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Zimbabwe -- Cathy Buckle -- Eat the Quelia birds
Letters written by Cathy Buckle ^ | 2005-08-13 | Cathy Buckle

Posted on 08/14/2005 10:02:31 AM PDT by Clive

Dear Family and Friends,

In a report this week the Washington based Centre for Global Development said that the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean had plunged to levels that prevailed over 50 years ago in 1953. The CGD, which tracks economic and developmental trends, said that gains made by Zimbabwe over the past five decades had been wiped away in the last six years. The CGD said that the scale and speed of income decline in Zimbabwe was greater than that seen during recent conflicts in the Ivory Coast, the DR Congo and Sierra Leone. These are chilling figures to try and take in and it is very, very hard to see how Zimbabwe can come back from where it is without radical and dramatic changes at every single level.

Ever since the March elections, we have been slipping backwards and the pace has accelerated with each passing week. Inflation is soaring again, almost all basic commodities have disappeared from our shelves, fuel is virtually unobtainable, electricity supplies are erratic and the water, in my home town anyway, has literally been unfit to drink for the last fortnight. The country is in a state of almost complete paralysis and it is utterly absurd that we are sitting here like beggars waiting for a multi million dollar loan from South Africa when right there, on our front door step, nature is again holding out the key to change as summer arrives.

For the last half century Zimbabwe has fed itself from her own fields. We have survived crippling repeated years of drought. We mastered the art of growing crops that we could export in order to earn foreign currency; we filled our silos and warehouses in abundant years to see us through the bad seasons we knew would invariably follow. We built dams and reservoirs and dug wells and boreholes to give us water in dry times. We learnt to grow flowers under floodlights and exotic vegetables in plastic tunnels, to rear ostriches for their leather and to make fuel from ethanol and jatropha.

And now, hah, what shame upon Zimbabwe and her leaders with their masters degrees and doctorates. Now, in 2005, we wait for South Africa to give us food. We have no foreign money to buy fuel. Our fields are unploughed, our lands unprepared for the new season. Every year, as we get poorer and hungrier there is an excuse, a reason why, having produced more than enough food for fifty years, now we can't do it anymore. Our national newspaper tells us that our winter wheat crop has been severely depleted this year because Quelea birds are eating the grain. It does not tell us how, for half a century, our commercial farmers managed to keep bread on our tables and flour in our shops. Instead it tells us that this week the price of a loaf of bread went from four and half to seven thousand dollars and it tells us that instead of going hungry we should eat the Quelea birds that are stealing the national wheat crop. The Herald newspaper tells us we should find ways of catching, killing and canning Quelea birds and then exporting them to Europe for gourmet restaurants. Oh please, what shame, what utter shame.

Until next week, love cathy

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: africa; cathybuckle; zimbabwe
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1 posted on 08/14/2005 10:02:32 AM PDT by Clive
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To: blam; Cincinatus' Wife; sarcasm; happygrl; Byron_the_Aussie; robnoel; GeronL; ZOOKER; Bonaparte; ...


2 posted on 08/14/2005 10:03:01 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Clive

Wow doesn't anyone care?

3 posted on 08/14/2005 10:04:44 AM PDT by cyborg (I'm having the best day ever.)
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To: Clive

---The Herald newspaper tells us we should find ways of catching, killing and canning Quelea birds and then exporting them to Europe for gourmet restaurants. ---

They taste like chicken!

4 posted on 08/14/2005 10:13:12 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: cyborg

---t is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.

”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s., which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us! sacrificing the poor innocent babes I doubt more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remains one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing, till they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time, they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers, as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants; the mother will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

As to our city of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me, from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the public, because they soon would become breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly), as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended.

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality as a prime dainty; and that in his time the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty's prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at playhouse and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young laborers, they are now in as hopeful a condition; they cannot get work, and consequently pine away for want of nourishment, to a degree that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labor, they have not strength to perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.

Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.

Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per annum, the nation's stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.

Fourthly, The constant breeders, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.

Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns; where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating: and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.

Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards or enforced by laws and penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead of expense. We should see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barreled beef, the propagation of swine's flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a lord mayor's feast or any other public entertainment. But this and many others I omit, being studious of brevity.

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and 'twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.

After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for an hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, there being a round million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock would leave them in debt two millions of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession to the bulk of farmers, cottagers, and laborers, with their wives and children who are beggars in effect: I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food, at a year old in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes as they have since gone through by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

The End ---

5 posted on 08/14/2005 10:16:08 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: Clive

The decline of Rhodesian prosperity from a food exporting nation to the now starving population of Zimbabwe can be tied to one 'TRUTH'.

