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Could the VI have a Premier of Arab descent?

- Arab guests on Real Talk believe VI has identity crisis
Abraham Tarabay felt that there was a possibility that an Arab member of the community could one day become Premier of the Virgin Islands. Photo:supplied/File
Hani Hussein differed in his opinion and said “In my opinion I don’t’ think that anyone from the Arab community is going to attempt to run in politics…” Photo:facebook
Hani Hussein differed in his opinion and said “In my opinion I don’t’ think that anyone from the Arab community is going to attempt to run in politics…” Photo:facebook
Host of the Real Talk television show, Karia J. Christopher (centre) poses with Hani Hussein (left) and Abraham Tarabay. Photo:facebook
Host of the Real Talk television show, Karia J. Christopher (centre) poses with Hani Hussein (left) and Abraham Tarabay. Photo:facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Two young men appeared on a television programme last evening in an attempt to clear up a few misconceptions about the Arab community that exists within the Virgin Islands (VI).

Abraham Tarabay and Hani Hussein appeared on the Real Talk Show as the final guests of the 10 most Fascinating People in the BVI Series hosted by Karia J. Christopher. The programme was aired last evening February 6, 2013 on CBN 51.

During the programme Tarabay said he felt the VI had an identity crisis. “I think that we have an identity crisis here in the BVI…” He added, “I don’t think that we truly know whether we are Caribbean, British or American.”

Mr Tarabay explained that he felt the VI had changed from what it was when he was growing up, in that the community back then was much more closely knit. The identity crisis that he saw, Tarabay explained, has led to many persons perceiving themselves as outsiders, even though they may have been born in the Territory.

“What I would probably say, or what I would ask,” the guest on the show said, “is that if you don’t know about a certain race or a certain culture, you can always find out, you can always try to understand before you judge.” Mr Hussein agreed with him on this issue and suggested that persons could come to members of the Arab community to clear up these misconceptions.

Mr Hussein also made an attempt to dispute the notion that Arabs were taking over the VI.

He felt that persons of Arab descent had been the subject of much scrutiny, particularly after the events of 9/11 in the United States (US). “…I used to get, like phone calls, people calling me up, cussing me out… I used to basically have confrontations on the basketball court.”

Mr Tarabay didn’t blame persons for this behaviour though, but emphasised that “people need to understand that not all Arabs are bad and not all bad people are Arabs.”

An Arab Premier in the VI?

“My son is the next Premier,” Tarabay said in jest when asked whether he saw a possibility for an Arab becoming a future Premier in the Territory. “Arabs are very political,” he said, “…when it comes to politics, we take it seriously, in fact, I don’t see why an Arab BVIslander can’t become Premier or a member of the House of Assembly.”

He based his position largely on the fact that many persons that served as Prime Ministers or Premiers in the Caribbean were of Arab descent at various times. He mentioned that Edward Seaga of Jamaica was of Lebanese origin and said he didn’t feel it was far-fetched that one day his son or granddaughter could become Premier.

Mr Hussein partially agreed and mentioned Curacao and Trinidad as other examples of this but differed somewhat in his take, “In my opinion I don’t’ think that anyone from the Arab community is going to attempt to run in politics…”

He felt the issue was a sensitive one and also encompassed the concept of respect for persons in the Arab community. “We respectfully step aside from that part of the community, because we know it will have criticism,” Mr Hussein said after explaining that both guests had been actively involved in politics in the background in the last election campaigns.

