clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘second generation’

The final (Feb 4) version of the immigration bill: from bad to worse!

Posted by clandestina on 9 February 2010

In our recent text we argued that “the bill, which is ostensibly introduced to correct at least partially an injustice, does hold many pitfalls…those in the worst position now will be then further devalued. The division into ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, ‘useful’ and ’superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘clandestine’ immigrants is being petrified as the global system of exploitation deepens.”

The final, modified version of the draft law which was officially announced on February 4, 2010!

  • Both parents of the child to be entitled to citizenship must meet the requirement of 5 years of incessant legal residence in Greece (first version provided for only one parent).
  • Adult immigrants to be eligible for citizenship must present proof of 7 – instead of 5 as was first proposed – years of incessant legal residence in Greece, to which the further requirement of a “long residence permit”, which has been granted to just 130 persons since its inception in 2006!).
  • To the existing requirements of exclusion (high fees, law-abiding behaviour, clean criminal record etc,) the new draft law adds:
  • Special Civil Education and History tests set up by the Citizenship Committee.
  • That there are no “public or national security” reasons to deny citizenship.
  • Insurance and financial status
  • According to the ministry of interior those eligible to file an application today are: 130 long residing people, 14.000 with a 5 year residence, 1.000 parents of Greek citizens, 1.000 entitled to international protection, 120 people with no citizenship, a sum total of less than 16.500 people!

    Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Short Reports | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Citizenship bill made stricter

    Posted by clandestina on 5 February 2010

    source kathimerini

    Citizenship bill made stricter

    Second-generation immigrants who are hoping to obtain Greek citizenship under the new law proposed by the government yesterday discovered that the conditions for doing so are going to be substantially stricter than had originally been announced.

    PASOK submitted the revised bill to Parliament yesterday and it soon became apparent that some of the draft law’s provisions have been tightened up following a period of public consultation during which there were many objections to what some people regarded as the ease with which citizenship would be awarded.

    Under the new provisions, a child born in Greece to immigrant parents will need to have had both his father and mother living in the country legally for five years before he or she can apply for citizenship. Originally, only one parent would have had to be a legal resident.

    Also, the children will have to prove that they have spent at least six years in Greek schools rather than the three years originally proposed by the government.

    In another major change to the initial plans, applicants will also need to produce recommendation letters from three Greek citizens.

    The proposed law would still allow second-generation immigrants to vote in local elections and to stand as city councilors after obtaining citizenship and proving that they have a good command of Greek.

    The Interior Ministry estimates that the bill would allow more than 250,000 people to join the electoral register after gaining citizenship. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis said that the imminent law would apply to any immigrants who obtained legal status up to January 2005.

    Despite the stricter measures contained in the new bill, New Democracy still criticized the draft law for being too lax. “Every immigration measure that the government has announced so far constitutes the lowest threshold anywhere in Europe for awarding citizenship to immigrants,” said ND spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos.

    Meanwhile, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod said it believes the bill does not effectively tackle the country’s immigration problem.

    “The citizenship bill does not directly respond to the immigration problem, so the state has to carefully study the conditions under which citizenship will be granted,” the statement read. “At the same time, though, it has to approach the immigration issue with seriousness, taking into account the sensitivities and particularities of certain parts of our homeland and the possible effect it will have on the general population.”

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    On the much discussed bill on citizenship

    Posted by clandestina on 26 January 2010

    The proposed legislation to grant citizenship to some second generation immigrants puts partially an end to their chronic status of being hostages in the country where they were born and have lived so far their lives .   However, this bill, which is ostensibly  introduced to correct at least partially an injustice,  does hold many pitfalls:

    1) Children’s “legalisation” depends on the “legality” of their parents. As has been repeatedly stressed, no sans papiers can benefit from the proposed naturalization process.

    2) The proposed conditions for granting citizenship turn the latter into a “certificate of social conscience” [as the one issued by post-civil war police or army authorities certifying that its owner was not a communist – thereof employable in the public sector and entitled to various other rights]; those eligible and finally granted citizenship will be under the constant threat of having their citizenship removed; moreover, one to be eligible for the naturalisation process ”must have not been convicted to a prison sentence of at least one year for a period of ten years prior to the application, must have not been convicted of offences against the state, (…) of resistance to authority [for instance, resistance to arrest], of slander” as well as “of facilitating the transfer or the provision of shelter to illegal immigrants or of breaches of legislation concerning the settlement and movement of aliens in Greece.”

