention in our privates lives and choices will always present such problems and dilemmas. And this is true with the re-introduced “Dying with dignity” Bill 52
The new Liberal government has brought forth this PQ legislation into the Assembly as one of its first orders of business. It will pass unanimously in all likelihood. But this question would never have arisen if all governments had stayed loyal to a fundamental principle of natural justice that personal moral choices by adults should be outside the purview of the state.

Society - Benedict Vanier 1925-2014 A Spiritual Life

By Alan Hustak on May 20, 2014

benedict_vanier_01.jpgBenedict Vanier stood  tall,  head and shoulders above all the other  the Trappist  monks in his religious community  at l’Abbye Val Notre Dame in  St. Jean de Mantha.  The regal bearing came naturally. He   was  the   son of Canada’s devoutly catholic Governor-General Georges Vanier and his wife Pauline Archer. He   lived a life of contemplation in relative obscurity as a monk  and as a  priest for almost seven decades. Yet at his funeral on May 17, he was remembered as a genial spiritual advisor who was both pithy and profound. 

Society - A prescription for healthcare

By Beryl Wajsman on May 16, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs the new Couillard administration prepares its agendas, let’s put some pressure on to make sure it gets healthcare reforms right. Health Minister Barrette knows the score. He knows what needs to be done. We must press that the government to have the political will to do it.
As the super hospitals come close to opening, we must be honest as a society and realize that they cannot succeed. The plans were based on the thesis – a correct one - that most people can now be treated on an out-patient basis if enough equipment – enough as to quality and quantity – is obtained. People would do better.

La Patrie - Nobody’s voting the graveyard

By David T. Jones on May 16, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington DC - There is nothing more vital to a democracy than the legitimacy of the vote.

It doesn’t matter whether your speech is free; whether the press/media publishes without stint; whether political parties organize and demonstrate without restraint—if authorities tamper with your ballot and the vote manipulated, your democracy is a travesty.
Thus the integrity of each individual ballot must be an absolute.  Moreover, voters must believe that the votes of others are legitimate.  We have more than enough sources of political conflict than to add questions regarding the validity of the voting outcomes.  

La Patrie - Canada's National Day of Honour. One of our finest hours

By Beryl Wajsman on May 12, 2014

day_of_honour.JPGLast Friday Canada paid tribute to the veterans and the fallen who served in Afghanistan. It was a unique tribute. It was necessary, and it brought comfort and recognition to the families of our soldiers and pride to all Canadians.
There were those who questioned this memorial. They were petty in their criticisms and were silenced by the result.

Society - The age of the death of privacy

By Jordan Turner on May 5, 2014

Lost in the whole controversy over LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is the complete and total disregard of privacy.   Although Mr. Sterling’s comments were despicable, racist, outdated and misguided, they were made in the privacy of his own home. He did not make any comments in a public form, whether it was online, in the media or in the streets.  Mr. Sterling was having a private conversation with his girlfriend in his home.  People will allude to the fact that Mr. Sterling has made controversial comments in the past regarding race, yet the firestorm that he is now facing, including a life ban from attending NBA games, a $2.5 million fine and will undoubtedly receive extensive pressure to sell the franchise, only occurred when a private conversation was secretly recorded. 

Society - Faith and secularism after the election

By Father John Walsh on May 5, 2014

father_walsh.jpgIn many way we may be experiencing the end of the cultural wars that have marked Quebec politics and Québec life for the past many decades.  The recent proposal of a “Charter of values” was divisive of the population and the use or non-use of religious symbols in public institutions raised the ire of members of all religious communities and resulted in professionals in health and educational institutions publicly refusing to follow the demands of the Charter.
The reactions to the election of a Liberal majority government by pro-federalists is one of elation; the defeat of the PQ has sent the party members into a deep reflective mode questioning the very redefinition of the “raison d’être” of the party. 

Society - She gave away millions. Liliane Stewart, philanthropist 1928-2014

By Alan Hustak on May 3, 2014

lilianestewart.jpgLiliane M. Stewart, the Montreal tobacco heiress who  endowed and supported several Montreal museums, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Château Ramezay  the Stewart Museum on Île Sainte-Hélène,  and as well as a number of hospitals died early Saturday, May 3.  She was 85. She was an intensely private, sometimes difficult woman, who carried on and expanded her husband’s philanthropic works.  Mrs. Stewart  refused to talk about herself or answer personal questions.  Once, when asked to furnish biographical material to a journalist she declined.  “Me, I am me,” she said. “That’s all you need to know.  I am a very private person.”

The Global Village - “Mr. Abbas, your actions belie your words.”

By Beryl Wajsman on April 28, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWe write this on Monday, April 28th,  the day the world commemorates the Holocaust. We just attended a ceremony at City Hall at which Mayor Denis Coderre led the Montreal commemoration of  “To every person there is a name.” This an annual event organized by B’nai B’rith in Montreal. Names of some of the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis are read out together with their age, place of residence and place of murder. This ceremony takes place in almost all major cities in the western world. Mayor Coderre was accompanied by much of Montreal’s political leadership. He was eloquent, empathetic and emotive. His words and feelings were sincere and authentic.

La Patrie - How the PQ eviscerated itself

By David T. Jones on April 27, 2014

jones_david.jpgWasington, DC -In another time; in another society, following April 7’s electoral defeat, the leaders of the Parti Quebecois would have given Mme Marois a revolver with one bullet and escorted  her to a closed room.
A Medieval Era response would have been more polite—simply consigned her to a nunnery to live out her days contemplating the errors of her ways.
Media observers have said that Canadian federalism “dodged a bullet” with the PQ defeat in the 7 April election.  To be sure—but only because the bullet it dodged had already been fired by separatists directly into their own hearts.

Economics - Power Play At The Pumps

By Beryl Wajsman on April 23, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgI wrote this in 2007 as gas prices were in the 1.20-1.40 a litre range. Now that they have broken 1.50 today in Quebec, it seems opportune to republish this. Sadly the numbers quoted here are more or less the same as seven years ago. It is a crisis. It is also unconscionable. ~ BW
"The bottom line is that in the life of every nation there comes a time of reckoning. That reckoning determines whether its people have the maturity to cast aside false notions and fictitious pieties and assert the strength of their nationhood. If that maturity is lacking, if there is no courage, then citizens condemn themselves to eternal subservience to vested interests."

La Patrie - Herb Gray: The passing of a giant "Baruch dayan emet"

By Beryl Wajsman on April 22, 2014

Gray-Wajsman5.jpgI received the news of the Right Honorable Herb Gray's death Monday night. It was the eve of the last day of Passover. This last day is one of four days in the Jewish calendar when Yizkor prayers - memorial prayers - are recited in memory of departed relatives. And as I reflected on my own late parents, I must admit to pangs of loss for this very special gentleman who was not merely a Parliamentary giant, but perhaps the last of that generation of public servants who always put ideas before identities and principle before partisanship. He was a mentor, guide and most of all a dear friend whose wise counsel I could call upon at all times and in all circumstances even when events and circumstances kept us apart for long periods.

The Global Village - The duty of witness. Forgetting evil is a dangerous corrosive

By Beryl Wajsman on April 21, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day this coming Sunday night, and the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that follows soon thereafter, there is a moral duty to take a hard look at the world around us. What we see must compel us to the responsibility of memory and witness. Particularly as, seemingly all around us, there is a desire to forget.



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