72 Responses to “Could the VI have a Premier of Arab descent?”

  • UK student (07/02/2013, 08:07) Like (3) Dislike (11) Reply
    Good luck to all arabs but I can see a white becoming Premier before them!
    • sad (07/02/2013, 08:45) Like (27) Dislike (40) Reply
      Does it matter what colour or what ethnic background they come from so long as they do a good job? We need to stop looking at people by the way they look and judging them accordingly - we all bleed and poop the same!
      • Observer (07/02/2013, 09:19) Like (20) Dislike (6) Reply
        Yes it matters, you all can save that we are the kumbaya holding hand holding BS. Some groups take politics serious, and some too, tooo serious to the point it becomes fanatical.
      • TO: sad (07/02/2013, 09:42) Like (27) Dislike (50) Reply
        Yes it matters as you see how racist the whites are with power in the BVI especially, the top one!!
        • x factor (07/02/2013, 12:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Hmmmmmmh I cannot recall you ever publicly disagreeing with me on that
    • Biggs (07/02/2013, 12:58) Like (16) Dislike (6) Reply

      You all have black, local leaders for the past 40yrs but in 2013 you can't bathe your funky crutch or walk certain streets without being splashed with raw sewage. people should be judged on merit not religion, race or creed.

  • billyb (07/02/2013, 08:52) Like (29) Dislike (64) Reply
    No, No, No, your son is not the next premier of the virgin islands. Although I agree with you that much has changed since we were young, the fact that this is a "Jesus Christ" centered community still remains the same. Your people do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and as Christians, we need Christians as leaders, not Arabs.

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Many of us Christians are HIPOCRITES; however, it does not change the fact that our foundation was built on Christianity and no matter the hipocrites, we want to keep it that way.
    • Hmmm (07/02/2013, 10:43) Like (17) Dislike (8) Reply
      The content of a man’s character is not defined by his religious belief, (granted some of you mindless followers have no identity outside the belief you subscribe to) and certainly it is character that makes leaders a success in what they do....but sadly your mentality is why there will never be change anywhere in the world. Your illusions have a strong hold as your ignorance is the majority, the rest must always suffer. In short all your statement said to me is you would take a bad person who claimed to be Christian over any other man...just based on his label he gets a vote from you...none of you have the brain function to break the cycle and emancipate yourselves
    • Ironic (07/02/2013, 10:51) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
      Funny you say that most of your ancestors where muslims...christianity was whipped into your ancestors...its wasnt a religion of there choosing.......now you advocate for your slave masters of long....
  • Guest (07/02/2013, 09:07) Like (23) Dislike (9) Reply
    Not even if hell froze over twice. No disrespect but if the middle east and their homelands are an indication of arab government we don't need that. They want to govern and be democratic, their efforts will best be served over in the middle east. Also we don't need some of those crazy muslim ideoligies to seep into our government they are already crazy. I am sorry, you guys are cool but the actions of your counter-parts around the world have revoked the rest of your privileges to govern any where else except for there. I would quicker put a Jamai........nah scratch that......
    • LOL! LOL! (07/02/2013, 09:46) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
      I like the last part of your blog, had me laughing!!
    • n (07/02/2013, 09:53) Like (9) Dislike (18) Reply
      by that rational, then black people should'nt govern the VI as Africa isn't exactly a shining beacon of tolerance and good governance
      • vi (07/02/2013, 10:28) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
        The reasoning is the blacks are the citizens here so we can govern ourselves we are not moving to another country and saying we want to govern...
      • Ratty (12/02/2013, 07:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Are you from Africa? LOL
  • VIlander (07/02/2013, 09:18) Like (28) Dislike (8) Reply
    I know Tarabay is waaay more local than most of the ppl here now, & I wouldn't have an issue with it.
  • son of the soil (07/02/2013, 09:21) Like (13) Dislike (15) Reply
    we are being over run and soon to be strangers in our own land
    • Really? (07/02/2013, 12:23) Like (18) Dislike (11) Reply
      With a US Passport?? Half of you talking about BVI for BVIslanders were not even born here. Bloody Hypocrites.
      • Hmmm (07/02/2013, 13:45) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
        Thank you @Really?..........we are already strangers to our own land do a statistics report on BVIslanders how many do we really have........how many of us can say we are 4 generations of born here (BVI) without out 1 breaking the chain of having our descendants born in the US..........in comparison to those that have parents migrated from else were and give birth and raised their kids in the BVI....
    • fur tru (07/02/2013, 13:57) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      we will become strangers we goin St T and P R to have babies d Asians and South Africans havin theirs here we givin away our children's birth rights Ohh and d English too
  • yeap (07/02/2013, 09:23) Like (17) Dislike (6) Reply
    Saw this show last night, the Arab them going on bad. They aint marrying no Tolian either. lol
    • he is one (07/02/2013, 11:39) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
      they dont need to marry tolian he FROM HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • sam the man (07/02/2013, 13:49) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
        they born here they from here (arabs) i from antigua my child born here but she from antigua. what have the arab community ever contribute to this country? they sell puerto rico lottery tickets which is against the law. the stuff to bring in to sell us dont go the same checks and balances as like most other people. u cant date their ladies and i can go on and on and on
    • Check (09/02/2013, 11:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Check your facts them marry local and have children toooooo.
  • randy (07/02/2013, 09:29) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Guyana had Mrs. Janet Jagan who was born in the USA to the famous Rosenberg family and who married a Guyanese. She became President of Guyana. Many persons of Arab descend are Ministers in the St. Kitts, and Dominacn Cabinet. St. Lucia has a Chastanet -white St. Lucia but I agree, things are different here in the BVI.
  • no way jose' (07/02/2013, 09:52) Like (21) Dislike (5) Reply
    NO!!! not until blacks are allowed to date arab girls...sorry
    • Ironic (07/02/2013, 11:18) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
      You mean Christians?? Hmmm lets see what people in the local Christians in the community have to say about that.