Government MUST provide secure property rights. No one will invest seed, sweat and money to irrigate or protect crops from marauding birds, without a prayer of reaping the harvest.

This is what starved Russia and this is what is now starving Zimbabwe. Anyone who believes the natives cannot farm every bit as good as the White colonists who were driven off their land is a racist. Its the free market at work in reverse.

Who among us would invest in a crop in Haiti... weed it, fertize it, water it, and generally fend off pests if they do not have a better than 50% chance of reaping the profits of the crop? Once private property rights are eroded (which is happening here, too, by taxation and confiscation), it starts downhill.

The leaders of Zimbabwe now have food to use as a weapon, too. They feed their armies with food aid and they starve their enemies. They take cattle from nomads in Afica and place the nomads in refugee camps because the more refugees you get, the more food aid and governments can make a lot of money taking food and selling it. The more refugees, of course, the more food to plunder.

Nomads who lived on square miles never learned sanitation and many of them die when they pee uphill from the water source.

6 posted on 08/14/2005 10:19:20 AM PDT by nsmart
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To: Clive
.... we are sitting here like beggars ....

Not like beggars. They are beggars.

7 posted on 08/14/2005 10:26:01 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Clive
Our national newspaper tells us that our winter wheat crop has been severely depleted this year because Quelea birds are eating the grain. It does not tell us how, for half a century, our commercial farmers managed to keep bread on our tables and flour in our shops.

Hmmmm.... I can't figure it out.

8 posted on 08/14/2005 10:30:52 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: claudiustg


9 posted on 08/14/2005 10:33:22 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Clive

Zimbabwe - Model Economy for the left

10 posted on 08/14/2005 10:37:46 AM PDT by somniferum
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To: Clive

could it be becaue most of the decent farmers were killed or run off thier farms to be replaced with a coalition of squatters, retards, and Mugabebuds? is it okay to say why?

11 posted on 08/14/2005 10:40:48 AM PDT by spyderbarque (who farted?)
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To: Clive
I am afraid that this poor woman is SOL! If her country was being destroyed by a crazy white man, the world would be outraged. But, since Bobbie Mugabe ISN'T a white man, nobody cares!!

BTW, quelea birds, if prepared properly and served with a crisp, amusing white white, slightly cooled, taste very much like spotted owls.

12 posted on 08/14/2005 10:41:14 AM PDT by Tacis ("Democrats - The Party of Traitors, Treachery and Treason!")
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To: claudiustg

Good to see that Mr. Swift is still remembered for something besides "Gullivers Travels"!

13 posted on 08/14/2005 11:04:55 AM PDT by dynachrome ("Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in a handbasket?")
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To: Tacis

---BTW, quelea birds, if prepared properly and served with a crisp, amusing white white, slightly cooled, taste very much like spotted owls.---

They could sell them to the Americans! They like spotted owl I'm told.

14 posted on 08/14/2005 11:13:01 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: cyborg

there is too much to care about ...Zimbabwe isnt one of them..

they are no threat to us and what I want to know is why the hell is Cathy Buckle still there?

15 posted on 08/14/2005 11:14:11 AM PDT by atlanta67
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To: nsmart

---Anyone who believes the natives cannot farm every bit as good as the White colonists who were driven off their land is a racist.---

Those "white colonists" were Zimbabwe citizens, most of them born there. It was their country as much as any black's. They are in fact natives of hat place.

16 posted on 08/14/2005 11:22:50 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: Tacis
I am afraid that this poor woman is SOL!

Very true. There is dire need of a regime change, but can you imagine the world's reaction if the US were to attempt it?

Because of the racial aspect (bluntly, the fact that Mugabe is black) the only way this tyrant can be overthrown is from the inside --- by the people of Zimbabwe. They haven't reached that point yet --- they continue to submit to Mugabe's brutal and increasingly irrational edicts.

If they won't remove him, we can't do it for them.

17 posted on 08/14/2005 11:28:52 AM PDT by ZOOKER ( <== I'm with Stupid...)
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To: atlanta67

Zimbabwe is her HOME. She's not turning coward and leaving. If she wanted to leave, she would.

18 posted on 08/14/2005 12:01:53 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm having the best day ever.)
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To: claudiustg

Where did you get that from?

19 posted on 08/14/2005 12:03:22 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm having the best day ever.)
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To: cyborg

Buckle is reaping the rewards that she helped bring upon herself and her country, the former "breadbasket of Africa" (Rhodesia). She should definitely stay there.

20 posted on 08/14/2005 12:05:13 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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