    3) Proposed army recruitment of immigrants (a relief for the army ranks in view of the growing reluctance among Greek youth to draft) adds to the exploitative blackmail that makes legal residence dependent on work revenue stamps (immigrant active workforce’s contributions with no pension claims so far have been so far the Greek administrations preferred approach for dealing with the ailing public insurance funds); the unacceptably high fee (1,000 euros per person which means millions of euros for the state ) is maintained.

    4) The much debated bill is merely an integration regulation for immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation and in exchange for votes.  On April 28, 2009 Albania formally applied for EU membership. This prospect might seem remote, but wasn’t it the same with Romania and Bulgaria some years ago? Thus, although it now seems that the naturalization process applies and is of interest for the majority of immigrants in Greece, in a few years, when the Albanians will be EU citizens, the now proposed regulation will only aplly to a very small minotirty of immigrants. In fact, those in the worst position now will be then further devalued. The division into ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘clandestine’ immigrants is being petrified as the global system of exploitation deepens.

    Alongside with the proposal of the “benefactory” bill the Greek state has been all the more stressing its commitment to “zero tolerance” policies, the “sealing” of the borders, deportation camps, the Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the Dublin II Regulation, the Schengen Treaty, the Outrageous Directive. Finally, we should remind that the law provision for deporting immigrants charged (not convicted) of minor misdeeds on “public order and security” grounds is still in effect.

    Clandestina network, January 2010

    Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    One step forward, two steps back! Forum of Migrants in Crete event on the new Immigration Bill

    Posted by clandestina on 25 January 2010

    This is a translation of a Forum of Migrants in Crete press release.

    ANNOUNCEMENT – CALL
    for debate on the  immigration bill
    1 step forward and two steps back

    The Forum of Migrants in Crete considers that the proposed amendments to the Code of citizenship and the participation in elections of local government indeed are in the right direction – at any case we would be saying the same thing, even if it was about a single immigrant obtaining his/her rights.

    The proposal to grant citizenship to second generation immigrants puts partially an end to the chronic hostage status of the second generation immigrants.  However the bill requires 5 years of lawful and undisrupted residence of their parents in the country, attendance of the first three classes of the primary school or 6 years of attendance at a Greek school.   So, we ask:

    • what about the children whose parents had been legally residing but were at some point unable to renew their residence permits (in most cases because they had not adequate work revenue stamps)?
    • what about the children who have no parents (since many minors come on their own)?
    • what about the children of parents without legal documents?

    Concerning the proposal for the participation of all long-term foreign residents in the local authority elections, we ask why the boll excludes them from being candidates for senior posts?

    We respond to xenophobic voices that they should not worry, since in any case the bill concerns to only a very small percentage of people from other countries, those who live lawfully and continuously for many years in Greece.

    As for the acquisition of Greek citizenship by first generation immigrants, we actually wait to see the concrete and final requirements of the bill; under the pressure of racist critics. though, we expect them to be harsch.

    We will continue to struggle for the legalization of all immigrants (the draft law does not say a single word about sans papiers, and legal documents is a prerequisite for everything proposed by the bill).

    We will continue to struggle for citizenship for all children born, live and grown-up in this place.

    We call for an info, discussion and recommendations event on Tuesday, January 26, 6:00 pm at Agora Sq. Chania.

    Chania, Jan. 24, 2010.
    Forum of Immigrants in Crete

    NOTE: this call by the Forum of Immigrants in Crete is in the frame of a AN ANTIRACIST DEMONSTRATION CALL BY VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS IN CHANIA.  SIMILAR CALLS AHVE BEEN MADE IN OTHER CITIES AS WELL (Herakleion, Ioannina etc.) This is the Chania demonstrations poster:


    Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Events, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    A call by Athens Elementary School teachers in support of colleagues prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

    Posted by clandestina on 18 January 2010

    SEE PREVIOUS POST: Teachers prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

    A call by the teachers of the 132nd Athens Elementary School
    At a time when achieving harmonious conviviality between the children of Greeks and immigrants poses a serious challenge for the Greek society, and has been commanded by the Greek state, Stella Protonotariou, former director of the 132nd Elementary School Athens will face on January 22, 2010 trial at the criminal court of Athens  on charges that she conceded premises of the school for the teaching of the mother tongue to pupils who speak that other languages.  Along with her will be faced with charges the teacher that taught  to schoolchildren their native language.   Mr Gioutlakis, the present director of the 132nd Primary School will be the witness for the prosecution.

    We, the teachers of the school, who decided together with the former director the educational interventions implemented in the 132nd Elementary School, we invite all of you and all who fight every day for a better education, to attend the trial court at that day, to confirm with our presence not only that  Stella Protonotariou has our full support, but also our willingness to fight for a fairer world and a school that includes  all our pupils on equal terms.