      billyb (07/02/2013, 08:52) Like (19) Dislike (11) Reply
      No, No, No, your son is not the next premier of the virgin islands. Although I agree with you that much has changed since we were young, the fact that this is a "Jesus Christ" centered community still remains the same. Your people do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and as Christians, we need Christians as leaders, not Arabs.

      Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Many of us Christians are HIPOCRITES; however, it does not change the fact that our foundation was built on Christianity and no matter the hipocrites, we want to keep it that way.

      And you think the Arabs are being Prejudice? Please make sure you understand what the Arabs have faced here in the past and are still facing to this day and age......take a hard good look at yourself first.
  • look here (07/02/2013, 10:04) Like (20) Dislike (3) Reply
    Say what you want bout the Arab them bout they does stick together, if the "locals" dont watch out they will indeed become the next Premier. We always pull each other down, u guys better learn and recognize!
  • yes sah (07/02/2013, 10:05) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Karia end off with a bang, Girl you is the best. Not a man could top you!
  • I wonder (07/02/2013, 10:07) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    How Karia going to top this, the top 10 was EXCELLENT on every level, I never expected to see the Arab them there but it makes great rating sense and it was a great show. Can't wait to see whats next girl.
  • Guest (07/02/2013, 10:42) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like Abraham he is a very cool, humorous and polite person but I do not see an Arab becoming the Premier anytime soon. Yes for the most part they are cool and yes the men at least date local women, however whenever they ready to marry they either dump the local woman or leave her saying they going on vacation then come back engaged... lol They say they are Virgin Islanders but how many of them Arab men or women are married to Virgin Islanders or any person living in the Virgin Islands who is not of Middle Eastern decent?

    I think that before there is an Arab Premier they would have to be more integrated into the community. Right now it feels like locals are good enough to hang out with, to be customers in their stores and date but not good enough to be a part of their family by making them husbands or wives. I also do not feel like they give back Community wise (or maybe they do and it is not well talked about or even publicized). Although I will say this that I do remember that Hani's store did donate some money to a charity and perhaps still does.