    It is worth noting that on the basis of a second report filed by the same witness, a preliminary examination by the police has been conducted on Stella Protonotariou for alleged misconduct, because along with the teaching of the Albanian mother tongue she also ran along with us Greek lessons to immigrant parents.

    Teachers who work or have worked at the 132nd Athens Elementary School

    Signatures.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Government on Citizenship for Second Generation immigrants

    Posted by clandestina on 23 December 2009

    source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_23/12/2009_113525

    Immigrants to get citizenship

    Cabinet approves pioneering draft law to give foreigners and their children greater rights

    Second-generation immigrants are going to be given the right to claim Greek citizenship and vote in the country’s elections, the Cabinet decided yesterday.

    In what will be groundbreaking legislation for Greece, the proposed law would allow some 250,000 children who have been born in the country to migrant parents to call themselves Greek. Under the draft law, now open to public consultation, if one of the child’s parents has been living in Greece for at least five years in a row, then their son or daughter will be able to claim citizenship.

    This right will also be available to children who have attended the first three years of primary school in Greece or have studied at Greek schools for a total of six years. The Interior Ministry estimates that if the law is passed before next year’s municipal elections, then 150,000 second-generation immigrants will be able to vote in the polls.

    The bill also proposes that foreigners living and working in Greece legally for five consecutive years will be able to be naturalized, allowing them to vote and run in local elections but not general elections.

    Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that police have already been instructed not to arrest or deport second-generation immigrants over paperwork discrepancies.

    New Democracy accused the government of ignoring the significance of awarding someone citizenship, while the nationalists Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) accused PASOK of “distorting the electoral body.”

    Yesterday’s Cabinet meeting was also memorable for another reason, as it was the first time that the head of the Church of Greece was invited to take part. Archbishop Ieronymos repeated proposals that unused Church property be used to help raise money for noble causes.


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    From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait 

    Posted by clandestina on 20 December 2009

    Text in Greek available here.

    On the occasion of the International Migrants Day

    From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait

    Just over a month and half ago Prime Minister Papandreou used the Global Forum on Immigration & Development proceedings in Athens to sketch government measures which would stand for a humanitarian turn compared to the policies and situation of the recent months .  He described as necessary

    “[T]o stimulate the participation of immigrants in the political life of the country, through the possibility of Greek citizenship acquisition, particularly of course for the so-called ‘second generation’, in which we are suggesting the acquisition of citizenship by birth for the new person born in our territory.”

    For people in Greece, though, the announcement of the Secretary for Home Affairs Theodora Tzakri two weeks later, which made clear that Greek citizenship would be granted only to children born to legal immigrants, came as no surprise.

    The doctrine of “Zero tolerance to illegal migration” goes hand in hand with this government’s humanitarian turn… As for what this turn is all about, it aims at incorporating immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation, and in exchange for votes. A phony exchange indeed.

    Along with this, the dividing of immigrants into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ becomes more intense, and the system of exploitation grows deeper roots .

    As we wrote in our above linked text on the Global Forum on Immigration & Development:

    “The aim of developmental policy is to control migration flows (through the FRONTEX patrols and detention centres) as well as to regulate them (through 5-year rotating work permits, the annulment of asylum rights), in order to keep a stable proportion of productive inhabitants within the increasingly ageing, unproductive populations of Europe. In other words, recycling the migrants will keep the indexes of development in check, development being the systematic and bloodthirsty pillage of lives and resources, time and space.

    According to the “UN Population Division report on replacement migration”, if the Europeans want to keep their ratio of older people to active workers at the 1995 levels, the Union will need 135 million immigrants by 2025.

    This demographic issue is only part of the story, and maybe not the most important. Neoliberalization inside Europe has meant a weakened, destabilized labor force. It’s not just that capital wants selected migrants because it needs more workers, it wants migrants because they are powerless, unorganized, low-paid workers for whom there will be no job security, no health care and no pensions.In other words, they are far cheaper and less troublesome workers”.

    Illegal immigrants are necessary because through them the rights of the legal ones are suppressed (there is of course rotation of people in these roles). At the same time, illegal immigration helps governments maintain a useful xenophobic atmosphere to impose authoritarian policies. “Migration management” includes both authoritarian hysteria and humanitarian logistics. The two seemingly opposite positions are the two sides of the same coin of subjugation.

    So let’s outline against this backdrop the government’s humanitarian turn after the elections of October 2009…

    The Doctrine “Insulated Greece”

    The new doctrine was introduced by Minister of Citizen Protection (= Public Order) M. Chrisochoïdis on Tuesday, December 15, at his meeting with the FRONTEX Executive Director J.Laitinen.   The construction of the Southeast Mediterranean FRONTEX Headquarters at the U.S. base of Aktion or at Piraeus has been a permanent request of the Greek government, which proudly stated that 75% of illegal entry arrests at the sea borders of EU for this year took place in the Aegean sea.

    A few days earlier in the frame of FRONTEX operations (on Saturday, December 12) officers in Samos island, on no notice whatsoever and violently, carried out with utmost secrecy the transfer of over 85 Afghan refugees from the local detention center to the island’s airport at Pythagorio.  There the refugees were boarded on an airplane which departed for an unknown destination.

    The slaughter in the Aegean Sea continues

    In less than two months, 16 migrants have died in the icy waters of the Aegean. Most of them were children.

    • On Tuesday, October 27, 8 immigrants, three adults and five children, drowned in the east part of the Aegean Sea.
    • On Saturday, November 7, the lifeless bodies of six children from Palestine, aged 2 to 12 years, washed up on shore near Bodrum (Alikarnasos), Turkey.  The boat in which 19 Palestinians – half of them children – squeezed themselves on an effort to pass from the Turkish town of Turgutreis to Kos island overturned 500 meters from the shore.
    • On Friday, December 11, a boat carrying undocumented migrants sank near the island of Leros. Fishermen found 25 migrants perched on a rocky island and two more lifeless bodies in the sea.

    Police violence

    Incidents of abuse and humiliation by the police amount to dozens, and most of them never reach the public attention. We report the following characteristic cases:

    Para-state violence

    The para-state mechanism was launched last summer against immigrants and since then it has been working relentlessly despite the supposed change of policy.

    Para-state organized violence encourages and feeds the diffuse social one.

    • Thus, on November 8, four immigrants who had been working at olive fields in Messolongi, Western Greece, were attacked with crowbars and clubs and beaten savagely by circa 15 people. The immigrants were transferred to the emergency dept. of the Messolongi hospital. The immigrants had been asking their wages from the owner of the fields in which they had been working.  They were ambushed and beaten in an old warehouse, where they had an appointment with their employer to get their money.

    Institutional violence

    • In late November the trial of 25 immigrants (mainly Arabs and one Afghan) took place; they had been arrested during the events of December 2008 and had been detained ever since.  All this period they were considered missing.  All of them were sentenced to imprisonment from 7 months to 3 years.  It is characteristic for the fairness of the trial that only one interpreter had been assigned , who translated simultaneously for 24 defendants who were divided in three groups in the court’s room.  The Afghan who did not understand Arabic was seated on the last bench of the room…
    • On Friday, December 11, in Thessaloniki, a report was issued by the Hellenic League for Human Rights, about the detention centers in Evros and Rodopi.  The survey took place from the 25th to the 29th of November 2009 and states:

    In many cases there is inadequate lighting, ventilation and heating (…)  At virtually none of the premises visited have the possibility to go outdoors on some yard. Even in detention centers where there is an adequate yard, the large number of detainees on the one hand and the lack of personnel on the other allows usually only for some prisoners to have outdoor breaks for a minimum period and not on a daily basis (…)  Food in many cases is inadequate, the quantity and quality in general varies (..). The care taken for sanitation and hygiene conditions varies from inexistent to inadequate (…) The availability of medical and nursing staff is poor and at all cases occasional (…) The detainees were in total confusion regarding their rights, the time of their detention and ill-informed as to asylum procedures; interpreters were not available.

    December 18, 2009

    Clandestina Network

    Group of Immigrants and Refugees, Thessaloniki

    Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Greek citizenship for migrant children born in Greece only to the children of legal immigrants

    Posted by clandestina on 23 November 2009

    This is about these promises of the Greek government Greek socialists to grant citizenship to migrants’ children.

    source: ert gr filia on 17 November

    Greek citizenship for migrant children born in Greece – as announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou at the World Migration Forum – applies only to the children of legal immigrants, clarified the Interior undersecretary Theodora Tzakri yesterday, in response to a question by New Democracy deputy Evangelos Antonaros.

    On his part, Antonaros warned that the prospect of immediate citizenship for the children would exacerbate the constantly growing number of immigrants heading for Greece. In his opinion, he said, the children of legal immigrants should be classified as “long-term residents” and, when they reach the age of 18, would have the possibility of deciding if they want the nationality of their parents or Greek citizenship.