    Edward Seaga who was mentioned is partly of Middle Eastern decent married local black women. When that starts happening maybe there could be an Arab Premier.
    • Ironic (07/02/2013, 15:34) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      I think there are a few Arabs that are married to locals....so you have a truly invalid point, just do your homework about who they are. Also about Arabs not giving to the community...please understand Arabs before you make such a statement...They have made more contributions to churches than most....Churches that in turn... turn around and demonize them....When you make a contribution and want it publicized it is no longer Sincere, Arabs always make donations quietly.....like humble people should. There not self promoters it is against there belief. But i do absolutely agree with you on one point, they need to be more open to our society.....with all the Christian doom and gloom going around here no wonder they hide in caves....
      • Guest (07/02/2013, 19:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        By the way I am not a Christian. I may not be close friends with any Arabs but I do interact with them, I have gone to school with them and I have shopped in their stores.

        You say a few Arabs are married to locals I only know of one. If there is more than one I can bet my last dollar that none of those “few” are women married to local men and that you can most likely count the number of Arabs married to non Arabs in the BVI on one hand. If I am wrong someone correct me on it. I can not count how many Locals are married to persons from other Caribbean Islands etc. on both my hands and toes.

        I am a BVIslander however that is only part of my family tree. Part of my family tree is in another Caribbean Island although my roots are mainly here. When you are part of a community you will often see persons picking someone from the community that they are a part of and love to be their mate, unless say, you met someone away on studies or living abroad. However members of the Arab community actively go back to the country of their parents to find a mate after being up and down with local girls/women. I have roots in another Caribbean Island but when I was ready to settle down I did not go to that Island to find a mate. Maybe it was luck that I and other non Arab members of the community were able to not go too far and find someone from right here in this community.

        I do agree with you that once you publicize your good deeds that it is no longer sincere but those churches who they donate to must be truly ungrateful because for the most part you would still hear buzzing in the community without them being in the media. Maybe the Arab community should not focus so much on giving to ungrateful churches that as you say “demonize them” and seek out other worthy causes/charities after all the church’s tithes, members and fund raising events should be able to keep them afloat.
  • when (07/02/2013, 10:42) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    When is the show airing again, this one hot. Kudos to the Arabs and Karia for addressing an issue that was long over due here in the BVI.
  • Great Job (07/02/2013, 10:44) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    Mrs. Christopher needs to find a bigger avenue to show case here talents. The BVI really have talented people boy, may be you could try sending your tapes to the big networks in the USA, I really think you have a future. Nevertheless GREAT job.
  • A Fan (07/02/2013, 10:48) Like (10) Dislike (21) Reply
    If the government was smart they would find a way to utilize this lady to promote the BVI, she has brains, spounce, and style. Invest in your own people folks you can't go wrong with home grown!
  • bam (07/02/2013, 10:49) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great show Karia, they can't hold you. BAM BAM BAMMMMMM
    • new (07/02/2013, 13:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do not underestimate the arabs
    • bazaar (07/02/2013, 13:39) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      I am sure an Arab is married to a local after the converted into islam. So fa sure I c a premeir or member of the house.

      Lloyd-bazaar
    • bazaar (07/02/2013, 13:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I am sure an Arab is married to a local after the converted into islam. So fa sure I c a premeir or member of the house.

      Lloyd-bazaar
    • home boy (07/02/2013, 14:04) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      Karia is our local Opra
  • the rock (07/02/2013, 10:49) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    no they believes are not ours!
  • the best. (07/02/2013, 11:00) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    i personally think that bvislanders are chrisitians, but the christians are gamblers who you can see with your own eyes that they are gamblers as they buy tickets every week infront of Firstbank and those who pull up in their car and call the ticket ladies into their car to check the ticket so their can pick one so when Mr. Tarabay made that Statement about his son might be the future Premier it can happen due to the fact that christians are gambling and going to the stripe clubs and also being not christian like such as being racies but the bible did said the wheat and the tear shall grow together until the day of harvest.So the statment that Mr.Tarabay made he had alright to make it and some we will have a Premier who root are not from the bvi.
  • Little do you know (07/02/2013, 11:11) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    Both of them already had blacks girl
    • Guest (07/02/2013, 12:09) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      Had but did not marry... I think that if one of them wants to be Premier that one would have to be accepting of persons outside of their race and culture. I don't know of any local Arab woman dating and marrying a local man and the Arab men feel like the local women are ok to date but not become a part of their family.
    • ABC (07/02/2013, 13:16) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
      You mean they have already used black girls.
    • ABC (07/02/2013, 13:16) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
      You mean they have already used black girls.
  • Lion heart (07/02/2013, 11:13) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the BVI there are certain situations that have to be addressed. One situation is try to encourage your Bvi islanders that go away to school to come back to there country to seek employment. The BVI chases them away by the lack of jobs that are out there for this economy in the BVI. Yes there is a wide variety of men and women out there that come in to the country and find jobs faster then a BVI islander.

    Many people in the community do not like to see change and this would be a issue that will be going on for ever. As a BVI islander there is so much jobs that can be created with in the BVI that can host all these different race. Look at the way the city looks you have garbage men stop working at 11 am, where if you have them work all day the place will look proper.

    To see men and woman that make there goals stand out we should thank them for what they have done. People are jealous easily by the improvement that is going on and to get over that there should be a challenge with in them self.
  • LOL (07/02/2013, 11:22) Like (8) Dislike (21) Reply
    Or someone with Filipino origin, they are becoming an increasing part of our community and many of their babies being born here. We have to face it we are now a very multi racial society, we should embrace this and not fight it. The only fighting should be for the good of our country. Does it matter what the ethnic origins are of a future Premier if they born here and have the country as their number 1 concern!
    • . (07/02/2013, 14:02) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Babies born here does not confer citizenship. This ain't HongKong, you can't change our citizenship laws to suit you.
  • 1 Q (07/02/2013, 11:43) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    While the most children of virgin islanders are born overseas. majority of ex pats children are born here not back from their parents homeland. it's only a matter of time, make all the noise you want. they may not sound like us but check the passport (its Maroon).
  • j f (07/02/2013, 12:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    well one day an arab can be a premier cause some of them are being born right on this island.
  • Shivers (07/02/2013, 12:34) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
    Hani is HOTTT!!!!!!!! *lusting*
  • REVALATION, MARTIN SAYS I HAVE A DREAM, AND IT HAPPENED (07/02/2013, 13:09) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    THERE ARE MANY CHANGES, CHANGES EVRY DAY AND EVERY WHERE ,READ OTHER NEWS , CHECK THE HEADLINE, CHANGES EVEN YOU DO NOT OR NOT ,CHANGE WILL COME. IT MAY NOT BE NOW , BUT ITWILL COME,ENGLAND HAS JUST SET A NEW WORLD OTHER, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT. BLA,BLA,
    WE ALL ARE IN THIS WORLD FOR A SHORT TIME,WE ALL HAVE AN APPOINTEMENT WITH DAETH. SO RELAX, LIVE, LOVE. THE BIBLE MUST BE FULL FILL. WE ALL HAVE TO USE THE ERO DOLLAR, WE ALL HAVE TO BE RULED BY THE ONE WORLD ORDER, WHAT CAN WE DO. THIS THINGS ,WILL HAPPEN, BE PREPARED,TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ,CHILDREN .LET US NOT BE FRIGHTEN. JUST PRAY AND ASK GOD TO KEEP US SAFE IN ALL THIS HAPPENING. YOUR OPINION MAY NOT BE MINES, BUT IF WE THINK ,WE WILL SEE IT UNFOLD IN OUR VERY EYES. RELAX.THE WORLD MUST GO ON. READ REVALATION LOTS MORE TO COME.,WHAT CAN WE DO GODS LOVING CHILDREN BUT PRAY AND STAY IN THE BLOOD. AMEN
  • gods match (07/02/2013, 13:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This topic is interesting!
  • . (07/02/2013, 14:06) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why do people persist in this belief that born here=maroon passport. Why won't they understand? It doesn't work that way. And moreover, it is not in the hands of local government, rather in the hands of UK government. Thank God.