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    Teachers prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

    Posted by clandestina on 15 June 2009

    The ex – head – teacher and a teacher of albanian language of the 132nd primary school of Athens will be brought to court tomorrow for providing the immigrant pupils with the opportunity to learn Albanian – their parents’ and at cases firts language language – in the afternoon, when the shcool is not officially operating.   At this school immigrant children had the opportunity to learn Arabic and Albanian, while in the afternoon their parents were offered lessons of Greek. At the same school “an experiment took place of replacing the Morning Prayer by a poem written by Yiannis Ritsos”.

    source: Network of Social Support to Immigrants and Refugees article at Athens Indymedia. Read there about calls to action, tomorrow at Athens Courts (at the second building of Evelpidon courts).

    Read below about this case’s past (source: http://www.greeksrethink.com/2009/05/our-father-in-heaven-replaced-by-a-poem-in-greek-schools/).

    We requested a review from Stella Protonotariou, Headteacher to November 2007 of the 132 Athens Elementary School where an experiment took place of replacing the Morning Prayer by a poem written by Yiannis Ritsos.

    “Many pupils of other non Orthodox faiths attend today’s Greek modern schools which are now multicultural.

    According to the presidential Decree 200/98 the pupils who enter the school prior to the Morning Prayer are obliged to attend the assembly area with their Year Group even if they do not pray, respecting their peers who are praying.

    Often this is not adhered to as the children when in school at the time of the prayer they want to be part of the team and participate in the first collective activity of the school day.

    The children do not wish to feel excluded, odd looking and talked about.

    Many a time Muslim pupils took to the microphone and recited “Our Father in Heaven…”

    “Why should I not say myself a prayer? Am I not like all the other children? “asked once a pupil of Year 3 and at another time a pupil of Year 5, a Catholic girl, told her teacher that she felt that the other pupils stared at her strangely and made comments on the way she does the sign of the cross.

    Parents of children of the non orthodox faith have often requested for their children to participate in the Morning Prayer but without making the sign of the cross.

    They themselves were aware that their children were participating anyway.

    If discussions were taking place at home the children would react strongly.

    Some of the parents opposed as they felt that we as teachers had no respect for their religious beliefs.

    It is therefore necessary to find a way such as not to deprive our children from participating in the morning prayer and of course in any other school activity.

    I consider their exclusion from the prayer to be an error as well as a violation of their right and is in conflict with the Convention Rights of children a subject taught in school and an official part of the Curriculum.

    132nd School after a lot of thought and discussion replaced ” Our Father in Haven….” With the following poem-prayer ”The Morning Star” by Yiannis Ritsos:

    “Oh Dear God, we are wellMake, oh Dear god, that the children have a Creek of milk, Plenty of Stars, Plenty of SongsMake oh Dear God all to be well”

    The lyrics have been chosen as not to be in conflict with the “original elements of orthodoxy” as required by law , do not offend any other faith, they are simple to understand and make allowances for the other faiths children to pray.

    However the local parish objected.

    When the Headmistress of the specific school asked them for a common solution, they refused to discuss.

    Cont ..: Mrs Protonotariou failed the selection process and her replacement reinstated the “Our Father in Heaven..”.

    In the uproar that followed(E has always taken an interest with several reports of “IOU” Mr A Lykourentzos Deputy Minister of Education intervened stating along other comments in NET that he is in the position that he is in, in order  to protect ” The Laws of the country” and the ” Greek tradition”.

    The Defending Council for Children requested further explanation but they received no reply.

    This is what 3 of our commentators in the experiment of 132nd School say:

    H Frangopoulos: “The free mixing of different religious beliefs and the comparison of those leads to one distancing himself from Any Religion.

    Especially when we are talking about Yiannis Ritsos who was a Marxist and he had no Belief in any religion.”

    A Kariotoglou: “It was wonderful to see what they did and bravo to those who took the initiative”.

    K Bey: “It was so good….as for the result of this experiment, it can only happen in Greece where there is darkness and intolerance”.

    On the light of the position of Mr. Kariotoglou we asked him to pass on the relevant questions to Archbishop Ieronymos. However we received no response.

    Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Interviews and Testimonies, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    2nd Festival of Solidarity and Culture of the United African Women Organisation – We live next door, why not together?

    Posted by clandestina on 12 June 2009

    from the organisation’s blog

    2nd Festival of Solidarity and Culture of the United African Women Organisation
    We live next door, why not together?

    On the 12th and 13th of June, United African Women Organization will organize its second Festival of Solidarity and Culture in Amerikis Square. During those two days you will participate in various events and you will listen to two very important discussions on the issues of migrant women, the precarity in their work and the need for self – organization (Friday, 12th of June), as well as on the movement for Greek citizenship for migrants’ children (Saturday, 13th of June).
    We will be very happy to see you once more in our festival, share our life experiences, listen to each other and understand what unites us.
    You are most welcome to join us and celebrate with us the joy of living together.

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