  • M (07/02/2013, 16:34) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    i am an arab and i recognize the feelings that many have towards us. i'd like to address some of this:
    first: most arabs are black, the reticence of some arabs in terms of marriage is religious and not racial
    second: most muslims are asian or african (very few are arab) many arabs are christians
    third: most arabs do not support the governments in their native lands (many are here because of this)
    fourth: many arabs(this is changing) are patriarchal and would frown upon their women marrying outside their own extended clan or country. Many rightfully lament that arab women do not date black men but even amongst themselves many are insular to wit there is NOT ONE union on Tortola of a Palestinian with a Lebanese!
  • wise-up (07/02/2013, 18:46) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    One thing, the “A-rabs” have one mindset. While we sit back posting dumb comments on the various websites those guys taking over the economy. They are united, unlike “us” ....i clearly remember those Arabs walking around this community with suitcases filled with merchandise NOW they owns all the stores in the city, supermarket throughout our community and apartment buildings.....all we do is sit back and talk !!!!! talk !!!!! talk !!!.....run quick go talk that
  • uuuuuu (07/02/2013, 18:50) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Vino you just too much
  • smoke (07/02/2013, 19:18) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    you all back off the arabs I will prefer them to be premier than a dawn white man !!!..now go smoke that
  • l.e.b (07/02/2013, 19:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    we have many arab here married local girls and some of them married spanish too ....but in general every body prefer to married from his culture because it more easy to understand each other,,,,
  • Realist (07/02/2013, 21:25) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I support the separation of church (or mosque) and state. Once you keep religion out of politics, it really does not matter who is elected. The last thing we need here is political tension caused by muslim extremism or christian fundamentalism.

    Muslims and christians can live their personal lives as their beliefs dictate. They can marry who they want. Once they follow the law of the land and leave extremist or fundamentalist beliefs behind in their homes it really is not a problem if they run for political office.
  • t,a.d (07/02/2013, 22:50) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    maybe the arab will be succeful in politcs life same as busniess let give them a chance to run the country and make it much better
  • ? (08/02/2013, 07:29) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    As a citizen of the United Kingdom with children born in this UK Territory our child will run for public office. Within the next 20-year this overseas territory will have white leaders. We already control the economy
  • ABC (08/02/2013, 10:20) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    Well they are well on their way on taking over.....We done give them Supermarkets......Soon it will be Gas Stations and A Bank.....
    These are the 3 things you never give these decent in your country I don't care where they born
  • ok (08/02/2013, 14:00) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some of these comments are just outrageous!!! It is okay for a man to have a dream no matter his skin color, no matter his religion or beliefs. Some of these comments are right out racist... and some I don't get. What is the issue? Is it because they are Arabs or because they are Muslims? Because some don't seem to know the difference... Would your opinions be different if they were black Muslims? Mohammed Ali, Malcolm X, hey even Lupe Fiasco all theses “brothers” are Muslims and we recite, quote their words..... you talk about the actions of their counter parts across the world... world history... what about the actions of your counter parts.. Those who are Christians or even Africans? We are quick to condemn but we seem to forget.. Our ancestral history (locals).. Most of these posts are racist, and if they are made by BVIslanders, of whom profess Christianity it is shameful on your part…. We were once discriminated upon and at times we still are, and yet here we stand discriminating against another race….. And just so you know your ancestors were Muslims, like the blog earlier stated it was whipped into our ancestors.. And when we sing Bob’s Marley tune emancipate yourself mental slavery that my brothers and sisters is what he speaks about…….. rising above such ignorance….
  • Racism in LEB (11/02/2013, 14:32) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/10/world/meast/lebanon-racism-migrants-sting/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

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